NEWS on the GROW

May 12, 2004 - 08:19

Sudden Oak Death Hits with a Vengeance

Since the announcement of the 2004 P. ramorum, commonly called Sudden Oak Death (SOD), outbreak in California in mid-March, there has been new information flowing in every week about the disease and what is going on throughout the country. Despite the fact that, to date, the only reported cases have been in nursery stock, we have been getting phone calls from people in the greenhouse industry wondering if it is going to hit them. Here is some information that will hopefully ease some minds.

According to Claude Knighten, SOD spokesperson for APHIS, “To date, we know that the pathogen is known to affect 59 hosts and associated hosts [of nursery stock]. As information becomes available we will update it.” For a complete list of the plants regulated and associated with P. ramorum, go to

As of press time, there have been no reports on any plants related to our industry including annuals, perennials, greenhouse vegetables, fruits and the recent flowering shrub additions.

APHIS began regulating the interstate movement of SOD host and associated host plants. As of March 26, 2004, APHIS quarantined all California nurseries producing P. ramorum hosts and associated hosts. According to the quarantine, no California host or associated host plant material will leave the state without being certified as complying with the quarantine. In order to be certified for shipment, plants are subjected to intensive visual inspections and diagnostic testing. Diagnostic samples will be processed through a network of approved federal, state and university laboratories.

According to Knighten, the most current list of states that have imposed restrictions on SOD are: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and West Virginia. Each state has its own quarantine restrictions. It is also reported that Canada is holding some quarantine restrictions for the disease.

According to the SOD quarantine regulation guidelines, all plants and plant material found to be susceptible to the disease will be quarantined. This includes nursery stock, logs, lumber, bark chips, mulch, firewood, sawdust and other plant products that may contain pieces of bark or are constructed from pieces of bark and associated soil.

As of press time, USDA has placed plant material holds on 613 nurseries in 39 states that have received suspect plant material. 132,000 plants are on hold, and 1,633 samples have been taken.

In addition to inspecting Florida nurseries for signs of the disease, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has halted the importation of nursery stock from California and also put a hold on any sale order from Monrovia products already in Florida.
To date, there are five Florida and five Georgia nurseries that have tested positive for SOD. According to the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGA), The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Gainesville Sun. The sample from Georgia came from samples of camellias that were imported from Monrovia Nursery in California. More than 50 nurseries in Georgia that received shipments of susceptible plants from California are also being tested. Infected plants will be incinerated.

More than 100 plant samples were taken from nurseries in Florida that were customers of Monrovia Growers in Azusa, Calif., after the March 12, 2004 announcement that the disease was present at Monrovia. Infected plants were also found at Specialty Plants, Inc. in San Marcos, Calif.

As of April 13, 2004, Monrovia received notification from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) that all samples collected at the company’s Visalia, Calif., nursery on March 22 tested negative for the plant pathogen. According to Monrovia, the USDA issued a compliance agreement that allows interstate shipment of SOD-regulated hosts and associated host plants from this facility. As a precaution, Monrovia has kept camellias at the Visalia nursery on hold for several months of retesting.

As of March 30, 2004, Hines Horticulture, Inc. also announced that all of their California nursery growing facilities have tested free from P. ramorum. On March 19, the company allowed a voluntary suspension of SOD host and associated host plant shipments as a precautionary measure, even though none of their nurseries tested positive. According to Hines, it will continue to monitor the situation closely and take proactive actions to assist the industry and attempt to minimize any negative impact to Hines or its customers.
The USDA has been seeking emergency funding of at least $40 million for quarantine efforts, trace-forwards and trace-backs of suspect plant material, and an aggressive national survey. The survey will focus on both nurseries and targeted natural area sites. According to the April 1 USDA pest managers report, the federal government has provided $7.4 million in funding for 2004.

Protocol Approves Methyl Bromide Exemptions

An intergovernmental meeting of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer has granted limited “critical-use exemptions” to 11 countries facing a year-end deadline for phasing out methyl bromide.

The 11 countries that have received exemptions to the phase-out — totaling 13,438 metric tons of methyl bromide for 2005 — are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Japan, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Montreal Protocol allows governments to apply for exemption for health or safety reasons or when there are no technologically or economically feasible alternatives. The exemptions are intended to give farmers, fumigators and other users of methyl bromide additional time to adopt cost-effective substitutes for the pesticide.

Methyl bromide has been used as a soil fumigant and structural fumigant to control pests across a wide range of agricultural sectors. Under the Montreal Protocol of 1991, the pesticide was defined as a chemical that contributes to the depletion of the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it has contributed to a total of about 4 percent of the ozone’s depletion in the last 20 years. Of this, about 2.5 percent can be attributed to agricultural fumigation activities. The continued use of methyl bromide as an agricultural pesticide can contribute to 5-15 percent of future depletion to the ozone if it is not phased out.

Under the Montreal Protocol, countries have agreed to reduce methyl bromide by 25 percent by 1999, 50 percent by 2001, 70 percent by 2003 and 100 percent by 2005, except for the allowable critical-use exemptions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), for countries that contributed less to ozone depletion, the schedule started with a 2002 freeze and continues with reductions of 20 percent by 2005 and 100 percent by 2015.

According to the EPA, the United States has been one of the largest agricultural bases in the world, contributing to 40 percent of the methyl bromide used, more than any other country. As the phase-out has progressed, the United States share of the pesticide has decreased. The United States has agreed to limit its 2005 production levels for methyl bromide to 7,659 tons, equal to 30 percent of the baseline, as compared to 35 percent for its exemption.

According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), there is no known single alternative fumigant, chemical or other technology that can readily substitute methyl bromide. Research by the USDA indicates that multiple alternative control measures will be required to replace the many uses of methyl bromide. The effective application of a single alternative control measure or combination will be limited to specific crop or use because crops have varying requirements and variations in target pests, soil types, climates, and state and local regulations.

According to UNEP, in addition to accepting the exemptions for 2005, the intergovernmental meeting launched a process for elaborating more detailed procedures and reporting requirements for requesting and granting future exemptions.

DRAMM and OFA Sponsor 5K Relay for FIRST

DRAMM Corporation and OFA are sponsoring the 5th annual 5K Relay at the OFA Short Course in July, with proceeds benefiting the Floriculture Industry for Research, Scholarships and Trusts (FIRST). This year’s race, themed “FIRST-AID,” will raise money by participants running in the short relay the day before Short Course begins.

The funds allow the non-profit organization to provide scholarships for students obtaining horticulture degrees to further their education and grants for floriculture research and studies. “FIRST is a great organization that is giving back to the industry,” said Marcy Stenstrom, marketing and public relations manager for DRAMM.

The 5th annual 5K relay is on Saturday, July 10, 2004. Check-in begins at 6 a.m., and the relay starts at 7 a.m. The registration fee is $100 per running team and $25 per walker due before May 5, 2004. After May 5, the fee is $125 per team and $30 per walker. All proceeds benefit FIRST and are tax deductible.

Each relay team consists of four people who will race the 5K (3.1 mile) pre-planned route. Each participant will complete a 1.25K leg and return to the starting line to pass the baton to their teammate. If anyone would like to participate but does not have a team, organizers will match people up to form a team.

Runners placing first, second and third in the timed event will receive a trophy and be honored in the awards ceremony at the Short Course opening reception on Sunday, July 11, 2004 at 7:45 p.m.

New this year, people who would like to participate at their own pace can walk the route individually or as a team. Walkers are still raising money for a good cause.

A company can become a sponsor for the event even if they do not participant in the relay. The company’s name or logo will be added to the official relay T-shirt, relay start/finish line banner and promotional materials to show the company’s support to the industry. All sponsorships must be committed before May 5, 2004 to ensure that the sponsor information is added to the T-shirt and promotional materials.

To learn more about the 5K relay at the OFA Short Course, visit

Home Depot Requiring UCCnet Registration

By 2005, Home Depot will begin implementing the Uniform Code Council (UCC) registration and synchronization services. Therefore, the more than 1,500 stores located in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico are eliminating all manual processing. This is part of its “Hardlines Industry” initiative to synchronize all item data it sells.

Home Depot is requiring all product suppliers to provide data through the UCCnet compliance format. It will register location data in the UCCnet GLOBALregistry, an industry-supported repository for standardized item, location and trading partner data. Once registered, UCCnet checks data for compliance to industry standards. Home Depot will then use UCCnet’s service to synchronize data with its suppliers, ensuring that all suppliers are using identical, up-to-date, standards-compliant data.

According to Oakdene Group, Inc., a company that specializes in offering business management services and software, recent results from an AMR research study predicted that “$2.1 billion will be squandered over the next five years on B2B initiatives unless manufacturers and retailers develop a platform to support data synchronization first.” Also, Oakdene Group revealed an A.T. Kearney study that showed:

  • Correcting catalog errors costs $60-80 per error.
  • 30 percent of item data in catalogs is incorrect.
  • Each SKU requires 25 minutes of manual cleansing per year.
  • Every invoice error costs $40-400 to reconcile.
  • 60 percent of all invoices have errors, and 43 percent of all invoices result in deductions.
  • The average product roll-in takes six weeks.
  • Sales lost to inaccurate data total 3-5 percent.

Because there are so many UCCnet Service Providers in the marketplace, Home Depot evaluated several top companies and chose five as the Home Depot Preferred Data Sync Partners. These vendors were selected based on their proven capabilities. Home Depot recommends the following vendors for UCCnet-related software and services: bTrade, Lansa, Transora, Sterling Commerce and the Electronic Commerce Council of Canada.

Only 1,000 of Home Depot’s 5,000 plus suppliers are currently UCCnet compliant.

2004 Floriculture Field Day

The 2004 Floriculture Field Day, sponsored by the North Florida Flowering Plant Producers and the University of Florida’s Environmental Horticulture Department, will be held in Gainesville, Fla., at the Paramount Hotel on May 19 and at the University of Florida on May 20, with the theme “…From Greenhouse to Landscape, Finding the Best!”

The Field Day is a two-day educational program focusing on flowering crop production and use and is designed for retailers, wholesalers, landscapers and interested consumers.

The $85 registration fee includes both days of sessions, lunch and dinner and a tour of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, the second largest botanical garden in Florida. Attendees will have two days of speakers, a roundtable discussion, field trials of more than 300 annuals and perennials, a plant and seed auction and tours focusing on new varieties and ways to find them. There is no registration deadline, and forms can be found on the Field Day Web site at

The program includes four tracks: crop production, retailing, cool new crops and an outdoor classroom including trial garden tours, overviews of research and breeding programs and how-to sessions. Seminars this year will focus on production and use of annuals and perennials for color in the Florida landscape.

Sessions will include: The Nature of Cottage Gardening, Flower Bulbs for the Southeast, Specialty Cut Flowers, Mixed Containers, Perennials for the Shade and Herbaceous Plants for Coastal Areas. Representatives from the nation’s leading plant-introduction firms will participate in a slide presentation and discussion entitled New Plant Showcase, highlighting what is coming to our industry.

Bailey Nurseries and Ball Seed Company Announce Alliance

Bailey Nurseries has announced an alliance with Ball Seed to offer a new resource to independent garden centers. This resource, New Growth Marketing was launched nationwide in January 2004.

New Growth Marketing offers customized point-of-purchase programs that allow retailers to more effectively brand themselves. Customers can choose from a variety of brand designs and thousands of image and message combinations, which are then customized with the garden center’s own logo, creating unique branded signage.

“The relationship with Ball really opens up some new doors to a much broader customer base,” said Pat Bailey, vice president of sales and marketing for Bailey Nurseries. “We’ve had tremendous response from independent garden centers. It allows independent garden centers to put out a consistent brand message customized to their own company.”

According to Jessie Atchison, director of marketing and public relations for Ball Horticultural Company, there are several basic customizable templates with different color schemes, garden center names and logos, photos, design styles, etc. Available formats include billboards, poster boards, posters, and vertical and horizontal banners.

Point-of-purchase materials are digitally printed, allowing for low-minimum orders at a low cost. “This makes customized point-of-purchase more affordable for independent garden centers looking to promote their own store brands or programs,” explained Atchison.

A catalog is available and can be requested through the New Growth Marketing Web site. For more information as well as an online order form, visit

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