Citrus greening, boxwood blight and now Knockout roses are not knocking out?

15 Oct

When I was giving a presentation on Earth-Kind® principals, someone asked what could be wrong with their Knockout roses. In my opinion, two things probably caused the problem: 1) Knockout roses are vigorous plants and have been planted way too close together, ending up with fighting against each other for light, water, fertilization and everything else; and 2) with the mass amount of Knockout roses planted everywhere, it’s not that easy for rose-loving pests to find a palatable source, but have to settle down on something not so preferable at the beginning like Knockout roses. It’s all natural selection.

However, my colleague Dr. Kevin Ong raised a very good point—–as a business, you should always look ahead and plan for disaster/changes. That’s so true! What kind of business does NOT change? A dead or dying one.

There are so many rose cultivars that you could come up with at least 10 to meet every need. This ‘Hoot Owl’ is really not bad.

When Knockout roses first came out to the market knocking out every other roses (or plants), you (hopefully have learned a lesson from the Bradford pears) needed to plan for change. Here’s a suggestion from my students in Nursery Production and Management class for growers: still produce, but reduce the production of Knockout roses, and look for alternatives.

When citrus greening was first discovered in Florida (long time ago), whoever handling citrus plants elsewhere (mainly in TX and CA) should plan for disaster, which would’ve come in their way sooner or later, with things spreading so fast these days.

When news about boxwood blight first came out, you should plan for change, offering and marketing boxwood look-alikes and alternatives.

The list could go on and on. The key is always changing, and staying ahead of the game. Disasters are not scary, but you DO need to act quickly and embrace them.


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