Young Plant Sorter

28 Jul

I visited Spring Meadow Nursery in Michigan last week and their TTA Plug Sorter ECO was running at full speed. Plug trays are first cut to separate each cell. Each cell is picked up and go through an ‘digital eye’ to be graded and sorted. As a result, plants in each tray are more uniform and space is saved by eliminating dead cells. Watch a short video here IMG_20170720_110905

Irrigation automation of multi-layer hanging baskets

3 Oct

The water breaker is turned on as the hanging baskets move along the cable to activate the sensor. Thanks for the great tour at Fessler’s Nursery in Woodburn, OR and thank you, Kyle! Watch the video here.

Woolly oak aphids

16 Sep

A friend of mine in Fulshear just sent me these pictures. The white cottony/woolly stuff covering her oak tree caused an alarm. One thing I like about insects is that their names are so easy: descriptive adj. (sometimes absent)+ plant + bug name, as in this case woolly + oak + aphids! Good thing is that unless you’re VERY concerned about the appearance of the tree, not much needs to be done. More scientific description here.

A new webinar–What is the Buzz about Drones?

13 Sep

Wed, Oct 12, 2016 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT. We have done a webinar on using UAV (aka. UAS) in nursery inventory management (Recording). The release of the permanent FAA rules for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on August 29 opens the door for many useful applications in Horticulture. This webinar will focus on the 1) types of platforms, 2) types of sensors and data processing, 3) potential applications, 4) liability, and 5) flight regulations. Want to listen to Dr. Robbins again? Register here


13 Sep

robot-mowerI just saw this automower at the recent FarWest. Very similar to iRobot, the automower does not vacuum floors, but mows the lawn automatically. See the video yourself.


All about crapemyrtle workshop

6 Sep

On Saturday August 20, 2016, we had a half day “All about crapemyrtle” workshop and several great presentations with updates with the latest research on crapemyrtle and crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS). Here is a list of the presentations: 1. Introduction of the workshop and new crapemyrtle cultivars introduction-of-the-workshop-and-new-crapemyrtle-cultivars, 2 CMBS discovery and spread cmbs-discovery-and-spread, 3. CMBS population dynamics cmbs-population-dynamics, 4 Control strategies for CMBS and possible impacts on beneficial insects control-strategies-for-cmbs-and-possible-impacts-on-beneficial-insects, 5 Crapemyrtle pests, diseases and disorders crapemyrtle-pests-diseases-and-disorders, 6, Heat and cold tolerance of CMBS and alternative hosts, and 7 Understand the demand for CMBS control understand-the-demand-for-cmbs-control.


Sunburn on crapemyrtle?

4 Aug

Crime scene: a parking lot in DFW area (more details in the Sept/Oct issue of 2016 TNLA GREEN magzine).

There were three rows of crapemyrtle trees in the parking lot. The picture of each row was taken from the south end. The trees in the left row had overall the best health, the middle row the worse and the right row in between. Within a row, plants on the south end (close to the shopping areas) seemed to be in worse condition than the north end, and the west side worse than the east side. On most trees, the damage on bark seemed to be worse on the upper trunk (about 5’ above ground, where trees branched out) than the lower trunk.

What’s different among these rows of crapemyrtles? The left row only has marked parking space on the east side of trees . The parking spaces are at a right angle to the right row on both sides. Here comes the problem. My eye level is about where trees branching out. It was about 2:30 pm. When I stood next to a tree in the middle row facing west, the glaring sunlight reflected right into my eyes . I felt I hit the jackpot here! I stood next to other trees. The reflected glaring sunlight followed me, everywhere there was a vehicle. Two O’clock in the afternoon is normally the hottest time during a day. Sunlight is much stronger around 2:30 pm than 6:00 pm, when sunlight is reflected to the canopy on the right row.

So why are trees on the south end worse than north end? Probably because a popular grocery store is on the south side of the parking lot and customers park as close as they can to the store (i.e. south end of each row). I hope we solved the homicide here. But I’d love to hear from you if you have a different opinion. Email me at

Vein pocket gall on red oak

4 Aug

A colleagues shared pictures of this cool-looking (not so cool to the owner of the red oak) ‘cancer’, vein pocket gall. At this stage, not much can be done. Find more at Dr. Mike Merchant‘s blog

Crapemyrtle bark scale update 06/01/2015

2 Jun

For all the crapemyrtle bark scales fan: we’re using double-sided sticky tape to monitor scale crawlers at various locations (three shared here). With the peak in May in two Texas locations, I feel Little Rock will see a summer peak pretty soon. Comments?

Picture1  Picture2Picture3

Flowers are for girls! So gardening is for boys!

24 Apr

Check out this Walmart commercial.

Walmart flower