Friday, April 18, 2014

Extension workshop on April 29 to cover biological controls

For those interested in using biological control to manage pests in the greenhouse or nursery, Oregon State University will be hosting an all-day program titled Bugs in the System from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (15210 NE Miley Rd., Aurora, Ore.).

Those attending will learn how to use biological control for aphids, fungus gnats, whiteflies, thrips and spider mites, and meet with growers, consultants and biological control suppliers. The class size is being kept limited, so that those participating can get personal attention and have their questions answered.

The cost is $25, which includes lunch. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. To learn more, download the flyer (PDF). To register, contact Jan Egli at 503-678-1264 ext. 110 or jan.egli@oregonstate.edu.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nancy Buley receives 2014 Arbor Day Award

Nancy Buley
Nancy Buley, communications director at J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., is the recipient of a 2014 Arbor Day Award, the Arbor Day Foundation announced today. Buley will receive the Frederick Law Olmsted Award in honor of her lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at the state level.

Buley is one of 13 individuals, organizations and companies being recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation during the annual Arbor Day Awards. This year’s ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Neb., on Saturday, April 26.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring and life-changing work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters through the annual Arbor Day Awards.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1-866-INVADER's Greatest Hits

It takes many eyes to spot all the invasive pests, plants and pathogens that might possibly come into Oregon and cause damage. That's why, 15 years ago, the founders of the Oregon Invasive Species Council decided to enlist the public's help. They set up a hotline at 1-866-INVADER, where people could call in and report any suspected invaders. Over the years, several hotline calls have nipped potential problems in the bud, so to speak. Other calls have been false alarms, and still others have provided mainly amusement value. In this blog post, Dan Hilburn (director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Division) tells about some of "1-800-INVADER's Greatest Hits."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Travel firm organizing nursery tour of Brazil

CORRECTION: Initially this post listed the incorrect year for the tour. The tour will be taking place Oct. 19–28, 2014. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Anglatin Travel Ltd. is organizing a guided and hosted tour of Brazil for nursery professionals this coming October. The group will visit nurseries, botanical gardens, flower markets, greenhouses, rain forests, national parks, research centers and other destinations in and around Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Campos do Jordao, and the Mantiqueira Mountains. Participants will get to meet growers, wholesalers, retailers, researchers and others involved in Brazil's nursery industry.

The travel dates will be Oct. 19–28, 2014. The cost is $3275 per person in double occupancy, which includes accommodations, daily breakfast, some lunches and dinners, airport transportation, ground transfers, guide and host.

Air travel to and from Brazil, incidentals, beverages and some meals are not included. You can view a detailed itinerary and a basic outline at (http://www.anglatin.com/landscape-tour-to-brazil/).

The registration dedline is August 10, 2014. For more information, contact Fred Smith at Anglatin Travel, fred@anglatin.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

EPA proposes new pesticide rules

For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new worker protection standards for the application of pesticides. These new rules would apply on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses, and would cover workers who handle and apply pesticides, as well as those who handle treated products.

“The EPA and the administration are attempting to use the rulemaking process, rather than legislation, so they have an easier path to setting new standards,” OAN executive director Jeff Stone said. “That’s very concerning to us. As far as the specific provisions of these rules, we’re still analyzing them, and our input will be forthcoming."

According to the EPA, the proposed changes include the following (also listed in this PDF fact sheet):
  • Increased frequency of mandatory trainings (from once every five years to annually) to inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law, including restrictions on entering pesticide-treated fields and surrounding areas, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment. Expanded trainings will include instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.
  • Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides; the signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
  • First time-ever minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides, with an exemption for family farms.
  • No-entry buffer areas surrounding pesticide-treated fields will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes.
  • Measures to improve the states’ ability to enforce compliance including requiring employers to keep records of application-specific pesticide information as well as farmworker training and early-entry notification for two years.
  • Personal Protection Equipment (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are providing protection, including fit test, medical evaluation, and training.
  • Make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets.
  • Additional changes make the rule more practical and easier to comply with for farmers.
  • Continues the exemptions for family farms.
There’s a June 17 deadline for affected parties to submit their comments to the EPA. The OAN, AmericanHort and others plan to provide input in time for the deadline. OAN members are encouraged to review the proposal and share their thoughts with Jeff Stone at jstone@oan.org.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Website educates public on invasive pest threats

Although the agriculture community is well aware of invasive pests and pathogens — including the emerald ash borer, sudden oak death, the giant African snail, the citrus psyllid, the Asian longhorned beetle and many others — agriculture cannot fight them alone. These pests can be transported unwittingly by the general public; therefore, public awareness is needed to prevent accidental transmission. It's everyone's responsibility.

That's where www.hungrypests.com comes in.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service established the site to educate the public and let people what they can do to prevent the environmental and economic damage these pests can and will cause. The site really is full of simple and clear factual information — what pests to look for, where to look for them, why they're dangerous, and what to do if you find them.

The site also has numerous resources, such as graphic art and ready-made copy, which retailers and others can drop into their marketing newsletters and social media sites, helping their customers protect the landscape and environment they value so much. It is well worth checking out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Digger showcases creative containers

Hot off the press, the April issue of Digger showcases the nearly limitless planting possibilities when gardening in pots, boxes and hanging baskets. Click here to read the article (PDF).

Other articles in the issue include:
 • "For the birds" (PDF) — Mike Darcy calls for a common-sense response to the recent controversy surrounding Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) and its role in the deaths of cedar waxwing birds.
 • "Meet the leader: Ryan Basile" (PDF) — The Farwest Trade Show chairman talks about his love of providing great products and services for the nursery industry.
"Learning from the experts" (PDF) — This year's Farwest Trade Show has once again attracted a who's who of green industry gurus, eager to share their far-reaching knowledge with showgoers.
"Attracting, training and retaining a winning team" (PDF) — Thought-provoking ways the nursery and greenhouse industry can grow its workforce today and for the future.
 • "Stealing the green" (PDF) — Prevention is the best defense against the dreaded chloroplast thief, the azalea lace bug.
 • "Shaping our identity" (PDF) — Inspired by springtime's rejuvenating spirit, OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone provides motivation for the renewed growth of the nursery and greenhouse industry.

Please send your comments on the issue to editor Curt Kipp at ckipp@oan.org.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The way to a Gen Y gardener's heart

Here's another article pondering what it will take to get today's people in their 20s and 30s to start gardening. Janet Eastman of the Oregonian interviews a young Medford couple that has taken up vegetable gardening. According to "The 20–30 Something Garden Guide" author Dee Nash, whose book is cited in the article, edibles are indeed the proverbial "gateway drug" for a wider world of green living. Environmental concerns are motivating younger people to grow their own food, in a way their parents didn't. Then, once they discover how fulfilling and relaxing growing vegetables, fruits and berries can be, that opens the door for them to discover other types of gardening.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Researchers: Plants can make complex decisions

Is the phrase "smarter than a potted plant" an insult? Not necessarily. Researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen, both in Germany, have concluded that plants can evaluate risks, consider changing circumstances and make complex decisions. They reached this conclusion after studying barberry shrubs that were aborting their own seeds as a way of preventing parasite infestation. Not everyone may accept the idea that this actually constitutes intelligent behavior. The work was published in American Naturalist, an academic journal.

Friday, February 21, 2014

PCC looking for landscape workshop presenters

Are you a landscape industry professional interested in teaching others about your line of work? If so, Portland Community College might be interested in talking to you.

The Landscape Technology Program (LAT) at the Rock Creek campus, on the west side of Portland, is looking for industry professionals interested in conducting workshops. Such an arrangement would help the college fill gaps in its offerings, while putting its top-notch equipment and facilities to better use.

"Our vision is to foster relationships amongst industry professionals, serve as a resource for training and information and to simply live up to the true meaning of a community college by serving our area landscape community better," said Dr. David Sandrock, LAT chairman at PCC.

Those interested may submit a proposal. Proposals should cover a topic of interest to industry professionals and those training to join the industry. Examples would include planting, safety, equipment, pruning, or irrigation troubleshooting, to name a few. Presenters will be able to set their own price and class size limit. They will be asked to do their own external marketing as well. The college would help market internally to students, and will provide facilities, classroom space and other needs. The college would receive a portion of proceeds to cover its expenses. Those interested should contact Dr. Sandrock at 971-722-7231 or david.sandrock@pcc.edu with their proposal.