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  • Author or Editor: Casey Sclar x
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Experiments conducted in greenhouse and field environments investigated the acute and chronic phytotoxic effects of several house-hold and commercially available soaps, detergents, and oils applied to tomato (Lycoperiscum esculentum Mill.). In addition, the effect of these treatments on greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporarium (Westwood), was investigated. In the greenhouse experiments, the number of whiteflies observed was negatively correlated with phytotoxicity (i.e., higher phytotoxicity = fewer whiteflies). Ivory Clear detergent at two rates of application (0.5% or 2.0%) caused the greatest phytotoxicity to seedling tomato plants. Addition of vegetable oils to a 0.5% Ivory Clear detergent solution did not affect phytotoxicity to the plants. While commercially available insecticidal soap (M-Pede) and a neem seed extract (Margosan-O) had little phytotoxicity, they provided only a slight reduction of whitefly populations. A field experiment conducted in the absence of insect pressure showed phytotoxic effects to tomato plants as a result of continued treatment with New Ivory detergent. Significantly lower yield from this treatment resulted from reduced flower and/or fruit production. None of the other compounds in the field experiment significantly affected the yield of tomato plants.

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The millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, is the largest demographic age group in the United States. This generation of plant enthusiasts has experienced financial setbacks; nevertheless, they collectively wield immense economic power. In 2018, this generation made one-quarter of all horticulture purchases. Consumer horticulture (CH) is challenged to develop targeted programming and outreach methods to connect with this influential and information-hungry generation. To examine the possibilities, the CH and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group held a workshop on 23 July 2019, in Las Vegas, NV, at the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) annual conference. The workshop first actively engaged participants to build points of connection by discussing nontraditional terminology that resonates with younger audiences. Suggested terminology included plant parent, plant enthusiast, plant babies, apartment-friendly, sustainable, and urban agriculture. After the opening discussion, three presentations explored innovative content, marketing and outreach in the areas of social media, retail promotions, and public gardens. The social media presentation focused on building a two-way partnership with millennials on Instagram that emphasized shared values of sustainability, local foods, and wellness. During the second presentation, the speaker highlighted retail point-of-sale promotions that appeal to younger audiences. The final presentation described creative programming used by botanical gardens to engage younger visitors. A facilitated discussion followed the presentations to identify and evaluate techniques and content that could be incorporated into CH research, teaching, and extension to reach and interact with new millennial audiences. Based on the workshop presentations and the facilitated discussions, the ASHS CH and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group concluded that more CH professionals should engage in social media outreach tailored to the needs and preferences of younger generations. To support this valuable outreach, research of consumer behavior and retail marketing should be encouraged to identify the preferred terminology and subject matter that appeal to millennials. Finally, CH can learn from and partner with public gardens as they implement multidisciplinary programming and exhibitions.

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