2016 MSU floriculture research summaries – Part 2

Seven projects in 2016 improved production practices and viability of the Michigan floriculture industry.

Each year, the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association and Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association partially fund floriculture projects performed by Michigan State University faculty and staff. In 2016, the associations awarded grants for seven projects in the MSU Departments of HorticultureEntomology and Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. “2016 MSU floriculture research summaries – Part 1” summarized the research results of tomato spotted wilt virus mitigation on chrysanthemums, increasing height of chrysanthemums with Fresco drenches, and comparing LEDs and HPS lamps for seedling production. Here is a short summary of the four other 2016 research projects and results.

Phytotoxicity of biological-compatible dip solutions for pest control on cuttings before sticking

To reduce incoming pest populations on vegetative cuttings, 28 cultivars of common bedding plants were dipped in low concentrations of BotaniGard (1.25 g/L), SuffOil (0.10%), M-Pede (0.50%) or a combination of all three. Twenty-four of the 28 plant species tested showed no phytoxicity symptoms. The four plant cultivars that did show symptoms were geranium zonal ‘Sunrise Hot Pink,’ Ipomea ‘Solar Power Black,’ Lantana ‘Little Lucky Pot of Gold’ and petunia ‘Headliner Violet Dark Eye.’ Therefore, dipping cuttings in biopesticides may reduce incoming insect populations with little or no phytotoxicity at the rates tested.  However, growers should perform small-scale trials before using on all plant species and cultivars.

Read the full research summary, “Phytotoxicity of Biological-compatible Dip Solutions for Pest Control on Cuttings before Sticking,” by Dave Smitley and Terry Davis, MSU Department of Entomology.

Plant guarantees help consumers achieve success and buy again

Who likes to waste money? No one does, but that is how some consumers feel when a plant dies. Few product categories have success equated with luck as much as horticultural products. We conducted an online survey in 2016 with 500 U.S. plant purchasers and found that plant guarantees were valued most by individuals with a high level of interest in plants but a lower level of plant expertise. Comparing those who knew there was a plant guarantee in place with those who knew there was no plant guarantee, there was a higher level of delight and a higher probability of repeat purchase among those who knew the guarantee was in place. The presence of plant guarantees is consistent with repeat purchase intentions, and plant guarantees should be instituted and promoted.

Read the full research summary, “Plant Guarantees Help Consumers Achieve Success and Buy Again,” by Bridget Behe, MSU Department of Horticulture.

Testing a new product for control of water molds on floriculture crops

Three trials were conducted on campus to determine the efficacy of the newly registered fungicide Segovis (oxathiapiprolin; Syngenta) against the water-mold pathogens Phytophthora drechsleri, Pythium irregulare and Peronospora sp. Segovis was highly effective against Phytophthora and downy mildew. The ability of the product to provide residual control was outstanding and provided Phytophthora root rot control for more than 42 days post-application. Segovis (1.0 and 2.4 fluid ounces) applied as a spray was also highly effective against Peronospora sp. on coleus. Although Segovis did provide some efficacy against Pythium, it would be not be a product growers could rely on for consistent protection.

Read the full research summary, “Testing a New Product for Control of Water Molds on Floriculture Crops” by Mary Hausbeck, MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.

Western Michigan Greenhouse and Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers joint sponsored MSU Trial Garden Internship in 2016 – Paul Klein

The MSU Annual Plant Trials displays several hundred new introductions plus some old favorites in side-by-side comparisons. The funding provided an internship for a student, Paul Klein, who worked with Annual Trial manager Daedre McGrath and Trial director Art Cameron in the MSU Horticulture Gardens. The objectives of the trial garden internship were to:

  • Provide high quality, hands-on experience for undergraduate students in the cultivation and evaluation of bedding plants.
  • Educate students during the entire trialing process, including growing and maintaining plants in the landscape, data collection and summarization, and communication of the results to growers and gardeners.
  • Provide students with unique opportunities to communicate the results from these trials to gardeners and professionals. Experiential education is critical to the success of our students and their future productivity in the industry. 

Read the full research summary, “Western Michigan Greenhouse and Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Joint Sponsored MSU Trial Garden Internship in 2016 – Paul Klein,” by Art Cameron, Daedre McGrath and Erik Runkle, MSU Department of Horticulture. 

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