Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2010 Pest & Production Management Conference

Orlando is the Destination for the 2010 Pest & Production Management Conference
The 26th Annual Pest & Production Management Conference will take place February 25-27, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport in Orlando, Florida. Attendees will learn the latest techniques in pest/disease and production management for greenhouse and nursery plants and receive expert answers on top crop health concerns. They'll see the latest tools and products and be able to network with leading growers, researchers and educators. Click Here for more information.

Online Registration Now Open: Take Advantage of Registration Discounts

Greenhouse growers can register for the 2010 Pest & Production Management Conference by going to the official website for the conference. Be sure and take advantage of the discounted registration rates before January 29, 2010. Discounts are also available for multiple participants from the same company.

Earn While You Learn: Recertification Credits Available At Conference
Attendees can earn credits toward pesticide applicator recertification at the Pest & Production Management Conference. More than 20 states certify this program for credit. Bring your state issued applicator or certificate number for documentation for CEU credits on site. For more information, contact SAF's Laura Weaver, CMP at 800.336.4743.

Event Organizers
The organizers of the 26th Annual Pest & Production Management Conference are the Society of American Florists and Greenhouse Grower magazine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Water Management That Makes Cents

The Ellison Chair in International Floriculture announces the THIRD of a 3-part webinar series that focuses on water quality, conservation, and management on October 20 at 11:00 a.m. CDT.

Dr. Don Wilkerson of Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be our next featured speaker and he will address the topic: Water Management That Makes Cents!

CLICK HERE -- or go to to register for the SECOND webinar of the series.

In case you missed them, CLICK HERE -- or go to to view the RECORDING of the first two webinars of the series, which are now available online. Dr. Paul Fisher of the University of Florida was the first speaker and he covered: What's in Your Water? Water Quality and Treatment for Pathogens and Algae. Dr. Peter Ling of Ohio State University was our second featured speaker and he addressed the topic: Knowing Exactly When to Apply Irrigation Water.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Whiteflies for Christmas?

Based on early reports, 2009 may be another challenging year for whitefly management. In other states, Q-biotype whiteflies have been detected in some rooted cuttings shipments. I have not heard of any problems in East Texas so far this year. That does not mean East Texas producers don’t need to be on the lookout for problems or have a good management program in place.

A good whitefly management program must have two goals. First, is to produce a high quality, salable crop for the consumer. Second, but of equal importance, is preserving the chemical tools available to manage whiteflies. If we do not maintain the viability of effective chemical tools, it will be difficult for many growers to produce a salable crop. Consequently, the wise use of chemicals, through a scientifically based IPM program, is essential in this 21st Century. Europe has seen, and is suffering from, the results of over spraying whiteflies. Insecticide misuse in the United States may result in whitefly populations that cannot be controlled. It is important to remember that the Q-biotype whitefly is already resistant to a number of products commonly used. Chemical overspray could easily lead silverleaf whitefly resistance.

The Q-biotype Task Force asks you to collaborate with us in this effort. It’s not just about the challenges posed by the Q-biotype. It’s about avoiding resistance development in any whitefly population.

We have developed the “Management Program for Whiteflies on Propagated Ornamentals”. It’s available at This program is based on the best scientific data developed to date by the Whitefly Task Force scientists. Do not rely on just one or two effective products, but instead integrate products with different modes of action to decrease the potential for developing resistance.

With support from Color Spot Nurseries, the Society of American Florists and the Agriculture Research Service, I am evaluating rotation programs from the Management Program. The results from my trials and other entomologist around the country will be used to update the plan in 2010.

If you have whitefly control problems contact me so we can get your whiteflies biotyped. Q-biotype whiteflies have never been document in Texas.

REMEMBER: Q-BIOTYPE WHITEFLIES ARE A DOCUMENTED THREAT, BUT THERE IS ALSO EVIDENCE THAT B-BIOTYPE ARE DEVELOPING RESISTANCE AS WELL. Only by working cooperatively, wisely, and together can agriculture solve this problem.

Friday, August 21, 2009

East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse Conference

I would like to invite the ornamental producers in Texas to attend the 2009 East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse Conference. This year’s conference will be held on October 28th at the Harvey Convention Center in Tyler. The conference is a partnership between Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, and Northeast Texas Nursery Growers Association. There will also be an IPM Workshop for Hispanic Workers. Registration prior to the meeting is $30 a person and $40 at the door. Five TDA CEU’s will be available. For more information visit or call Scott Ludwig at 903-834-6191.

This year we are fortunate to have Dr. Glenn Fain (Auburn University) and Mr. Trent Teegerstrom (University of Arizona) as speakers at the conference.

Dr Fain will present “Alternative Substrates for the Nursery and Greenhouse Industry”. The purchase and shipping of Canadian Peat and perlite are costly products for the greenhouse and nursery business while the future availability of pinebark is of concern. Dr. Fain will show you the results of continued research using WholeTree and forest residuals as substrates in greenhouse and nursery production. Research has shown these components are viable and sustainable alternatives to current substrate components. His presentation will cover harvesting, processing and use of WholeTree and forest residuals as substrate components in greenhouse and nursery production.

Mr. Teegerstrom will present An Introduction to the Nursery Cost and Profit Estimator. The Nursery Cost and Profit Estimator (NCPE) is a spreadsheet tool developed jointly by the University of Arizona and the University of Hawaii to assist nursery producers in determining the cost of producing individual plants or groups of similar products. Knowing the individual cost of each product is critical information to make sound management decisions. In an industry where a typical business produces often over 100 different plant products, knowing which ones contribute to profit or loss can be challenging. The NCPE is set up to evaluate products from in-house propagation as well as purchased propagation material, and for final size plants ranging from small containers to trees in large boxes. The NCPE allows determining the true cost of a product but in addition the opportunity to simulate the impact of different cultural practices, regulatory demands, and the use of new products or different inputs. Information needed to start using the NCPE includes the land and bench area in operation, including production and non-production areas, federal tax schedule F or C, and production records for specific products or groups of products grown in the operation. The NCPE offers producers the opportunity to weigh the risks associated with different cultural practices, pricing, and regulatory compliance.

Additional topics to be addressed will include:

  • IPM Update – Dr. Scott Ludwig (AgriLife Extension)
  • Insect Pest Identification - Dr. Scott Ludwig (AgriLife Extension
  • Plant Disease Identification and Management - Dr. Karl Steddom (AgriLife Extension)
  • Improving Postharvest Performance of Bedding Plants with PGRs – Dr. Brent Pemberton (AgriLife Research)
  • Training your Hispanic Workforce - Dr. Carlos Bográn (AgriLife Extension)

Don’t forget to bring your Hispanic works so they can attend Dr. Brográn’s day long “IPM Workshop of Hispanic Workers”.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Register now for water webinar series

Given the success of its inaugural Shine in 09 webinar series (recordings are online at, the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture announces a new 3-part webinar series that focuses on water quality, conservation, and management.

Why water?
Access to an adequate supply of high quality water is also a growing concern for the nursery/floral industry due to drought, urbanization, and competing demands have decreased available irrigation water. Additionally, regulations on consumption and runoff have greatly impacted greenhouse and nursery management and profitability!
The first of these water-related webinars will be presented on August 17 at 2:00 p.m. CDT by Dr. Paul Fisher, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Florida. His topic will be: "What's living in your water? Water quality and treatment for pathogens and algae."

Paul also serves as the lead collaborator for the Water Education Alliance for Horticulture. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce runoff and water-related disease issues in the greenhouse and nursery industry by increasing grower knowledge of water technologies and water conservation practices. Current projects are focusing on the development of accessible educational materials for growers. They are also researching practical methods to assess how well treatment technologies work to treat pathogens. Click here to review some of the activities, programs, and educational materials of the WEAH.

Register now for water webinar series

August 17, 2009 - 2:00 p.m. CDT
Webinar 1 Topic:
What's in Your Water? Water Quality and Treatment for Pathogens and Algae
Dr. Paul Fisher, University of Florida

September 15, 2009 - 11:00 a.m. CDT
Webinar 2 Topic:
Knowing Exactly When to Apply Irrigation Water
Dr. Peter Ling, Ohio State University

October 20, 2009 - 11:00 a.m. CDT
Webinar 3 Topic:
Water Management that Makes Cents!
Dr. Don Wilkerson, Texas A&M University

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chrysanthemum White Rust Webinar

The Society of American Florists is offering free chrysanthemum white rust webinar hosted by Dr. Jane Trolinger, of Syngenta Flowers. The breeding and propagation companies have worked hard to develop good information about how growers can protect their crops from chrysanthemum white rust this season. For more information on the webinar, chrysanthemum white rust, and other invasive insects and diseases visit the SAF Website at:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chilli Thrips Invade East Texas

Earlier this month I received plants from an East Texas wholesale nursery with damage that the grower thought was possibly herbicide damage. As soon as I put the sample under the microscope my worst fears came true. The damage was not the results of a preemergent herbicide. Rather, the damage was from chilli thrips. I went out to the nursery and walked the entire facility with the grower to determine what plants were impacted. We estimated that approximately 20% of the nursery was infested with chilli thrips. The good news is that we have the tools to develop a management program that should be able to clean up the nursery. Unfortunately, we were unable to determine where the thrips came from. I would suggest that all ornamental crop producers and landscapers in the state be on the lookout for unusual plant damage.

. Chilli thrips are extremely small and difficult to distinguish from other thrips species
without the aid of a good hand lens or compound microscope. Adults are pale with dark wings and less than 1 mm in length. Immature chilli thrips are also pale in color and resemble the immature stages of many other thrips species.

Feeding Damage. Chilli thrips infestations are usually first detected by their distinctive feeding damage. Unlike flower thrips, which feed primarily on pollen, chilli thrips feed on various plant tissues. Feeding causes bronzing (tissues turning bronze in color) of leaves, buds, and fruit. Damaged leaves may curl upward and appear distorted. Infested plants become stunted or dwarfed and leaves may detach from the stem at the petioles in some plant species. Feeding may also cause buds to become brittle and drop. Young leaves, buds and fruits are preferred, although all above-ground parts of host plants may be attacked. Damage can be easily confused with herbicide damage, broad mites, or even a foliar pathogen.

Chilli thrips damage on pomegranate

Chilli thrips damage on Japanese maple

Host range.
Chilli thrips have a very broad host range and may feed on many of the common plants. All broadleafed plants should be considered potential hosts for this thrips. Some of the more common plants attacked are roses (all types), Indian hawthorn, cleyera, begonias, plumbago, blueberry, schefllera, duranta, sweet viburnum, verbena, oaks, live oak, red maple, Japanese maple, grape, Japanese maple, English ivy, viburnum, and ornamental peppers.

Chilli thrips damage on shrub roses

Chilli thrips damage on Indian hawthorn

Plant Monitoring and Identification. Plants with the symptoms described above should be examined closely for the presence of thrips. Thrips collected from the leaves or buds of plants with suspected damage should be collected and properly identified. If you wish to participate in efforts to monitor the distribution of this pest in Texas, place samples of thrips or suspected thrips-infested plant parts into a Ziploc bag, add a dry piece of paper towel or napkin to avoid excessive moisture, and seal the bag. Label the bag with collection information including locality (city or town and county), date, species of host plant, and your name and contact information. Send samples via express mail (next-day delivery) to assure good sample quality. Please send samples to: Chilli Thrips Lab, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, P.O. Box 38, Overton, TX 75684

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Zombies and fire ants?

Earlier this month Robert Burns with AgriLife Communications published a press release regarding a project I am involved in to help establish the first fire ant parasite in East Texas. We never thought that the story would have been picked up outside of East Texas since phorid flies have been released in Texas for a number of years and are established in some parts of the state. Well we learned an important lesson. If you put the word zombie in a title people pay attention.There have been many variations of the story in the media. It is important to know that the flies will not attack humans and turn us into Zombies as some bloggers have suggested.

Here is the original version:

OVERTON – Zombie fire ants may not sound like a cool thing,Texas AgriLife Extension Service but wait a minute, said a expert.

On April 29, on the grounds of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton in East Texas, Dr. Scott Ludwig released fire ants infected with a new type of phorid fly, a minuscule parasite that only preys on red imported fire ants.

The infected ants will soon exhibit some very bizarre behavior, he said.

"First they become zombies, their movements under the control of the parasite. Then their heads fall off and the parasite emerges," said Ludwig, , AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist.

Previously released phorid flies only preyed on ants in disturbed mounds. In contrast, the species, Pseudacteon obtusus, that Ludwig released in April is attracted to foraging red imported fire ants and not disturbed mounts. Which is even better, he said, as attacks of ants are not dependent upon the mounds being disturbed.

The "zombified," fire ant is made to wander about 55 yards away from the mound to die.

"The parasite does this so it can complete development without being detected and attacked by the fire ant colony," Ludwig said. "By making their hosts wander away, the parasite is insuring its survival."

As with the new species, the previously released phorid fly species in Texas only attacks red imported fire ants. They inject their eggs into their bodies. In response, fire ants withdraw to their underground nests and reduce their foraging range, he said.

Once established, it was hoped that earlier releases of phorid flies would spread beyond the original release sites, and there has been evidence that they have, Ludwig said.

"Pseudacteon tricuspis was first released near Austin in 1995. From 2003 to 2006, it spread over 10,000 square miles," Ludwig said. "The second species, P. curvatis, was established 2004 and is beginning its spread."

The parasite isn't attracted to native ant species, he emphasized.

"We're hoping the new parasite will reduce the foraging of fire ants, and thereby allow our native ants to regain some footing," he said.

The release was part of the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project.

"The project was initiated in 1997 as a result of the Texas Legislature funding an exceptional item requested by Texas AgriLife Research," Ludwig said. "The project's goals are the management of imported fire ant to below economic levels on agricultural lands and to eliminate the imported fire ant as a nuisance or health threat in urban environments." The phorid flies infesting the fire ants Ludwig released were raised by Dr. Lawrence Gilbert, director of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin.

"UT researchers have taken the lead on phorid fly research in the state," Ludwig said.

More information on the project and fire ant research can be found at or .

The new species was previously released in 2007 only in South Texas, where it was established but did not spread.

"It may not have spread because of the drought," he said.

Ludwig's release was the first in East Texas. In 2010, he plans to set out traps baited with live red imported fire ants to determine if and how rapidly the phorid fly has spread.

"Earlier data suggests they can spread 25 miles a year through wind-assisted dispersion," he said.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

IPM Priority Setting Meeting

The East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse IPM Program is now in its 8th year. Hopefully during this time you have benefited from one of the many activities carried out by my program. These may have included attending the East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse Conference, onsite consultations, science based pest management suggestions, or information disseminated through websites, bogs, trade journal articles, and newsletters.

In an effort to ensure that the East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse IPM Program is positioned to meet your pest management needs in the future, I will be hosting a meeting to set IPM priorities on June 11th from 1:00-4:00 at the Smith County Extension Office. The meeting will be open to all nursery and greenhouse growers from East Texas and surrounding areas. This is your opportunity to have direct impact in the areas that I will address over the next few years.

During this three-hour time period, you will identify areas that need to be addressed in weed, plant disease, and insect management. The needs assessment will be conducted for tree & shrubs, perennials, and bedding & pot plants. It is critical that we have participation from as many growers as possible to help ensure that the industries needs are met.

I am also interested in determining the best method to provide educational information to the industry. It is critical that you receive the information being produced by my program in a timely fashion.

Please RSVP to Kim Cushman at 903-834-6191 or by June 10th so we can assure adequate resource for all the meeting attendants.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Managing Insecticide Resistance

A resistance management plan is a critical component of any integrated pest management (IPM) program. In order to develop a resistance management program you need to understand the mode of action of the products available and the biology of your target pests.

For years entomologists have been telling growers to rotate insecticides by mode of action. The mode of action is the mechanism by which the pesticide kills the pest. Determining the mode of action of an insecticide has become easier over the last few years. Newer insecticide labels have the mode of action group listed on the top of the first page. You can also find a complete listing of the mode of action groups in a number of locations. These include OHP’s Chemical Class Chart ( and BASF’s Pest Management Guide (

There is still debate over how many times a product can be used before you need to rotate to another product and how different products should be in the rotation program. Your first step should be to read the label and see if there are any label restrictions regarding resistance management. Most products will limit the total number of applications per year. One extreme is the Pedestal® label which states “Do not make more than two (2) applications of Pedestal per crop per year.” In addition to a limit of the total number of applications that can be made, a products label may also have other use restrictions.

A general rule of thumb is that you want to rotate to a different mode of action for each insect generation. Products that kill by desiccation or smothering, such as soaps and oils, can be used anytime in a pesticide rotation scheme without negatively impacting resistance management programs.

There are a few instances where products in different mode of action groups have the same or similar modes of action, examples include 1) cross-resistance between organophosphates and carbamates and 2) pymetrozine (Endeavour®) has been shown to be cross-resistant to neonicotinoids in Bemisia tabaci. It is also important to take note if there is a letter after the mode of action group number, such as 4A with the neonicotinoids. Products with different letters within the groups have different modes of killing the insect, although the end result appears similar or the active ingredients have very similar chemical structures. One example is MOA Class 9. Although Endeavor (9B) and Aria (9C) are both selective feeding blockers, they can be rotated with each other since each product has a different target site on the insect.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand how resistance develops. Insecticide resistance is the genetically based, inherited ability of an individual to survive exposure to an insecticide that is lethal to other individuals in the population. That is a nice scientific definition. Here is a very simplistic way to visualize resistance. You have 1000 aphids on an oleander and because you have not been rotating insecticides 10 individuals or 1% of them are resistant to your favorites insecticide. After you spray there are 100 aphids left on the plant. Assuming the resistant individuals were not impacted by any other mortality factor they now comprise 10% of the population. You decide that a second insecticide application is need a month later. The there are now 2000 aphids on the plant and 200 are resistant to our favorite insecticide (2000 x 10% = 200). Your spay tech does a phenomenal job spraying and kills all the susceptible aphids, but the 200 aphids not impacted by the spray are still on the plant. A week later you decide you want to sell the plants without any aphids and have the plants sprayed again with your favorite insecticide and to your surprise you are unable to detect any decrease in the population. This is a very simplistic hypothetical situation, but hopefully give you a way of visualizing how resistance can develop.

As illustrated above, it takes a number of generations for an insect species to develop resistance to an insecticide. Generally, the shorter the generation time the faster the species can develop resistance. According to the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee ( there are four mechanisms that may cause an insect population to become resistant to insecticides. Some insects may actually exhibit more than one of the mechanisms at a time.

Metabolic resistance. This is the most common mechanism of insecticide resistance. Resistant insects use internal enzymes to detoxifying or destroy the insecticide’s toxin more rapidly than a susceptible insect. The resistant insect may also be able to rid its bodies of the toxic molecules.

Altered target-site resistance.
The second most common mechanism of resistance is a result of the target site where the insecticide toxin binds becoming altered. This modification reduces the ability of the insecticide to kill the insect.

Behavioral resistance.
Resistant insects detect or recognize the insecticide and avoid the toxin. The insect may stop feeding or move to an area where there is no insecticide.

Penetration resistance.
The resistant insect’s outer cuticle develops barriers that slow an insecticides ability to penetrate into the insect.

The first evidence of resistance is usually reduced efficacy against the target pest even when the pesticide was properly applied at the recommended rate. If you suspect a pest population is developing tolerance to a particular chemical, continued use or increasing the rate of the product will only accelerate the rate of resistance selection, eventually leading to complete control failure. If you are applying an insecticide that is not longer effective you are wasting money on labor and insecticides that will have no impact on the pest population.

If you suspect insecticide resistance or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact me, the insecticide company, or your local extension specialist.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Predatory Fly May Help Control Greenhouse & Nursery Pests

If you think you have a fungus gnat problem, you may want to take a second look. A 'new' insect is showing up in Texas greenhouses and nurseries. Some growers have seen the fly and made the assumption that it must be bad. For once this is not an insect you will need to control. Coenosia attenuate, an old world hunter fly, was first identified in 2004 at Nortex Greenhouses in Collin County. Since that time, this beneficial fly has also been identified in Cherokee and Smith County. I am sure if I looked I would be able to find it in many additional counties. In North America, this hunter fly was previously known to occur in New York, California and Ontario, Canada. In California, C. attenuate is associated with gerbera, roses, poinsettia and chrysanthemum production.

Coenosia attenuate resembles a small housefly. They range in size from 2.5 mm to 4 mm. The female has a dark grey body and black legs while the male has pale yellow legs. You can observe the adult flies perched on plants, pipes, or other objects in the greenhouse. These predators actually wait to fly out and grab any flying insect of suitable size. The prey is then subdued by stabbing them with specialized mouthparts. Hunter flies prey on insects such as fungus gnats, shore flies, whiteflies, winged aphids and leafminers. Once prey is stabbed, they return to their perch to feed. Each adult occupies a defined territory and sometimes territorial “dogfights” can be observed when boundaries are compromised.

Adult flies lay their eggs in the soil and the developing larvae are predators of fungus gnats and shore flies. Research conducted at Cornell University indicates that this is an effective predator of fungus gnat larvae.

We sampled fly populations at Nortex Greenhouse for a year. It appears from these results that this predator is capable of managing fungus gnat populations, especially in pot plants.

If you see a new fly showing up in your greenhouse do not automatically reach for the nearest bottle of insecticide. Have the fly identified. Coenosia may prove to be a valuable biological control agent. Even more importantly, one you do not need to purchase!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shine in ‘09: High Performance Management to Survive Turbulent Times

Webinar Series Sponsored By
The Ellison Chair in International Floriculture and
Texas AgriLife Extension

This webinar (web-based seminar) series is designed to assist you in making better (more informed) managerial decisions in the midst of an economic downturn that is literally turning markets upside down. In this hypercompetitive market, the competitive advantages you enjoy today may vanish with breathtaking speed and frequency. Truly, in this type of environment, the things you don’t know can hurt you!

You may be saying to yourself: “I don’t have time and can’t afford to attend another meeting.” That’s the beauty of a webinar – it only takes an hour out of your day; you don’t have to spend money traveling anywhere; and you can ‘attend’ sitting in front of your own computer!

Ask yourself these questions…

· Are business profits shrinking and you’re not sure why?
· Are you uncertain how sustainability can help your business?
· Has marketing become more of a challenge?
· Has your business been impacted by the economic downturn?
· Are operating costs spiraling out of control?

If you answered yes to any of these questions; if you feel the business climate continues to deteriorate; or if you are worried about the future of your business, then you need to attend this webinar series and learn useful strategies to increase your firm’s bottom line!

March 9, 2009 -- 11:00 a.m. CST (1 hour) – Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University
Webinar 1 Topic: Action Points to Survive the Downturn – Developing and fine-tuning your downturn strategies to ensure your business will survive!

April 14, 2009 – 11:00 a.m. CST (1 hour) – Dr. Don Wilkerson, Texas AgriLife Extension
Webinar 2 Topic: Differentiating By Being Sustainable – Being proactive by developing your own sustainability code of ethics can help set you apart from the competition!

May 12, 2009 – 11:00 a.m. CST (1 hour) – Dr. Jennifer Dennis, Purdue University
Webinar Topic 3: Marketing Green! The “green” marketing strategies you need to thrive in a maturing marketplace!

So don't hesitate -- space is limited! Go to to register. There is no charge for the first three webinars in this series, so reserve your space today!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Meetings to address insect control on greenhouse & nursery crops

Now that it is starting to warm up, crop producers need to be thinking about how to properly manage insect pests on their crops. I have designed an integrated pest management course to help ornamental crop producers better manage insect and mite pests. The three hour course will be offered in Canton, Fort Worth, Houston, Jacksonville and McKinney (see dates below).

The meetings will cover:

  • An overview of the insecticides and miticides on the market today.
  • The biology of the major insect and mite pests to provide effective control.
  • Developing management programs that will decrease the likelihood of pests developing tolerance to key insecticides.

Producers attending will gain a better understanding of how to successfully use the insecticides and miticides on the market today, and how they fit into an integrated pest management program.

Those attending will be eligible to earn three continuing education units, one in the integrated pest management and two in the general category, toward renewal of the their Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicators license.

Texas certified nursery and certified landscape professionals will receive three continuing education units toward recertification.

Preregistration is $25 per person and can be done online with a check, credit or debit card at At-the-door registration will be $35, checks and cash only.

The trainings will be held at these locations and times:

Maps and other information are available at the East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse IPM Program website.

For more information: Contact Scott Ludwig at 903-834-6191 or

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pest Management Conference

If you are a floriculture producer you should consider attending the Society of American Florist's Pest Management Conference. This should be one of the best conference yet. Oh yea, did I mention I am biased since I am a conference co-chair along with Cristi Palmer (IR-4) and Jim Bethke (Univeristy of California Cooperative Extension).

Growers who attend the 25th Anniversary Pest Management Conference, Feb. 19-21 in San Jose, Calif. will unearth a wealth of valuable information including innovative cropprotection techniques to battle pests and diseases. More than 25 new sessions make this year's conference a can't miss. The conference is being presented by SAF in partnership with Greenhouse Grower Magazine.

Top experts in the field will share the latest research in education sessions and zero in on the latest pest and disease control techniques. Topics on the agenda include implementing sustainable and integrated pest management, increasing the effectiveness of insecticides and fungicides, dealing with treatment-resistant problems, halting invasive and emerging pests, finding better ways to diagnose diseases and training a multilingual workforce to identify and treat problems.

Tabletop exhibits give attendees a chance to check out the newest pest control products and equipment. There's also an optional field trip to local growing operations set for Thursday, Feb. 19 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees can get an up close and personal look at integrated pest management growing operations in the San Jose area. Headstart Nursery, growers specializing in vegetable transplants, ornamental plugs and Cal Color Growers, which produces bedding and plant liners are just two stops on the enlightening excursion.

This year, SAF is partnering with Greenhouse Grower magazine to produce the association's annual conference. The synergy "just makes sense," says Bob West, group publisher for MeisterMedia Worldwide, which publishes Greenhouse Grower, Today's Garden Center and Ornamental Outlook magazines. "This is a very content-rich conference, and our publications reach the entire floriculture industry," he says. "Any time you bring together two groups with the expertise of SAF and Greenhouse Grower, it can only have a positive effect for the industry."

Head to for full program details and online registration. For more information, contact Laura Weaver, (800) 336-4743,

Topic covered will include:
Ways to Increase Chemical Efficacy: New Techniques and Strategies
Speaker: John Erwin, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Manipulating Crop Fertilization to Enhance Pest Management
Speaker: Carlos Bogran, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Re-circulating Water Without Sacrificing Crop Health
Speaker: Chuan Hong, Ph.D., Virginia Tech

Predators, Parasites and Bankers
Speaker: Lance Osborne, Ph.D., University of Florida

Neonicotinoid Insecticides: History, Properties & Pest Management Strategies
Speaker: Frank Byrne, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside

Efficacy of the Neonicotinoids As Related To Uptake
Speaker: Ron Oetting, Ph.D., University of Georgia

Best Use of Neonicotinoids for Pest Management
Speaker: James Bethke, University of California, Riverside

Strategies for Resistance Management: Thrips and Others
Speaker: Scott Ludwig, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Strategies for Resistance Management: Downy Mildew and Others
Speaker: Mary Hausbeck, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Foliar Pathogen Management
Speaker: David Norman, Ph.D., University of Florida

What You Can't See,Can Hurt You!
Speaker: Mary Hausbeck, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Management Tricks for Reducing Weeds
Speaker: Cheryl Wilen, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

A History of Success: University Research Transforms Grower Practices and Profits
Speaker: Ron Oetting, Ph.D., University of Georgia

Strengthening Workforce Education When Language is a Barrier
Speakers: Carlos Bogron, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Jan Hall, Paul Ecke Ranch

Invasive Pests & Pathogens: What Can We Do?
Speaker: Lin Schmale, Society of American Florists

Invasive Organisms: I've Found One, What Do I Do Now?
Speaker: Helene Wright, USDA-APHIS

Managing Invasive Pathogens: A case study with Sudden Oak Death
Speaker: Steve Tjosvold, University of California Cooperative Extension

Managing Invasive Insects
Speaker: Lance Osborne, Ph.D., University of Florida

And Just What Is Causing This Problem?
Speaker: Ann Chase, Ph.D., Chase Research Gardens

Managing the Unmanageable
Speaker: David Norman, Ph.D., University of Florida

Dealing With Viruses
Speaker: Debra Matthews, Ph.D., University of California

Rhodococcus Infections in Ornamental Plants
Speaker: Marilyn Miller, Oregon State University

So That's What That Was...and Other Surprise Diseases
Speaker: Colleen Warfield, Ph.D., University of California Cooperative Extension

New & Emerging Pests: Are Area Wide Pest Management Programs the Answer?
Speaker: Mike Parrella, Ph.D., University of California

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Floriculture survey deadline approaching

Dr. Charlie Hall posted the following information on his "Making Cents" Blog.

Floriculture producers in the following states who generate $10,000 or more in gross annual sales are urged to complete the U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual Floriculture Production Survey by mid-January. Surveys were mailed on Dec. 8, 2008.

The states included in the annual survey include California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

The survey provides the only detailed information about the production and sales of cut flowers, flowering, bedding and foliage plants, and cultivated florist greens. Without grower input, the government is left without the necessary data to gauge these crops' contribution to the nation's economy. In 2007, the combined wholesale value for the 15 states surveyed was $4.1 billion.

Growers can use the information as a benchmark to identify state and national trends. Government policymakers use the data at the state and national levels to appropriate resources. Reliable data is also crucial to obtaining research funding, government support and ensuring the industry receives its fair share of limited funding. Ten major floriculture organizations have endorsed this effort and their presidents have signed the letter accompanying the survey.

If you have received one of the surveys, please take the time to complete it if you have not already done so. Producers who fail to return a completed questionnaire by Jan. 20 will be contacted by telephone or in person to complete the survey.