We will have to officially name October "Education Month" for the nursery industry. Last month was an incredible time for catching up on information concerning our industry. I only sampled a little of what was offered but I am at information overload. I will try to share a few things with you that stand out if I can remember or decipher my notes.
One item that has jumped out at several meetings has been our concerns over water. We have been watching water regulations affect other states for several years. Alabama is blessed with abundant water and a political climate that avoids regulation. However, last year's drought gave us a quick, sobering glimpse at what could happen even in Alabama. When water became a real issue and choices had to be made, it was the nursery industry that was targeted first. They turned off the spigot in Birmingham for landscape irrigation. That decision rippled all the way back to the nurseries as plant orders were cancelled or postponed. Our industry was selected as being frivolous water users as compared to car washes or restaurants or other more crucial businesses. Frantic activity by the local nurseries and landscape industry, along with the required lawyer, eased the pain but it opened our eyes to the need for some proactive educational efforts.
On November 15, 2001 there will be a landscape educational program at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens that will partially highlight these concerns and efforts to deal with future problems. The Alabama Nurserymen's Association in cooperation with Alabama Extension Service and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management developed a brochure to be used by retail garden centers and extension offices across the state to help educate the gardening public on proper irrigation practices during good times and bad. These efforts are also designed to raise the awareness of our city and state leaders as well. You can get some of these pamphlets by calling the Alabama Nurserymen's Association (334-821-5148) or your local Extension office. Help spread the word. The meetings have revealed that landscape and nursery businesses are under attack all across the United States. The message presented is: get involved.
The Southern Plant Conference was hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens and by SNA. It was a beautiful backdrop for the conference. Three days of plants are too many to review but activity in plant searches, breeding, selection and new releases was at a fever pitch. The take home message here and at the other meetings is that demand for diversity, new and improved and collector specials is on the rise. The plants are exciting and the competition is great. At one time, I thought that the landscape industry was the best outlet for new products but with the tremendous growth of our mass markets, I think this may be a better outlet to expand our horticultural pallet. The mass market's large marketing budgets and the uninhibited minds of the less knowledgeable gardening public may make them more receptive than our industry professionals to try something new. Industry professionals, whose living depends on success, may be more timid to try an unproven product. This makes good business sense. For an individual to take a chance on a few plants for their own homes is much less risky than a professional taking a chance on a client's property. So, a great place to go with all this new and exciting plant material is directly to the gardening public. Cultivate and fan the flames of their enthusiasm for enjoying the pleasure of plants.
The debate on patenting and trademarking continued to be a hot topic at the meetings. Most people agreed that true intellectual property and active breeding efforts should be rewarded with patent protection. But, some felt the patenting of the chance find of a different attribute in a plant may be abusing the law of protection. There were great discussions in this area. True ownership of a plant and rights to a plant patent goes to the finder, which can get confusing when the finder is the employee of a company who is patenting the plant or if the plant is discovered on someone else's property. It was also debated that the current practice of trademarking a cultivar name goes against the intended use of trademarks. The discussion will continue on these points and patents will receive more discrimination in the future.
Mergers and acquisitions are increasing. Twenty years ago we had business soothsayers predicting the nursery industry would go the way of pharmaceuticals, poultry and other industries. It took longer than they expected but we are seeing big nurseries getting bigger, mostly due to the mass market explosion. We are seeing the first nurseries dedicated to producing for only one retail or landscape outlet. The term "vertical integration" was used to define this trend. It is a trend that will apparently continue to expand. Our industry is so diverse and opportunities abound, so it is tough to corner the markets as easily as the chemical and container companies that service our industry. There is still room for the little guy but they need to be aggressive, versatile and quick in order to continue to compete. These are good times in our industry and I think they can only get better. I have been inspired by the enthusiasm and opportunities I have seen at these meetings. It is a fun time to be in horticulture.
Examples of a few things I learned at these meetings are listed below. They come under the heading of "I heard this at a meeting..." but reader please beware that notes sometimes misinterpret the meaning of the speaker or the whole story may not be told. Be sure to always go by the Label! Offering that disclaimer, I heard that……………………….
- Cercospora on leyland cypress can be treated best by treatments using Kocide over the use of several other fungicides reported on by a Plant Pathologist.
- The Southern Christmas tree, Leyland cypress, is a safe Christmas Tree. Whether pruned or not, both Leyland cypress and Arizona cypress took up more water and maintained that moisture content for 37 days. Burning tests over an open flame showed only charring over the 37 days of the research at Auburn University as long as water was maintained in the stand. You can not nail them to a board and expect them to survive but give the Southern Christmas tree continuous water and it will stay fresh from Thanksgiving to New Year's.
- Growing trees in large containers? Can't decide how to monitor salt content? Dr. Robert Wright at Virginia Tech has developed an easy method to keep track of your fertilizer using a suction cup lysimeter installed permanently in sample containers. Containers are watered, allowed to drain and reach equilibrium (1 to 2 hours after irrigation). Suction is placed on the lysimeter taking a sample of solution and the available salts in the container. Send us an email if you are interested in having a copy of the fact sheet they distributed at the meeting. I will try to get it posted to the internet or link you to their site by next month.
- Drs. Bilderback and Warren from NC State reported on their research of timing of cyclic irrigation on container plants. They looked at pre-dawn, morning, all day and afternoon irrigation. The clear winner by a significant margin was a three cycle afternoon watering schedule.
- We have our Landscape meeting in Birmingham on November 15 at the Botanical Gardens and the University of Florida, November 30 - December 1, 2001: The Great Southern Tree Conference in Gainesville. Contact Heather Nedley at firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-800-375-3642. Get away from your business from time to time to see the big picture. Everyone I talked to at these meetings felt guilty for leaving their nurseries but they also said they were glad they came. Me too! Have a nice Thanksgiving. Call if we can help.
The following articles are featured in this month's Something to Grow On:
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.
On Line Highlights is the magazine of research from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station at Auburn University. The current issue has two articles of interest:
You might want to bookmark the site so that you can see future or past articles.
A desirable trait for many species of trees is a straight trunk. This experiment was undertaken to determine whether coppicing (the cutting back of a tree to a short stump from which new growth emerges) would encourage that kind of growth.
Chinese pistache trees were grown for two years under standard nursery conditions. From November 1999 to April 2000 24 plants were randomly selected each month and cut back to 2" above the soil line. Stem diameter for all trees averaged 3/4" at the point of the cut. A single dominant leader was selected and other sprouts were removed. There was an appreciable difference between months.
Month trees were coppiced - mortality rates - height
November - 29% - 1.9'
December, January - 50%, 46% - 2.2-2.3'
February - 38% - 1.9'
March and April - 33% - 1.5-1.6'
Following coppicing, all trees were considered marketable (which they were not before the procedure). Further evaluations on field and container trees with larger diameter are warranted.
(This is a student research paper from the SNA meeting in August 2001 by Melissa R. Miles (graduate student), Jeff L.Sibley, Gary J. Keever, Charles H. Gilliam (Auburn University faculty).
by Tad Hardy and Jimmy Dunkley of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
In Summer 2000 daylily rust, Puccinia hemerocallidis, was found in the United States for the first time on daylilies in Georgia and Florida. Although management practices were employed, the rust has been found in other southeastern states, including Louisiana.
Recent questions have arisen regarding the LDAF policy for handling daylily rust when found in wholesale and retail nursery growers and dealers. This fungal disease poses a difficult regulatory problem because it is not officially quarantined -- and may never be, because rust spores are impossible to contain and current fungicide treatments are not terribly effective.
LDAF can offer the following guidelines, obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and from ongoing research at the University of Georgia (UG):
- Infested plants should be cut back to an inch or less and treated repeatedly with labeled fungicides. Carefully remove and destroy foliage from infected plants and from other plants in that block or bed if suspect. Fungicides recommended by FDACS are Systhane, Banner Maxx, Contrast and Heritage (all systemic). Others under consideration at UG include Strike (systemic) and Daconil and Dithane (protectant/contact). Most broad spectrum contact and systemic fungicides may be somewhat effective and may be useful in combination. However, experience has shown that effectiveness is limited.
- Growers should make note of varieties showing symptoms because these varieties may be susceptible. The rust has been found to attack daylily varieties ‘Pardon Me’, ‘Colonel Scarborough’, ‘Quannah’, ‘Gertrude Condon’, ‘Starstruck’, ‘Stella D'Oro’, ‘JoanSenior’, ‘Crystal Tide’, ‘Imperial Guard’, ‘Double Buttercup’ and others. Over time, it may be necessary to discontinue the growing of susceptible varieties because they may perpetuate rust problems. Infection occurs two to three days after leaf inoculation. The disease spreads quickly in nurseries and may kill the foliage. All known infections have been on the foliage. It is unclear whether tubers are infected. Research is continuing on this issue.
- This rust is not a quarantined pest; however, LDAF considers it a quality pest and as such it is treated as any other quality pest is treated. If present on daylilies, the infested plants will be held from sale with the recommendation to cut the plants back and treat them (as described above). If regrowth is free from rust, the plants may be sold. Keep in mind, however, that apparent absence of active rust on regrowth does not guarantee that the plants are totally free from rust. If regrowth is not free from rust, the plants will be held with the recommendation to cut back regrowth and treat again. Plants with active symptoms will be held from sale.
Finally, know your source. Be wary of purchasing plants from infested sources or areas and use good judgment when selecting sources and varieties. If your current stock is rust-free, consider delaying purchases that might increase infestation risk. For more information, see the USDA daylily rust website at www.aphis.usda.gov/npb/daylily.html . A search on ‘daylily’ may also provide additional web sites.
(from Ornamental and Turfgrass E-Mail Update - October 15, 2001).
by Tom Koske, Louisiana Extension Horticulturist
Pursell Technologies Inc. (PTI) gained EPA approval for the first polymer-coated insecticide formulated with the patented Precise Technology, which allows gradual release of pesticides via osmotic diffusion. While most insecticides have to be applied at a specific time in the growth stage of the insect, Precise Acephate works in every stage, says the company, either as a preventive application or as a curative control for adult insects.
The product controls fire ants, mole crickets, sod webworms, cutworms, armyworms, chinch bugs and more. Research is being conducted to determine grub control efficacy. "The high water solubility of acephate lends itself well to being polymer coated with our Precise technology," says Dr. Jeff Higgins, PTI's Director of Market Development. "We have also removed the distinct odor associated with Acephate by coating it. At the same time it is on a fertilizer carrier, so you are getting slow release fertilizer also."
(from Ornamental and Turfgrass E-Mail Update - October 15, 2001).
Make plans now to attend the fourth annual Gulf States Horticultural Expo which will be held on January 24-26, 2002 at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama. 600 booths will showcase wholesale growers, manufacturers, equipment dealers, sod producers, fertilizer / chemical dealers, and allied suppliers. Educational seminars will be on January 24th. For more information contact the GSHE office at 334/502-7777 or fax 334/502-7711 or email at email@example.com
Auburn Plant Disease Report - September Jackie Mullen
Extension Plant Pathology Specialist-Auburn
As is usual in September, most of our samples submitted (97 samples submitted in September this year) were ornamentals and turf grasses. Another case of daylily rust (Puccinia hemerocallidis) in the state was confirmed.
Several diseases on bermuda grasses were observed. Helminthosporium-type leaf spots were observed on coastal bermuda and Tifway bermuda. Brown patch and dollar spot were also diagnosed on bermuda grasses. On Tifdwarf bermuda, patchy dieback and thinning-out damage was caused by very high levels of ring and spiral nematode populations. See ANR fact sheets-621, -492, and -523, respectively, for further comments on these diseases.
A centipede sample was diagnosed as nematode damage from very high levels of ring and spiral nematodes. The damage was observed as poor growth, dieback and a very poor root system.
Bacterial leaf spot and Phytophthora root rot were diagnosed on chrysanthemum. Bacterial leaf spot appeared as black, angular, vein-bound spots. Edges of spots were often darker and wet-looking if observed from the lower leaf surface. When leaf spot edges were cut and examined in a drop of water using 100x magnification of a compound microscope, bacterial streaming was evident. Bacterial leaf spots are difficult to control. Strict sanitation is extremely important. Copper sprays may provide some protection. Phytophthora root rot develops when soil conditions are kept wet for a prolonged period of time. Roots become rotted with a brown, wet appearance. Foliage wilts and dieback occurs. Disease control requires sanitation, improved soil-water relations. In greenhouse or nurseries situations, protective fungicide drenches may be appropriate. See ANR-500B.
The sample of daylily rust appeared as numerous small, dark brown leaf spots on leaves that were becoming uniformly necrotic. The orange coloration of the rust spores was observed when the tissue was examined with the stereo- and compound microscope. Once the disease becomes 'old', the spots become dark and necrotic and do not appear as the powdery, orange spots seen when the disease is actively developing. Control involves sanitation of all foliage and protective fungicide sprays. See the timely information PP-506 by Austin Hagan for more details.
Cercospora and Septoria leaf spots are common on dogwood in September-October. Spots are typically small, brown, and angular. These leaf spot diseases usually are not a problem earlier in the season. The abundant-adequate moisture in many parts of the state has allowed for these diseases to be a common occurrence this year. Sanitation of fallen leaves is usually the only recommendation given.
Myrothecium crown rot, and Phytophthora & Pythium stem rot were present on petunia. The Myrothecium, which has been previously described as a crown rot disease of pansy, caused a brown, soft rot of the petunia crown. Microscopic black and white spore bodies of the fungus were observed and allowed for a quick diagnosis. Removal of infected plants is recommended. Also, protective fungicide sprays of a Daconil product should provide control. Also seen on petunia was a Phytophthora and Pythium stem rot. Brown stem lesions and dieback were evident. These fungi cause problems when wet conditions are prevalent for a prolonged period of time. Damaged plants or plant sections should be removed. Daconil or Aliette sprays will provide protective disease control.
Severe rust on zoysia was noted on a sample from Calhoun County. Foliage was severely blighted and showed the bright orange, powdery spore pustules typical of this disease. See ANR-621 or the Alabama Pest Management Handbook for control of this disease.
*Counties are not reported for greenhouse and nursery diseases.
September Plant Diseases Received at the Auburn Plant Diagnostic Lab PLANT DISEASE COUNTY Aesculus Anthracnose (Colletotrichum) * Aesculus Pestalotia Leaf Spot * Althea Rust Baldwin Bermuda Dollar Spot (Schlerotinia) Chilton Bermuda Rhizoctonia Brown Patch Colbert Bermuda, Coastal Helminthosporium-Type Leaf Spot Washington Bermuda, Tifdwarf Ring & Spiral Nematode Damage Montgomery Bermuda, Tifway Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia) Autauga Bermuda, Tifway Dollar Spot (Schlerotinia) Autauga Bermuda, Tifway Exserohilum Leaf Spot Autauga Bahiagrass Dollar Spot (Schlerotinia) Calhoun, Marengo Centipede Ring & Spiral Nematode Damage Covington Cherry, Kwanzan Anthracnose Russell Cherry, Laurel Fungal Leaf Spot Calhoun Chrysanthemum Bacterial (Suspect Pseudomonas) Leaf Spot * Chrysanthemum Phytophthora Root Rot Cherokee Daylily Daylily Rust (Puccinia hemerocallidis) * Dianthus Phytophthora Stem Blight Cullman Dianthus Pythium Root Rot Cullman Dogwood Cercospora Leaf Spot Russell Holly, Helleri Pythium Root Rot Marshall Holly, Helleri Rhizoctonia Aerial Blight Marshall Hydrangea, Oak Leaf Phytophthora Root Rot Limestone Hydrangea, Oak Leaf Pythium Root Rot Limestone Ivy Alternaria Leaf Spot * Ivy Anthracnose (Colletotrichum) * Ivy Pythium Root Rot * Laurel Pythium Root Rot * Maple, Japanese Pythium Root Rot Limestone Maple, Red Botryosphaeria Canker Lee Marigold Phytophthora Stem Rot Lee Marigold Pythium Stem Rot Lee Marigold Rhizoctonia Crown Rot Lee Oak Bacterial Scorch (Xylella) Madison Pear, Bradford Alternaria Leaf Spot Russell Petunia Myrothecium Crown Rot Lee Petunia Phytophthora Stem Rot Lee Petunia Pythium Stem Rot Lee Salvia Rhizoctonia Crown Rot Lee St. Augustine Gray Leaf Spot (Piricularia) Covington, Escambia St.Augustine Take-All Patch (Gaeumannomyces) Covington, Escambia, Monroe Rose Botrytis Blight Cleburne Zoysia Dollar Spot (Schlerotinia) Montgomery Zoysia Rust (Puccinia) Calhoun Zoysia Take-All Patch (Gaeumannomyces) Lee
Birmingham Plant Disease Report - September
Extension Plant Pathology Specialist-Birmingham
Sixty-nine samples were received during the month of September. The month started out extremely wet, with from 6 to 10 inches of rain in many location in Central Alabama. The wet weather this summer and early fall have provided favorable conditions for a variety of leaf spot fungi on many landscape plants. Many of these leaf spot diseases, including Cercospora leaf spot on crape myrtle and flowering dogwood, may be alarming to homeowners, but cause little long-term damage to established plants. Some of the diseases seen last month included web blight of Rosemary, brown patch on zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass, Tubakia (Actinopelte) leaf spot on oak, and Phytophthora root rot on Eleagnus. Web blight or Rhizoctonia blight of Rosemary is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Brown hyphae of Rhizoctonia growing in the canopy of infected plants are a common sign of web blight after periods of warm wet weather (like we had in early September). One research report indicated that this disease might kill prostrate forms of rosemary, whereas upright forms generally have less damage. The fungicides thiophanate-methyl and mancozeb can provide good control of web blight. In the last few weeks, there have been several reports of black root rot from diagnostic labs in other Southern states. Although we have not seen any samples at the Birmingham lab, this disease can be a significant problem in pansy. The soilborne fungus Thielaviopsis basicola causes black root rot. Pansies infected with black root rot produce aboveground symptoms that are typical of other root rotting diseases and include stunting, decline and/or yellowing (chlorosis) of the foliage. As pansies are installed this fall, remember to always examine plants carefully for uneven growth, poor foliage color, discolored roots, or other symptoms of the disease before planting in the landscape. See Plant Disease Note ANR-1052, "Black Root Rot or Pansy" for a more thorough description of the disease and control measures.
September Plant Diseases Received at the Birmingham Plant Diagnostic Lab PLANT DISEASE COUNTY Ajuga Cercospora Leaf Spot Jefferson Azalea Lacebugs Jefferson (3) Azalea, Native Cercospora Leaf Spot Jefferson Begonia Pythium Root Rot Jefferson Bentgrass Pythium Root Rot Jefferson(2) Bermuda Dollar Spot Jefferson(2) Bermuda, Tifeagle Curvularia Blight Jefferson Boxwood, American Macrophoma Leaf Spot Jefferson Boxwood, American Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson Centipedegrass Dollar Spot Jefferson Centipedegrass Spittlebugs Jefferson Coral Bells Cylindrocladium Root Rot Jefferson Coral Bells
Pythium Root Rot Jefferson Crape Myrtle Cercospora Leaf Spot Jefferson Cypress, Leyland Seridium Canker Jefferson Dogwood Cercospora Leaf Spot Jefferson Dogwood Powdery Mildew Jefferson(2) Dogwood Septoria Leaf Spot Jefferson Eleagnus Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson Hackberry Aphids Jefferson Hackberry Sooty Mold Jefferson(2) Holly, Chinese Sooty Mold Jefferson Ivy, English Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson Jasmine, Sambuc Thrips Jefferson Juniper, Blue Pacific Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson Magnolia, Southern Sooty Mold Jefferson Maple, Japanese Anthracnose Jefferson Oak, Red Tubakia Leaf Spot Jefferson Oak, Willow Iron Chlorosis Jefferson Oak, Willow Spider Mites Jefferson Pecan Scab Jefferson Peony Botrytis Leaf Spot Jefferson Rosemary Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson Rosemary Rhizoctonia Web Blight Jefferson(2) St.Augustinegrass Brown Patch Jefferson St. Augustinegrass Chinch Bugs Jefferson(2) Vinca Phytophthora Blight Jefferson Willow Cercospora Leaf Spot Jefferson Zoysiagrass Brown Patch Jefferson(2) Zoysiagrass Dollar Spot Jefferson
Disease Possibilities for November
To look at diseases for a typical October please go to the Plant Pathology button on our home page and click on November. You will find brief comments on disease symptoms and control recommendations. For specific disease control recommendations, see the Alabama Pest Management Handbook or 2001 Sprays Guides. Also remember that sanitation is a necessary component of most disease control programs.
LAB NOTES: Soil samples for nematode analysis should be submitted soon before freezing temperatures occur. Clients in the northern sections of the state, especially, should not delay in collecting these samples.
November 1, 2001:
Ornamental Horticulture Field Day
9:30 am. Contact Patricia Knight at 601/795-4525 for additional information.
November 30 - December 1, 2001:
The Great Southern Tree Conference.
Contact Heather Nedley at firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-800-375-3642.
January 24-26, 2002:
Gulf States Horticultural Expo. Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama
For more information: phone 334-502-7777, fax 334-502-7777; email@example.com
April to October, 2002:
See the AmeriGarden (5,400 square feet), part of the world horticulture exhibition in the Netherlands.
For more information call 808-961-6660 or visit http://www.floriade.nl/ or http://www.amerigarden2002.com/
October 11-12, 2002:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.tnnursery.com/mtna
Send horticultural questions and comments to email@example.com.
Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to Bernice Fischman - 101 Funchess Hall - Auburn University, AL 36849.