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An AmericanHort Member Benefit


And it’s applicable to your everyday business practices.

AmericanHort works diligently to not only fund the research that addresses some of the industry’s biggest challenges but to also connect businesses with the results to work more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

EVENTS / pg10



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Regulatory Relief & Budget Cuts

And other impactful events in 2017.

How they impact your business.

Relevant Research? It Exists.

Poinsettia Trial Results


Water pH and Pesticide Effectiveness8 Ambrosia Beetle Strategies 12


About AmericanHort

What do violins and research have in common? A L E T T E R F R O M J E N N I F E R G R AY I took violin lessons as a child. I can clearly remember standing at the music stand in the living room corner of my violin teacher’s house. He was an Italian man named Salvatore, who was intent on instilling a knowledge and love of music in as many students as he could. Salvatore loved challenging his students to sight read by bringing out new sheet music during a lessons and commanding his students simply, “Play!” I recall my attempts to read the sheet music and somehow connect what was written and with what my hands needed to do. Sometimes it was easy, and I’d quickly master a new technique that advanced my musicianship. More often than not, it was difficult. I once asked Salvatore why he had me sight read. He said that the practice of systematically taking in new compositions added to my cumulative understanding of music. He said it was okay if a piece of music didn’t immediately translate into a mastery of new skills but that it was still his job to always put new information in front of me. Over time, he said, the practice of analyzing new information would become a habit, and it would get easier to implement what I learned. Turns out, he was right. Taking in new information is critical to staying on top of our game. It’s how businesses innovate. It’s how they adapt. And practicing habits of information collection, analysis, and implementation is necessary in order to improve and advance. Just like Salvatore took his responsibility seriously in constantly presenting me with new “information,” AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Institute are dedicated to presenting information that adds to the green industry’s collective knowledge base. This responsibility manifests itself in three ways: 1) funding research for science-based evidence that addresses key industry challenges, 2) publishing the results of that research, and 3) 2 | AmericanHort.org

AmericanHort is the national association of horticulture businesses and professionals across the spectrum of the industry. Without you there is no us, so AmericanHort undertakes the critical task of protecting, preserving, and promoting the national horticulture industry so that people like you can do what you love in an industry that thrives. Plants are what we do, but people are why we’re here. Supporting AmericanHort with your membership creates a healthier industry that’s driven to share the necessity of plants in everyday lives—which means better business for everyone.

translating it into real-world applications that make sense for growers to implement.

business deals with; another that showcases the latest trial results for poinsettias (perfect timing before you place those orders!), and finally a discussion of management practices for exotic ambrosia beetle, which is quickly making its unfortunate presence felt across the country.

We are, in a very real sense, a bridge between researchers and the industry. We listen to the industry and learn where the pain-points exist and determine how to best leverage our resources to provide solutions. We connect with scientists who research these challenges and learn what works and what doesn’t. We communicate all we’ve learned along with actionable advice back to the industry.

To play a larger role in supporting these essential efforts, please consider a Premium Membership in AmericanHort and a charitable donation to HRI. Your support goes a long way in supporting the advancement of the entire supply chain.

Our focus on facilitating the collaboration and knowledge transfer between research and practice is one—just one—of the many benefits AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Institute provide to the industry.

Jennifer Gray AmericanHort | Horticultural Research Institute JenniferG@AmericanHort.org

In this issue of Connect, I’m pleased to introduce three pieces of this research: one that involves water and chemicals, something nearly every green industry


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AmericanHort Connect 2017:1

© 2017 AmericanHort. All rights reserved. This material may contain confidential information and it is for the sole use of AmericanHort members. The information contained herein is for general guidance and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It cannot be distributed, reprinted, retransmitted, or otherwise made public without prior written permission by AmericanHort. Please contact the editor at (614) 487-1117 for permission with acknowledgment.

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PLANTS Christmas Feelings Pink, Selecta One


Trial Results for a Timeless Standby Poinsettia breeders produce new cultivars like car manufacturers produce new models. Some are slight variations of previous models; others may have radical changes. Plant breeders are constantly looking for new cultivars for all traditional floriculture crops—it is essential to keep customers excited and interested.

2016 OSU & AmericanHort Poinsettia Cultivar Evaluation Gina Zirkle, AmericanHort Claudio Pasian, PhD, The Ohio State University

Because poinsettia crops continue to be a standby product for many growers and retailers during an otherwise “slow” season, it’s important to ensure that the varieties produced during that time are maximizing profit potential and the broadest appeal to customers. Three companies owning poinsettia cultivars agreed to participate in the 2016 trial: Dümmen, Selecta One, and Syngenta, and 4 | AmericanHort.org

Some of the new cultivars may look very different in shape and color and they may be produced keeping in mind the general public. Others may be similar in looks to cultivars already on the market but may have characteristics that are very attractive to growers for their ease of production or increased profitability. This is why we, at The Ohio State University and AmericanHort, collaborate on a poinsettia rating project that permits growers to know what consumers and fellow greenhouse growers think about the new poinsettia cultivars.

of November, the finished plants—one from each cultivar—were sent to the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University. Once there, the poinsettias were placed in Howlett Hall greenhouse for consumer evaluation.

Top 5 “Must Buy” Picks

On November 30th and December 1st, 2016, the honorary horticulture society PAX held its annual poinsettia sale in the Howlett Hall greenhouse. Customers were asked to evaluate the poinsettia cultivars in the study that were on display. These varieties were ID’ed by only a number. Customers evaluated the plants by appeal alone using a 1 to 5 scale—1 meant “did not like” and 5 meant they “loved it.” They were also asked to select their top three “must buy” favorites—in other words, the three they would buy on impulse.

EK 1462 (Dümmen) 28 picks (24 female, 4 male)

Autumn Leaves 2016 (Dümmen) 40 picks (27 female, 13 male) Titan Red (Syngenta) 29 picks (17 female, 12 male)

Christmas Feelings Red (Selecta One) 27 picks (20 female, 4 male) Christmas Day Red (Selecta One) 19 picks (15 female, 5 male) To see all of the data and also learn the results from growers’ evaluation of these varieties, please visit AmericanHort.org/April2017

Top 5 Sorted by Score Titan Red (Syngenta) 4.08 Early Mars Red (Syngenta) 3.95

Gina Zirkle AmericanHort GinaZ@AmericanHort.org Claudio Pasian, PhD The Ohio State University Pasian.1@osu.edu

Red Soul (Dümmen) 3.94 Christmas Feeling Pink (Selecta One) 3.90 PO142 Red (Syngenta) 3.87

Below is a summary of the results from this past winter. The full article and description of methodology can be found at AmericanHort.org/April2017.


they sent samples of their newest cultivars (less than two years on the market) as well as “experimental” cultivars not yet available for production. These new varieties were grown in addition to three “old” cultivars used to benchmark the results of the new varieties. Plants were grown at three Ohio locations: Barco & Sons, Inc. in Medina; H.J. Benken, Inc., in Cincinnati; and Bostdorff Greenhouse Acres in Bowling Green. Barco & Sons did not receive Dümmen varieties. Each greenhouse was given the freedom to grow the poinsettias based on their own preferred cultural practices. In the last week

TITAN RED Syngenta 2017:1 | 5


Meet Your New AmericanHort Board Members Tom Demaline Tom Demaline will assume the role of Chairman of the Board and offers deep knowledge of the horticulture industry, as well as a history of dedicated involvement with the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association and the Horticultural Research Institute. Demaline’s vision for AmericanHort is an organization that provides a unified voice for the entire horticulture industry. That voice gets stronger and stronger as more businesses stand behind AmericanHort, and it’s Demaline’s intention that with a strong voice, AmericanHort can better educate consumers, potential employees, and the government about the economic and environmental significance of horticulture.

Mike Klopmeyer Mike Klopmeyer is the new Vice Chairman of the Board and is the current general manager of Darwin Perennials. His long involvement with the horticulture industry provides Klopmeyer with sound perspectives on how it has evolved and where it is going. Klopmeyer says, “I look forward to continuing my participation on the Board. I believe that AmericanHort is the pivot point for bringing together the important segments of our dynamic industry and supporting the continued success of our member community.”

Steve Castorani Steve Castorani has vast experience in greenhouse, nursery, and garden center retail. Castorani is cofounder of North Creek Nurseries and the American Beauties Native Plant® brand. Castorani’s industry involvement includes roles as president of the International Plant Propagator’s Society, president of 6 | AmericanHort.org


the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association, and member of the Delaware Invasive Species Council. Northcreek Nurseries was voted 2015 Grower of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association and 2016 Operation of the Year by Greenhouse Grower magazine.

Tom Hughes Tom Hughes is a fourth generation nurseryman, and his business grows nursery stock to support their design/build landscape business. Hughes has served his community and industry in various capacities including Land Use Committee Chair for the Shueyville United Methodist Church, President of the Prairie (K-12) School District Foundation, industry representative for the Kirkwood Community College Horticulture Advisory Committee, a Agriculture Committee Member for the Iowa State University Foundation, and board member and president of the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association.

Cole Mangum Cole Mangum oversees production at Bell Nurseries, including greenhouse production of an estimated 90 million annuals. Mangum has dedicated himself to advocating for various facets of the industry over the course of his career. This includes serving on the National Leadership Cabinet for the Seed Your Future Initiative, as Horticulture Representative for the Maryland Agricultural Commission, and as board member for the Greenhouse Grower Technology Advisory Board. Mangum is committed to keeping the horticulture industry strong and as a viable career path long into the future—both at a local and national level.

Cultivate’17 is the industry’s outstanding event for business, professional development, and networking.

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Make time to make money. July 15–18, 2017 | Columbus, OH USA AmericanHort.org/Cultivate

2017:1 | 7


Making Every Dollar Matter Chuan Hong, PhD, Virginia Tech


The Water You Mix Your Pesticides With Could Be Making Them Less Effective The EPA estimates that $12.5 billion is spent annually on pesticides. For green industry businesses, this is no surprise. Pest management is a never-ending battle for greenhouse, nursery, retail, and even landscape businesses. So what happens when you’re purchasing the best pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, only to find out that the pH of your water could be destroying their effectiveness?

Acid and alkaline hydrolyses is the process of faster chemical (think pesticide, fungicide, and herbicide) breakdown under either acidic or alkaline water conditions. If a chemical product is formulated with a pH below 7.0, it will be stable and perform well in water that’s also acidic. However, if that same product is mixed with water that’s alkaline, it will undergo faster hydrolysis and break down more quickly. The same situation happens with a chemical product that has a pH above 7.0 and is conversely mixed with either alkaline or acidic water. Why is this relevant? Because the pH 8 | AmericanHort.org

Chuan Hong from Virginia Tech has been dedicatedly researching the effects recycled water quality has on growing techniques. In the third installment of this series, Chuan shares the effects of water pH on pesticide effectiveness, as well as steps to take to correct significant pH issues. The following is an excerpt. To read the article in its entirety, please visit AmericanHort.org/April2017

range of agricultural chemical products varies considerably based on the nature of active ingredients and their formulation. In our research, we examined a total of 339 commonly used agricultural chemicals including 133 fungicides, 65 herbicides, 123 insecticides, and 18 plant growth regulators. Their pH ranged from below 6.0 to above 9.0. Overall, 52% of the fungicides and insecticides, 57% of the herbicides, and 56% of the PGRs were at a pH at or less than 7.0, making them acidic. When mixed with recycled water that was alkaline, the chemical’s effectiveness was impacted based on the degree of water alkalinity. For example, studies published by the EPA lab in Athens, Georgia, looked at the hydrolysis

of Captan—a commonly used fungicide. When mixed with water in the 2.0-6.0 pH range, Captan’s maximum half-life was 710 minutes. As the pH of the water increased (became more alkaline), the half-life dropped to 200 minutes at a pH of 7.0, 20 minutes at pH 8.0, and only 2 minutes at a pH of 9.0. Because recycled water is mostly—if not entirely—alkaline (with our observations showing the most prevalent pH between 8.0 and 9.0 and the highest pH reading at 12.5 over 10 years across multiple Virginia locations) and over half of the common chemicals in this study being acidic, alkaline hydrolysis is a serious concern in mitigating chemical breakdown—especially when chemicals are such a considerable investment for green industry businesses.

Here are simple steps to stretch those chemical dollars and mitigate chemical breakdown: 1. Know the performance pH range of your pesticides and PGRs 2. Frequently measure the pH of your water sources to know how different water sources will interact with different chemicals 3. Match available water sources with your chemical products based on complementary pH ranges (in other

words—matching acidic chemicals with acidic water and alkaline chemicals with alkaline water). 4. When the available water sources and timing are not enough to bring water pH into a range that’s suitable for best chemical performance, use acidifying buffers.

To read the entirety of this article and the other articles in this series, please visit AmericanHort.org/Water. Chuan Hong, PhD Virginia Tech chhong2@vt.edu


Read Connect online in the AmericanHort Knowledge Center, along with thousands of other articles and resources. AmericanHort.org/KC

2017:1 | 9





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A gathering of industry leaders to meet directly with elected officials, their staff, and issue experts and to discuss key topics that are affecting the horticulture industry. This gathering represents the horticulture industry as a united front and key economic player, while also facilitating valuable face-time between the decisionmakers and the business owners those decisions impact.

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10 | AmericanHort.org




Support Pollinator Health: Three Simple Steps


Download Free Materials at GrowWise.org/ ChallengeToolkit


Encourage Customers to Plant Something for Pollinators


Encourage Customers to Register Their Garden on the Map

View the Map at


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The International Garden Centre Association exists to provide a forum for the mutual exchange of information and benefit of similarly minded independent garden retailers on a world-wide basis. Indulge your sense of adventure and your quest for revolutionary ideas for the modern garden center. AmericanHort represents American garden centers and encourages our members to attend for a week of international networking, touring, and experiencing of the finest Canadian garden centers and culture.




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This two-day conference is designed to provide information on critical production components that can be enhanced or implemented to control input costs, reduce labor, improve crop quality and turn, and increase operational efficiencies. In addition to featuring educational sessions led by industry experts, academic researchers, and growers, the event will feature trade show exhibitors with products and services that complement the educational program, as well as a Production Technology Tour to showcase technology in action.



2017:1 | 11

PESTS Photo © 2012 Jiri Hulcr.


Ambrosia beetles are not new insects to the US; many native species exist here that are considered minor pest problems. But two exotic species are of particular concern in ornamental nurseries: the granulate ambrosia beetle, Xylosandrus crassiusculus, and the black stem borer, X. germanus. (See figures 1A – B). Both species are native to southeastern Asia and have established populations in the US (29 states for the granulate ambrosia beetle and 32 states for the black stem borer). The granulate ambrosia beetle is more common and problematic in the mid-Atlantic and South, while the black stem borer is more abundant in the Midwest and Northeast.

Jennifer Gray, AmericanHort | Horticultural Research Institute

Ambrosia beetles tunnel into trees where they create fungal gardens that serve as food for larvae and adults. The telltale sign of toothpick-like strands protruding from host plants often signals infestations. These protrusions consist of sawdust generated as the female burrows into wood. Other symptoms include sap oozing from the tunnel entrances and branch die-back. (See figures 2A – D). 12 | AmericanHort.org






An opportunistic pest has a team of researchers working against it

New Findings on Exotic Ambrosia Beetle A team of researchers has been dedicatedly studying exotic ambrosia beetles, their habits, and opportunities for effective management.


A collection of researchers are conducting a multi-year project studying ambrosia beetle biology and ecology, in addition to management options for ornamental nurseries. This full article can be found online at AmericanHort.org/April2017

Adults overwinter within their host tree, emerge in spring, and then search for a new host to attack. Both species are a challenge to control, partly because of their wide host range; over 120 hosts for the granulate ambrosia beetle and 200 hosts for the black stem borer. Thin-barked deciduous trees are often targeted, although conifers can also be attacked. This group of researchers is filling in the gaps of information to ultimately increase control strategies. A key finding to date has been that these two beetles are opportunistic and only attack living but weakened trees. While such trees may appear “healthy,” they emit stress-induced

2.0 mm Figure 1A – B. Two highly destructive ambrosia beetles in ornamental nurseries are the (A) black stem borer Xylosandrus germanus and (B) granulate ambrosia beetle Xylosandrus crassiusculus. A


Figure 2A – D. (A) Ambrosia beetle attacks can be difficult to detect due to the small size of the tunnel entrance, but symptoms include (B) sawdust-toothpicks, (C) sap oozing from tunnel entrances, and (D) branch dieback. C


Figure 3A – D. (A) Spring flight activity of ambrosia beetles can be monitored using simple traps baited with ethanol lures and containing soapy-water as a killing agent. Traps should be placed low to the ground and near woodlots. Spring beetle activity can also be monitored using (B) stems soaked in ethyl alcohol (ie ethanol) or (C) trees injected with ethanol solutions. (D) Flooding of intolerant trees, such as dogwood, can also be used to monitor attacks.

ethanol that is wildly attractive to ambrosia beetles. As a result of this knowledge, ethanol is now used as the standard attractant in traps for monitoring purposes. The best control methods focus on keeping trees healthy; beetles do not attack or colonize healthy trees in ornamental nurseries. Areas of plant health risk (which in turn means ambrosia beetle risk) include: flooding/poor drainage, frost injury, and freezing injury. These situations can induce ethanol emissions from plants and trees, and have preceded large scale attacks by ambrosia beetles in ornamental nurseries. This winter in particular has raised concerns to researchers. Dr. Ranger commented, “Trees in many regions are currently a month ahead of schedule due to the mild 2016/2017 winter. Possible spring freezes predispose frost intolerant species to attack.

Susceptible trees include eastern redbud, Japanese maple, Japanese zelkova, and Japanese snowbell.” Researchers are now considering a new strategy in the form of behavior modification, where beetle repellents are used to protect desirable trees and ethanolbased attractants are used to lure beetles to their death. This option needs optimization but shows promise. (See figures 3A – D). AmericanHort, in conjunction with other interested organizations, supported funding of this research through the USDA-ARS sponsored Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative. Jennifer Gray AmericanHort | Horticultural Research Institute JenniferG@AmericanHort.org

2017:1 | 13



In Pursuit of Regulatory Relief Jill Calabro, PhD, AmericanHort

Renewed interest in regulatory relief and improvement abounds these days. In addition to the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) that has passed the House, a series of similar measures is also being considered in the Senate. AmericanHort recently endorsed the most important of them. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) recently introduced five separate bills aiming to improve federal rulemaking processes. In no particular order, they include: • Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act (S.577). The first requires a 100-word maximum, plain word summary of any proposed rule. • Better Evaluation of Science and Technology Act (S.578). The second mandates that any agency must utilize the best available science when making a decision. It amends the Administrative Procedure Act to apply the same scientific standards found in the Toxic Substances Control Act to the entire federal government. • Early Participation in Regulation Act (S.579). The third requires that advance notices of proposed rulemaking for major 14 | AmericanHort.org

rules must be published in the Federal Register at least 90 days before publishing its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Furthermore, a public comment period must be open at least 60 days. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is a cosponsor. • Truth in Regulations Act (S.580). The fourth outlines what may and may not be included in guidance documents as a way to end agency abuse of these documents. It requires each agency to maintain a website listing guidance documents and seek comment for all regulations issued under the “good cause” exception to the Administrative Procedure Act. • Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (S.584). The fifth and perhaps biggest of the five bills, has been around in some form for a number of years. This bill amends the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. Key points include that indirect effects to small businesses must be included in cost-benefit analyses by all agencies and analyses must also include the estimated number and type of small entities to which a proposed rule would apply, the compliance requirements, the estimated cumulative economic impact of the rule, and any disproportionate economic impact on small entities. Cosponsors include Sens. Grassley (RIA) and Risch (R-ID). AmericanHort has endorsed this bill. Jill Calabro, PhD AmericanHort CraigR@AmericanHort.org

Some Budget Cuts Already Hitting Close to Home


Protect Your Business

Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort Davi Bowen, AmericanHort As the Trump administration continues to flesh out its budget and program priorities for the rest of this fiscal year and beyond, goals such as double-digit increases in defense spending are sure to mean cuts in a wide array of discretionary spending. One early victim appears to be the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) annual commercial floriculture survey, historically the most frequent of several NASS surveys that provide insights into our industry’s size and performance. AmericanHort and SAF have learned that the program already is an apparent victim of belt-tightening at NASS. With few existing statistical programs gathering information on a diverse industry that represents roughly 10% of the total value of crop agriculture in America, we hope to see these cuts reversed. In the past, we have had some success convincing prior administrations to at least partially preserve key statistical efforts. However, with the Trump administration calling for budget reductions at USDA in excess of 20%, the path to restoration now may be less certain than ever. USDA isn’t the only department/agency facing steep cuts. At the Environmental Protection Agency, administrator Scott Pruitt is tasked with developing a cost reduction plan totaling 25 percent of that agency’s budget. Though our industry may have little sympathy for deep cuts at EPA, the Agency does perform vital functions touching on clean water and air to the evaluation and registration of pest management tools.

One voice. One industry. Laws are the framework within which we must all operate. But what if that framework doesn’t understand the daily logistics of an operation like yours? Our advocacy team works daily to make sure your voice is heard and that concerns are addressed.

Government is impacting your business. AmericanHort.org/Advocacy

Terri McEnaney Bailey Nurseries Inc St Paul, Minnesota

Congress, of course, has much control over the budget process and it remains to be seen how the GOP-controlled Congress will respond to the President’s budget proposals.

Craig Regelbrugge AmericanHort CraigR@AmericanHort.org Davi Bowen AmericanHort DaviB@AmericanHort.org 2017:1 | 15

Kate Terrell, Wallace’s Garden Center, Bettendorf, Iowa


Now that’s something to add to the meeting agenda.

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