Archive | February, 2012

The 2012 USDA P…

17 Feb

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

On January 25, USDA released the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and simply by typing in the zip code, users could find the ‘new’ hardiness zone for that area ( For most areas, the changed is more likely half a zone (5 °F).


The 1990 map.

What does this mean for the green industry? Be prepared!

First of all, don’t panic! Like we don’t know that it’s getting warmer and warmer every year, although USDA did say “changes in zones are not reliable evidence of whether there has been global warming”. With the warmer temperature, more plants will be able to survive through the winter. So would we have more plant materials available? More likely ‘yes’, although some plants may have trouble surviving through the summer heat, which will probably be outnumbered by the winter-surviving plants.

ImageThe 2012 map (Can you spot the 5  °F difference?).

Again, this is good news for us plant people. Some homeowners may have already known that their zone number has increased (although just a half-zone “upgrade”), and that more plants will overwinter. So some of the ‘pioneers’ will be looking and asking for newer plant materials.  A new market is created! Growers and landscape contractors be ready on the lookout for those requests. We need to walk in front of the consumers in terms of preparedness for the plant materials, and should be able to provide them with more ‘colors’ (aka. plant materials) on their landscape palette.

But this is also good news for what plant people don’t like—–spots, fungus, bugs (of course I’m talking about the bad ones), and let’s not forget weeds. They could overwinter too! And there will be more host plants that they could live on.  So again, be prepared! If you are a wholesale grower, scout, scout and scout. Learn about the new things as they may emerge from a corner of your nursery or greenhouse on a weekend that all employees just happen to take a leave. If you are a landscape contractor, learn, learn, and learn. One of your clients may complain to you about the new installation you just did a week ago that got chewed up by an insect you have never seen before.

But the most important thing? Enjoy! Always think about the bright side.


“Rural Energy for America” program (REAP)

16 Feb

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced availability of funds for  “Rural Energy for America” program (REAP) on January 20, 2012. REAP provides financial assistance via loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems; make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities; use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption; and participate in energy audits, renewable energy development assistance, and feasibility studies.

Who’s eligible? Rural small businesses and agricultural producers.  An agricultural producer is an individual or entity directly engaged in the production of agricultural products (crops, livestock, forestry products, hydroponics, nursery, and aquaculture) whereby 50 percent + or greater of their gross income is derived from the operations. Image

What will be funded?

1.) Renewable Energy Projects—-biomass, bio-energy, geothermal, hydrogen, solar, wind, etc.

2.) Energy Efficiency Improvements Projects—-any energy savings measures (e.g. replacement of inefficient equipment, retrofitting, insulation or any recommended improvement identified in the energy assessment or energy audit).

Energy curtains, efficient unit heaters, fan and motor upgrades and cooling system upgrades.

Who to contact?

IR-4 Ornamental

16 Feb

The Ornamental Horticulture Program was started in 1977 to address the disease, insect, and weed management tool and plant growth regulator needs of growers. Over time this program expanded to cover not only ornamental horticulture plants grown in greenhouses and nurseries, but landscape plantings, Christmas tree farms, sod farms and interiorscapes ( Here are some updates. For more ornamental summary reports, click

Fusarium Efficacy Summary

From 2001 to 2011, numerous products representing 24 active ingredients were evaluated in greenhouse and field trials as soil drench, foliar, in-furrow, drip irrigation or tuber soak applications against several Fusarium species causing rots (crown, stem and tuber rots) and wilt on ornamentals, and wilt and root rot on vegetables. Fusarium species tested included: F. avenaceum, F. communi, F. oxysporum and F. solani. Most trials were conducted on F. oxysporum on larkspur, lisianthus and watermelon. Although there were insufficient data for definitive conclusions, several relatively new products showed promising, though inconsistent, efficacy comparable to the standards. These include acibenzolar, Heritage (azoxystrobin), Compass (trifloxystrobin), Hurricane (fludioxonil+mefenoxam), Insignia (pyraclostrobin), SP2169, Tourney (metconazole) and Trinity (triticonazole). BW240, (Trichoderma harzianum & T. virens), CG100 (organic acid), Pageant (boscalid+pyraclostrobin) and Palladium (cyprodinil+fludioxonil) provided no to mediocre efficacy. Proline (prothioconazole) provided consistently good control of F. oxysporum in watermelon trials. The established standards 3336 and Medallion generally provided inconsistent efficacy while Terraguard was effective in one trial. What do we do about this? Selection (plants), scouting and rogueing.

Bacterial Disease Efficacy Summary

From 2008 to 2010, 46 products were tested through the IR-4 Program as drench or foliar applications against bacterial pathogens. Species tested included: Erwinia amylovora, E. chrysanthemi, P. chicorii, P. marginalis, P. syringae, Pseudomonas sp., Xanthomonas campestris and Xanthomonas spp. In general, all products, including the standard copper containing bactericides (Camelot, CuPRO, Cuprofix, Cuprofix MZ, Junction, Kocide, Phyton 27 and ReZist) and mancozebs (Dithane, Penncozeb, Protect) and biologicals (Cease, Rhapsody), provided variable efficacy on these bacterial pathogens. Several new products that are included in the 2010 Bacterial efficacy project looked promising based on their efficacy relative to standards. These include Acibenzolar, CG100, Citrex, HM-0736, Kasumin, Regalia, SP2015 and Taegro. Further research is needed to obtain additional efficacy data to recommend actions to register or amend labels for these pests.

Early Post Emergent Efficacy Summary

From 2008 through 2011, fourteen pre-emergent herbicides were tested across the United States through the IR-4 Ornamental Horticulture Program to determine whether they can control emerged weeds at the cotyledon to 1 leaf or 2 to 4 leaf stage. Three troublesome weeds were targeted initially including bittercress oxalis and spurge with Eclipta and Phyllanthus added later. Bittercress (Cardamine sp.) was controlled at the early postemergence application timings with Certainty at 0.035 and 0.094 lb ai/A, EXC3898 at 2.1 and 3.1 lb ai/A, Gallery 75 DF at 1.0 lb ai/A and V-10142 (imazasulfuron) at 0.38 and 0.75 lb ai/A. Emerged oxalis (Oxalis sp.) seedlings showed significant impact with early postemergence applications of Casoron 4G at 4 lb ai/A, Certainty at 0.035 and 0.094 lb ai/A, Gallery at 0.5 and 1.0 lb ai/A, indaziflam at 50 and 100 g/ha, SureGuard at 0.562 lb ai/A, Tower at 0.97 lb ai/A and V-10142 0.75 lb ai/A applications. Spurge (Chamaesyce sp.) control was demonstrated at early postemergence timings with 1.5 lb ai/A of Tower and 4.0 lb ai/A of Pendulum. Limited experiments with Broadstar 0.25G and Broadstar VC1604, FreeHand, and HGH-63 showed promise on at least one of these weed species. Additionally, eclipta (Eclipta sp.) was found to be controlled in limited testing by Casoron 4 (lb ai/A), Certainty (0.035 and 0.094 lb ai/A), SureGuard (0.383 lb ai/A), Tower (0.97 and 1.94 lb ai/A) and Basagran (1.0 lb ai/A) when applied early postemergence. Phyllanthus (Phyllanthus sp.) was also controlled by these products with the exception of Basagran. These findings benefit growers by identifying select preemergence herbicides which control specific weeds at early emergence stages in container grown ornamental horticulture crops.