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 September issue.
BASF to acquire Becker Underwood
BASF announced today that it will acquire Ames, Iowa-based Becker Underwood for a price of $1.02 billion. The purchase is subject to approval by both parties, but the legal closing of the transaction is expected by the end of this year. As part of the acquisition, BASF’s Crop Protection division will create a strategic global business unit called Functional Crop Care. The unit will merge BASF’s existing research, development and marketing activities in the areas of seed treatment, biological crop protection, plant health, as well as water and resource management with those of Becker Underwood. Becker Underwood has 10 production sites worldwide and 479 employees; the company is expected to achieve sales of $240 million for fiscal year 2012 (ending Sept. 30). Read more>
“We need STEAM”
The U.S. House next week will consider immigration reform for high-tech positions—but what about us? Immigration and agriculture experts met Wednesday, Sept. 19 for a phone conference to address the urgent need for immigration reform for ag, hosted by the National Immigration Forum. "Right now, all across America, there's a flurry of activity on farms. And there's a flurry of activity in Congress to provide STEM visas,” said Craig J. Regelbrugge, Co-Chair of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform and ANLA’s vice president for government relations and research. “At the end of the day, we don't just need STEM, we need STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math.” He added, “The safety of our food supply should not be a red or blue issue. Pro-business Republicans should be doing everything in their power to prevent U.S. farms from closing. And while we wait for bipartisan legislative action on this issue, the administration should use the tools at hand to prioritize immigration enforcement resources and safeguard our food supply. Both parties need to put politics aside and help us develop a 21st century solution for the farming industry." A recording of the conference can be accessed at the link below. Listen here> Read more here and here.
Builder confidence on the rise
Sit down; you haven’t heard good news like this in a while. Confidence among U.S. homebuilders, according to the National Association of Home Builders, rose to its highest level in six years. This is the fifth consecutive month that the index has increased—assurance, the association says, that the housing market is moving in the right direction. Granted, it’s a slow rate of progress, but it’s progress. And yes, there are reasons to be—here’s that overworked phrase—cautiously optimistic, with the emphasis on cautious. The rising costs of building materials and scarcity of available lots in some markets temper the good news. But hey, we’ll take what we can get. Read more>
American Garden Award honors three outstanding plants
Begonia Santa Cruz™ Sunset is the grand prize winner in this year’s American Garden Award program, having been selected by the voting public as most popular among six varieties in contention. Second place went to Gazania ‘Big Kiss™ White Flame’ F1, and third place went to Petunia® ‘Surfina Deep Red’. An abundance of scarlet-orange blooms are the highlight of Santa Cruz, which is heat, drought and rain tolerant. Its cascading form makes it ideal for hanging baskets, urns or mass plantings. Read more>
SITES certifies eight projects
Eight outstanding landscapes have achieved certification from The Sustainable Sites Initiative™, the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of landscape projects. The newly certified projects include the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden at Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Cleveland’s Public Garden, Cleveland; Cornell University’s Mann Library Entrance in Ithaca, N.Y.; Hunts Point Landing, an urban park in the Bronx; Meadow Lake and the Main Parking Lot at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill.; the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, Calif; the commercial SWT Design Campus in St. Louis; and the residential Victoria Garden Mews in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Sustainable Sites Initiative) Read more>
Put down that stein and pick up your iPad: Oktoberpest workshops are just around the corner. Now it its 12th year sponsored by Oregon State University, the program offers Oregonians (and others interested in winging their way to the Pacific Northwest) exceptional pest management education opportunities. This year’s topics are “Good Neighbors”—in which you’ll learn about local insects and mites that feed on pests—and “Deny Disease,” in which you’ll learn how to reduce the introduction of new diseases into nurseries. Classes are offered in both English and Spanish on Thursday mornings at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora. Follow the link here for registration info. (Photo courtesy of Louis Tedders, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Bugwood.org) Read more>
PANTS goes downtown
The City of Brotherly Love will play host to PANTS 2013, a move long in the making. The show, scheduled for July 31 and August 1, will be staged at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philly where, according to Mayor Michael Nutter, “I’ve set a goal for our city to become the greenest, most sustainable city in America.” Lots of historical stuff there, too. Read more>
ASABE to develop sprinkler audit standard
The ASABE (American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers) is developing a new standard for evaluating landscape irrigation sprinklers and emitters—and you can help them do it. If you’ve got a stake in water use (who doesn’t?), and you’ve got knowledge of and experience in dealing with irrigation equipment, make your comments known. The new document, tentatively titled S626, Evaluating and Measuring the Performance of Emission Devices in Landscape Irrigation Systems, will standardize repeatable methods for evaluating sprinkler and emitter installation and measuring performance. Those wishing to participate in the project should send an email with the subject “X626 Participation” to Travis Tsunemori (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 16, 2012. Read more>
It’s New Plants time!
Halloween decorations in September are one thing; Christmas ornaments? We’re not ready. But we are ready to gather information for our annual December issue: 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.
Protect your plants
What happens to the plants you’ve so carefully grown once they’ve left your hands? Are they stressed during the shipping process? Are they cared for in the garden center? Find out how to protect those precious plants—and your reputation as a grower—with BASF’s white paper, “Realizing Disease Control and Plant Health,” available on American Nurseryman’s website. Go to www.amerinursery.com and click “Industry White Papers” in the upper left corner—better yet, just click the link provided here. Read more>
Soles joins Star Roses
Greg Soles has joined Star Roses and Plants/The Conard-Pyle Co. as perennial product manager. Soles has consulted with the company for several years and previously worked with Aris/Green Leaf Plants. Read more>
Warren named to STIHL NW position
Dave Warren has moved to STIHL Northwest as sales and marketing manager for the STIHL branch. Warren previously worked with STIHL Limited, the company’s Canadian subsidiary. In his new position, Warren will be responsible for growing the brand in the Pacific Northwest region, including Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Read more>
Too cute! ‘Rosita’, a new dwarf coneflower from Terra Nova Nurseries, stands at only 14 inches tall with a 16-inch flower scape. Soft pink, fragrant flowers with a showy center cone bloom from July through October in full sun; the plant is drought-resistant, deer-resistant and performs well in zones 4 to 9. Read more>
Penhow Diascia ‘Aurora’ Series
The Penhow™ Diascia ‘Aurora’ series has a unique upright habit with branched, pyramidal flower spikes. This unusual flower form allows Aurora to have more flower power and be at least two weeks longer-flowering than other Diascia varieties. Aurora’s upright habit brings the opportunity for tighter spacing in production, transportation and retail display, and the potential for cost savings that this would allow. In addition, the well-matched series has a good range of strong, bright colors for an outstanding retail display. ‘Aurora Apricot’ is pictured here. Read more>
New Discus tablets from OHP deliver imidacloprid to the root zone in a unique way: Simply insert the prescribed number of tablets into the root zone of established plants, when shifting up or at planting, and the tablet will begin to break down. When it does, imidacloprid is taken up systematically and translocated through the plant; a starter 12-9-4 fertilizer charge aids in the uptake. The tablets can be used on ornamentals grown in greenhouses, and in field and container nurseries, and may provide up to two years of control on production ornamentals for long-term sucking insect control. Read more>
New from BASF: Orvego™ fungicide contains a unique combination chemistry that combats all major downy mildews and Phytophthora species during the infectious stages, allowing growers to control targeted plant diseases within seconds of treatment. Orvego fungicide fights pathogens with a combination of dimethomorph, the active ingredient in Stature® SC fungicide, and ametoctradin, a new active ingredient. The product has shown no fungicide cross-resistance. Read more>
McConkey Co. introduces rEarth™ production containers, a new line of 100 percent recycled pots made from water bottles (rPET). rEarth containers are sturdy, tear-resistant and comparable or superior to other plastics in strength, performance and price. Each is stamped with a Recycled Water Bottles stamp so consumers know the container is rEarth recycled and recyclable. Read more>
Rockaway for soil prep
Get the rocks out with Rockaway, an affordable attachment that turns rough, rocky ground into a finely groomed seedbed. A single, rugged rotor studded with durable mining teeth arranged in a spiral pattern separates rock from soil, while the implement pushes small amounts of dirt when it’s moving forward. It can be installed on skid steers or compact tractors with a hydraulic system capacity of 6 gpm or more. Four widths are available, designed to accommodate 60- to 83.5-inch buckets. Read more>
Finally: Good fishing on Duck Lake