Silver Vase Inc., a grower that produces orchids and bromeliads, recently announced its Clean & Green integrated pest management program. The program, which was developed a decade ago, was designed to address customer and end-user need for chemical residue–free and sustainable plant material. Today’s trend-based market interests related to clean and green growing practices led to the company’s decision to widely communicate the program in 2009.
Instead of depending primarily on pesticides like many other growers, Silver Vase’s IPM program uses information about pests’ life cycles to control them, with fewer hazards to people and the surroundings. IPM staff members carefully limit the use of pesticides on plants and incorporate beneficial insect species at strategic, timed intervals.
The company’s IPM program include the following measures:
All new and young live goods are brought in bare-rooted, and Silver Vase adds soil mites to the mixtures in stage one to prevent and eat the larva that produces fungus gnats. The beneficial mites are released to live amid the greenhouses for two to three months.
All orchids are originally sourced from Floricultura, a Dutch company specializing in the tissue culture and propagation of quality orchid plant material. These young orchids are naturally strong and disease resistant.
Because it is impossible to eliminate fungus gnats completely, spraying is still a necessary practice for most greenhouses. But Silver Vase takes extra precautions to ensure that early-process spraying happens a minimum of once or twice each year, using the safest chemicals and procedures.
Natural predators are a decisive application as part of stages two and three in the greenhouses. Production and IPM staff allow for “friendly”predatory flies within the orchid greenhouses, while bromeliads naturally tend to attract helpful spiders.
To ensure buyers that products are residue free upon receipt, no chemicals are used on plants that are scheduled to be shipped within 10 weeks. Chemicals are off-limits within this “period of protection.”
Retailers receive plants with laminated cards that state, “We Grow Clean and Green with Integrated Pest Management.” For more information about Silver Vase and its IPM program, visit www.silvervase.com.