Looking Ahead to 2023: Preparing for Spring Crops

This post was jointly written by Dr. Chevonne Dayboll and Dr. Sarah Jandricic

It’s hard to believe, but as the first snow hits the ground here in Niagara, that means its time to think about spring crops again!

This post gathers some of the most important things to plan and prep for in the greenhouse, including ordering inputs, preventative maintenance, and your pest management and PGR plans!

Think of this post as your “to-do” check list for the month of December, as the time to plan all this is NOW, before your spring production begins.

We’ve also linked to some helpful videos we’ve recorded from our GrowON webinar series that are relevant to spring crops. They’re worth a re-watch – or a first watch – if you haven’t seen them before!

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REMINDER: GrowON Webinar on Onion Thrips Control TOMORROW! (Thurs Aug. 25th)

Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) are an increasing pest of greenhouse ornamentals, strawberries, vegetables, and even cannabis. Why is this, and what can growers do about it?

To learn more about this emerging pest, register for the latest GrowON webinar – a webinar series JUST for covered crops!

Click on the image to register or see the link below!

Continue reading “REMINDER: GrowON Webinar on Onion Thrips Control TOMORROW! (Thurs Aug. 25th)”

GrowON Webinar, Thurs Aug. 25th: What We Know About Onion Thrips as Pest of Covered Crops

Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) are an increasing pest of greenhouse ornamentals, strawberries, vegetables, and even cannabis. Why is this, and what can growers do about it?

To learn more about this emerging pest, register for the latest GrowON webinar – a webinar series JUST for covered crops!

Click on the image to register or see the link below!

Continue reading “GrowON Webinar, Thurs Aug. 25th: What We Know About Onion Thrips as Pest of Covered Crops”

Where Do Most of Your Thrips Come From? The Answer May Surprise You.

Are your thrips numbers on the rise?

(This post was co-written by S. Jandricic and A. Summerfield.)

Sometimes your thrips biocontrol program is working great. Other times, it seems to get completely overwhelmed.  Thrips often get out of control in Summer, when fall crop production is ramping up. But why is this?

Several factors can contribute to rising thrips numbers, but the major reason involves HOW and WHEN thrips like to invade your greenhouse. Read on to learn about this, and what you can do to stay on top of thrips this summer!

Continue reading “Where Do Most of Your Thrips Come From? The Answer May Surprise You.”

Tropical Thrips Species Intercepted on Plant Material in Ontario: Be Aware – But Don’t Panic.

This post was co-written by A. Summerfield (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) and S. Jandricic.

Figure 1. Thrips parvispinus is generally dark coloured (though the head and thorax can be lighter than the abdomen), has bright red ocelli and clear patches at the top of its wings.

Increases in global trade, along with decreased use of harsher broad-spectrum pesticides makes it easier for insect species to move around the world. Because of this, it is becoming more common to find unusual pests coming in on plant material. It’s important that we are prepared and know what to do when something like a new thrips species makes an appearance.

The tropical thrips species Thrips parvispinus has been popping up in various parts of the globe in recent years and was intercepted on plant material in two Ontario greenhouses in 2021/2022. Read on to learn what we know about this species and what you should do if you suspect you have them.

Continue reading “Tropical Thrips Species Intercepted on Plant Material in Ontario: Be Aware – But Don’t Panic.”

Poinsettia Pest Management Pointers: Receipt Through Potting Up.

Poinsettias are almost here! Instead of covering the whole crop cycle, this year we’re breaking posts down into 4 key growing periods: Receipt/Propagation, Early Production, Late Production, and Finishing.

This post on propagation will cover things you can do now to treat pests and diseases in your cuttings to prevent BIG problems later. And make sure to check out Dr. Chevonne Dayboll’s post from last week, on ensuring cutting quality.

Continue reading “Poinsettia Pest Management Pointers: Receipt Through Potting Up.”

Battling Broad Mite in Spring Crops

Broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus. Photo credit: USDA BARC

I’ve hearing a lot lately about Broad Mites (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) in spring crops, especially Reiger begonias and New Guinea impatiens. Other crops that are commonly affected include torenia, exacum, ipomea and gerbera.  

Broad mite are often difficult to detect and control. Read on for tips on monitoring and the latest management strategies for this pest.

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Time to Prepare for Spring 2022

This post was jointly written by Dr. Chevonne Dayboll and Dr. Sarah Jandricic

It’s time to think about spring again! This post gathers some of the most important things to plan and prep for in the greenhouse before your spring production begins in earnest.

1. Make sure your inputs are ordered

We can’t emphasize this one enough. COVID-19 and container boat issues are still causing shipping delays that are affecting many industries including greenhouses. Make sure you order potting mixes, plastic trays and pots, fertilizers, and production inputs well ahead of when you will need them. If you are planning on doing greenhouse upgrades in between seasons make sure you confirm delivery and installation timelines with your contractors.  Many of them are facing delays too!

2. Now is the time for preventative maintenance

Heat loss from an older (left) and newer, more efficient boiler (right). (Photo credit: OMAFRA)

Now is a great time to schedule preventive maintenance for your boiler, irrigation and shading systems.  Make sure that all motors and alarms are working before you need to rely on them. No one wants to find out that their temperature alarm failed on a cold February morning! Ensure you are getting the pressure you expect all along your irrigation system.  If you rely on propane heaters for early spring production make sure they are venting properly. Damage from improper venting can present as stunted growth or leaf burn.

Take some time to inspect the greenhouse for wear-and-tear. Repair cracked poly and broken glass to keep heat from escaping. Make sure old torn energy curtains are replaced. A heat sensitive camera can help to identify areas of energy loss and help you plan for energy efficient upgrades in the future.

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The Whitefly “Tipping Point”and Testing Pesticides in Poinsettia

It’s that time of year again where you have to make a choice with your poinsettia. Do you stay the course with natural enemies, or abandon your bio program and spray  for whitefly? And spray with WHAT?

This post has tips on how to test pesticides NOW, so that when it comes down to the wire, you’ll know what is – and isn’t – working.

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Comparing Biocontrol to Pesticides for Bemisia Whitefly Control in Poinsettia

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T’is poinsettia sticking season once again, and the question always comes down to the same thing: do I use chemicals to control Bemisia whitefly and hope it works this year? Or do I switch to biological control?  Here we show some head to head comparisons that can help you decide.

An in-depth discussion of this topic was also captured by MSU’s “Bug Bites” last year, and I’ve included the video below.

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