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- Author or Editor: Michael A. Schnelle x
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.
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.
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.
Four ornamental species, lyreleaf salvia (Salvia lyrata), roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii), northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), and cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata), are all native to Oklahoma and nearby states. They all possess ornamental attributes and range from widespread to niche crops in the nursery industry and are also cultivated for their utilitarian, herbal, and miscellaneous merits. Their allure to customers and their ability to thrive in a myriad of environments is a major impetus for commercial growers and retailers to carry these species. However, their extraordinary ability to adapt to a plethora of environmental conditions, in the built environment or in their native range, also enables them to often outcompete neighboring flora. Their predisposition to be opportunistic, and ability to grow in challenging locations, sometimes results in their becoming a nuisance or even invasive (i.e., capable of displacing other native flora or fauna). Plants featured are described for their marketable attributes but also reviewed for control measures (e.g., herbicides, prescribed burning, improved grazing practices) when they grow in an aggressive manner.
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.
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.
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.
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.