January 1999

HAPPY HEW YEAR FROM THE PEOPLE AT AUBURN. At this time of the year everything is geared toward the Trade Show in Mobile. I hope you will be attending or exhibiting. It is the first year for the joint Gulf States Horticultural Expo. Besides Alabama, the Expo includes Louisiana and Mississippi. If booth sales are any indication, it should be a great show. The education program is on Thursday and is also a wonderful opportunity for you and your employees to gain some valuable education and pesticide points while visiting the Show. Please take a look at the program on last month’s newsletter or contact Linda VanDyke at 334-821-5148 to get a full agenda. Stop by Auburn’s booth (#1418 and 1420) and see what is going on at your University. We look forward to talking to everyone.

In this newsletter we have some research highlighted from the SNA Research Conference. All members should have received their copies of the proceedings. The articles highlighted below are just a fraction of the work that was presented last summer. Take time to read through the papers presented for information that will help you in your nursery. If you do not have the proceedings or if you are not a member, Why Not Join Today? Make it your New Year’s resolution to be more involved in your local, state, regional and national associations.

The two ideas this month come from Overlook Nurseries in Mobile, AL and Dr. Carl Whitcomb’s nursery and research farm in Oklahoma.

Overlook uses a wheel barrow frame and mounts pruning shears with adjusted handles so it can be pushed down the row comfortably while pruning hollies, azaleas and other nursery crops. See the picture to clear up that description.

Dr. Carl Whitcomb tried baits to baseball bats trying to keep rodents from his seed flats. He finally came up with the simple solution of suspending a rectangular frame made from 2" x 4"s from the top of the greenhouse to keep the flats out of reach and return some of the frustration he endured from these unwanted critters over the years. Simple, but it works. See the picture.

If you have some ideas – send them in to share with others.

See you at the Trade Show!


REMINDER:

Please come and see us at our booth at the 1999 Gulf States Horticultural Expo at the Mobile Convention Center from January 28-30. Our booth will have a waterfall, clean water posters for you and lots of information about Best Management Practices and how we are answering your questions. For a complete list of scheduled events go to the Newsletter Page (accessed at the bottom of this page) and click on December 1998.


DISCLAIMER: Please remember that all information presented is a summary of research and not an endorsement of any product or a recommendation of chemicals. The official labels from the manufacturing companies offer the legal and proper use and handling information for all products.

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES ARE FEATURED IN THIS MONTH'S
SOMETHING TO GROW ON:

1. TEXAS PUMPING PERMITS RESCINDED

2. IT MAY BE A CLICHE BUT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE IS CRITICAL

3. HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYER

4. THE WONDERS OF COWPEA AS A MULCH

5. A MOST NOXIOUS WEED - NUTSEDGE

6. AID IN COMBATTING APHIDS

7. A THREE-PART PROGRAM TO CONTROL THE PINE SHOOT BEETLE

8. PERENNIALS AS POTTED FLOWERING PLANTS

9. THE CONTROL OF FUNGUS GNATS

10. COMPARISON OF ABOVE-GROUND AND IN-GROUND POT-IN-POT CONTAINER SYSTEMS

11. STRATEGY FOR EFFECTIVE CONTROL OF A MAPLE SHOOT BORER IN RED MAPLE

12. EVALUATING CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS OF PLANT QUALITY

13. UPCOMING EVENTS

NELLIE R. STEVENS HOLLY
FOR CHRISTMAS


TEXAS PUMPING PERMITS RESCINDED

Nursery owners and farmers in central Texas are experiencing a great deal of relief over the fact that the limitations on pumping water set by Texas' Edwards Aquifer Authority have been rescinded. Judge Joseph Hart claimed that rules failed to clearly establish who would get how much water. Freedom to pump may only be temporary, though.

(from Susan F. Martin, published in NMPRO, November 1998)

IT MAY BE A CLICHE BUT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE IS CRITICAL

For anyone who works with a staff it is always helpful to polish one's interpersonal skills. There are 7 steps one can take to insure that communication is positive:

The employer needs to be a good listener. Resist using blaming statements as this sometimes blinds you to your employee's strengths. Try to be more understanding of how employees think. It requires a great deal of practice and concentration to be a good listener but the payoffs can be immense.

(from an article by Heather Weigand in Pork'98, June)

HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYER

One of the most important skills that an employer can possess is being able to determine why problems occur in the workplace. Most problems seem to occur because of one of the following three reasons:

It is important to identify whether the employer is partially to blame for any of these three issues. To avoid pitfalls it is vital that you clearly state specific steps and appropriate dates for completion of jobs. Adequately train employees, even in seemingly simple tasks. Make sure everyone understands the relevance of their job to the overall business. If someone has an idea you may want to implement it. If it doesn't work convince him/her of the validity of the primary method.

Focus on employee strengths and give them feedback for jobs well done. Make sure that when criticism is needed it is given so that employees do not have mistaken perceptions about their job performance. De-emphasize the personal. If a problem arises it is imperative to speak with the employees and determine as many facts as possible. When trust and respect exist among employer and employee most conflicts can be resolved.

If a problem arises employer and employee must decide on a solution and attach a time frame for evaluation of the employee's progress. If you set a schedule you can evaluate what has been done and employ previously agreed upon recourse. Documentation is an important element of the process as it will keep employer and employee aware of what they said and consequently did in the process. A concise and emotion-free record, signed by an assistant manager and the employee, will be a good insurance policy against any future action. Solve the problem by cooperation and communication.

(from PORK'98, June, article by Heather Weigand)


THE WONDERS OF COWPEA AS A MULCH

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, assembled data from a two year field study addressing the benefits of mulch. They planted a bell pepper crop (Capsicum annum) in a split plot to determine whether mulch (cowpea) would have an impact on plant growth and weed activity. Their preliminary conclusion was that the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) cover crop produced sufficient biomass during the summer months (in a desertlike climate) to work as mulch during the fall crop which thereby reduced the need for the application of herbicides and fertilizers. Compared to peppers planted in a conventional manner, those in the cowpea plot tended to be larger and less bothered by weeds.

(from IPMnet News, January 1999, Issue #6. Study by C. Hutchinson and M. McGiffen).


A MOST NOXIOUS WEED - NUTSEDGE

Nutsedge is a particularly noxious weed that grows in many countries and appears to be ubiquitously recognized as a weed that requires a battle plan of long duration. There are strategies that will work to control it. A much studied problem, nutsedge can diminish crops as well as ruin turf. It grows in a rather insidious way, by tubers underground that can live as far as three feet below the surface. There is no single herbicide that can solve the problem. A combination of chemical and cultural methods are needed to wage war against this pest.

In 1997 a conference was held regarding strategies to combat this problem. Papers from the conference are posted on a web site listed below. The information from that site is both encouraging and discouraging. Since it is so resilient its eradication is most daunting. Herbicides, crop control, fumigation and solarization are some methods that help. The web site will give you information about how nutsedge grows which may help you figure out how to control it - but know that the battle will be a long one and don't expect to win.

See http://www.cnas.ucr.edu/%7ebps/hnutsedge.htm

(from IPMnet News, January 1999, Issue #61)


AID IN COMBATTING APHIDS

APHIDEAD is a product developed in England for the control of aphids. Strips of 50-100 lacewing eggs are attached to plants. The emerging larvae eat hundreds of aphids.

(from IPMnet News. Send an e-mail to insect@cf.ac.uk for information).


A THREE-PART PROGRAM TO CONTROL THE PINE SHOOT BEETLE

In 1913 in a commercial Scotch pine nursery in New Jersey, the Pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda) was identified. The adult beetle can cause a great deal of destruction in a pine forest. The adult stage locate in recently killed or cut pine trees, logs, stumps, or slash and are capable of a great deal of damage. Since 1913 there hasn't been much attention paid to that beetle until 1992 when an infestation was discovered in Ohio. It is an exotic pest that can damage as much as 28 to 67% of unmanaged trees where brood material is available for the adults.

The life cycle consists of parent adults colonizing the inner bark of brood material. Larvae is deposited and feeds for 6-10 weeks until maturation in early spring when it then begins to feed on live pine shoots. To control the spread of this pest, quarantines on Christmas trees, logs and nursery stock were imposed on infested counties. Products could only be sold within the boundaries of the infested areas. A system of maintenance was decided upon and that system has been evaluated in Michigan and Indiana to ascertain whether the system works and how readily nursery owners are to comply with the regulations.

The management system has three parts:

All three components are essential for success. Nurseries were urged to comply since eradication of the beetles would mean the lifting of the quarantine on their trees and products. Fields were regularly visited by inspectors. Results were dramatic when all three practices were enforced and the beetle population almost disappeared. When any one component was used there was still a significant decline in the population. Sanitation was the most critical element in managing the beetle. Trap logs around the perimeter of a field are an effective intervention to infestation in the main field but must be disposed of in a timely fashion. The cost to growers is not significant enough to preclude compliance. The application of the insecticide is often done by growers as a part of their regularly scheduled maintenance.

(from "Evaluation of an Integrated Management and Compliance Program for Tomicus piniperda in Pine Christmas Tree Fields," by D.G. McCullough and C.S. Sadof; published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, 91(4), 785-795, August 1998.)


PERENNIALS AS POTTED FLOWERING PLANTS

A hot new trend in the European floral market is the use of perennials as potted flowering plants. They are not used as garden perennials but rather as plants that will remain potted, as hanging baskets, or used in window boxes. These crops are either grown from seed or vegetatively using high quality soil mixes, growth retardants, careful temperature control, and other floricultural cultivation methods.

Some of the new top sellers are campanulas (bellflowers or harebells). Growers are able to concentrate on single colors and uniform growth habits. To grow campanulas, careful monitoring of day length and temperature are required. For early season flowering, high-intensity sodium lamps are necessary.

Other successful perennials used in as flowering potted plants are astilbe, aster, ajania, and pot gentians. For spring flowering perennials, European growers are producing large crops of Aubrieta, Arabis, Armeria and Saxifraga. New columbine hybrids are also popular. To insure the success of these plants adequate cultivation must take place during the previous summer before they have to tolerate vernalization at rather low temperatures.

(from an article in Green Moutain Grower, Fall 1998, by Gary Grueber of Gensingen, Germany)


THE CONTROL OF FUNGUS GNATS

Fungus gnats are a common problem for bedding plants, particularly poinsettias. They can be particularly damaging to a poinsettia crop. Larvae can damage healthy roots, thereby stunting the growth of or killing new plants. The adult and larval stage of fungus gnats can carry many pathogens for root rot diseases. Fungus gnat adults can fly and are annoying in homes, offices and retail shops.

Females produce 100 to 200 oval, white eggs. It takes 3 to 4 weeks for them to mature to the adult stage. Placing sticky yellow traps on potting mix or in the plant's canopy will trap adults. Larvae can be attracted to raw potato pieces.

Controlling this population will definitely impact on your poinsettia crop. There are three main approaches for their control: cultural management, chemical control and biological control.

For cultural management - keep greenhouses dry and control weedy areas. Hydrated lime is sometimes used under benches. Limestone F, a flowable formulation, is also often used. Coir-based potting mixes have fewer problems with fungus gnats than other potting formulations, possibly because it dries faster and is therefore less attractive to egg laying adults. However, the coir is best mixed with MetroMix 266 or with perlite.

For chemical control - there are a number of commercially mixed products that are registered for the control of fungus gnats in their larval and adult stages. For the control of larvae - (compounds of diazinon and chlorpyrifos) Knox Out GH and DuraGuard; (nonconventional or biorational) Adept, Azatin, Citation, Enstar II, Gnatrol and Precision. To control the adult population some registered products are: Astrol, Decathlon, resmethrin, pyrethrum, and Talstar. Growers may need to control both stages of the problem.

Biological controls - entomopathogenic nematodes and predatory mites will both attack larvae. They are available from commercial insectaries.

All three methods will probably be necessary to eradicate the problem. Prompt action must be taken as plants are most vulnerable in their early stages.

(from an article in Green Mountain Grower, fall 1998, by Richard K. Lindquist of The Ohio State University)


COMPARISON OF ABOVE-GROUND AND IN-GROUND POT-IN-POT CONTAINER SYSTEMS

A major problem for container nursery owners is blow over of potted plants. The system of in-ground-pot-in-pot (IGPNP) containers solves that problem and also insulates plants from temperature changes. Studies have shown that growing plants in IGPNP promotes larger root masses. The downside of IGPNP is the labor cost, use of heavy equipment, additional drainage requirements and the fact that the system is reasonably permanent.

To address these difficulties a study was undertaken to determine whether above-ground-pot-in-pot (AGPNP) systems, whereby pots are placed on a production surface with flared sides to assist in the control of blow-over, would be comparable. It was found that using the AGPNP helped with the blowover problem but the rather desirable temperature moderation achieved with IGPNP is not an option and size of root masses did not increase. More studies will be done to see if additional buffering could help with the soil temperature.

(from Clemson University (J. London, R.T. Fernandez, R.E. Young and G.D. Christenbury), published in the SNA Research Conference volume 43, 1998).


STRATEGY FOR EFECTIVE CONTROL OF A MAPLE SHOOT BORER IN RED MAPLE

The production of high quality red maple trees hinges on treating the larvae of shoot boring catepillars who emerge in mid to late April (in Tennessee), feed on new leaves, buds and shoots, and then tunnel into elongating shoots which then wilt. Adult moths emerge in mid-June to July and lay eggs, overwinter, and the destructive cycle begins again in the spring. To control this problem apply a foliar stray of Talstar 10 WP in April (when the first 2 pair of leaves emerge) and then 5-7 days later. Timing is critical.

(from an article by F.A. Hale and M. Halcomb, University of Tennessee, published in the SNA Research Conference volume 43, 1998).


EVALUATING CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS OF PLANT QUALITY

To run a successful retail center, owners must be aware of customer preferences and perceptions. Focus groups identified characteristics that consumers found to be most important in choosing a woody ornamental, in this case, azalea hybrids. Marketing research surveys were used with customers. Another part of the study had to do with how much money people would be willing to pay to get the attributes they consider most appealing. Customers at independent garden centers were interviewed (from the weekend gardener to the very serious amateur). Gathered results showed that the single most important thing that customers looked for was the presence of foliage on the lower branches. They did not want to buy "leggy" azaleas. The other three most important traits were general health of the plant, full dense foliage without unsightly gaps, and symmetry.

(from an article by T.E. Glasgow, T.E. Bilderback, T. Johnson, K.B. Perry and C.D. Safley, North Carolina State University, published in the SNA Research Conference volume 43, 1998).


UPCOMING EVENTS

January 13-15, 1999:
Mid-AM Trade Show.
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Contact Don W. Sanford at 847-526-2010; fax 847-526-3993; e-mail midam@mc.net

January 28, 29, 30, 1999:
Alabama Nurserymen's Association Trade Show and Educational Program.
Mobile, Alabama. Call Linda Van Dyke at 344-821-5148 for details. See also
http://www.ALNA.org

January 30-February 3, 1999:
Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Convention.
Memphis, TN. Contact Paul Smeal, 1107 Kentwood Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-5656; phone 540-552-4085; fax 540-953-0805; e-mail psmeal@vt.edu

February 4-7, 1999:
The Management Clinic.
Galt House, Louisville, KY. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900;http://www.anla.org

July 22-27, 1999:
American Nursery & Landscape Association Annual Convention.
Philadelphia, PA. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 28-31, 1999:
96th American Society for Horticultural Science.
Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN. Contact ASHA: 703-836-4606, Fax: 703-836-2024; e-mail: ashs@ashs.org

July 30-August 1, 1999:
SNA 99 - Southern Nurserymen's Association Researcher's Conference and Trade Show.
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

August 1-4, 1999:
International Society for Arboriculture Annual Conference. Stamford, CT. Contact ISA at 217-355-9411; http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~isa

September 10-11, 1999:
TNA's "Tennessee America's Nursery" Trade Show and Conference.
Opryland Hotel Convention Center, Nashville, TN. Contact TNA at 931-473-3971; fax 931-473-5883; e-mail nurseryassn@blomand.net

September 23-25, 1999:
6th Biennial Southern Plant Conference.
Richmond, VA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

October 3-6, 1999:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators' Society.
Mobile, AL. Contact David Morgan: 817-882-4148, SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101; e-mail dmorgan@bsipublishing.com

November 4-6, 1999:
Gulf Coast Native Plant Conference
Camp Beckwith, Fairhope, Alabama
Featuring four habitats with guided field trips. For more information contact Thayer Dodd, Conference Coordinator, at 1-888-808-3633

January 11-13, 2000:
Kentucky Landscape Industries Winter Educational Conference and Trade Show.
The Lexington Center, Lexington, KY. Contact Debbie Cain, KNLA Exec. Dir. at 502-899-3622; fax 502-899-7922

January 19-21, 2000:
Mid-AM Trade Show.
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Contact Don W. Sanford at 847-526-2010, fax 847-526-3993; e-mail midam@mc.net

January 29-February 2, 2000:
Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Convention.
Lexington, KY. Contact Paul Smeal at 1107 Kentwood Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-5656, 540-552-4085; fax 540-953-0805; e-mail psmeal@vt.edu

February 3-6, 2000:
The Management Clinic.
Galt House, Louisville, KT. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 8-12, 2000:
Ohio Florists' Association Short Course and Trade Show.
Greater Columbus Convention Center. Contact OFA at 614-487-1117; e-mail ofa@ofa.org; web: http://www.ofa.org

July 11-16, 2000:
American Nursery & Landscape Association Annual Convention.
Location TBA; contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 14-18, 2000:
Ohio Florists' Association Short Course and Trade Show.
Greater Columbus Convention Center. Contact OFA at 614-487-1117; e-mail ofa@ofa.org; web: http://www.ofa.org

July 16-19, 2000:
American Society for Horticultural Science 97th International Conference.
Disney Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, FL. Contact ASHS at 703-836-4606; fax 703-836-2024; e-mail ashs@ashs.org

August 3-6, 2000:
SNA 2000 - Southern Nurserymen's Association Researcher's Conference and Trade Show.
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

August 11-18, 2000:
International Society for Arboriculture Annual Conference.
Baltimore, MD. Contact ISA at 217-355-9411; http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~isa

September 15-16, 2000:
TNA's "Tennessee America's Nursery" Trade Show and Conference.
Opryland Hotel Convention Center, Nashville, TN. Contact TNA at931-473-3971; fax 931-473-5883; e-mail tnurseryassn@blomand.net

October 8-11, 2000:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators' Society.
Norfolk, VA. Contact David Morgan at 817-882-4148; fax 817-882-4121, SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101; e-mail dmorgan@bsipublishing.com

January 27-31, 2001:
Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Convention.
Fort Worth, TX. Contact Paul Smeal at 1107 Kentwood Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-5656, 540-552-4085; fax 540-953-0805, e-mail psmeal@vt.edu

August 2-5, 2001:
SNA 2001 - Southern Nurserymen's Association Researcher's Conference and Trade Show.
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

October 18-21, 2001:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators' Society.
Houston, TX. Contact David Morgan at 817-882-4148; fax: 817-882-4121; SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101; e-mail: dmorgan@bsipublishing.com

Send questions and comments to bfischma@acesag.auburn.edu.

Letters to Bernice Fischman - 101 Funchess Hall - Auburn University, AL 36849.