For this week's blog, I've decided to repost an update on ornamentals from Syngenta's Lee Bloomcamp. Enjoy!

Greetings, everyone!  Spring is right around the corner (we hope) and there is a lot going on in the nursery and greenhouse business.  For those of you who haven’t seen this before, I occasionally send out a message with product updates, pest and disease activity, and other information that I’ve picked up in the field.  If you aren’t interested, let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list.  Here’s some items of interest:

Shipping

While Florida and the Gulf Coast are warming up, further north things are still pretty wicked.  Many growers are holding plants past their normal shipping date.  Low rates of plant growth regulators can be used on most plants to prevent stretch and slow flowering, increasing shelf life and selling opportunities on aging crops.  Please see the attached Bonzi drench guide, and also a rate chart from the Bonzi label.  Drenches are more effective, especially on woodies and plants with dense foliage, but even a low foliar dose of a good PGR will reduce stretch, slow water stress, and help retain flowers.

Another issue with holding and shipping plants is disease, Botrytis and leaf spots being the most common.  Treatment with a broad-spectrum fungicide prior to shipping helps prevent diseases that show up in cool, humid environments.  Palladium fungicide is effective on many foliar diseases, including Botrytis, and has two active ingredients to help protect plants.  No residue, and a 12 hour REI help streamline handling during the busy season.  Other products recommended for Botryis are Heritage, Chipco 26019, Daconil, Decree and Pageant. 

Pests and Diseases

Early two-spotted spider mites and thrips activity have been noted in many locations.  This is an ideal time to consider incorporating biological control agents in to pest management programs.  Beneficial mites and insects, nematodes, biologically-based insecticides and insect growth regulators work best when populations are low.  Some basic programs are attached, contact me for details.

We have been getting good feedback from growers using Mainspring insecticide (IRAC class 28) as part of their thrips rotations on both Chilli thrips and Western Flower thrips.  The 6 oz/100 gal rate is working well, two applications at 14 day intervals before moving to another chemical group. Higher rates may be needed if populations are high.  Mainspring is effective on whiteflies, caterpillars, leafminers, aphids and other insects, and is an option for those avoiding neonicotinoid insecticides.  Other non-neonic insecticides new to our market are Rycar from SePro, and XXpire from Dow.

Downy mildew and botrytis (see above) are active now, and both require cultural and chemical management.  Cool weather increases leaf surface drying time, and moisture from condensation and irrigation contribute to both diseases.  Good air circulation, and regular scouting will help prevent outbreaks.   I’ve seen downy mildew on roses, basil, viburnum, salvia and coleus recently.  There have been occurrences on impatiens as well, but only where preventative spray programs were not being used.  Attached are some special labels pertaining to DM and a recent tech bulletin with information on Micora and other fungicides.

Labels

At long last, we have gotten approval for Award II fire ant bait for the USDA Imported Fire Ant quarantine program for nurseries and greenhouses.  A formal notice will go out soon, and Award II has been added to the treatment manual.  Yeah!

Citation insect growth regular, used on leaf miners and fungus gnats, now has greenhouse vegetable transplants on the label.  This label, and all of our product information can be found at www.syngentaplantprotectionus.com

Products

The Avid/Heritage multipack is a great way to purchase these key products for ornamental growers.  This case contains 6 lbs of Heritage, and 2 gallons of Avid, and is priced at a 16% discount vs. buying these separately.  This was a popular item during our Early Order program, and is available all season.  All program rebates apply.  Spider mites and diseases seem to appear overnight this time of year, so be prepared with two industry standards, and save money at the same time!

Other

We have made some personnel changes at Syngenta Ornamentals.  Our group is moving from the Flowers/Genetics business to the Turf and Landscape division, which is a better fit for business and technical reasons.  Danny Jones will handle his former territory in the Carolina’s, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and northern GA and AL, and Pablo Perez is now a key account manager in our Flowers division.  With these changes, I will be managing our ornamental chemical and Bioline business for all of Florida, and the southern portions of Alabama and Georgia.  As we get settled in, please feel free to contact any of us if you need anything.  We are all still on the same team.

I want to thank all of the folks that I have worked with in NC, SC, VA, TN and other areas  for the past two years and hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.  I appreciate your support and advice, and I’m sure that our paths will cross again.

Have a lovely week, and please drive carefully.

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Lee Bloomcamp
Territory Manager, Syngenta