Welcome to 'Sprout,' American Nurseryman's e-newsletter published on the first and third Thursdays of each month. For even more, be sure to read our August issue.
EPA revises turf limitation for WaterSense New Home specs
In its newly published WaterSense New Home Specification released August 31, the EPA has removed a previously stated 40 percent turf limitation for new homes labeled under the WaterSense program. The limit sparked debate across the country because of its overly broad generalization, established without regard to regional, climate and microclimate differences. Instead, WaterSense now requires that builders of homes qualifying for the WaterSense program use the agency’s Water Budget Tool in planning landscape design. The tool is available on the WaterSense website. Read more>
Basil downy mildew in MN
So much for pesto. The State of Minnesota has confirmed its first case of basil downy mildew; the disease was first reported in south Florida in October 2007 and has since migrated to a number of other states. Symptoms? Yellowing of leaves, followed by a formation of dark spots. This is why the disease, which is spread by fungal spores, is difficult to identify—the yellowing appears to be a nutritional deficiency. But the telltale sign of downy mildew is a dark, fuzzy growth on the underside of the leaves. There’s no human risk, other than a slight yuck factor, but damage to the leaves makes the plants unmarketable. Read more here and here.
launches new line
Perennial and groundcover specialty grower Midwest Groundcovers announces the launch of Hocus Pocus groundcovers, available in 2013 exclusively to independent garden centers. Featuring more than 70 selections, Hocus Pocus™ groundcovers will fill an important and practical niche for IGCs: Available plants will be grown and sold in attractive round, green, pint-size pots, in quantities of 10 per flat. Garden centers will receive fresh weekly plant restocks from the Midwest delivery team. Plants will be presented with eye-catching, color tag labels, which include essential plant information and the Hocus Pocus groundcovers logo and fun fairy. Garden centers can have their logo and store pricing printed on the labels, for a fee. Midwest will support marketing efforts with dynamic point-of-purchase posters and bench wrap. Read more>
Plant Introductions Inc.
joins Bailey’s First Editions
Bailey Nurseries announces it is partnering with Plant Introductions Inc. to bring all PII varieties into the nursery’s First Editions brand. Nearly a dozen new varieties will join the brand in 2013. “We are very excited to continue our relationship with Plant Introductions, Inc.,” says Jonathan Pedersen, director of marketing and new business development at Bailey Nurseries. “Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley have been wonderful partners in our Endless Summer® Hydrangea brand for many years. We’re looking forward to bringing many more great plants to market together.” PII co-owner Mark Griffith added, “We feel combining our superior breeding strategies and genetics with Bailey’s marketing and management abilities is a winning combination. We continue to be impressed by their ability to successfully market plants in today’s business environment and we are excited to be part of their national grower network and marketing program.” Read more>
Agrium partners with
Turf Care Supply
Agrium Advanced Technologies has formed a new, “long-term strategic toll manufacturing and marketing relationship” with Turf Care Supply Corp. for sales of the XCU and SCU slow-release fertilizer brands. As part of the agreement, TCS will manufacture the fertilizer technologies and AAT will market the products to blenders; TCS will maintain its current blending business, which will be unaffected by the agreement. Read more>
LA cuts trees for NASA’s shuttle
From the “seriously?” department: The City of Angels is thrilled to receive NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour for the California Science Center—so much so that a two-day festival of sorts is planned, including a slumber party (yes, you read that correctly) and a parade that will lead the shuttle on a 12-mile route to its new, permanent home. Historic! What fun! Such excitement! But wait … in order to accommodate the rather large, now-grounded space vehicle, 400 mature street trees are being sacrificed. Seems the massive shuttle has a wing span that would slice through those trees anyway, so municipalities along the parade route struck a deal with NASA for replacements—in some cases, for every tree felled, two will be planted. Yup. Okay, so the California Science Center is expected to pour $500K into the city of Inglewood’s landscape. It’ll take, um, how long for those new trees to “replace” the mature ones? (Photo by Katie Falkenberg, LA Times) Read more>
Plants Nouveau goes mobile
Looking for Plants Nouveau info? No need to run back to the office to connect—the company’s launched a new mobile website that offers at-your-fingertips, grower- and consumer-friendly plant facts and photos. Separate sections for growers and gardeners take you directly to the information you need. Read more>
It’s New Plants time!
Time flies, doesn’t it? Before you know it, the leaves will be gone and snow will be flying … aahhhh … wait … that’s not what this is about. It’s time once again to sort through the best of your introductions for 2013 and submit them for inclusion in American Nurseryman’s annual New Plant Introductions issue. If it’s truly new to U.S. commercial trade, we want to include it. Just download the form (click below), fill it in, attach a high-res image and send it in. It’s easy—and it’s free! The deadline is October 31, but don’t delay. Please? Download a form here.
And now for something
completely different …
Okay … ick. Ermine moth has established quite the little community in southeast London, having taken over a roadside planting and claiming squatter’s rights. A web 20 feet by 5 feet was spun by thousands of the tiny but industrious little devils, all in the span of a mere two weeks’ time. The web (another ick) is so thick it supports the weight of snails oozing across the surface. Ermine moth erects this impressive structure to protect itself while it raises its young—and to protect its food source. (Blackthorn and hawthorn shrubs are particular favorites.) In the British tradition of “Keep Calm and Carry On,” Matthew Oates, ecologist for the National Trust, said, “The caterpillars are harmless to us, but I reckon those bushes are stuffed. … Enjoy and marvel, this is not the end of the world.” Read more>
Thompson joins Nexus
Scott Thompson has joined Nexus Corporation as head of the company’s new product group. He will develop and promote the product line from his New Jersey office, where he can be reached at scottT@NexusCorp.com. Read more>
Gary Vallen, founder of Tropicana Nursery, Valencia, Calif., and member of the Green Industry Hall of Fame, died July 24. Read more>
Popcorn Drift rose
The newest in the Drift series of roses from Star Roses and Conard-Pyle is Popcorn Drift, a yellow and creamy white selection that’s low maintenance, disease-resistant and easy to grow in full sun. It’s a repeat bloomer with a low habit, making it perfect for use as a groundcover. Hardy to Zone 5. Read more>
Better safe than sorry. The safety station from Shure features heavy-duty reinforced steel construction with a stainless steel top and chase panel; leg levelers; mirror, soap dispenser, towel dispenser and waste receptacle; and emergency eye wash attachment. The Deluxe Safety Station includes a 36-inch wide sink, 24-inch wide storage cabinet and a 5-foot upper binder cabinet with gas spring shocks and task light. Read more>
Nasty, weedy trees getting in your way? Make short work of them with DR Power Equipment’s TreeChopper, a new ATV-mounted tree-cutting tool. Made of durable, professional-grade steel, the TreeChopper mounts securely to the front of most ATVs and cuts trees up to 4 inches in diameter in seconds. Unlike skid-steer mounted tree shears, the TreeChopper requires no external power source or stopping and waiting for hydraulic jaws to open and close around the tree. The TreeChopper can cut hundreds of trees per hour. Read more>
Smart irrigation timer
Toro’s XTRA SMART ECXTRA irrigation timer and wireless weather sensor uses the latest in weather-sensing technology to properly irrigate lawns and gardens with minimal waste, saving water. The EPA recognizes this “smart” use of water, certifying the XTRA SMART ECXTRA timer and weather sensor with the WaterSense label. The timer applies water only when plants need it, so your clients can save water in comparison to manually programmed timers. No more having to rush to turn off the timer every time it rains. No more adjusting run-times during wet or dry months. Read more>
Skid steer adapter
Worksaver Inc. introduces the Universal Skid Steer Adapter to allow the use of skid steer-type attachments for compact tractors up to 40 hp with pin-on type loaders. The adapter is 54 inches wide by 17 inches high and features an all-welded design with plated handles, springs and locks. With the universal skid steer adapter, loaders on compact tractors with pin-on buckets can now be updated with the popular skid steer attaching method. Customers can also easily switch attachments between a skid steer loader and compact tractor loader. This adapter can be paired with a pin-on bracket set for compact tractors to complete the unit. Read more>
Red Wing Software, Inc. announces the release of a Purchase Order module for CenterPoint Fund Accounting Software. The new module includes tools to help users manage purchases and requisitions. Standard or custom reports help users monitor all orders and the appropriate quantities for purchased items. Purchase orders can be easily produced, modified and received and receipt of a purchase order automatically creates an accounts payable transaction for that vendor. Read more>
Our London correspondent reports that a visit to The Prospect of Whitby is well worth the trip. It’s London’s oldest riverside inn—built around 1520—but it’s also where the fuchsia was introduced to England. It was traded, we’re told, for a “noggin of rum.”
(Photos by Kristin Candler)