- Clean Plants: It is especially important during cloudy, rainy weather to keep plants in retail areas clean even during the busiest times. Removing dead and injured plants and spent flowers are essential at least twice a day even during the busy season. Botrytis and high ethylene concentrations from decaying plant tissue will cause premature loss of foliage and flowers.
Many growers are considering whether they should lower their greenhouse thermostats this spring to reduce fuel costs. Today, temperatures in Massachusetts range from 15°F to 27°F across the state. No doubt about it, we’ve had a cold winter. Temperature affects many aspects of production and establishing the best conditions for your greenhouse transplants will ensure a good start to the season. Here are some tips:
There are three commonly used methods of testing soilless media using water as an extracting solution: 1:2 dilution method, saturated media extract (SME), and leachate Pour Thru. The values that represent each method of testing are different from each other.
Begin by using fresh seeds.
If using leftover seeds from the previous year, test for germination first. Place a specific number of seeds, such as 10, 50 or 100 on a moistened paper towel. Fold the moistened paper over the seeds and put it in a plastic bag in a warm place. Take the paper towel out and inspect the seeds twice a day, spraying with water as needed to maintain moisture around the seeds. After the usual number of days required to germinate that variety, count to see how many have germinated and calculate the percentage of germination.
Poinsettia foliage can exhibit edge burn (scorch) when plants are water stressed due to dry growing media. Poinsettias under the beginning stages of water stress will have wilted leaves, which can progress to the edges becoming necrotic and lower leaf loss under prolonged stress.
Providing adequate fertility is important in maintaining optimum plant growth in mums. However over-fertilization can result in high concentrations of soluble salts that can cause injury to the plants. Chrysanthemums are among a number of plant species known to have susceptibility to soluble salts injury. Over-fertilization results in high concentrations of soluble salts in the medium. As the salts are translocated throughout the plant they accumulate at the leaf tip and margins and when they reach toxic levels they cause “salt burn”.
Using yellow sticky cards in the greenhouse can help you detect adult thrips, whiteflies, fungus gnats, shore flies and leafminers.
Fact Sheet: Using Yellow Sticky Cards to Monitor for Insects on the UConn IPM Web site
Give your plants a drink....and measure the amount.
This simple bottle water gauge helps the grower keep track of how much water is being applied to plants. They place bottles on the bench with their drip nozzle in it and also hang them among their hanging baskets. The ribbon is helpful overhead to see them from a distance and to keep from bumping your head. Good tool to train staff too!
Low levels of thrips feeding damage (white scarring) were found on Gerbera daisies. Other favorite plants include garden impatiens, dahlias, peppers and Ipomoea ‘Marguerite”. Monitor for distorted new growth and white scarring.
The time to plan for managing plant height is before plants stretch. While plants are growing at a rather slow pace, it is sometimes hard to imagine that they can quickly become overgrown. Here is a little information on using temperature to manage plant height in the weeks ahead.