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Botrytis Control in Greenhouses

Botrytis can cause devastating losses during production, shipping, and in retail. An Integrated Pest IPM approach is necessary to manage Botrytis successfully and it is critical for growers to have alternative control methods to use in rotation with fungicides to prevent resistance. Microbial biopesticides are an IPM tool for controlling disease while mitigating fungicide resistance risk. Adoption of biopesticides in production is growing but their variable performance under commercial conditions is still a challenge. Advances in biopesticide research reveal that they work best when used in combination with other strategies. Several natural compounds have been found to enhance biopesticide efficacy with significant implications for IPM. In our previous AFE-funded research, we found that chitosan reduced symptoms caused by Botrytis on petunia…

Newly Released! Grow Pro 2024 Lineup

Free monthly webinars featuring ground-breaking research! The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has released the first six months for the 2024 monthly Grow Pro Webinar Series. In these free webinars, nationally recognized researchers, hosts, and speakers offer ‘how-to’ advice based on AFE-funded and other research projects to help the industry navigate through ever-changing growing challenges. “These educational training sessions are directly impactful to industry businesses, and the information shared can be implemented immediately. We have taken input directly from the industry to shape the 2024 sessions ensuring that these continue to be valuable resources covering emerging challenges and new advancements,” noted Laura Barth, AFE’s Research Coordinator. Here’s some direct industry feedback collected through anonymous surveys at the end of each session showing the impact…

Controlling Whitefly on Poinsettia

Unfortunately, poinsettia and sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) go together like cats and fleas; if you have one, you’ll have the other. By this time (June) you should already be considering your whitefly management strategy. Here, we make a case for biocontrol as both a viable and economical way to control whitefly based on leading research supported by the American Floral Endowment (AFE) and many years of grower experience in Canada. The Problem with Pesticides Management of Bemisia whiteflies with pesticides can be difficult, if not impossible, in some years. This is because whiteflies that originate on cuttings (and those that fly in from field crops, as in the Southern US) have likely been exposed to multiple applications of several groups of…

Manipulating Light to Improve Quality of Cut Flowers

Once completed, this research will provide growers with well-defined recommendations for vegetative and reproductive growth to increase cut flower production efficiency and profitability. Specifically, we are quantifying how several new and commercially important cut flower varieties respond to daylength and/or vernalization temperature and duration to ultimately determine how these environmental parameters should be managed to hasten flower initiation and induction without negatively impacting stem quality and yield. This information is especially crucial for cut flower growers located in northern latitudes as they transition to year-round greenhouse production.   Bluebeard (Caryopteris ×clandonensis) and Billy button (Pycnosorus globosus) are both crops that have been recently introduced as cut flowers, however, there is very little production and flower induction information available. These crops have the…

Optimizing the Efficacy of Beneficial Bacteria Against Botrytis Blight in Greenhouse Crops

Botrytis cinerea is the causal agent of botrytis blight or gray mold, the most common and economically devasting disease for greenhouse crops. Fungicides are routinely used to control Botrytis; however, some Botrytis strains are developing resistance to those chemicals. Beneficial bacteria have been used successfully as biological control agents for disease control. The Jones laboratory at Ohio State University has screened a collection of beneficial bacteria to identify strains that can control Botrytis blight in petunia. These experiments have identified some strains of Pseudomonas bacteria that are effective microbial biocontrol agents (MBCAs). We have characterized these bacteria to identify potential modes of action by which they inhibit the severity of Botrytis blight. This research was made possible by a research…

A Spotlight on Thrips and Botrytis Management at Cultivate 2023

An incredible 188 people attended AFE’s educational session “Effective Management of Thrips and Botrytis” at Cultivate ’23 this July. It was one of the highest attended sessions in the history of the event.   This session was part of the American Floral Endowment’s Thrips and Botrytis Campaign, an initiative aimed at reducing the impact of these pests on the floriculture industry. Dr. Rose Buitenhuis from Vineland Research and Innovation Centre shared insights into the components of a successful thrips IPM program, including identification of different thrips species and biological control. Dr. Jim Faust from Clemson University focused on the recommended techniques for reducing botrytis from the greenhouse to the postharvest environment. The session provided participants with practical information that could…

Longer-Lasting Cut Flowers: The Subzero Solution

Discover how cutting-edge research can help flower growers store flowers for longer durations, ensuring blooms remain fresh and vibrant for extended periods. Hear the direct findings from AFE-funded research along with accessing the full research report. Average vase life visual representation of stored rose ‘Freedom Red’ flowers compared to non-stored control flowers after 4- and 8-week storage durations held at 31°F (-0.6°C) or 39 °F (4°C).Cold storage of cut flowers is often a necessity. On most farms, it is impossible to harvest enough flowers to satisfy the immediate needs of all customers and markets. Storing cut flowers at cold temperatures of 35-39°F reduces respiration and transpiration, allowing them to remain fresh and have a longer vase life.  The duration that flowers…

New Thrips & Botrytis Online Library

We are excited to announce the release of a new Thrips and Botrytis Research Library

New Breakthroughs in Thrips and Botrytis Management: A Special Presentation at Cultivate ‘23

This summer marks an exciting milestone in our Thrips and Botrytis Campaign as we unveil our extensive results and insights to the industry.As part of this release, we cordially invite you to join us at Cultivate on Monday, July 17, from 10:30 – 11:30 am for a special presentation of some of our findings. Titled “Effective Management of Thrips and Botrytis,” this session will feature practical takeaways from leading researchers, Dr. Jim Faust of Clemson University and Dr. Rose Buitenhuis of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. You’ll be introduced to cutting-edge discoveries and optimal strategies for managing and controlling thrips and botrytis in your operation. We’ll also delve into the essential topics of fungicide resistance and the use of biological…

Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation – A Sustainable Disease Management Technique for the Control of Soilborne Pathogens in Specialty Cut Flowers

Within the U.S. floriculture industry, cut flowers account for over $382 million in annual national sales (NASS 2019). Although imported cut flowers make up the majority of purchases, locally grown specialty cut flowers are facing a tremendous increase in popularity. This phenomenon is well reflected in the number of members of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG), which has increased by more than 100% in the last five years (J. Laushman). Specialty cut flower production systems are diverse and include the use of soilless, soil-based, or a combination of these substrates, which can be reused over multiple seasons. Along with substrate reuse, the use of soil can introduce the risk of soilborne diseases caused by fungi and oomycete…