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National Moth Week

National Moth Week


This year July 18 through the 26th is National Moth Week! [1]

What started in 2012 amongst members of the “Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission” as moth nights, has grown into a national week celebrating the education and conservation of moths throughout the United States. 

As the education and conservation of moths continue to grow, so do the number of participating states and countries throughout the world. Currently the event is registered in all 50 United States and 80 other countries.

Why Are Moths Important?

Moths are estimated to have been in existence for around 50 -70 million years [2]. This timeline makes the moth one of the oldest and most successful organisms on planet Earth.

Besides being well established in our biosphere, moths are also recognized as bioindicators. Their abundance and vitality directly correlates to the health and well being of plants and in turn animals in their surroundings. 

This point of contention has behaved as a driving force behind many insect conservation efforts for the better part of two to three decades[3].

In addition to being a strong indicator of a healthy environment, moths are also pollinators and just as important as the bees and butterflies that we glorify during pollinator’s week.

Where Can You Find Moths?

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The focus of the National Moth Week is to recognize and promote beneficial moths in your local ecosystem. There are a number of activities all week long through your local extension office, Audubon society, and moth communities. [4] 

To construct your own mothing experience, follow these few steps and enjoy an event in your own backyard!

  • First, hang up a sheet
  • Second, find a light source
  • Third, place the light source close by/behind your sheet to attract the moths, and give them a place to land
  • Finally, sit back and wait for the moths!

While there are a number of moths that can be viewed at night. There is also a significant amount to be found during the day. Until recently it was commonly believed that moths were unlike butterflies and only flew at night to avoid different predators. But, scientists in recent years have found that as few as 50 species of moths have changed their activity patterns to daytime.

Moths are everywhere, you just have to know where to look! During daytime hours, moths can be found in their preferred habitats of gardens with beautiful flowers, and anywhere that has them. The beauty and complex artistry of moth wings can often be mistaken for a butterfly.

Next time you’re out in the day, take a closer look and see if your favorite butterfly is perhaps a moth instead! [6]

Other ways to attract moths include using ripened fruit, sugaring (rubbing molasses on a small section of bark), and wine ropes (rope cooked down in a pan with red wine and sugar). Identifying moths during moth week is half the fun.

There are a number of ways for you to become a moth expert, you just have to get started!

The “Other” Moths

Gypsy Moth

We’ve spent the majority of this article explaining the importance of this week and the benefits of moths, but we wouldn’t be doing our part if we didn’t also mention the…”other” moths.

Here at Plant Sentry™ we know better than anyone, that while there can be a number of good pests out there, it only takes one bad one to wipe out an entire collection of plants. So while we’ve highlighted so many great things about moths in this article, we wouldn’t be following our ethics if we didn’t also warn you about the bad ones.

Almost all of the moth species that exist are beneficial, but just like that one guy in the fast lane slowing everyone down, there’s also that one moth species who isn’t doing any good in North America. 

Introducing the Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)! 

If you haven’t heard about them before, then we’re really glad you decided to stop by. The Gypsy Moth is an invasive moth species to the North American region. It is classified as one of the most challenging pests to control and eradicate because of the number of plants that it can infiltrate, as well as their discrete biological way of spreading. 

The threat that this pest most prominently proposes is the defoliation that it causes to its plant hosts. Most commonly they can be found in Oak trees, Sweet Gum, Willow, Birch, Apple, Boxelder, as well as many more. 

They often leave their hosts in such a state that they become more susceptible to diseases and mortality. Additionally, the damage caused to the trees can increase the potential of wildfires due to the lack of moisture from the leaves.

Controlling the pest has been an ongoing challenge for growers since 1869 when the moth first arrived in Boston [5]. The Gypsy Moth can travel as a larvae to new locations through what is known as “ballooning.” This is when the larvae produces a silk thread and it is carried by a strong enough wind that the insect is able to travel without flight. This spread facilitation in addition to the unintentional transfer by human goods allows the population of this pest to increase continually. 

While there are different kinds of traps that can attract the pest, there is always the risk of increasing the population this way and making it more difficult in the long run. Additional methods that can be of benefit are chemical or biological solutions that eradicate the pest at the caterpillar stage.

The Plant Sentry™ Effort

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Wax moth larvae

Here at Plant Sentry™ we’re suckers for healthy plants. We genuinely can’t help ourselves!

A healthy plant is so much more than just a beautiful addition to a landscape. To us, a healthy plant signifies a healthy future in a healthy environment. Because of the efforts of thousands of moth species throughout the world, healthy plants are possible.

While there is one bad apple in the bunch, there are still thousands of other moth species that do great things for your plants and our planet. We recognize that providing diligent and valuable information is the backbone of success against invasive species and protecting species that are good for our local ecosystems.

Day in and day out we work hard at Plant Sentry™ to stay on top of the latest regulations so that when it comes to your plant’s health, we have the right answers for you. We understand that pests make their way in shipments, despite our best efforts. We’ve designed our services to understand nature and provide the best guidance to protect your healthy plants.

If you’re ready to take the next steps to protect your plants and business visit our Contact Us page to get started!


[1]National Moth Week. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from http://nationalmothweek.org/

[2] Hayward, E. (2018, January 20). Jurassic moths. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/bcnews/science-tech-and-health/earth-environment-and-sustainability/bc-scientists-find-prehistoric-butterflies-preceded-flowers.html

[3] Stewart, A. J., New, T. R., & Lewis, O. T. (2007). Insect conservation biology: Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society’s 23rd symposium. Cambridge, MA, MA: CABI.

[4] Zych, A. (2016, July 28). Go Mothing! Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/observe-moths/

[5] Invasive Species. (2019, October 10). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/isro/learn/nature/invasive-species-gypsy-moth.htm

[6] http://www.mothscount.org/uploads/How_to_start%20_mothing.pdf

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Here’s A Flight You’ll Want to Miss

Here’s A Flight You’ll Want to Miss

For growers around the world, there are certain seasons that can be more stressful than others. In the U.S. the challenges of the seasons are no different. With the ever evolving globalized market of the world, the challenge of keeping unwanted pests out seems to get harder every single year. 

This challenge is especially difficult during their mating seasons when many pests reproduce and establish their damages for years to come. One pest in the United States is regarded with high priority for eradication and control methods. 

Every year between June 1st until September 30th growers around the U.S. work tirelessly to seek an end to the damage from the Japanese Beetle. This time of the year is known as the Japanese Beetle Flight Season (Period).

Japanese Beetles- A History

As you could probably guess by the name, the Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)originated in Japan. Many, many years ago in 1916 Japanese Beetles were officially discovered in the United States near Riverton, New Jersey.[1] However, it is believed that the pest made its way over on a shipment of Iris bulbs as early as 1912. [2]

Fast forward to the current year of 2020 and most states East of the Mississippi River have been infested by the Japanese Beetle. While partial infestations do exist West of the Mississippi, states on that side of the U.S. have taken strict precautions to protect themselves against the spread of the invasive pest. [1]

What’s the Big Deal With the Small Size?

While the establishment of Japanese Beetles is fairly well known at this point in time, many of you may still be asking “Why are these pests such a big deal?”

Japanese beetles can prove difficult to remove once they’ve established themselves at a location. 

During their flight season, the beetle digs a hole in the soil and lays their eggs. The growing beetles, or grubs, will then spend the next 10 months in the soil before emerging. During their time in the soil the grubs devour roots and seedlings of good quality turf and vegetables. While the grubs prefer good quality turf and vegetables areas, they can survive in almost any soil conditions. 

While the grubs wreak havoc below ground, above the surface the Japanese beetle can do just as much damage. As can be seen above, the Japanese beetle will eat out the green tissue between the leaf veins of a plant for feeding. This is consistent with their feeding pattern and not particular to one type of plant. While the plant may recover from the damage to their energy panels, or leaves as you may call them, the damage leaves the plant more susceptible to damage from other harmful insects and pests.

How Do I Know If I Have Them?

While the beetles are growing and in their grub stage, it can be difficult to know whether or not you have an infestation. But, above the surface things are much more noticeable. 


The Japanese beetle tends to “appear out of nowhere.” One day you may have seen 0 pests, and the next day they may be overwhelmingly apparent! There are a few plants that, depending on region, may act as indicator plants, or plants that are of preference to the Japanese beetle. They can almost certainly be found in rose bushes of any kind, raspberry plants, Linden trees, Maple tree varieties, Fruit tree varieties, Elm tree varieties, Ash tree varieties, Oak tree varieties, grape vines, and many more.

When “planting” their eggs in the soil, the female Japanese beetle follows a fairly specific pattern. She will take flight in the afternoon. She will find moist soil conditions. She will then dig and bury her eggs 2-3 inches in the ground. From there the lifecycle of the Japanese beetle starts all over again. 

But let’s take a step back to the identification of “moist soil conditions.” As I mentioned above, the Japanese beetle grubs prefer quality turf roots for feeding, because of this, the female beetle also looks to identify wet turf conditions for laying her eggs. The wet conditions are ideal and somewhat essential to the larvae stage of the beetle. It isn’t until the grubs are older that they are more drought tolerant, and before then it is pertinent to their survival. [4]

With all of the factors of preference for larvae livelihood considered, there are some key indicators that can help determine if an infestation is possible, or already exists. Moist irrigated turf areas are an ideal habitat for the grubs. When large portions of the turf die during times of hot and dry weather it can be a strong indicator that there is a larvae infestation. 

Treatment Options for Japanese Beetle

The Japanese Beetle once fully grown only lives for about 30-45 days at a time. So, when treating for the pest, targeting the larvae stage is just as important as eradicating the adult stage.

With a feeding habit that includes over 300 different plant species, the treatment options for Japanese Beetles is just as vast as the types of plants they eat!

There are chemical options available using different active ingredients such as Bifenthrin, Chlorpyrifos, Imidacloprid, Methyl Bromide, Lambda-cyhalothrin, Cypermethrin, and many more. Many greenhouses are required by law to use different chemicals in order to ship their plants across state borders during the Flight Period. 

This is seen as perhaps the most effective method against the Japanese beetle and is helpful in mitigation of the larvae stage, as well as the adult stage. However, because the beetles hatch in stages, while you may have sprayed one day for the insect, the insects may continue to emerge over time. 

Other options for treatment include using traps that utilize pheromones to attract the insect, but you can end up with more insects than you started with. There are also pellets that can be applied to grass areas that target the larvae specifically. We personally prefer the slow release pellets that are designed to prevent groundwater contamination. Another option for treatment is to physically pick them off your plants and drop them in a bucket of water as they’re collected.  

Whatever method of treatment you decide is right for your environment, be sure to do your research beforehand as to what is going to be best for your plants and their surroundings. The ultimate goal is to always have the healthiest plants, and too much of one thing can lead to not enough of another.

Plant Sentry™ Involvement

We like to think we’re kind of a big deal, and honestly it’s because we are! When it comes to pest mitigation the Plant Sentry™ experts work year round to stay up-to-date with the latest pest treatments. With involvement of different plant boards around the United States, members of Plant Sentry™ strive to stay up-to-date on the latest treatment methods for the Japanese Beetle. 

With our expertise we’re sure to help you ship the healthiest of plants. To learn more about how you can gain access to this information visit our contact us section!

Citations

[1] Japanese Beetle Harmonization Plan. (2018, December 04). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://nationalplantboard.org/japanese-beetle-harmonization-plan/

[2] (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from http://www.treesforever.org/Japanese_Beetle

[3] Japanese Beetle Lifecycle Illustration. (n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/japanese-beetle/ct_lifecycle

[4] Japanese Beetles in the Urban Landscape. (n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef451

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Pollinator Week

Pollinator Week

It’s officially National Pollinator’s Week and we are ecstatic! Plant Sentry™ prides itself on helping make the Earth a better place for growing and sharing plants, so naturally, Pollinator’s Week is right up our alley. 


While underestimated in their value and importance, the list of pollinators includes around 200,000 species. Besides insects like bees, butterflies and beetles; there are 1,000 vertebrates on the list such as birds, bats, and other small mammals. Because of their impact, pollinators are some of the most important species on the planet.

The Key to Pollinating

A large portion of the pollinator population is made up of what are known as keystone species. Keystone species are essential to the environmental survival of their habitats. Many times keystone species become compromised when hunting, habitat degradation, and agricultural pursuits alter their ecosystems in a way that the species can not keep up with.

If the keystone species can no longer survive its habitat, then the ecosystem it supports can no longer survive.

This is seen in the case of the world’s largest pollinator, the white ruffed lemurs. While they may be the largest pollinator, their home of Madagascar has undergone extreme environmental renovations over the past several years.[1] Why are white and black ruffed lemurs endangered? Forest fragmentation and habitat loss have resulted in these pollinators being listed as critically endangered.

Pollination Can Get Batty

Lemurs aren’t the only pollinators at risk in our modern world. Due to recent innovations in wind energy bat pollination is also at risk. Wind farms are responsible for killing somewhere between 650,000 to 1.3 million bats between 2000 and 2011.

The bat species that are seen most at risk are the two federally endangered species of the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) and the Indiana myotis (Myotis sodalis). [2] It is uncertain as to what exactly attracts the bats to the wind turbines, but scientists are working diligently to figure it out. 

Over 500 different plant species rely on pollination by bats. Fruits such as bananas, guava, and mangoes wouldn’t flower without a bat and their love for nectar. Other important agricultural plants that bats pollinate are the agave plant, used for tequila and balsa trees, used for lightweight timber. [3]

The Buzzzziest Pollinator

In recent years, bees have finally been recognized for all of their hard work! The efforts of bee pollination add up to approximately $235-$577 billion USD in global food production, annually. [4] Bees are responsible for the pollination of goods such as apples, broccoli, cranberries, melons, and sometimes cherries and blueberries

A combination of habitat loss, pollutants, climate change, the Varroa mite, bacterial diseases, travel, and irresponsible chemical usage all add up to be contributing factors that make it difficult for bee populations to survive in high numbers. The common solution that many humans turn to is becoming a honey beekeeper in hopes to boost the population. But, the honey bee isn’t the only bee. [6]

There are roughly 25,000 other bee populations on our planet.

Depending upon the food source and the environment of the wild bees, the honey bee could be invasive. While many of these species look similar to the honey bee, the ecosystems they sustain are often drastically different. [5]

Your Impact & Responsibility

As the human population continues to grow there is an ever-increasing need for more food. 

Part of the critical role that pollinators have is pollinating a number of crops for humans. Due to the decline of pollinators worldwide, in 2016 it was reported that farmers in China had turned to pollination by hand. 

To achieve the same pollination of their pear trees that had once been received by bees and other insects, people were paid to use a brush to exchange pollen from male to female trees. It’s estimated that a human can pollinate only 5-10 trees a day, merely a fraction of the amount bees can cover. [4]

This research led to the question of “What if this is our future normal?” 

The idea that someday swarms of insects will no longer exist to fulfill the task of pollination raises many red flags. Beyond the scope of agricultural needs is the concept of ecosystem structure. As mentioned earlier, entire environments depend on the role of keystone species, and the species they affect in order for ecosystems to thrive and survive. 

The policies and procedures that we as humans have used for centuries may have been enough in the past. But, looking forward to how humans interact with our planet and our environments, will depend on the change we implement and care we take to preserve and restore the damages we cause.

Helping Pollinators

As attention has continued to be paid towards the decline of the pollinator population, humans are more eager than ever to lend a helping hand in rehabilitating these species. 

Where to start in helping the pollinator population can seem challenging at first, but organizations such as the Pollinator Partnership and National Wildlife Federation have developed programs that can locate pollinator plants good for your area. 

Growing landscapes for bees and other pollinators is a great way to help recover the loss of pollinators without taking on too much work. Pollinator plants attract pollinators and give them the sustenance they need to keep moving.

While science is continually growing, it will be the responsibility of communities to implement the checks and balances necessary to keep our pollinators alive.

Plant Sentry™ practices this belief in the services we offer our clients in helping mitigate pests and protect against disease. It’s not always easy to decide what the right move is, but with our help, the load feels a lot lighter.

For more information on how you can help protect pollinators and your plants, be sure to visit our Our Services page to learn more about our practices. If you have questions or interest about our services, Contact Us for more information.

Citations:

[1] Black and White Ruffed Lemur. 17 Feb. 2020, lemur.duke.edu/discover/meet-the-lemurs/black-white-ruffed-lemur/.

[2] Bats & Wind Energy. www.batcon.org/resources/for-specific-issues/wind-power.

[3] “U.S. Forest Service.” Forest Service Shield, www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/bats.shtml.

[4] “Shrinking Bee Populations Are Being Replaced by Human Pollinators.” Global Citizen, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/life-without-bees-hand-human-pollination-rural-chi/.

[5] Victoria A Wojcik, Lora A Morandin, Laurie Davies Adams, Kelly E Rourke, Floral Resource Competition Between Honey Bees and Wild Bees: Is There Clear Evidence and Can We Guide Management and Conservation?, Environmental Entomology, Volume 47, Issue 4, August 2018, Pages 822–833, https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvy077

[6] Farah, Troy. “While We Worry About Honeybees, Other Pollinators Are Disappearing.” Discover Magazine, 3 Aug. 2018.

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Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

As the weather continues to warm and the sun stays out longer, fruits and vegetables are growing bigger every day. Which is perfect, because June is National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

While the basis of this month is to focus on the health aspects that fruits and vegetables provide to the human diet. We can’t help but stop to wonder, what determines the health of our fruits and vegetables? And who’s checking up on this?

Piqued Your Curiosity?

Where our produce comes from is commonly related to what store we bought it at and where that store is located. Until the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the concept of how that produce got to the store, was lost on many of the people who ate it. And sure, we know it comes from a farm, and that farmers have to grow it, but where are these farms located? And what are their growing practices? How do I know that the health of their plants is going to mean health for my body?

Finding the Answers

Unless you belong to the farming and gardening industry the idea of plant sourcing may be outside your realm, simply because you don’t see it. But, that’s part of the reason why Plant Sentry™ is here. We exist to safeguard the shipment of plants, and well, fruits and vegetables are plants too. 

So this month, we’d like to help answer some of these questions for you and give you some tools you need to answer these questions for yourself.

Where Do They Come From?

While California leads the U.S. states in domestic agriculture, the other 48 states make sure to do their part when it comes to farming too. 2 million other farms to be exact. While this seems like a lot, and perhaps that it should be enough, what may be surprising about this is that only about 8% of farms market their foods locally [2]. 

Many fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. are only in season for a few weeks out of a calendar year.

The Fruits of Labor After the Seasons Over

Once the U.S. growers finish out their seasons for fruits and vegetables the American consumer doesn’t end their want/need for the produce. Instead, the U.S. market imports fresh fruits and vegetables from all around the world to meet American consumers’ demand.In 2012 it was calculated that roughly 6.9 million metric tons of fruits and vegetables were shipped to U.S. Distribution Centers nationwide. [2]  

So Are They Healthy?

The U.S. market for fruits and vegetables can be divided into 2 categories, fresh and processed. Deciding which market the farmer grows for determines how the produce is grown. If it is grown for the processed market, then the goods will meet the standards of that market. If the produce is grown for the fresh market, then they will adhere to the standards of the fresh market. The USDA monitors both of these markets and lists their standards for both categories here. [4]

When it comes to the health of fruits and vegetables determining their values can be a little bit more challenging, because it requires a closer look. Fruits and vegetable benefits are evaluated by the nutrient density of the good and can vary slightly based on growth conditions. 

The way the food is prepared and handled will also determine the overall nutrient density of the fruits and vegetables. But generally speaking, it is safe to follow the nutritional evaluations of raw fruits and vegetables from the FDA. [1]

Beyond the Label

Unless you’re purchasing goods from a local grower, knowing more finite information about the produce your consuming can be challenging. While the FDA requires the listing of the country on the stickers for fruits and vegetables, beyond that is considered proprietary business information.[5]

The Green Industry Role

In the Green Industry, it can be challenging to find out information if you aren’t on the inside of the situation. When there are disease and pest outbreaks, our government officials often settle for only listing the affected state and not the company name. This is no different when it comes to the agricultural side of things and handling the safety of food.

In order to protect international business relationships, the same standard of discretion is applied to the produce industry. As Americans continue to populate and rely on these resources, it is the utmost responsibility of the government officials regulating these goods to protect not only those eating them but also those who grow them.

The Plant Sentry™ Role

Being a member of the Green Industry can sometimes be challenging. While we at Plant Sentry™ primarily focus on the health of plants and their shipping and restrictions requirements, we know that every piece of the puzzle is important.

How consumers purchase and select their goods plays into the giant game of chess that impacts the availability consumers have. 

This is why we do and encourage everything we can in shipping and compliance of regulations to help growers be successful so that consumers can keep their variety.


  • Citations
    1. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/nutrition-information-raw-fruits-vegetables-and-fish
    2. Fast Facts About Agriculture & Food. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts
    3. Fischetti, M. (2013, September 1). U.S. Demand for Fruits and Vegetables Drives Up Imports. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/us-demand-for-fruits-and-vegetables-drives-up-imports
    4. Grades and Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards
    5. Grossman, E. (2014, September 24). Want to find out where your fruit was grown? Good luck. Retrieved from https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/fruit-veggies-produce-origins-trade-secret/

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    Digging Up the “Dirt” On Geraniums

    Digging Up the “Dirt” On Geraniums

    Everything You Need to Know About the Ralstonia Outbreak

    As the month of April came to a close the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the detection of Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (R3bv2) in a greenhouse in Michigan. The infection was discovered in a species of geraniums identified as the Fantasia ‘Pink Flare’ variety.

    It has been roughly sixteen years since this bacteria was last found on U.S. soil and since then has garnered itself the classification of a potential bioterrorism agent against the United State’s agriculture. In 2004, Florida’s tomato crops were threatened by the disease and led to the destruction of over 4 million plants to prevent its spread.

    How It Can Impact the U.S.

    This specific strain of Ralstonia solanacearum has the potential to impact several important agricultural crops. However, it is potatoes and tomatoes that are at the greatest risk from this disease. Both agricultural crops are common hosts of the disease and can wipe out the entire crop with infection before the symptoms can be identified.

    The bacterial wilt made its way to the U.S, this time, through an infected shipment of plants from Guatemala. Since its discovery, the foreign greenhouse responsible for the infection has voluntarily ceased all incoming and planned shipments to the United States. With an additional 288 greenhouses in 39 states who also received cuttings from this grower, APHIS has been working tirelessly to prevent the spread of this infection.

    Who & What They’re After

    The plant is targeted for eradication is the Fantasia ‘Pink Flare’ geranium. As the USDA moves through greenhouses affected by this disease they will go through and sample, isolate and destroy any of the species. Due to the spread of the infection that can occur between host plants and non-host plants, the USDA will also target other geranium species in the suspected greenhouses for the same methods of control.

    How Does This Happen?

    While the majority of Ralstonia solanacearum strains infect tropical and subtropical climates, the host of the bacteria ranges into the hundreds and can be located in agricultural goods around the world. It is in colder tropical climates that R3bv2 develops. The development of this disease is majorly identified in the highland, cooler tropical, parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. 
    In an AmericanHort webinar, hosted for awareness of the disease, Professor Caitilyn Allen of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison identified that the infectious tract for this disease is through the water-transporting xylem vessels. In a series of images she showed how, on a microscopic level, the bacteria infiltrates tomato stems and quickly takes over the healthy cells of the plant.

    What To Look For

    The most common symptom of this bacterial infection is stunting in plant growth. However, this disease can also be expressed by yellowing and wilting of the leaves, and eventually death of the plant. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension states in their reporting of the bacteria that, “Symptom expression is favored by high temperatures (85°F-95°F). Symptoms of this disease may progress rapidly after infection, but plants may remain without symptoms for extended periods.”

    The lack of symptoms that are in hosts makes the danger of this disease all the more pressing to the U.S. Agriculture. With the disease leading to a potato farmer’s nightmare, brown rot, it is truly a team effort of the industry to keep this disease from spreading.

    It is additionally important to note that while there are symptoms that can help in identifying the disease, there are also a number of ornamental plants and Nightshade family weeds that can host the disease without symptoms.

    Symptoms of Ralstonia solanacearum:

    Here are a few ways to identify if your plants may possibly be infected:

    • Upward rolling of the leaves, that eventually leads to their collapse
    • When squeezing the stem of a suspected infected plant, a milky white ooze comes out
    • Placing a suspected infected plant stem in a glass of water and after 15 minutes milky streaking of bacteria is coming out from the stem

    How to Move Forward

    While there are testing options available, they aren’t 100% accurate in many cases and can be quite expensive to carry out. Instead, the USDA is recommending that if you believe your plants to be infected by the disease, or that you have received a plant of the known infected variety to reach out to the contact facility or report the infection through the USDA State Plant Health Directors page. They will schedule a date to come out to the facility and inspect the plants, as well as obtain some first-hand information. Following their scheduling, they will issue their “Emergency Action Notification” document with a more detailed version of the following procedures.

    It is asked that you hold all plants of the Fantastia ‘Pink Flare’ variety, as well as any other geraniums or known host plants of the disease. This qualifies towards any host plants that may have been shipped between 10/2019 until 04/2020. The USDA also asks that you hold any plant material that may have been exposed or come in contact with the suspected infectious plants or any materials exposed to it.

    The suspected material will then be tested. If test results are negative, then the items are free to be moved again. However if the material is found to be contaminated, then the items will be destroyed and the area disinfected through means that have been outlined to be acceptable by the EAN procedures of the USDA.

    The Ending Our Industry Deserves

    While growers and inspectors seek out infestation to destroy this disease once again from U.S. soil, it is noteworthy to mention that 55 Canadian greenhouses have also been infected from this incident.

    As we look to the future from this occurrence, many are wondering how they can protect their crops from something like this happening again? Our answer is simple, Plant Sentry™.

    When infections like Ralstonia solanacearum are discovered, Plant Sentry™ works to immediately notify our clients of the potential risks their plants face. This communication is essential in helping to slow the spread of the disease from the grower to the vendor. 


    Early notification provided by Plant Sentry™ can reduce the potential exposure of the disease and may prevent the elimination of plants due to quarantine and destruction procedures by officials. We understand that every dollar spent should equal a dollar saved. At Plant Sentry™ we apply that mindset to protect your bottom line when a disease shows up to your nursery door. It is our responsibility as an industry to protect one another from the potential danger that a disease like this can cause. With Plant Sentry™ on your side, protection gets a whole lot easier!

    To learn more about our efforts be sure to view our other blogs!

    Citations

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    VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 3

    VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 3

    As we’ve made our way through the past few blogs, we’ve examined the complex nature that viruses have. We’ve gone in-depth into the realm of viruses and examined two of the most unique virus families in biology. Now, we’ll examine the third and final family of viruses that have the capacity to infect the Animalia and Plantae Kingdoms

    The first of these viruses was the Bunyaviridae and the second was the Rhabdoviridae.  The third of these rare viruses that we will be discussing is the Reoviridae family.

    As we come to a close on our examinations of rare plant viruses that can infect humans we take one more close look at the dangers these species present.

    Reoviridae

    The Basics

    Reoviridae has 2 subfamilies that have 15 genera that divide out into a total of 75 different virus species that infect a variety of hosts, including plants and animals. This virus family is the largest family of double-stranded RNA viruses, and perhaps the most understood of their kind. They have been identified in a wide variety of organisms, found in everything from an arachnid, a plant, fungi, reptiles, mammals, and more. 

    In humans, this viral family is responsible for the commonly known Rotavirus. The Rotavirus is passed from fecal matter being transmitted orally through contaminated objects and surfaces. This transmission encourages easier spread amongst children and infants. 

    But the Reoviridae viruses aren’t exclusive to humans. As mentioned above, the variety of hosts for these viruses almost seems unlimited, even infecting fish! But our major concern is the relationship these viruses have with plants and how we can prevent their spread.

    Affect on Plants

    Out of the abundance of Reoviridae viruses that exist, there are 3 genera that have approximately 14 different species that infect plants.  These three genera are Phytoreovirus, Oryzavirus, and Fijivirus

    These viruses are believed to originate in ancient invertebrates and are developmentally reliant on the vectors of leafhoppers. Without the hoppers the virus could not reproduce in most cases and would die off completely. But, with the hoppers as the host, they are able to spread their diseases to different plant vectors. Due to the lack of spread through seed, many of these viruses reproduce through larvae of the hoppers and not just in the host themselves.

    These viruses are mainly a threat to what are known as cereal crops and include rice, maize, sorghum, and barley. Each variation of these viruses affect each crop a little differently, but overall causes severe damage. As we examine these three different viral genera we should keep in mind how each of them could impact our environment if not properly managed.

    Phytoreovirus

    This virus produces the commonly known diseases of Rice Dwarf Virus and Rice Gall Dwarf Virus. Plants that are infected with these viruses exhibit defined stunting, more tillering, and leaves that are short and dark with chlorotic specks. The plants most often survive until harvest, but at that time it is often discovered that the flower containing the grain is empty.

    The damage from these viruses are mostly experienced in Southeastern Asia, but that doesn’t mean it can’t affect other areas of the world. Diseases can often go unnoticed with little symptoms to the plant until harvest time.

    This furtiveness can make the management of these pests and diseases almost impossible if not properly maintained. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance when managing stock plants. As part of Plant Sentry’s mission, we maintain constant vigilance on diseases like these to keep our growers informed and their plants healthy.

    Orzyavirus

    The second genera of the Reoviridae virus family to infect plants is the Orzyavirus. One of its species is the Rice Ragged Stunt Virus. This disease is transmitted by the Brown Planthopper and reduces the amount of plant density and grain production. This virus is most commonly found in tropical Asian climates where the conditions are optimal for continuous habitation of the Brown Planthopper and rice to be grown all year long.

    Much like the Phytovirus the threat that this disease poses to crop quality and density is significant. While it primarily occurs in other parts of the world outside the United States, it still has the potential to impact our food supply and the plants that we grow. It is oftentimes that once a species makes its way to our country that a virus or disease mutates and infects its new surroundings differently than it had in its original habitat.

    Fijivirus

    The last genera of this viral family is the Fijivirus. In recent years these viruses have primarily been found targeting rice production in China. But many years before, they were found to be ruining sugar crops in Australia

    Currently, the Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus is transferred by the White-Backed Planthopper and causes damage to rice crops. The earlier the plant is infected, the more damage that is done.

    Similar to the other diseases we’ve reviewed today, this virus can cause dwarfing, stiffening of leaves, lack of grain production, and increased tillering. The infected plant leaves are often dark and short with some ruffling on the edges.  

    Like so many other diseases, every component of its management can potentially affect its neighbor. As we’ve seen in recent months, all it takes is one vector to carry disease to a new environment and create a dramatic impact. Habitats and ecosystems may vary from place to place, but many of these species are genetically designed to thrive on its unsuspecting victims.

    How It Affects You

    As we come to a close with our examinations of viruses, we hope that this has made you more curious and considerate of how viruses can infect our world. Where we once thought viruses to be limited, maybe now we’re a little more open-minded on just how easily they can spread. As the world reemerges from its quarantine cocoon, we recognize that our perception of viruses has changed, hopefully for the better.

    At Plant Sentry we plan to use our new-found knowledge to help our growers achieve optimal plant health. We work around the clock to provide our clients with the highest level of awareness against disease and pests. Through our expertise in disease management we know the best practices that will make work easier on growers for seasons to come. In this ever-changing world, there has never been a better time to do the right thing and keep your plants safe and healthy. To learn more about our practices visit the Our Services page and see why what we’re doing makes a BIG difference.

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    VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 2

    VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 2

    Last week we shared a brief introduction with you about three rare virus families. What makes these virus families so unique is their ability to infect humans, animals, and plants.

    Out of 23 virus families, only 3 of them can cross between the Animalia and Plantae Kingdoms!

    We looked at the Bunyaviridae family first and discovered that it is responsible for the Tospovirus, which is commonly seen in Thrips and can quickly cause stunted growth in important plants.

    This week we’d like to take a closer look at the Rhabdoviridae virus family.

    RHABDOVIRIDAE

    The Basics

    The Rhabdoviridae virus family officially contains 20 genera and has 143(4) species that are negative-sense and consist of a single-strand RNA. While the family of viruses can be hosted by vertebrates, arthropods, and plants, many of the plant and vertebrae viruses are arthropod-borne.

    Out of the 20 genera that exist in this viral family there are 2 that are most commonly known to humans worldwide. As I’m sure you could guess by the name, one of the most infamous viruses of this family is Rabies. This virus may seem confined to only animals in developed portions of the world. But, in the countries of India and Africa, this virus remains a serious threat to humans. There are vaccines and antibodies to combat the virus, but don’t be fooled! If left untreated the disease has a 100% chance of death.

    The second most notorious virus of this family is vesicular stomatitis. This disease affects horses, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, and occasionally humans. The result of contracting this virus is an influenza-like illness. While this virus may not be as severe as the Rabies virus, it still has an important economic impact on countries like the United States, who have eradicated similar diseases.

    Affect on Plants

    Now that you’ve seen the terror that this family of viruses can have on humans and animals, how does it affect plants? Well, I’m glad we finally got to this point. 

    There are 4 different genera of this viral family that infiltrate plants: Cytorhabdovirus, Dichorhavirus, Nucleorhabdovirus, and Varicosavirus. 

    Cytorhabdorvirus

    This genus of viruses is commonly spread through arthropod vectors such as aphids, leafhoppers, and planthoppers. In 2015 a Novel Cytorhabdovirus was found in rice plants in China. The result of infection was dwarfing, yellow striping of leaves, mosaic and twisting of leaves, and eventually production of inferior heads of the plant bearing mostly few and unfilled grains. Typical symptoms of varieties of this virus in other plants include yellow striping, mosaic, and twisting of the leaves.

    Dichorhavirus

    This genus of the Rhabdoviridae virus is typically transmitted by mites. These viruses generate symptoms of localized lesions on leaves, stems, and fruits of plants that have high economical value. These viruses most commonly affect citrus, coffee, and orchids. Between 2013 to 2016 a new Citrus leprosis virus was discovered in Brazil. Citrus leprosis (CL) is a viral disease that produces necrotic and chlorotic lesions on the leaves, branches, and fruit of the citrus plant. This disease causes a significant yield reduction in citrus orchards. Additional diseases that are commonly seen from this virus also include Orchid Fleck Virus (OFV) and  Coffee Ringspot Virus (CRV).

    Nucleorhabdovirus

    This genus of viruses is transmitted commonly by leafhoppers, planthoppers, and aphids but can also be spread through vegetation propagation and mechanical measures. One of the most well-known variations of this virus is the Maize Mosaic Virus (MMV). This disease has been infiltrating plants since 1960. But in more modern times, there are many new varieties coming to light. In 2010, an alfalfa plant located in Stadl-Paura, Austria displayed symptoms of viral infection. In 2018 and 2019 the virally infected plants have been evaluated by scientists and have identified a new novel Nucleorhabdovirus strain. It is proposed as Alfalfa-associated Nucleorhabdovirus (AaNV). The disease can cause leaf rolling, mottling, yellowing, curling, and chlorotic lesions.

    Varicosavirus

    This genus naturally occurs in two families of plants: Compositae (which largely contain Angiosperms or flowering plants) and Solanaceae (which contain nightshade or potato family of flowering plants). The diseases of this genera are traditionally spread through soil and hydroponic systems by zoospores of a fungus called Olpidium virulentus. The two most common diseases associated with this viral genus is the Mirafiori Lettuce Big-Vein virus (MLBVV) and the Lettuce Big-Vein associated Virus (LBVaV). The LBVaV has been reported in many parts of the world including the United States and Europe. As of 2015 LBVaV infected lettuce plants have been observed in the central region of Columbia. The infected plants exhibit symptoms of vein clearing, big vein (hence the name), ruffling of the edges of the outer leaves, and small to no head.

    What Does This All Mean?

    While many of the viruses mentioned may originate somewhere else in the world. The impact each of these diseases has on the United States shouldn’t go unnoticed. Many of these diseases and pests are seen here in the United States because of the lack of diligence from outside countries. 

    Plant diseases and pests wreak havoc on our agriculture and threaten our environment, food, and jobs!  

    Amidst the current pandemic, the Plant Industry maintains a firm ground in the economy as people look to bring the outdoors inside. With mandated quarantines and economic decline, many people have looked to invest in their surroundings instead of their experiences.

    This steady stream of potential has forced many in-store only sellers to take-on the e-commerce approach. While it may sound “hunky-dory”, many of these companies are inexperienced when it comes to selling across state lines, and do not realize the risks to our homes, gardens, and environment. 

    Companies that aren’t using Plant Sentry, may not be protecting your plants!

    Plant Sentry works around the clock to protect plants, YOUR plants. Growers that use Plant Sentry say to their buyers, “We’ve done our part to protect these plants from disease, pests, and invasive species so you can do your part in caring for them.” 

    So when you’re reemerging from your quarantine and looking to improve your landscape, look for the Plant Sentry seal of verification and know that we’ve done our part so you can enjoy yours!

    If you’re interested in learning how to protect your plants Contact Us today!

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    VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS: Pt. 1

    VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS: Pt. 1

    As our extensive human history can exhibit, plagues and viruses have been claiming victims as early as 3000 B.C. But viruses specifically, really hit their sweet spot in manifestation around the end of the 1800s and well into the early 1900s. In recent years, viruses have become more aggressive in variation leading to our modern-day collection of coronaviruses.

    To limit your thinking that humans are the only species that can be infected by viruses, like the novel coronavirus, would be a narrow approach to the subject. Especially considering that, for every organism on this planet, there is also a virus that can infect it.

    HOW DOES A VIRUS WORK?

    Most viruses are quite small, microscopically small in fact. Viruses are so microscopically small, they typically require an electron microscope just to be seen. They consist of three parts, the nucleic acid, a coat of protein, and a lipid membrane to seal it all in. The nucleic acid is the center of the virus and contains the DNA or RNA of the particle. Viruses come in all shapes and sizes and can look like a spiky ball, a creature from the Black Lagoon, or anything in between.

    Due to the lack of complexity of a virus, for the virus to replicate or “live,” it must have a host cell. Without the host, the virus does not function. But, inside a host, the virus mutates into a villainous menace wreaking havoc on its occupant.

    TYPES OF VIRUSES

    There are several different types of viruses. In fact, there’s more like hundreds of thousands of different viruses on our planet. There are so many viruses inhabiting every aspect of the Earth’s ecosystems, that it is thought that they could be the most abundant type of biological entity.

    THE RAREST OF VIRUSES

    Out of all the viruses that exist on this planet, there are only three that can infect humans, plants, AND animals. These types of viruses are rare. But, learning more about them, you’ll discover you’ve seen more of them than you’d think.

    There are three types of viruses that can infect humans, plants, and animals. They are Bunyaviridae, Rhabdoviridae, and Reoviridae. Each of these viruses has different functionalities and tendencies, but each one is still capable of causing a viral infection in you and your plants. So, let’s look at them more closely.

    BUNYAVIRIDAE

    This family of viruses is a single strand virus with enveloped RNAs.The family is very large and has five different genera: Orthobunyavirus, Phlebovirus, Nairovirus, Hantavirus, and Tospovirus. Four of the five viruses infect vertebrates, with only one of the four infecting only arthropods. But last, and most certainly not least, the Tospovirus infects only plants.

    While the first four genera of the Bunyaviridae viruses are interesting and definitely worth knowing more about, for the sake of this blog and our interest in plants, we’re going to be specifically discussing Tospoviruses.

    THE TOSPORVIRUS

    The Tospovirus can be transmitted between plants by thrips and replicate in both the Thripidae and the plant cells. Upon first researching this topic, it was expected to find more rare and unknown types of infections that were caused by the virus. So much to my surprise, discovering that thrips was an insect vector component to the same family of viruses that typically cause hemorrhagic fevering in humans, really caught me off guard.

    This virus was identified by scientists in 2014 as one of the most economically important and damaging plant viruses. As many plant owners are aware, thrips can quickly wreak havoc on fundamental crops such as potatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables. But, thrips also has the potential to infect greenhouse plants, as well as flowering plants too.

    DAMAGE FROM THE VIRUS

    For some plants, the damage that Tospovirusthrips can cause may simply result in an unsightly plant with little to harm done to the health of it. But for herbaceous ornamentals or vegetable crops, a viral thrips infestation can destroy the entire potential of the plant, especially while young. The viral pests feeding on the plant can cause stunted growth and loss of leaves from premature dropping due to the damage caused. Another cause of thrips, in some parts of the world, is silvering. This type of damage causes flowering to fail in setting fruit on the infected plant.

    Dying leaves of an infected plant

    One of the most fascinating components of this viral pest is the way that it repopulates and obtains the virus. In order for the pest to contract the virus, they must be in the larvae stage and must feed off of an infected plant. This is the only way that the thrip can contract the virus. However, both the larvae and adult thrips can spread the infection.

    FINDING A SOLUTION

    With 14 different species of thrips circulating the world, it’s no surprise that numerous solutions have since been developed. One solution is our very own Plant Sentry. There are other solutions out there to protect your plants from these viral pests, but doing so can be time-consuming and require a strong sense of sight.

    It is commonly suggested to use a magnifying glass to view the thrips in their larvae stage or identify eggs on the underside of leaves on your plant. Another way to try and maintain control over this viral pest is to use a natural pesticide. Often it is suggested to curb a thrips infestation by pruning, however, if you aren’t careful, and you don’t clean your shears thoroughly the infestation can spread instead of remediating the problem.

    LOOKING FORWARD

    If you have somehow managed to avoid the word “Coronavirus” up until this point, I apologize, but you are now in the same boat as the rest of us. The past month around the world has been nothing short of a real-life “dumpster fire” and most of the globe is now confined to the inside of their homes. But, there’s a silver lining to this pandemic. As we’ve seen throughout history, we will overcome this challenge and become stronger than we were before.

    As we mentioned many paragraphs ago, there are still two other types of viruses that belong to a family of viruses that can infect humans, animals, and plants. For this week, we discussed the Bunyaviridae family. Come back next week to learn about another viral family. And as always, if you’re looking for a shipping solution to help manage pests, invasive species, and diseases visit our contact us page to learn more!

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    Green Industry Vital to Wellness

    Green Industry Vital to Wellness

    Looks like Spring 2020 will be one to remember. It is never easy when something like COVID-19 comes at you so fast.

    These unprecedented times are filled with uncertainty. In order to keep moving forward and successfully navigate these coming days, people are taking extra precautions. New adjustments are being made.

    Getting Through This with Hardworking Teams and Positive Mindsets

    Plant Sentry™ aims to maintain quality at its peak. Cleanliness has always been a major key to the health of our crops. The many protocols we have in place ensure the utmost success in helping companies and consumers keep plants healthy and free from unwanted pests, diseases, and invasive species.

    We take pride in helping safeguard plant shipments through every step so that both businesses and consumers triumph.

    We are proud to serve such a passionate industry that continues to spread joy from door to door. 

    People Will Turn to the Green Industry to Feel Better

    In times of chaos, plants have proven to be some of the best therapy. In the coming days, more Americans will stay closer to home, and they will certainly be looking for things to do around the house.

    Plants do not simply enhance the beauty of our surroundings. Equally important, they offer an outlet to escape the nearby negativity, and at the same time, give people a sense of peace and serenity.

    As we in the industry know, those small moments with nature are crucial to maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul.

    Get the Message Out That There is No Better Time to Plant

    Whether it be inside or out, plant therapy is not a once in a lifetime activity. Rather, it can be an important part of each day or week.

    In times such as these, planting safely is more important than ever, and there are plenty of ways to go about it.

    For businesses, teaming with Plant Sentry™ will most certainly help conquer the toughest challenges. The processes we use can help keep business doors open, allowing companies to ship plants locally and nationwide in a compliant manner.

    For consumers, purchasing verified, healthy plants from such businesses will encourage safe and satisfying planting.

    To all, keep planting America with Plant Sentry™ at your side. Let’s not only enjoy the beauty that plant products have to offer but appreciate the healing effect that planting also has.

    As one final note, it is critical to mention that our team at Plant Sentry™ goes above and beyond to stay up-to-date with the regulatory environment, providing a level of certainty we need.

    Impacts like COVID-19 often bring out the best in our industry. We continue to push through these challenges to better our environment and serve all of you. 

    Best regards,

    The Staff at Plant Sentry™

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    Invasive Species Cost $137 Billion Dollars in 2019

    Invasive Species Cost $137 Billion Dollars in 2019

    “Invasive species are a global issue, but they impact local communities causing damage to their economy and environment daily.

    Dr. Mark Renz | Professor & Extension Specialist | University of Wisconsin at Madison

    Invasive species include non-native insects, animals, invertebrates, aquatic organisms, diseases, and plants. Their hallmark is the ability to outcompete the native species within their new environment.

    Although most people may not be aware of the expense of invasive species, they do cause a considerable expense to our country. In 2019 alone, the cost projections were roughly $137 billion.

    February 24th – 28th is National Invasive Species Week (NISAW)

    Every year, the efforts this week focus on awareness of the persistent battle against invasive species’ damages. Word is getting out there:

    • Consumers are getting more savvy about the impact of invasive species.
    • Most insurance companies look for beneficial programs that help reduce liability costs.

    Verified Purchases Help You Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

    Plant Sentry™ is an affordable and scalable software solutions to protect wholesale, retail and e-commerce sales. It helps you do everything you can to stop the spread of invasive species.

    This efficient software is a big part of the solution moving forward. As you know, it takes time to build and maintain relationships with all the regulators at State and Federal levels.

    We help you manage all the compliance requirements. This includes both growing and shipping regulated plant materials for each State of origin and each destination State.

    Our team stays active in the game. This way we stay ahead of new regulated plant, pest, and disease concerns.

    In addition, we serve on councils, committees, and a board regarding the issue of invasive species. We speak to national audiences at industry conferences and universities to promote our effort.

    Our work is continuous, not only one week out of the year.

    Get Compliance Support with Plant Sentry™

    Plant Sentry ™ is a consolidated national compliance database of all State and Federal regulations governing plant diseases, regulated pests, invasive plants and quarantine areas. It is continuously updated.

    This mobile-ready tool makes it easy to comply with rapidly changing growing, inspection and audit requirements for all Federal regulations and restrictions of all 50 States.

    National Invasive Species Week puts a spotlight on invasive species solutions. It’s time for efficient tools like Plant Sentry™ to stop these pests.

    Get a free quote for your customized Plant Sentry™ solution.

    (866) 335-0956

    [email protected]

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