Grower News

Gotham Greens Opens New Production Facilities in Chicago

On Nov. 13, Gotham Greens opened its largest greenhouse in Chicago. The expansion enables Gotham Greens to deliver a year-round supply of fresh produce to keep up with increasing demand from retail, restaurant and foodservice customers across the Midwest. Reimagining a portion of the former Ryerson Steel Mill being repurposed by location Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, the new 100,000 square foot...Read More

Purposeful and Persistent

Strategy has been the cornerstone of Spring Grove Nursery since Becky and Jamie Thomas planted their first tree 20 years ago. The husband-and-wife team founded the nursery in Mazon, Illinois, after carefully contemplating the size and scope of their newly fledged business. They didn’t enter the nursery industry on a whim. Read More

New Garden Mum Brand Debuts From Dummen Orange

Vitality, innovation, and perfection are the top traits that Dümmen Orange breeders and product managers considered while developing the new Vitamum garden mum brand, now available for the 2020 retail season. The brand reportedly features a refined assortment, new mutation-bred families, and interesting new novelty varieties. Many of the products are existing grower favorites...Read More

Follow a Systems Approach Model for Smooth Facility Sailing

On Oct. 23, AmericanHort and Purdue University hosted a webinar discussing how the industry can adapt to the changing nursery landscape. The event, which was sponsored by Plant Sentry, featured an array of speakers. Tom Buechel, founder of Buechel Horticultural Solutions and a compliance officer for Nature Hills Nursery and Plant Sentry, kicked off the first session of the webinar. Read More

Wood Substrates: Supplies, Sources & Sustainability

With the use of wood substrates and substrate components on the rise, one of the many questions often asked by growers and the general public is about the sustainability of using wood and the long-term impacts and supply of one of our most valuable (economic and environmentally) natural resources. Read More

Show & Tell

“Anyone can do it! It’s just planning and cleaning,” says Office Manager Ali Cude about Sedan Floral’s open house strategy implemented this year. Although when describing more of the details and behind-the-scenes work, it quickly becomes clear that the entire Kansas wholesaler’s team rallied to create an excellent event for customers. Read More

Chasing Efficiency: Benches vs Floors

If you had three pristine acres and a blank check, how would you plan a new greenhouse? Sounds like a fun exercise with limitless options. It also sounds like a very difficult challenge, due to those same options. One of the earliest considerations you’d have to tackle is where to grow the plants—on benches or on the floor. Within each of these two basic systems are plenty of nuances...Read More

Michael Dirr on Spiraea thunbergii

With 80 species of Spiraea worldwide, S. thunbergii is somewhat of an outlier in the nursery and landscape pantheon. ‘Ogon’, a yellow leaf selection, is available and has been renamed/branded as Golden Thread, Lemon Zest, Golden Times and Mello Yellow. ‘Fujino Pink’ occasionally shows on the commercial radar. More on these later. Read More

The Roots of Increased Profits

With labor being so front and center of the news, other very important ways of reducing costs when propagating plants get lost.Making processes efficient is of course incredibly important – but so is the quality of plant. An exceptional quality plant will not only delight your customer (and make them re-buy from you), it will also help you achieve a higher return on investment. Read More

Centralized labor: Plants to the People

Takao Nursery in Fresno, California, is known for thinking outside the box. The third-generation family-owned business has survived more than 50 years by shifting when it sees an opportunity. The propagation specialists focus on efficiency and quality in all aspects of their organization. The nursery currently propagates drought-tolerant plants and California natives, which it sells to small local and large...Read More

Standing Guard

Plant pest and quarantine regulations present a constant challenge for the horticulture supply chain. And when things go wrong, it means headaches, liability and financial losses that can be devastating, not to mention a black mark on your company’s good name. By offering a way for retailers, growers, regulatory agencies and end consumers to avoid those problems, Plant Sentry is poised to change the way...Read More

Fight the Fire Blight

It’s common knowledge that certain bacteria can make people sick, but did you know that bacteria can cause plant diseases as well? They most certainly do. The first bacterial pathogen to be identified was anthrax, a disease affecting sheep and cattle in 1876. Shortly after that, the first bacterial plant disease was confirmed – fire blight on apples and pears. Read More

New Website Summarizes Native Plant Research

A new website summarizing the research from 11 institutions is live for the public to explore new information about the impacts of gardening with native plants and their cultivars, called nativars. The research paper and summary can be accessed at In 2018, 15 researchers from institutions dedicated to horticulture...Read More

Improving the Odds

Almost all growers play a high stakes game called “New Plants.” New plants drive sales—they’re hot, get lots of press, make happy customers and enjoy less price sensitivity. Everyone’s upbeat and hopeful because no one’s failed with them yet. When you hit it right, you look like a genius. When you get it wrong, you can get it very wrong. That beautiful new marketing image never reveals disease...Read More

J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Seeks CEO to Grow Nursery

The search for a chief executive officer to lead J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. (JFS) into the future is underway. The Oregon-based wholesale grower of shade, flowering and specialty ornamental trees announced the CEO search after informing customers of the impending retirement of General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Art Anderson...Read More

IDOA Announces 2020 Dicamba Restrictions

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced additional label restrictions for the 2020 growing season for the herbicide dicamba. After careful consideration, IDOA Director John Sullivan has determined the Department will be forwarding 24 (c) registration requests to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for Illinois specific labels for the use of dicamba on soybeans...Read More

Top 100 Greenhouse Grower Expands Into Hemp Production

N.G. Heimos Greenhouses, which ranked #28 on Greenhouse Grower’s 2019 Top 100 Growers list with more than 2 million square feet of environmentally controlled greenhouse production, is getting into the hemp market. The company has partnered with Trilogene Seeds, growers and breeders of feminized high cannabinoid hemp seed...Read More

Ball Horticultural Breaks Ground on R&D Center

In August, Anna Ball — president and CEO at Ball Horticultural Company — and her daughter, Susannah Ball, took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ball Helix Central R&D Center. The complex is currently under construction at the company’s home-office campus in West Chicago, Illinois. Great science produces great plants, according to Matt Mouw, chief technology officer at Ball...Read More

Shedding the Label

Biological control is primarily a preventative plant protection strategy that involves releasing parasitoids or predators (Figs. 1 and 2) among greenhouse-grown horticultural crops to regulate insect or mite pest populations and keep pest numbers below damaging levels. However, there are cases where biological control agents or natural enemies of pests are not effective, not commercially available...Read More

Info Know & Grow

There are three words to describe Sincerity Dahlia: big, bold and beautiful. Noted for its large pink and white bicolor flowers, Sincerity is truly eye-catching. Dense, well-branched plants make a shapely backdrop for the showy blooms. Sincerity is a perfect choice for the landscape and high-end patio containers. Read More

Treats & Trends at the Trade Show

Another Cultivate has come and gone. Our observations was that the show was packed much of Sunday and Monday, and all the major and minor players seemed to be in attendance. It was as upbeat and busy as any of the previous “Ohios” (this was Beytes’ 25th time at the show). At press time, we didn’t have final attendance numbers, but according to the exhibitors we spoke with, the right people ...Read More

Perennial Seed Success

The world of perennials has been evolving very quickly. Advancements in breeding is bringing new and improved products to market at a record pace. Much of this has been hitting the market in the way of vegetative propagation: tissue culture and unrooted cuttings. All it takes is one plant, one selection with amazing attributes, to make it into the market. Hence, the record pace. Read More

Dicamba Drift Is Still Happening

You might remember the phrase “dicamba drift,” assuming you’re not a farmer who has to deal with it every day. In 2017, an estimated 3.6 million acres of farmland were damaged by dicamba, a herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, now owned by Bayer. Dicamba has proven to be a volatile spray; it drifts off easily, and when it lands on plants that haven’t been bred to resist it, those plants struggle. Following some statewide...Read More

Nine Selections Earn the Handpicked for You Trustmark

Handpicked for You announced the class of 2019 plant selections receiving its Handpicked for You certification. This certification follows a rigorous selection process involving extensive trials at regional independent grower locations and evaluations by partner independent garden centers. The collaboration between growers and retailers ensures plants are evaluated not only at regional locations...Read More

IFCA Gives Dicamba Update

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is still dealing with a record setting number of pesticide misuse complaints. There are 853 total ag related complaints, 648 of which are attributed to suspected dicamba symptoms (mostly in non DT soybeans but also in other plants). IFCA would like to thank all of our retail members who completed...Read More

Poinsettia Fertilization: Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is the primary element used for building cell walls. When calcium is low, marginal leaf or bract necrosis can occur. Thiscan occur because calcium is taken up by the plant along with the water supply, mainly through evapotranspiration. So any environmental condition which limits water uptake and water loss through the leaf can create deficiencies. Read More

Botrytis and Thrips Campaign

In 2017, a special research campaign was established to address the control and management of Botrytis and thrips. Losses from these pests affect all segments of the industry every day. Botrytis and thrips are challenging to control using currently available pesticides and management strategies. Goal: Raise $1.5 million through industry support to conduct new and innovative research leading to effective control...Read More

Five Factors to Consider Before You Begin Growing Cannabis

Growing cannabis in a greenhouse is similar in some ways to growing other crops such as ornamentals and vegetables. Cannabis, like most plants, requires the right plant nutrients, the correct amount of water, and the appropriate quantity of light to remain healthy. A controlled environment, such as a greenhouse, allows growers to meet these requirements by providing the ability to control feeding, light levels...Read More

Efficacy of Pre-Emergence Herbicides Over Time

Preemergence herbicides are applied to container-grown nursery crops repeatedly throughout the year, often in 8 to 10 week intervals. Preemergence herbicide efficacy may decline over time, resulting in reduced weed control several weeks after application if weed seed density remains high. The objective of this research is to evaluate efficacy of preemergence herbicides on creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata L.) and flexuous...Read More

Plug and Liner Update: Young Plant Growers Seek Solutions to Shipping, Heating Costs

Growers throughout the industry who want to provide high-quality products to their customers often rely on young plant producers as their primary connection to plant breeders. Because of this, it’s imperative for young plant growers to stay on top of critical issues affecting their businesses. Greenhouse Grower’s 2019 Plug and Liner Grower Survey illustrates that young plant growers...Read More

How 2019 Head Grower of the Year Marc Verdel Strives for Quality and Efficiency

Among the many traits a greenhouse operation might look for in a head grower are a desire to work hard, a thirst for knowledge, and a drive to continuously look for ways to improve. Fortunately for Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, VA, Marc Verdel — Greenhouse Grower’s 2019 Head Grower of the Year — possesses all these characteristics, and more. Read More

Beyond the Big Picture

John Terhesh doesn’t have a “comfort zone.” He doesn’t really need one. In fact, he would prefer not to dwell in one area, be it professional or personal. John’s willingness—actually his purpose—is to constantly try new things and devise solutions to problems, which is what’s helped him get to where he is in his career. It’s a career path with a few twists and turns, but that’s because when John...Read More

Ball Seed Enters New Partnership With ForemostCo Inc.

Ball Seed, North America’s leading horticultural distributor, is delighted to announce a new co-exclusive agreement with ForemostCo, Inc., a premier young plant supplier for foliage, tropical and succulent plants. The partnership meets the growing market demand for houseplants and other trending plant genetics. ForemostCo is a family-owned company that has delivered consistent quality...Read More

Home Nursery, Inc. Announces New Growing Facility

Nearing its 100-year anniversary, family-owned and operated Home Nursery, Inc. announced it is expanding its 385-acre nursery in Albers, Ill., with the purchase of a new turnkey growing facility in Tennessee. Home Nursery, Inc. currently markets to thirteen Midwestern states, providing top-quality plants to independent garden centers, landscape contractors and distribution centers in the horticulture trade. Read More

National Garden Bureau Announces 2020 "Year of the" Crops

The “Year of the” program has added four new plant classes for bulbs, annuals, edibles, perennials and flowering shrubs. The National Garden Bureau has announced the four plant classes that will be featured in the 2020 “Year of the” program. Read More

Bailey Nurseries 2019 Summer Expo Highlights New Varieties and Technology

In late July, Bailey Nurseries – currently No. 45 on the 2019 Greenhouse Grower Top 100 rankings – hosted its annual Summer Expo at the operation’s Nord Farm in Woodbury, MN. The group uses the annual event to preview its new variety offerings for the upcoming season as well as to educate its customer base on what Bailey has been working on for the previous 12 months. Read More

How One Man’s Weed Can Be Another’s Pollination Powerhouse

I was on a plant walk in early spring with people who enjoy the outdoors, delight in gardening, and love to learn. I was pointing out early spring plants, including natives. As I talked about the beauty and demand for spring flowering plants like squaw weed, may apple, Christmas fern, and lyre-leaved salvia, someone said, “But, Dr. A, these are just weeds.” And in fact, weeds they were. These plants are all over woodlands and roadways in the Southeast. Read More

The Silent Tree Killer - Compaction

Many tree issues are relatively easy to diagnose, especially when it comes to insects or diseases attacking the leaves or branches, or problems with the above ground part of the tree. However, when it comes to diagnosing issues below ground, where the roots are located, it becomes a bit tricky. Often, we see trees suffering, especially during the summer months with chlorotic leaves, smaller leaf ...Read More

Grow What You Know

Sometimes in business, it pays to go with your gut. At K&D Landscaping in Santa Cruz, California, the payoff came in the form of 30 percent growth over a year-long period. Skirting around a sometimes-risky market segment, K&D decided to table their residential design/build efforts for several years. The company shifted its services towards commercial design/build projects in 2014, and it wasn’t...Read More

Sunflowers in October? Breeders are Racing to Develop Plants That Flower Again and Again

Robert “Buddy” Lee has been a grower of wholesale plants and a registered nurse over the years, but his one abiding preoccupation has been his need to find a spring-flowering azalea that blooms through summer and fall. More than 40 years ago, from his fields in southern Louisiana, this was a lonely quest, but not a quixotic one. As the inventor of the Encore Azalea brand, he has given gardeners more than...Read More

New Report Offers Glimpse at Ornamentals Market in 2030

The International Vision Project (IVP), a new initiative from the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), was the first of its kind in ornamental horticulture to set out a forecast for the future of the global industry until 2030. Now, the second report from this project (“Production and Markets: The Future of Ornamentals”) has been published. After establishing that a variety of macro socio and economic...Read More

A Common-Sense Approach to Root Pruning

The best methods for developing healthy roots have been debated for years. I encountered this debate most recently at the Landscape Below Ground Conference at the Morton Arboretum. The conference was very informative on the care and maintenance of the trees before and after they are placed the landscape. However, one thing became obvious to me – we have a pertinacity to put trees in situations that are not conducive...Read More

Reports of Dicamba Damage Higher than Last Year

Field watchers, producers and experts thought maybe the dicamba lessons were learned. As of two weeks ago, only a few (11 reported as of July 16) dicamba-related complaints had been filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). As of August 8, it's clear that the magnitude of off-target issues in 2019 might be either similar to or possibly exceed those of previous seasons. By the end...Read More

Beyond Roundup: Alternatives to consider adding to your weed management plan (Update)

What is your go-to postemergence herbicide?  If you answered Roundup (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup), you would be in the majority for landscape and nursery professionals.  Though glyphosate works very well on most weed species, there are times when other products may be more effective or offer a less...Read More

Tenants of Hemp

Facing competition from big box stores and cheaper imports — amidst shifting markets, unpredictable weather and inflating costs — greenhouse operators Brian Wheat and Bob Aykens are rethinking their business models. Both fourth-generation business owners, they’ve watched their predecessors adapt over time, but their families would have never guessed that their greenhouses would one day be filled with cannabis. Read More

New Varieties to Consider for Your Crop Mix in 2020

One of the goals of most breeders is to help you plan a world-class crop mix for your customers in Spring 2020. Check out the slideshow above for a look at almost 40 new varieties you should  be considering.  Read More

Getting Woodies Off to a Good Start

If there are two core production truths I’ve learned in my time at Bailey Nurseries, they’re these: 1. The value of a quality production program—to the customer and the business—exists only when we’re able to deliver consistently; and 2. Success throughout the life cycle of any crop is dependent on starting with the right liner, more than any other factor. Of course, there are many variables...Read More

2019 Observations from the Field: Dicamba

Approximately two weeks ago, only a few (11 reported as of July 16) dicamba-related complaints had been filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), and some held aspirations that the magnitude of off-target issues would be less this year than during the two previous seasons.  Today, it appears those hopeful aspirations are being replaced by the harsh reality that the magnitude of off-target issues...Read More

How a New SAF and AFE Partnership Will Benefit Plant Research

The Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI), a groundbreaking research fund that has supported scientific innovation in the floral industry for nearly three decades, is getting a boost in its effort to provide high-quality, cutting-edge research today and into the future, thanks to a strategic new agreement between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and American Floral Endowment (AFE). Read More

Aralia 'Sun King' Named 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year

The Perennial Plant Association revealed their pick Aug. 1 during the PPA National Symposium in Chicago. 'Sun King' has a tropical look, but it's a fast-growing perennial that's hardy to USDA Zone 3 and grows to about 3 feet high and wide or larger in some cases. The large compound leaves measure up to 3 feet long, as well. According to Walters Gardens, 'Sun King' emerges...Read More

Making the Most of Your Slow Season

If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean. One of my oldie-but-goodie favorites. When you’re running a greenhouse growing operation that navigates wide swings in seasonal traffic, you may struggle with how to make the most of your slower seasons. The trick is selecting specific objectives and pre-planning the time when customer traffic is lighter, so the extra catch-up time doesn’t slip through your fingers. Read More

7 Things Growers Should Know About Proposed H-2A Reforms

In an effort to address grower complaints about the H-2A program, the White House recently initiated an interdepartmental process involving the four agencies that have a primary role in managing the program to seek improvements – the Departments of Labor, Homeland Security, State, and Agriculture.  “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been instrumental in the process,” according to Craig...Read More

Better Perennial Plants Are on the Horizon

Perennial plants are in a period of rapid growth, as consumer demand continually expands and breeders work through the huge pool of genetic diversity that has yet to be explored. Perennial varieties were traditionally derived from plant sports and variations found within nurseries. These require cold treatments to flower and are not as easily programmable for production. Current breeding methods...Read More

Sensational New Shrubs

What can be a better summer horticultural reprieve than looking into some of the newest woody plant introductions for fall 2019-2020? Well, there’s always a trip to the Galapagos, but I’m betting you’re as financially deprived as I am, so you’re not picking that option. Since we’re likely in the same boat, I reached out to many of the branding companies and a few public (university) breeding programs...Read More

The Forces that Brought Down Color Spot

Color Spot changed the horticulture world. The innovations they created and services they introduced will live forever. They taught the industry how to be a true partner with its retailer customers. They perfected in-store merchandising and began the practice of making deliveries on rolling racks. They made strategic acquisitions in concert with their valued customers. For a time, they almost made their competitors...Read More

Embracing Change

In order to improve what we’re doing it’s sometimes necessary to change our procedures. Ideally, it’s important to conduct some trials before making changes and thus we can feel confident with the decisions that are made. Sometimes, however, changes are forced on us and we need to view the new situation with a positive attitude and think about how we can improve the status quo. This spring at Pioneer, we’re involved...Read More

Monitor Plant Quality with Next-Gen Sensors

Dr. Krishna Nemali, a professor of horticulture and landscape architecture at Purdue University, spoke to attendees at Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio about the next generation of sensor technology and how it can help growers. One of Nemali’s main goals with his program is to develop new and affordable technologies that can improve sustainability and make them available to growers. In this case, the improved...Read More

Rack 'Em Up

Supply chain waste can drive up prices and cut into profit margins. But by considering some changes to shipping, you could find a way to keep those costs down. “If you’ve got air in a trailer, you’re wasting money,” said AJ Lambert, director of sales and account management at Container Centralen, at Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio. Some of the biggest problems simply come from the labor...Read More

Proven Winners ColorChoice Launches New Planter Program

Proven Winners ColorChoice has introduced its new Decked Out deco planter program, which gives grower-retailers a new way to offer consumers the company’s extensive line of flowering shrubs. Decked Out combines award-winning shrubs with decorative containers for instant-purchase appeal. It’s an easy option for every market, from big city balconies to rural retreats. Read More

How Plant Right is Helping Fight Invasive Plants in California

We hear about invasive plants all the time along with the reasons we should advise gardeners not to plant them in certain areas of the country. In California, they’ve taken fighting invasive plants to the next level with the formation of Plant Right which is supported by Sustainable Conservation. We sat down with Plant Right project manager Stephanie Falzone, program director Jan Merryweather...Read More

What's In a Nativar?

Common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a medium-sized shrub that is appealing in sunny areas of the landscape because of its glossy green leaves; unusual fragrant, round, spiky flowers; and rust-red fall color. It’s especially useful in wet areas and rain gardens where it absorbs excess water and even tolerates standing water. Hummingbirds and butterflies favor the plant for its nectar...Read More

USDA Modernizes Plant Pest Regulations, Improves Customer Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has published a final rule to revise the regulations in Title 7 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 330 that govern the movement of plant pests. The final rule aligns plant pest regulations with current APHIS policies, removes obsolete requirements, streamlines the permit process for low...Read More

Why We Absolutely Need New Plants

I was going back and forth about the topic of new plants with non-industry people who truly did not get it. The idea of piling on new petunias or ferns on top of old petunias and ferns just didn’t make sense to them, regardless of what I said about people accepting the fact that new car models, new computer games, and new phones hit the market every year. They felt that all this new stuff...Read More

Dicamba Application Deadline Extended

As the state with the most dicamba complaints in 2018, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan has made “a very tough decision” to extend the herbicide’s application deadline for soybeans until July 15. Originally set for June 30, Sullivan said the extra time has been allowed in consideration of the extreme planting and growing conditions from excessive rainfall, flooding...Read More

Hurricane and Wind Damage to Trees and Shrubs in Nurseries

Damage to woody trees and shrubs caused by hurricanes or high wind events is often not initially apparent. In some cases, damage can take months or even years to manifest, despite plants looking relatively healthy after the initial inspection by growers and insurance adjustors. This publication will describe damage commonly seen in trees and shrubs after a hurricane or prolonged high wind event. Read More

Pollinator Preservation Takes Center Stage

Pollinators are responsible for assisting more than 80% of the world’s flowering plants to reproduce, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Without them, humans and wildlife alike wouldn’t have much to see or eat. Because of this, there has been a resurgence in efforts to preserve and save our pollinators from extinction by creating pollinator habitats and continuing to educate the public on what can be done...Read More

When a Buyer Comes Knocking

Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace these days, buoyed by strong industry interest and performance, availability of capital, and low interest rates. In this world, it is not uncommon for nursery owners to receive unsolicited offers to purchase their company. These can come from both financial and strategic parties. Simply because an offer is unsolicited does not mean business owners...Read More

U.S. Utility Patent Granted for Beacon Impatiens

PanAmerican Seed has announced that a United States utility patent was granted for its new Beacon Impatiens, having a form of disease resistance to Impatiens downy mildew. U.S. 10,285,362 covers all six colors and two mixes of Beacon Impatiens walleriana. Additional patent applications are pending.  “Since its official debut earlier this year, the excitement around Beacon Impatiens has been outstanding...Read More

Dicamba Battle Lines Drawn

At a state pesticide regulatory meeting this week, some state officials threatened to stop reporting their dicamba damage incidents to the EPA during the 2019 growing season, after their past reporting efforts did not bring about substantial changes to agency’s dicamba registrations. “They felt like they provided a lot of information [in 2018], and it took a lot of their staff time to generate that information...Read More

Syngenta Flowers Completes Acquisition of Varinova's Cyclamen Business

Syngenta announced that it has completed the acquisition of Varinova’s cyclamen business. Varinova is a Dutch company that is fully dedicated to the breeding, production and commercialization of cyclamen. et. The acquisition of the cyclamen business of Varinova is strategic for Syngenta Flowers. “Cyclamen is a focus crop for us in which we are determined to grow through a broader...Read More

Making More Green with Ornamental Grasses

If your ideas about ornamental grasses start and end with Purple Fountain Grass, a whole other world is out there just waiting for you to explore it! And it’s not too late: There’s still time to produce and use ornamental grasses for your late summer and fall programs. Consider first how you plan to incorporate ornamental grasses into your production plans, then work to create your orders. At this point...Read More

Farmers Are Using Flowers To Beat Back Pests Instead Of Chemicals

A farm is its own ecosystem, but many conventional practices strip away the life cycle of all the creatures living in it by using pesticides. This makes sense, since crops can be decimated by the wrong kind of insect or other invader. But pesticides have created a number of problems; not only do pests become gradually resistant to the poison, the use of the chemicals...Read More

How an Online Costing Course Improved Hoffman Nursery’s Bottom Line

One of the biggest problems in the greenhouse and nursery industry is slim profit margins. For our industry to continue to succeed and further prosper, there has to be more knowledge of true costs. Last summer, I was lucky to take the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension online Costing and Profitability course. I first heard about it at Cultivate 2017 when Dr. Paul Fisher...Read More

Industry’s Choice Best New Plant Variety Finalists Announced for 2019

Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence has become one of the premier recognition programs of plant breeding excellence. The Industry’s Choice for Best New Variety award is selected by a panel of industry members who attend California Spring Trials and see the new plant introductions in person. Read More

Back to Basics

The common inputs (water, heating, labor, etc.) may be what you automatically think about when you’re looking to find ways to save a little time/money. But the final product—the plants themselves—can also provide some money-saving solutions. Kris and Todd offered some suggestions on what you should be doing before and during production.  Choose the plants you grow carefully. You don’t have to be a plant breeding...Read More

Mycorrhizae 101

There’s more awareness about the use of beneficial organisms and active ingredients for the production of ornamental crops. Active ingredients enable growers and homeowners to enhance and protect plants without the concern of chemicals. One beneficial active ingredient is mycorrhizae, which is a naturally occurring, beneficial fungus that’s safe to use. Mycorrhizae improves overall plant growth...Read More

Something Bugging You? Then Get Bugs!

Each year, I help numerous growers with their insect and mite management programs. Admittedly, most of these growers are looking to using insecticides and/or miticides to keep their pest problems at bay. However, I wanted to remind you how effective beneficial insects can be. Many growers are effectively managing their pests using beneficial insects. Like anything in life, there’s a learning curve, but...Read More

Challenge Accepted

After a lengthy and rigorous dissection of its practices, Loma Vista Nursery entered a program that will drastically reduce pest-related risks and enrich the company. Late last year, the nursery received SANC certification. SANC — Systems Approach to Nursery Certification — is administered by the National...Read More

Native Plant Propagation Techniques That Really Work

Perennial plant propagation can yield a multitude of new plants in a few months to a few years. There are various ways to propagate plants including seed, tissue culture, bare root, divisions, and unrooted cuttings. The propagator’s desired outcome and the limitations of the plant will determine...Read More

Getting at the Root of the Problem Above Ground

Using ground penetrating radar for belowground tree root detection is a noninvasive method that can be applied just about anywhere. It’s eight o’clock in the morning and your phone rings. The caller says he has a 90-year-old redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) in his backyard that is cracking the concrete slab of his patio and garage floor and would like the roots cut. This type of scenario plays itself...Read More

How Proposed Building and Energy Code Changes Might Affect You

One of the primary roles of the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA) is to monitor building and energy codes as they apply to the horticulture and greenhouse crop production industries. Through its Codes and Standards Committee, NGMA proposes appropriate changes and clarifications, opposes proposals that have a negative impact on the industry, and provides resources...Read More

What’s Driving Greenhouse Innovation?

Labor is a pain—and the pool of potential agricultural workers is thinning faster than many growers can find ways to fill the gaps. “Demographic and societal changes have unfolded over the last 100 years or more, and those have built up over time,” says Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President of Industry Advocacy and Research for AmericanHort. Read More

Big Box Pay-By-Scan Pricing

In this segment, Dr. Charlie Hall is specifically targeting growers who sell to box stores and particularly those selling in a pay-by-scan scenario, cautioning them to not make the same mistakes that growers made a decade ago when Home Depot initiated pay-by-scan in their lawn and garden department. By making sure all costs associated with shrink and merchandising costs are considered...Watch Video 

What is Your Nursery's Brand?

If you own a nursery, garden center or landscape business, you are in the branding business. The real question is “Are you creating a valuable brand and are your leveraging its value?” Brands have been in existence for a long as people have put up store signs. The word “brand” was derived from “brandr,” an ancient Norse word meaning “to burn” or more specifically it referred to a burning...Read More

Greenhouse Employers Stress Need for Vocational Training in Middle, High Schools

Following a detailed discussion Friday with Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th District, on the need for immigration reform to address workforce demands, representatives of a family-run greenhouse operation in Orange County called for increased efforts in public education to steer students toward careers. “We need skilled people, we need...Read More

Industry Veterans Take Lead Roles at BASF, Profile Products, AmericanHort

BASF, Profile Products, and AmericanHort are among the several organizations who have boosted their management teams over the last month. As part of a strategic effort to support the ornamentals market, BASF has named Jennie Smith as the new Greenhouse & Nursery Sales Manager and Biologicals Team Lead in the company’s Professional & Specialty Solutions group. Read More

Rising Fast

Land Program Manager Lori Zatroch of Cuyahoga Community College found their horticulture program’s future stationed in the middle of Wisconsin. No, they weren’t planning on relocating the two-year university from its home in Cleveland; instead, they visited Mid-State Technical College for a tour. They wanted to see a school that had already built a facility similar to what Tri-C hoped to create...Read More

New Hortica Head Talks Challenges, Opportunities

When Tim Noble took over as president of Hortica at the beginning of the year, it marked a significant change in company leadership. He succeeded Mona Haberer, who retired after a 30-year career. Noble, who joined Sentry, Hortica’s parent company, in 2011, brought with him a wealth of experience in insurance, a personal connection to family businesses — and a desire to get up to speed...Read More

Make Your Specialty Known: Sensitive-Crop Registry Included in Dicamba Requirements

Brown Farms planted signs in their Decatur, Illinois, fields last spring. The wooden markers identifying the soybean field as non-GMO or LibertyLink were visual reminders that the crop within was sensitive to certain herbicides. This year the farm has the option of calling on the power of digital signs, as well, said David Brown, who farms with his brother, Joe, and son, Chase. They plan to map their...Read More

Growers Address Increase in Illegal Plant Propogation

Growers, garden centers and consumers pay a price when patented and trademarked plants are counterfeited and sold illegally. This is why a group of plant patent and trademark owners and stakeholders gathered at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) on January 10 to discuss reports of unlicensed propagation of patent-protected plants in the United States. Read More

USDA Looking to Streamline Importing of Plants in Growing Media

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is accepting comments on a draft environmental assessment (EA) for importing plants in approved growing media into the U.S. The EA considers the potential environmental effects of having a standardized set of pest risk mitigations for routine market requests to import plants in approved growing media. This approach...Read More

Tornado Strikes Close to Home

In December 2018, a tornado struck Taylorville, Illinois, injuring more than two dozen people and damaging hundreds of buildings and trees. Retired Trees Forever Field Coordinator Barb Grabner-Kerns lives in town and was fortunate that the disaster bypassed her, her home and her trees, but after working with Trees Forever’s Recover, Replant, Restore! program, she knows that recovery is a long process. Read More

Five Things We've Learned About Dicamba

As we prepare for another year with the Xtend soybean and cotton system, we thought it would help to briefly summarize some of the most important things we've learned about dicamba as a result of the research our outstanding graduate students have conducted over the past several seasons. Dicamba Can be Detected in the Air Following Treatment. This isn't really any grand "new" finding; we've seen this trend...Read More

Lavenders for the North

Lavenders have long been cultivated for their broad herbal and medicinal uses and are enduringly popular as ornamentals in gardens and landscapes around the world. Famously, bountiful fields of lavender grown for its fragrant oil are the essence of France’s Provence region. Lavender derives from lavare, Latin for “to bathe or wash”, because...Read More

Last Year It Was Dicamba, This Year It's 2,4-D

A volatile weed killer linked to cancer and endocrine issues will likely be sprayed on millions more acres of soybeans and cotton across the Midwest and South starting this year. In January, China approved imports of a new genetically modified soybean variety — Enlist E3 soybeans jointly made by Corteva Agriscience, a division of DowDupont and seed company MS Technologies — that can withstand the herbicide 2,4-D. Read More

How Growers With Limited Resources Can Plan for a Software Upgrade

For those smaller greenhouse growers who may have limited resources allocated for a software  upgrade, it’s important to know where you should focus your attention. Experts from leading software companies offer their suggestions below. Build your software up slowly, over time. Anything you can do to reduce your order fulfillment costs will help you grow your business. Read More

Plant Pricing Begins with Costs, but Doesn’t End There

I don’t get fan mail, but I did receive an interesting email from an independent grower not that long ago. He wrote, “Now that the busy season is almost over, we are delving deeply into planning for next year. We are going into our third season of growing in our greenhouse, and of course, pricing is an issue that never goes away. We find it very difficult to feel as though we are making enough profit, yet staying...Read More

Dicamba Update: In Illinois, Will it Be Three Strikes, You’re Out?

Jean Payne has served as President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association since 2004, “back in the days when we didn’t dream dicamba would be used in the summertime,” she tells CropLife in an interview on Feb. 20. She opens up on the current challenges and future of dicamba for U.S. retailers and growers in a state ruled by urban politics. Read More

Heated Up

It’s been a while since U.S. growers have experienced a cold winter with soaring fuel prices. And for many, the incentives to go renewable—be it for heating or electricity—vary from robust to fading. In the last few years, U.S. growers have met roadblocks and just plain uncertainty with the USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) seeing ups and downs in funding. Today, its future funding...Read More

Out of Sight, (Not) Out of Mind

Everyone knows the old adage. In fact, it’s probably older than the foliage industry itself. “That which is not seen is often forgotten” is a scenario that applies to almost any facet of life. However, in our industry and in plant production, nowhere is it more applicable than your irrigation system. Your irrigation system is indeed the lifeblood of your facility and often one of the most neglected...Read More

The Plastic Crisis

A growing outcry against single-use plastic and the burgeoning amounts of plastic found in Canadian environments is spurring an ever-broading, grassroots sustainability movement. Our greenhouse, nursery, garden centre, and landscaping industries have largely flown under the public radar, but it won’t be long before customers and clients start sounding an alarm...Read More

Why the Horticulture Industry Must Overcome its Generational Divide

My journey into the horticultural world got a late start. Originally intent on medical school, I followed a pre-medical track throughout my undergraduate career. During my last semester, however, I finally admitted something I had desperately tried to ignore: I was miserable. I decided to scrap my medical school applications and instead apply...Read More