Cultural Practices

2017 Easter Lily Crop

Easter falls on April 16 in 2017, a late Easter date. Just as in the late seasons of 2014 (April 20), the 2017 schedule provides plenty of time for proper bulb programming as well as some extra time that growers will need to factor into their spring production plans. Last year, Easter fell on a very early date (March 27th) and growers had to push hard all the way to the end to time the crop out properly. Pushing a crop hard to make an early Easter or pulling back hard to slow growth for a late Easter is not ideal and can diminish quality.

Garden Mum Update

Various scenarios can take place when growing mums during these very hot days. Here are a few tips to think about.

If plants are drying out quickly during these very high temperatures, and plants are being watered and fertilized more frequently, growers are advised to reduce fertilizer to 200 ppm (constant feed) and use plain water once a week. This will help to lower risk of high soluble salts. High soluble salts can lead to root injury and Pythium root rot.

Garden Mums

Expect production areas with black fiber cloth to get hot, again this weekend. Garden mums, flowering cabbage and kale may exhibit signs of wilting during extended periods of 90 plus degree temperatures. Plants wilt when the soil is dry, but wilting will also occur in hot weather which may cause plants to be stressed, or if the roots are damage from a root disease such as Pythium, even if the soil is saturated with water. When the roots stop functioning the plants will show signs of stress by wilting.

Garden Mums for Fall

There are a variety of ways to produce garden mums using different pinching and planting strategies. Traditional garden mum production schedules involve planting the end of May or early June and pinching plants two times.  The first pinch is given within two weeks of transplanting when roots of the cutting reach the bottom and sides of the container and the tops show 1.5-to 2.0 inches of new growth. The second pinch is given when the axillary shoots from the first pinch are 3 to 4 inches long, usually three weeks later in late June or early July, but prior to July 20th.

Cloudy Weather Greenhouse Tips

Here are some management tips especially important for periods of cloudy, rainy weather:

Clean Plants: Keep plants in retail areas clean. Remove dead and injured plants and spent flowers a couple times a day even during the busy season. Botrytis and high ethylene concentrations from decaying plant tissue will cause premature loss of foliage and flowers.

Acclimating Vegetable Transplants

It has been a challenging year to harden-off transplants with cold temperatures, rain, then sunshine. The transition from the greenhouse to home gardens involves changes in light, temperature and wind. Vegetable transplants benefit by a gradual "hardening" off period before they are transplanted into the customer’s garden. Gradual exposure to outdoor growing conditions and reduced watering at the end of the growing period with some protection from wind and temperature but full exposure to light can increase the survival rate of planted transplants.

Pinching Plants

Plants that are slightly overgrown or need some shaping may benefit from being manually pinched. Pinching is often used to increase branching, shape plants and reduce plant height.  Pinching removes the apical dominance of the shoot which prevents branching.  Apical dominance results from the production of auxin, a natural plant hormone by the terminal growing point and young leaves. Removing the terminal growing point and young leaves (pinching), removes the source of auxin and allows dormant buds below the pinch to grow.

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