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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!

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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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Unseen Costs of Prohibited Plant Shipments

Unseen Costs of Prohibited Plant Shipments

There are many consequences of shipping pests, diseases, and invasive plants that affect our communities. Poor plant shipments result in expenses of billions of dollars per year nationwide.

At the state level, bad plant shipments tie up critical state resources. Already stretched to capacity, officials must work to mitigate invasive pests, invasive plants or plant diseases.

Each state is handicapped by plants that escape cultivation and harm the environment. For example, Wisconsin battles buckthorn, Japanese barberry, Phragmites, and more.

These battles cost landowners and hard-working taxpayers millions of dollars.

Bad plant shipments can be accidental. Or, they can be intentional, when someone evades regulations.

Putting Years of Development in Jeopardy

Strong efforts are being funded by the green industry to develop new plants that are resistant to pests or disease. Breeders are also scrambling to develop non-invasive plants to battle the issue.

These breeding programs develop new plants that help growers and retailers make sales in areas that have prohibited the unimproved genera of plants. They must be approved by state officials.

Developing new trees and shrubs can take decades to develop, with funding and physical labor needed in significant amounts. All this effort can be for naught, if the new plant can’t be shipped into the states most hurt by the unimproved genera.

Bad Plant Shipments Hurt Working Relationships With State Regulators

The green industry must cooperate with regulations for invasive plants, pests and diseases. If they don’t, states are less likely to be cooperative in making exceptions for new non-invasive, low fertility plant cultivars developed by breeders.

For instance, a breeder may spend eight to twelve years developing a triploid burning bush (Euonymus alatus) that produces very few viable seeds per mature plant.

Regulators exposed to a non-cooperative industry may be less inclined to allow an exception for the triploid cultivar.

The case is often made by regulators that it is simpler and more efficient to restrict an entire species without exceptions.

“Our industry needs to work with the regulators of plant material and its pests to protect our business interests as well as the natural areas,” said Mike Yanny, President of JN Plant Selections. “We need to help the regulators do their job successfully to accomplish our common goals, with the least amount of pain to the industry.”

Affordable Plant Sentry™ Stops Bad Plant Shipments

The team behind Plant Sentry™ acknowledges the problem of selling and shipping the wrong plants to areas affected by pests, diseases, or invasive species, and they know it must be stopped.

We also understand that there are laws in place, but the information can be hard to track down and interpret.

 “Working with Plant Sentry™ can be an excellent way to make shipping easier,” said Yanny. “Using their expertise allows businesses to know they are being responsible for protecting areas from invasive pests and plants. At the same time, they can ship in an efficient and productive manner.”

  • Plant Sentry™ tracks down and interprets regulatory information for growers, retailers, and more using a maintained national database that verifies plant shipments.
  • It creates a single language for correct botanic nomenclature, eliminating any possible confusion in shipment.
  • Plant Sentry gives retailers a strong marketing tool. Displaying the Plant Sentry™ verification seal assures consumers that their plant purchases have added value.
  • Plant Sentry™ uses an emergency response in any accidental shipments, which works to prevent any loss of control.

In total, Plant Sentry™ is not only an effective solution to mitigate bad plant shipments, it’s a sustainable way to move a growing operation forward. By proofing each plant purchase for consumers, it will inevitably help growers and retailers move more plants the right way.

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Protecting Plants and Giving Thanks

Protecting Plants and Giving Thanks

In celebrating the month of Thanksgiving, we see homecomings for many families across the nation. We treasure the joy and togetherness, talking about great times and eating favorite foods like cranberries, corn, pumpkin pie, and the famous turkey.

You might be surprised to hear that many food items showing up on your kitchen table could be severely affected by certain pests, diseases, and invasive weeds.

Green Industry is Concerned About the Movement of Pests, Diseases, and Invasive Species

The recent eradication of Plum Pox, a lethal virus of the genus Prunus-including apricots, almonds, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums-is a significant example. Putting up a twenty year fight, the disease resulted in enormous eradication costs for the United States.

Plum Pox would have severely impacted the $6.3 billion dollar stone fruit industry if not contained and eliminated. Though we applaud the efforts it took to ensure this pest was put to rest, the Plum Pox situation stresses the need for compliance, both interstate and abroad.

Consumers and Compliance Can Stop the Spread

With countless other pests and diseases-not to mention invasive plants-costing billions of dollars, it is critical that industry put a stop to the spread. Fortunately, there are two proven methods for doing just that.

First, as a team, industry must work to teach consumers the appropriate way to purchase plants. Second, industry must verify that the right plants get shipped to the right places. It seems quite simple, and yet, persistent issues continue to escalate all over the country and beyond.

Use a Systems Approach to Validate the Proper Shipment of Plants

Plant Sentry™ is a software solution that frees up critical staff time by using a systems approach to validate proper shipment of plants.

The green industry is unquestionably responsible for regulation, and it should take charge in thwarting all activities that ignore these fundamental policies. The largest green industry organization, AmericanHort, is supporting Plant Sentry™ efforts to promote a healthy, quality environment for our land, communities, or neighboring businesses (i.e. orchards, agronomic crops).

The standards of this approach furthermore align with and enhance other certification programs. AmericanHort, as well as other green industry groups, knows the value of consumer satisfaction. The Plant Sentry™ seal of verification maintains consumer confidence in our products, pushing both products and the nation forward.

Utilizing this tool helps on two additional fronts. It funds key research and programs through AmericanHort and it puts products where they should be.

Ship Nursery Stock with the Plant Sentry™ Verification Seal

Allow plants to be grown where they should be grown, without negatively impacting the environment or affecting that holiday meal.

The fight is far from over, but this Thanksgiving, each and every individual has the chance to make a real difference. Help lead the fight to plant what is right

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Invasive Species Cost Hidden Dollars and Headaches

Invasive Species Cost Hidden Dollars and Headaches

Invasive species, whether they are plants, pests, or diseases wreak major havoc throughout the United States. Bill Jones of Carolina Native Plant Nursery recently published an informative article in Nursery Management Magazine regarding the amount of money spent trying to eradicate these species from each state. 

Costs to Fight Invasive Species Are Staggering

States are spending an estimated $50,000,000,000 to $120,000,000,000 to fight invasive plant species, pests and diseases. With costs as shocking as these, you may be wondering who really pays for it all—and you’ve most likely guessed it. The U.S. taxpayer is paying these astronomical costs. 

In Jones’s article, he questions who is liable for these problems in the first place. One can point the finger in many different directions, but most often the Green Industry is to blame. 

To date, the Green Industry has not hit the liability front for these expensive, vast cleanups. However, as grant funding starts to fall short and less money becomes available, someone is sure to pay. 

We’d all love to believe that controlling invasive species is easy when money is accessible, but it truly isn’t. Anyone having to deal with the eradication of a plant, pest, or disease understands the painful headache accompanying it. 

Small teams of volunteers and grant-funded staff battle invasive plants, pests, and diseases year-round. Some of these species may be too far gone to ever get under control. 

Further, the invasive front often involves organisms that drift into the United States from outside of the country. In order to prevent new plant problems on top of this, there are many educational tools, including Plant Risk Evaluator Tool™ (PRE) from Plant Right® that can be utilized. 

This may be one more thing that lawmakers can use when deciding whether or not to ban a plant. Most states already have invasive species laws and established processes for assessing plants, but any additional strategy has merit.

Regulate to Slow Pests and Diseases

As far as pests and diseases are concerned, such organisms must be regulated to slow the spread. In some cases, regulation offers the opportunity for eliminating them altogether. Several successful programs are currently in use to control the Asian Longhorned Beetle and eradicate the Plum Pox Virus from New York. Though costly, these programs do work, and the end result is extremely rewarding. 

However, it is important to understand that the threat of the spread of pests, diseases, and other invasive species can happen rapidly, especially today. With trade, eCommerce, garden clubs, benefit auctions, countless avenues of transportation, and more, regulation is more critical than ever before. 

Plant Sentry™ Was Developed To Fight Invasive Plants, Pests and Diseases

Plant Sentry™ was developed to help ease the navigation of verifying plant shipments. This can be done any time during the process up until ship point. With proven auditable results, this tool can help stop the spread of pests, diseases, and invasive species. 

Even more, in the case of an emergency, Plant Sentry™ helps mobilize individuals quickly to extinguish the fire. 

Minimizing future liability by buying a product today isn’t only smart—it’s vital. Plant Sentry™ is indubitably a valuable option; it is efficient and direct when used to a grower’s advantage. 

Winning battles against invasive species requires vigilance, and Plant Sentry™ employs this to its core. 

In today’s world, we must all do our part. And so, we urge you to take action. 

Employ these proven tactics. Commit to a healthier, headache-free environment. And better yet, do it today, because tomorrow may be too late. Contact us to start the conversation. Our team is here to help get your questions answered.

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Buyer Beware… Sudden Oak Continues to Spread

Buyer Beware… Sudden Oak Continues to Spread

Sudden Oak Death continues to rear its ugly head across the United States. This disease, which affects around 100 host plants, is devastating to both nurseries as well as landscape plants.

In the latest report, confirmed in Ohio, regulatory officials projected that there could be as many as 1,600 infected plants that were distributed to box stores in the state.

18 States Received Infected Host Plants

So far, the USDA/Aphis has estimated that plants that originated from the Pacific Northwest have been distributed to eighteen states. Not all states have reported infection, but many are expending resources to keep a vigilant eye out for infected plants. 

The state of Minnesota just recently issued an advisory, explaining that Phytophthora ramorum is responsible for killing thirty to forty-five million oak trees in coastal forests. Although it has not yet discovered infection, the state is asking consumers that have purchased Rhododendrons to inspect their plants vigilantly for this disease.

A clear symptom is large brown blotches on leaves and stems, causing them to shrivel and turn brownish-black. MDA plant pathologist Michelle Grabowski says this disease could still significantly impact Minnesota’s vast oak forests if escaped from an infected Rhododendron. 

In Ohio’s case, Walmart and Rural King stores have volunteered a recall to retrieve sold plants to minimize any potential spread or impact. They are asking participants to watch for symptoms and dispose of Lilac and Rhododendron plants purchased between March and May this spring

Plants can be disposed of via burning or double bagging and disposing in a landfill. Additionally, nurseries in quarantined states are supposed to abide by 34 Best Management Practices to prevent the spread of this disease, otherwise problems may arise.

It’s Time For A Systems Approach To Avoid Ecological Trauma

A high sense of vigilance is required when shipping any plant out of a quarantined area for pests or diseases. It is terrible that this disease made its way through the growing and shipping chain without being noticed. 

It is apparent that steps were missed. This mess is now affecting almost half of the United States. Evidently, knowing what to look for in the event of a breach could have prevented the sale of infected plants this spring.

Now, there is a strong need for growers to embrace the Systems Approach for Nursery Certification. 

How Does Plant Sentry™ Work?

The Systems Approach for Nursery Certification focuses on the best growing practices from start to final shipment, including treatment protocols.

Plant Sentry™ is a tested compliance tool that blocks the shipment of plant materials in and out of quarantined or restricted areas. 

Plant Sentry™ verifies that growers are compliant with current regulations, and it is highly vigilant of treatment protocols. 

The compliance tool works for both shippers and purchasers of plant material. 

The one-two punch of these systems approaches is proven to give both consumers and growers utmost confidence that healthy plants are being shipped. 

Plant Sentry™ works with growers day in and out to win the battle against awful pests, disease, and invasive species.  

Now is the time. Contact us today to learn more about getting started.

References:

Ohio Department of Agriculture

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

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The Seriousness of Sudden Oak Death

The Seriousness of Sudden Oak Death

The Midwest, previously safeguarded from the detrimental disease known as Sudden Oak Death, has now suffered a critical disaster.

In the state of Indiana, the Department of Natural Resources discovered several varieties of infected rhododendrons, which are believed to have originated in the Pacific Northwest. The West Coast is an area commonly impacted by the disease. The plants were sold in over ninety stores across the state, transferring contaminated material not just between Indiana counties, but to nine other states as well. These states had been unaffected by Sudden Oak Death before the incident.

Sudden Oak Death is a fungal disease that quickly eradicates healthy oak species. Additionally, over one hundred other plant species are vulnerable to infection. These species are capable of transferring the disease to any oak planted within a six-foot range. The fungus can be transported by the wind, making it even more dangerous to the environment. No treatment exists.

Why Is Sudden Oak Death So Serious?

First, the introduction of the disease to Indiana won’t simply destroy the state’s oak trees, but it now has the power to kill off oaks in other states that received infested shipments.

Second, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources has to go through an extensive process to track and eliminate the infected plants from the shipment and also deal with infected oaks if this would occur. This involves inspecting any possible host plants that may be carrying the disease, too. Currently, over 1,500 rhododendrons have been destroyed, and approximately 1,500 more are being quarantined.

Third, shipment of any more plant material from the nurseries held responsible must undergo thorough examination to prevent further spread of the disease. Most importantly, however, the introduction of Sudden Oak Death could persist and result in future devastation, both economic and environmental.

Large sums of money are necessary to track and eliminate the infected varieties, as well as any discovered host plants. Stores that had been selling these plants may suffer business losses from frightened customers, too.

Even more, though, the death of thousands of oaks could negatively impact the lumber industry long-term. Oak is an expensive lumber material, and trees are a top value crop in Indiana among other states. With significantly fewer oaks, the lumber industry will suffer an extreme loss.

Finally, the death of these oaks will take away one of the most majestic trees in the nation. As oak trees age, they give a beautiful appearance, gracefully towering over their surroundings. Oaks are one of the most known historic plants, often complementing parks and plantations as well as the local landscape.

As seen, Sudden Oak Death has the power to devastate. With such great concerns for both the environment and economy, raising awareness of serious plant diseases is crucial. As consumers, tree-huggers, and everyday people, we should all take with us an important piece of information: spread of pests and disease is detrimental, and it is also preventable. Promoting awareness of such disasters as Sudden Oak Death is simply the first step in solution.

References:

Indianapolis Star Article on Sudden Oak Death

Nursery Management Magazine

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Plant Shipment: It’s More Than the Box

Plant Shipment: It’s More Than the Box

Plants are being shipped from state to state more frequently today than ever before. Most consumers are unaware of what’s involved to ship and deliver healthy plants without significant economic and environmental risks.

Shipping Plants Successfully is Not Easy

Some companies claim that their boxing technique is better than the competitors. Does this single step guarantee you are getting the best plant? Certainly not, industry best practices now include certified processes that ensure plants have been cared for properly and verified not to spread harmful pests, diseases, or invasive species.

The Plant Sentry™ process starts by working with state and federal officials. We ensure that every step is followed to the letter of the law, and we support growers in their compliance efforts before they ship a plant intra- or interstate. The entire inspection team places another set of eyes on each step in the critical process needed to get you a healthy plant.

How do you know this inspection has taken place? You should know immediately, as each plant article must contain a general plant inspection certificate issued by the state. In some cases, there may even be a federal shield on the outside of the box.

These established guidelines help protect our valuable resources—including agricultural commodities, urban municipalities, water, and the environment—from billions of dollars in damage each year. The utilization of state and federal inspectors is a great help in saving your hard-earned tax dollars.

Thinking Outside the Box…

It’s true that not all boxes are created equal. However, it’s not just the box that protects the plant. Growing techniques, inspections, and care along the way all play a big part in protecting plants.

Most online vendors do not have standard operating procedures to make sure the plant care is consistent and regulated. At Plant Sentry™, we employ the rigid guidelines of the American Standards for Nursery Stock and align with the Systems Approach to Nursery Certification Standards (SANC) among all other sustainability practices and the latest science generated by our best universities.

At Plant Sentry™, we work with growers to achieve successful shipping of healthy plants to your door. We listen to renowned universities, knowledgeable state and federal officials, and most importantly, we listen to you. Fine attention to detail, grower and staff empowerment, team engagement, and assistance from state and federal officials is a systems approach you will not find outside of Plant Sentry™.

Our e-commerce certification sets us apart from the rest. A healthy plant grown at its original location and shipped fresh to you is the best prospect. It is no different than picking a fresh green bean from the garden. Wouldn’t you feel more confident purchasing a plant through a certified source?

You could have the best box design in the world, but it is only one small component of a larger, critical process. Choose Plant Sentry™ certified growers and retailers to ensure your plants and the environment are considered with integrity at every stage of the plant shipping process.

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February Is Idaho Potato Month

February Is Idaho Potato Month

You could really make the case that this should be a national celebration. After all, potatoes have been a staple in America since 1719, after being introduced in the 1690s.

Now extremely popular, this crop has certainly made its mark. There were approximately 1.05 million acres of potatoes harvested in 2017 at a value of $3.7 billion dollars.

About 60% of those harvested potatoes become French fries, potato chips, dehydrated goods, and other potato products. Imagine if ten, even twenty, percent of your French fries disappeared. I am sure you would not be happy.

Potatoes have serious pest and disease problems. Keeping crops clean is critical for retaining high harvest percentages so that producers can deliver to your table.

Plant Sentry™ is upholding its promise to prevent the accidental shipment of regulated plants that could put your potatoes in harm’s way. There are many vegetable shipment regulations put into place for very good reason.

Some vegetables are regulated for Colorado Potato Beetle and Potato rot diseases. Potato plants cannot be shipped interstate or intrastate unless they go through a rigorous certification process. Certifying that plant material is clean and free from injurious pests and diseases is very important to potato growers. In fact, a massive amount of research is completed every year to keep potatoes ahead of these severe pests and diseases.

The next time you go to purchase a plant online, make sure that you are using a reputable vendor. These vendors use systems that put the potato farmer first, allowing for a healthy supply of the valued commodity (potatoes) to satisfy your needs.

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Plant Sentry™ Maximizes Your Profits

Plant Sentry™ Maximizes Your Profits

Plant Sentry™ is Very Easy to Use

Nurseries across the country are taking a serious look at Plant Sentry. Their goal in using the tool to protect their business in the face of an ever-changing regulatory climate.

Here’s how it works. It starts with providing your botanical plant inventory and the locations you ship from and to. From there, the Plant Sentry™ team audits each plant article and identifies the state and federal regulations for pests, diseases, and invasive species for your plants and locations. Once complete, you’ll have access to your database of plants & shipping restrictions through our web portal and you’ll receive a suggested compliance list for each plant article that may need some resolution.

This includes general purpose information as to why it a plant article may not be shippable to a particular state. The information will alert you with simple reasoning: often pest, disease, or invasive plant. This analysis helps prevent the accidental shipment of the plant article in question that may pose a threat to shipment region.

Each plant article with reasoning should be submitted to your state or federal regulatory official. We’ll provide information that will help you coordinate with the appropriate officials. Then, your state and/or federal official will instruct you on what needs to be done to become compliant if a pathway exists for shipment of the plant article.

Once compliant, you will be able to add the blocked states back onto plant availability and shipment lists, enabling you to re-open that market. If there are multiple regulatory items, you must decide which ones are feasible or economical for you based on the product that the market will serve. Thus, every plant article you receive compliance for adds more markets to your list to serve.

Plant Sentry also offers more stringent guidance for plants that may be in question.  Hence, Plant Sentry™ provides you with vital plant regulatory information to determine whether a plant is safe to ship to an area. This is part of our unique model in which multiple methods are utilized to ensure we reach the green industry’s goal of minimizing, reducing, and eliminating the spread of pests.

This leading approach adds one more line of defense to place the right plant in the right environment. You’ll be able to maximize out on happy customers and profits while keeping your company image intact.

Additional, innovative developments to the Plant Sentry™ Approach align with our continued improvement motto. Plant Sentry™ not only helps point you in the right direction for efficiently completing processes needed for full compliance, but it also offers direction on plant inspection, assistance in locating state or federal official contact information, and guidance as to how to interact with the regulatory officials.

In addition, this approach can deliver sound educational advice to aid in making solid economic decisions based on any plant issues in question. Our team’s years of production experience, combined with our work alongside established organizations and use of predictor tools, can help determine future outcomes of plants and their potential effects on the environment, agriculture commodities, and more.

Expansions coming soon will further allow for faster processing, making it easier to get the information you need. Extra features will include alerting you to an unrecognizable container size. Altogether, it is our priority to listen to our extensive network of professional growers that includes some of the nation’s best.

The information growers provide is crucial to optimizing the tools that will help their businesses. Most importantly, our mission of continued improvement will remain highly regarded as Plant Sentry™ moves forward in advancing the green industry.