The Society of American Florists (SAF) and the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) will join forces to help the horticulture industry fight chrysanthemum white rust (CWR), a quarantine disease, according to a recent press release. SAF and ANLA aim to collaborate with breeder-propagation companies to try to achieve better and earlier grower awareness of CWR.
Showing up in growing operations in the Northeastern states, the Pacific Northwest, California and Canada in the past few years, CWR has caused expensive damage to infected crops. The federal and state governments are working with the major propagation and breeding companies to try to better understand the disease and prevent outbreaks. Until a solution is found, the SAF and ANLA have compiled some tips to help growers protect their chrysanthemum crop:
Exclusion and prevention:
-Buy cuttings only from reputable commercial sources; CWR has never been traced back to reputable producers.
-Do not allow imported flowers in mum-growing greenhouses or headhouses. If you do, maintain strict separation of imported flowers from mums.
-Maintain low humidity, dry foliage and clean growing practices.
Early detection and eradication:
-If you see this disease, notify the USDA, which will oversee eradication and treatment.
-Be watchful: Early detection is much less costly than an unanticipated detection during shipping season.
To help educate growers and employees about the disease, SAF and ANLA have created a free webinar training session. The webinar lasts about 30 minutes and offers important advice on how to avoid the disease, including photos showing how to recognize the symptoms. The webinar is available on www.safnow.org , or you can contact any of the propagation-breeder companies for further information about scheduling a webinar.
Although the disease has affected only a small number of crops in the past few years, it is important for all commercial growers to work together to prevent the disease from spreading. Taking the right precautions is the best way to achieve that goal.