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Michael A. Schnelle

Although many areas of the United States are suitable for chestnut (Castanea sp.) production, less than 1.0% of chestnuts are domestically produced with most U.S. orchards less than 30 years old. Furthermore, the majority of U.S. citizens are not accustomed to chestnuts as a mainstream nut crop but rather associate them with winter holidays. Because nearly all chestnuts are imported, agricultural producers have a significant incentive to expand U.S. chestnut production and command top dollar because of their crop being locally produced and potentially certified organic. With cultural and postharvest practices becoming more refined, growers are poised to seize this niche crop opportunity.

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Michael A. Schnelle

The country of Nepal is geographically variable and thus has significant diversity in its native flora. Because of physical and social barriers that still exist, many indigenous plant materials have yet to be adequately screened for their uses not only within Nepal, but outside its borders. Maximum production of horticultural crops in Nepal will require improved water distribution, adequate pest control, and consideration of social/demographic issues.

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Michael A. Schnelle

Five woody species, black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), black cherry (Prunus serotina), snailvine [Cocculus carolinus (formerly Menispermum carolinum or Epibaterium carolinum)], and southern waxmyrtle [Morella cerifera (formerly Myrica cerifera)], are all native to Oklahoma and nearby states. They all have varying levels of use in and importance to the United States nursery industry. Past natural habitats and where these plants have spread to date, either intentionally or naturally, are discussed here. These native plants have migrated to or have become increasingly dominant in regions of the continental United States because of prolific fruit loads dispersed by birds and mammals, anthropogenic disturbances, overgrazing pastures, and certain species’ tolerance of environmental extremes. Potential control measures include chemical applications, timely cultivation, heightened awareness of grazing practices, and prescribed burning.

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Michael A. Schnelle and Janet C. Cole

A nursery certification manual was originally designed to provide initial and/or continuing education to nursery employees. Industry leaders wrote a manual and corresponding examination to initiate a pilot program. This manual has been revised by Oklahoma State University faculty in cooperation with the Oklahoma State Nurserymen's Association. The revised manual covers basic plant science, ornamental and related garden center plant materials, growth and cultural management concepts, basic business guidelines and current laws and regulations governing the nursery industry. After studying the 20 chapter manual, a rigorous examination is administered. Over 100 nursery workers have been certified to date. Employers have reported increased efficiency from these certified workers. Enhanced public confidence is another advantage to the Oklahoma Certified Nurseryman's Program. This program is likely to be adopted by most retail nurseries in the state.

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Michael A. Schnelle and Sharon L. von Broembsen

A pilot IPM program has been implemented for the commercial greenhouse industry in Oklahoma. Key growers and cooperative extension agents have formed working IPM teams across the state. After administering a pretest to establish an educational baseline, IPM workshops have been presented to growers and agents. By use of these specialist-mediated workshops key growers have received sufficient training to implement a multi-phase IPM program. Establishment of proper cultural and management practices has occurred within the first six months of training. As a result, advanced growers are now implementing basic IPM practices and are anticipating the use of biological controls within this year. Due to the success of the pilot program, workshops will be offered statewide next year. Extension IPM bulletins are being written to facilitate the comprehensive effort. This pilot program should serve as a model and impetus for extension specialists and greenhouse grower organizations in other states to incorporate IPM strategies in their production and management practices.

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John M. Dole and Michael A. Schnelle

Floricultural producers, cut flower wholesalers, mass market retailers and general retailers were surveyed to compare and contrast the industry in terms of attitudes and problems. Questions involved general business information, as well as specific crops. Overall, all four segments of the industry were neutral to negative on potted flowering plants, but were positive to neutral on bedding and foliage plants. However, producers were slightly negative concerning the postharvest life of bedding plants. While cut flower wholesalers had a positive attitude concerning cut flowers, retailers and mass marketers tended to be neutral to negative. In particular, retailers and mass marketers felt cut flowers were too expensive and too short lived. Floral preservatives were used by 81.6% of general retailers, while only 18.8% of mass market retailers used preservatives. All cut flower wholesalers used preservatives. Capital availability and market demand were the factors most limiting to expansion for producers and general retailers; mass market firms listed competition as their most limiting factor. Results from other questions will also be provided.

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Michael A. Schnelle and Janet C. Cole

Nursery personnel certification programs are designed to advance professionalism throughout the nursery and garden center industry. Certified nursery personnel may be perceived more favorably by their employers, peers, and, most important, by the public they serve. Certification programs currently are conducted in 39 states. Many state nursery or related organizations also offer landscape certification programs; however, such programs are not addressed here.

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John M. Dole and Michael A. Schnelle

Oklahoma floriculture producers, ornamental-horticulture retailers, mass-market retailers, and cut-flower wholesalers were surveyed to compare and contrast the industry in terms of attitudes towards their products and problems. Overall, attitudes of all four segments of the industry were neutral to negative on potted flowering plants, but were positive to neutral on bedding and foliage plants. However, producers were slightly negative concerning the postharvest life of bedding plants. While cut-flower wholesalers had a positive attitude concerning cut flowers, ornamental-horticulture retailers and mass-marketers tended to be neutral to negative. In particular, retailers and mass-marketers believed that cut flowers were too expensive and too short-lived. Floral preservatives were used by 82% of ornamental-horticulture retailers, while only 19% of mass-market retailers used preservatives. All cut-flower wholesalers used preservatives. Capital availability and market demand were the factors most limiting expansion for producers and ornamental-horticulture retailers; whereas mass-market firms listed competition as their most limiting factor.

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Garry V. McDonald, Michael A. Schnelle and Michael A. Arnold

An emerging niche in landscape design is the creation of exotic venues in commercial and residential settings using unusual plant materials. For instance, the creation of a tropical looking pool area at a hotel, a southwestern desert look for a Mexican restaurant or an oasis for the consumer at a shopping venue can all be in part achieved by the addition of specific plants. Palms (Arecaceae) can be an important component of this effort, even in temperate landscapes. This article focuses on issues related to the incorporation of palms in temperate landscapes. Although palms are signature plants of tropical regions, a surprising number of species can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture cold hardiness zones 8, 7, or colder via a combination of appropriate genotype selection, attention to microclimates in design specifications, and/or special cultural practices to mitigate the impact of cold temperatures. Cold-tolerant palms can be a critical design element, especially when paired with other lush tropical-appearing plants, to achieve the goal of creating the illusion of an exotic tropical locale in temperate-climate landscapes. Genotypic and site specification, careful attention to establishment requirements, and modified maintenance practices are critical determinants for success that will be addressed.

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Michael A. Schnelle, Sharon L. von Broembsen and Michael D. Smolen

A comprehensive educational program focusing on water quality protection was developed for the Oklahoma nursery industry. The program focused on best management practices to limit pesticides and nutrients in irrigation runoff and on capture and recycle technology as a pollution prevention strategy. Key professionals from the departments of entomology and plant pathology, biosystems and agricultural engineering, and horticulture formed a multidisciplinary team within the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES). During 1998, water quality workshops were conducted on-site throughout Oklahoma at leading nursery operations. These workshops were designed to highlight best management practices (BMPs) that were already in place as a foundation on which to implement additional BMPs with the assistance of the OCES team. Training workshops were augmented by written publications, by web-based information, and by videotape instruction. These provided for ongoing education beyond the formal grant period. The written materials included a water quality handbook for nurseries and a fact sheet on capturing and recycling irrigation runoff. The water quality handbook was also made available on the web and a website on disease management for nurseries using recycling irrigation was provided. The water quality video, highlighting successful growers, was designed to show aspects of both best management practices and capture and recycle technology. Results of these 3-year extension efforts will be discussed.