Swine Flu

I wanted to post some information for all production facilities to be aware of. Considering that we have a large population of employees that frequents Mexico, it might be of help in identifying possible symptoms and taking action in controlling the spread of Swine Flu.

There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy. They include:
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze preferable into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective [supervise small children with sanitizer use].
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people with flu symptoms.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people or touching contaminated objects.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them and spreading the illness.
  • The U.S. State Department is urging Americans to avoid "non-essential" travel to Mexico.

I am posting two public service announcements from the Missouri University Extension. One is in English and one is in Spanish. Please take precautions for you, your employees, and your operation's health.

English - http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/A-ZPublications/Swine%20Flu%20English.PDF

Spanish - http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/A-ZPublications/Swine%20Flu%20Spanish.PDF

The CDC web site for swine flu is http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu//t_blank.

New Marketing Opportunities

Here is a new marketing opportunity for those interested in shipping plants overseas. SUSTA will conduct a training seminar to help those who would like to expand their markets and increase their sales. This might be a great opportunity to expand your customer base in a tight market. It might be a great opportunity to learn how to make contacts in other locations to hit the ground running when the global economy picks up. Besides, other places overseas may still need plants when the domestic demand is down.

Representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Southern U.S. Trade Association will hold a meeting on May 19, 2009 at 2:00pm to discuss SUSTA programs available to assist agribusinesses in their export endeavors. The meeting will be held in the World Trade Center Miami conference room. The WTC is located at 1007 N. America Way, Suite 500. Topics will include the Market Access Program Branded and Generic initiatives.

For more information or to register, please contact Melissa Hunt at huntm@doacs.state.fl.us or 407-302-1056.


Horticulture BMP's for Water Conservation and Treatment

Do not forget that this Wednesday is the day for Horticulture BMP's for Water Conservation and Treatment.

Here is a list of topics:
• Using recaptured water, surface ponds, and reclaimed water sources
• Managing diseases, algae, and salt problems in irrigation water
• Water treatment, plant pathology, and irrigation from industry and university experts from Florida and throughout the U.S.
• Funding opportunities to invest in water conservation
• Specialized topics for nursery/greenhouse/foliage or strawberry/vegetable growers

The overall format is an optional nursery tour of Riverview Flower Farms from 10 to 11.30 a.m., and lunch, tradeshow and talks at the Gulf Coast REC from noon to 3.45 p.m.

More information can be found at my web site: www.tiny.cc/envirohortprod

Hope to see you there.


Adapt and Overcome

There is some interest as of late in the nursery industry to try new or different crops to help out with slumping sales. Some have been talking about blueberry or stone fruits as a possible new crop. The sales of edible nursery items such as citrus, blueberries, vegetable transplants have been doing well with local retailers and have been increasing. The University of Florida/IFAS has had a strong breeding program to help with Florida regionalized, low-chill stone fruits and blueberries. The breeding program works directly with the Florida Foundation Seed Producers to license growers to produce the patented plants. They also look for growers to work with them to produce plants and make them available to the general public. Here is a link to the FFSP: http://ffsp.net/. There are other plants that UF will license such as lisianthus, coleus, caladiums and grapes.

The blueberry cultivars are highbush varieties and they are named: Star, Emerald, Millennia, Jewel, Southern Belle, Blue Crisp, Sebring, Windsor, Sapphire, Santa Fe, Springhigh, Springwide, Abundance, Savory, Floridarose, Primadonna, Snowchaser, Sweetcrisp.

They can be found on the web brochure: http://ffsp.net/resources/$2706Blueberry.pdf

There are nine peaches: UFSun, UFBeauty, UFBlaze, UFSharp, UFO, Gulfking, Gulfcrest, Gulfprince GulfCrimson;

three plums: Gulfbeauty, Gulfblaze, Gulfrose;

three nectarines: Sunmist, Sunbest, UFQueen;

and one apple: 'TropicSweet' (Fla. 90-3)

The brochure for the stone fruits is: http://ffsp.net/resources/UFStonefruit060908.pdf.

If you would like more information about varieties or how to get licensed call me at IFAS extension (813) 744-5519 ext. 147, or FFSP, John Beuttenmuller (352) 392-9446.


Mite Control

Have you got problems with mites? Don't feel too bad. You are not alone. They are one of the most difficult pest problems to control in the greenhouse and nursery. They are extremely small, they reproduce within weeks, and hide under the leaves and in buds. Careful scouting is important in order to catch pest population before they get out of control. When scouting, mites can be seen by knocking leaves onto a surface of a white piece of paper on which you can see the mites moving. You can also detect mites with a hand lens and by the characteristic damage associate with their plant host. If you do have problems with mites, or want more information about them check out this EDIS publication from IFAS about mites and the means to control them. "Selected miticides for use on ornamental plants. " The article is written by Lance Osborne and Robert Stamps from the University of Florida. It details their biology, types, and control (chemical and beneficial). I hope this helps you in your efforts against mites. Here is the link to the publication:


Help Wanted!

The International Plant Propagators Society is looking for a Secretary/Treasurer. Ivan Martinez from Pine Lake Nursery is looking for a nursery manager. Here are the facts.

Job Announcement-Secretary-Treasurer of the International Plant Propagators’ Society Southern Region of North America

The International Plant Propagators’ Society Southern Region of North America is seeking a Secretary/Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be appointed annually by and serve at the discretion of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible directly to the Executive Committee for all operations of the Region. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for: keeping all records of the region; collecting membership dues and other accounts; managing the financial and business affairs of the Region, with the aid of, and in consent with, the President; updating the membership and other interested parties about the ongoing activities of the region; and administering all programs and service functions of the Region in accordance with policy established by the Executive Committee. The successful candidate must have the following qualifications: outstanding communication skills; computer skills including database and web-related applications; organizational skills; management experience; financial and budgetary acumen; and be a bondable custodian of all organizational funds; and his/her accounts shall be audited annually. In addition to the required qualifications, we would prefer that the candidate have: membership or membership potential in IPPS-SRNA; experience managing small organizations; and horticultural knowledge or a willingness to develop a functional understanding of such. However, lack of preferred qualifications will exclude no candidate from consideration. This position will be treated as an independent contractor of IPPS-SRNA and not as an employee of the IPPS-SRNA. Annual stipend for the Secretary-Treasurer position shall be determined by the Executive Committee. Applications should include an up-to-date resume and a letter outlining the candidate’s qualifications for the position. Applications will be given full consideration if received by 5 p.m. EST on April 30, 2009. Applications should be emailed to Patricia R. Knight, tricia@ra.msstate.edu.

Ivan Martinez of Pine Lake Nursery is looking for someone with experience running a nursery and propagation knowledge. This is not a learn on the job position. Please call him for more details. He can be reached at (813) 948-6209.


Agriculture Pesticide Collection Day

Thanks to the Hills. Co. Environmental Protection Commission Pollution Recovery Fund, if your operation is in Hillsborough county, your old and discarded pesticides or farm chemicals can be dropped off no questions asked, on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm EQ Florida. The address is 7202 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, FL. Please protect yourself and the environment from any liability in regards to old chemicals on your farm. If you have any questions call me or Stephen Gran, Manager of Ag. Industry Development for Hills. Co. 813-272-5506


South East Pest Management Conference

There will be a South East Pest Management Conference in Gainesville. There are a few things that growers might like to find out about. It starts on May 4 and will end on May 6 2009. The first two days are residential pests like ants, mosquitos, termites, etc. But the last day growers may glean some usefull information. Here is the rundown of the last day.

Wednesday, May 6: Landscape Maintenance (Turf & Ornamentals) Physics Bldg. Rm. 10018 am – 8:30 am Registration and Exhibitor Set-up8:30 am – 9:30 am Recruiting Class News: Newly Introduced Landscape Pests - Carrie Harmon, National Plant Diagnostic Network, Gainesville, Fla.9:30 am – 9:50 am
Break9:50 am – 10:40 am
Protect Your Turf: Landscape Nematode Management - Billy Crow, UF/IFAS10:40 am – 10:55 am
Break10:55 am – 11:45 am Best Control Strategies (BCS) for Newly Introduced Landscape Pests - Monica Elliot, UF/IFAS11:45 am – 1:15 pm
Lunch1:15 pm – 2:05 pm Cleaning Up the Playing Field: Products for Landscape Weed Management - Bob Stamps, UF/IFAS2:05 pm – 2:55 pm
Training from the Ground Up: Managing Tree and Shrub Root Health - Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS2:55 pm – 3:10 pm
Break3:10 pm – 4:50 pm
Best Control Strategies (BCS): Preventing the Movement of Fertilizer and Pesticides into Groundwater - Laurie Trenholm, UF/IFAS Management of Pesticide Poisoning - Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira, UF/IFAS

If you are interested the entire brochure is found on this link:


Drought Conditions for Growers

Hugh Gramiling, who sits on the SWFWMD Board recently let me know that despite what is going on with the residential customers for some areas, growers are still at Phase II water restrictions. This is defined below:
Phase II (severe) water shortage – Multiple regional drought indicators have moderately abnormal values, or a local drought indicator for a specific public supply has a severely abnormal value, such that conditions warrant prudent actions to further assure that only reasonable water uses are occurring in the affected area.

For ag. producers this means; each permittee complying with the Water Use Permit (WUP), each grower should follow published BMPs, if you are not under a WUP you should:
1. Reduce off-site discharge to the extent practicable;
2. Recycle water to the extent practicable;
3. Reduce clean-up requiring water use to the minimum required to protect efficiency of the operation and prevent damage to equipment.
4. Reduce the washing of vehicles and other Mobile Equipment; except for health and safety needs or as otherwise required by BMPs, such to prevent the spread of plant or animal diseases; 5. Maximize the use of the lesser or least restricted Source Class to which there is access;
6. Include a ban on supplemental irrigation between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. These exemptions include allowances for Low-Volume Irrigation technology, plant protection, testing and maintenance of irrigation systems and irrigation to water in chemicals, traveling gun an center pivot irrigation.
7. Water use essential to the activity, such as irrigation of crops or maintenance of livestock, shall not be otherwise restricted.

For more information call me at the Extension office or go to the SWFWMD web site. www.watermatters.org

Drought workshop for residential customers

The residential horticulture agents are putting on a drought workshop for the home consumer. The brochure for the seminar is : http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/HomeGardening/PDFs/FFL101_2009_Flier.pdf

They are expecting about 150 people to show up. It might be a good way to do some cheap marketing. They are also looking for nurseries that have a retail portion to promote the drought tolerant plants and your business. If you would like to participate please contact me via email ststeed@ufl.edu.

Here is the list of plants:
Mimosa strigillosa Duranta erecta Helianthus debilis Yucca spp.
Zamia floridana Coreopsis spp. Tulbaghia violacea Solidago spp.
Leonotis leonurus Illicium floridanum Hydrangea quercifolia Pyschotria nervosa
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Vitex agnus-castus Plumbago auriculata Agave spp.
Acacia spp. Pennisetum setaceum Tripsacum dactyloides Gazania
Gallardia Parkinsonia aculeata Tacoma stans Agapanthus
Thyralis Evolvulus glomeratus Hamelia patens Olea spp.

Or if you have any other plants that perform well under drought conditions please feel free to bring them.

FNGLA Lakes Region Meeting 4/7/09

We met last week on April 7, 2009 at Common Ground Park in Lakeland. The park is located on the corner of Edgewood Drive and across from Cleveland Heights Golf Course, on Lake Hollingsworth. It was a beautiful park. It is a one acre, all-inclusive park. It came with a million dollar price tag which was picked up mostly from donations. It really is a work of art. There are three different age levels of play for children and the park is designed for any child with physical limitations or wheel chairs. If you have children or are a child at heart you should check it out. I have two rave reviews of the park from my own children and two thumbs up from my wife.

At the business meeting we discussed new officers (I am now a Board member) and we awarded the FFA students their trophies. There are two teachers looking for plant donations to plant a arboretum for all the plant species for the identification parts of the FFA contests. Cull plants will be just fine. If you would like to donate some old plant please call Howie Peterson at 863-644-6491. If there is anything you would like me to work on for the FNGLA Lake Region Chapter please contact me or leave a post to this message.


FNGLA Tampa Chapter April Board Meeting

The FNGLA had their April Board meeting last night here at the Hills. Co. Extension office. We had quite the meeting and a many topics were touched upon.

We set up the times and terms of our Ag-Venture Days coming up in a few weeks (4/13 - 4/30). This allows the FNGLA Tampa Chapter to explain what the environmental horticulture industry is all about. It will also give the next generation of consumers an appreciation of the benefits of plants in their lives. If you would like to teach the third graders or help volunteer please call me at the Hills Co. Ext. office 744-5519 ext. 147.

We decided to help send Lennard FFA to the National Convention for their winning of the state finals. Congratulations Lennard FFA! Good luck!

We are going ahead with our scholarship to help fund four Hills. Co. horticulture students with a $500 scholarship. Money that was raised from our annual plant auction helps fund these two youth events. This will help carry on the great tradition of horticulture in the area.

We worked on our budget for next year with no major changes.

We voted on having our Annual Past Presidents' Dinner at the Columbia restaurant again this year. I am especially looking forward to this dinner, as this will be my first free one as a Past President.

We also discussed our next slate of officers for next year. If you would like to be on the Board of Directors or an officer please let us know before the next meeting.

We hope to see you at our next meeting on 5/4/09.