Monday, May 4, 2009

Greenhouse and Nursery - Pest Management in Retail Yards

The following is a good article on pest management in retail yards from the New England Greenhouse Update website.

Integrated pest management practices such as inspecting incoming plants, weekly monitoring, sound cultural practices, pest identification and problem diagnosis are just as important for retail greenhouses as production greenhouses.

Inspecting incoming plants is the most important method to prevent problems from developing in retail operations. If at all possible, do not accept plant shipments with serious insects or diseases with wide host ranges, and are difficult to treat. If you find isolated evidence of some insect activity, for example, aphids, and decide to keep the shipment, identify an isolated, quarantine area in which to keep the plants. Treat immediately and hold the plants in this area until you are sure that they are healthy, salable and free of pest problems.

Retail greenhouses have many challenges for managing pests that are different from production greenhouses. Retail greenhouses are open to the public long hours, often 7 days a week, making the timing of pesticide treatments difficult. Retailers purchase plants from many different suppliers, making it difficult to track past pest treatments. It is difficult to get good spray coverage with large, finished plants, ready for sale. Plants in bloom or with tender growth are more susceptible to spray injury.

So, choosing an insecticide or fungicide is much more difficult. Here are a few questions to ask before selecting a material:

-Do I really need to treat?
-Is it cost effective? Is it more cost effective to toss out only a few infected plants?
-Is the product effective? How fast acting?
-What is the Re-entry Interval (REI)? Is it under 12 hrs?
-Will it damage blooms?
-Will it leave an unsightly residue? Wettable powders tend to leave residue.
-Will it leave an odor?
-What crops are listed on the label?
-Does it come in a container size appropriate for my needs?
-What is the active ingredient? How does it work? What is its mode of action? Is it in a different chemical class than other products that I have on hand?
-What is the labeled rate? Can it be used in small quantities such as 1 or 5

For more information, including a listing of some selected insecticides and fungicides for retailers, see the fact sheet: Pest Management for Retail Greenhouses and Garden Centers at the following web site:

Information from Leanne Pundt, University of Connecticut and Tina Smith, University of Massachusetts in the New England Greenhouse Update website:

No comments: