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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NEW: Free Online IPM Training for Greenhouse Staff

Need a refresher on specific pests of floriculture, and what to do about them? Want to see how Canada – a world leader in biological control in ornamental crops – does things?

Then the following IPM training videos, made by specialists and consultants in Ontario, are for you!

Keep reading to learn how to access these videos, and the topics they cover.

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Garden Mums – 2021 Production and Protection Tips

praying mantis on garden mums

This post was contributed to by Drs. Sarah Jandricic, Andrew C. Wylie and Chevonne Dayboll.

Summer is getting underway, and so too are garden mums!  Although generally an easy crop, there several tweaks you can make to help save headaches AND money.

This post has updated information to help you optimize your irrigation, fertilizer and pest management programs in garden mums.

New Resources for Mum Production

Hit your exact ship size on your ship date using Graphical Tracking

Track and even out the growth of your mums using a graphical tracking tool with a few easy steps:

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Preventing Issues in Your Spring Crops: Sanitation, Dips and Bio Tips.

P1010595With the holiday season almost upon us, it’s time to turn our attention to Spring bedding crops. Although here for a brief window, the diversity of these crops means you’re bound to encounter some sort of disease and insect problems.

One way you can head off issues is to plan and prepare now.  This post from January 2020 has important tips on sanitation for common spring crop diseases, dips and early sprays to prevent key pests, as well as tips on where to spend your biocontrol dollars.

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Garden Mums – 2020 Production and Protection Tips

praying mantis on garden mumsThis post was contributed to by Drs. Sarah Jandricic and Chevonne Dayboll.

Summer is in full swing, and so too are garden mums!  Although generally an easy crop, there several tweaks you can make to help save headaches AND money.

This post has information to help you optimize your irrigation, fertilizer and pest management programs in garden mums.

Continue reading

Preventing Issues in Your Spring Crops: Sanitation, Dips and Bio Tips.

P1010595With the holiday season over, it’s time to turn our attention to Spring bedding crops. Although here for a brief window, the diversity of these crops means you’re bound to encounter some sort of disease and insect problems.

One way you can head off issues is to plan and prepare now.  This post has important tips on sanitation for common spring crop diseases, dips and early sprays to prevent key pests, as well as tips on where to spend your biocontrol dollars.

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Update on foxglove aphid control: seeking greenhouse collaborators!

foxglove aphid 3_SJ

Investigating biocontrol options for our industry is always important, given the lack of registered insecticides in this country.   Currently, we are relying heavily on two closely related chemicals –  Beleaf (flonicamid) and Endeavor (pymetrozine) – for control of the foxglove aphid (Aulacorthum solani).  If our battle with thrips (and Bemisia whitefly) have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for chemical failure.

Unfortunately, biological control of foxglove aphid has been challenging so far.  For example, my own research showed that Aphidoletes, a “generalist” aphid predator, actually has lower preference for foxglove aphid than other species, and is less effective for this pest. However, a long-term project by Dr. Michelangelo La-Spina (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) has found some results that get us closer to being able to control foxglove aphid WITHOUT resorting to pesticide sprays.

One way YOU can help move this research forward is by filling in this quick, 10 question survey if you’re a grower (even if you’ve never had problems with foxglove aphid before).  Read on for more details on exactly what Dr. La-Spina has found.

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Using Beleaf (flonicamid) as a drench: benefits and (potential) drawbacks.

gi_0_beleafGiven that it’s the season for pest problems like aphids on spring crops, I’d like to remind everyone of an important new pest management tool we have at our disposal.

Thanks to the hard work of Cary Gates at Flowers Canada Growers, and OMAFRA’s Jim Chaput, Beleaf (flonicamid) can now be used as a drench on greenhouse-grown ornamentals and cut flowers.

Read on for more details regarding the expanded label and potential phytoxicity issues.

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Spring crops that are “magnets”for certain pests.

aphid_cali_UMAssYou know the old rhyme: “April showers bring May flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Aphids“. Or sometimes it seems that way, anyways, with Spring bedding crops.

To help guide your pest management program this year, our  friends (superiors?) over at Michigan State Extension have released a handy  list of which crops are likely to attract which pests.  Keep reading for more info.

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Desperately seeking Aphis gossypii!

Image result for melon aphid

Aphis gossypii come in a variety of colors, as shown above. But all colors share one thing in common – black cornicles at the tip of their bodies. These can be seen with a hand lens.

Usually on this blog we bring YOU the information.  Today it’s the opposite.  I’m looking for a grower who has live melon aphid (Aphis gossypii) in their operation, and wouldn’t mind a researcher coming by to remove some of them to start a research colony with.

 

If you have some you wouldn’t mind parting with, please contact Rose Buitenhuis at 905.562.0320 Ext. 749 or rose.buitenhuis@vinelandresearch.com who can get in touch with our contact at Laval University.  They might even name the colony after you…

As a refresher, Melon aphids tend to be the smallest aphid found in your greenhouse. They can come in a variety of color morphs – from pale green-yellow to dusky grey – but they ALWAYS have black cornicles (or “tail pipes”) at the end of their abdomen.  They are common in crops like kolanchoe and gerbera and a variety of other spring crops.

If you comment on this blog post regarding aphids in your greenhouse only I (sarah) will see it.