Attending the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo: Reason 1 – Pest management

Get the answers your greenhouse business needs for the latest in pest management strategies by attending the 2014 Greenhouse Expo.

The Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo takes place Dec. 9-11, 2014 at the Devos Place Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan in conjunction with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo. This year there will be 15 greenhouse-specific educational sessions, a host of other general farm management educational sessions, over 400 exhibitors at the trade show covering 4 acres in a single exhibit hall, and a bus tour of southwest Michigan greenhouses. There are numerous reasons to attend this year’s Expo. For instance, is your current pest control strategy not working as well as it used to? Or is your end customer demanding to know the steps you are taking to reduce your pesticide usage or to protect pollinators? Are you considering growing impatiens again (or increasing the amount produced), but still concerned about impatiens downy mildew? Then this year’s Expo has the answers for you.

On Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 9 a.m., Rose Buitenhuis from the Vineland Research and Innovation Center in Ontario, Canada will give a talk on “Greenhouse Biological Control - Putting it All Together for a Successful Outcome.” This session will demonstrate how Canadian growers and researchers have teamed up to develop successful biocontrol programs for greenhouse ornamentals. Topics she will cover include banker plants, predatory mites, nematodes and fungi used to control greenhouse insect pests.

On Tuesday afternoon, Michigan State University’s ornamental entomologist Dave Smitley will present his latest research on the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bumblebees when applied to greenhouse ornamentals during his talk, “Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Honey Bees - What's All the Buzz?” This talk will also discuss alternative strategies to control greenhouse insects if neonicotinoids are not in your production plans for 2015.

If you are a retailer, perhaps you are interested in what your consumers think about pesticides used during production of ornamental plants. If so, then participate in the session “Consumer Perceptions on Pest Control” given by Heidi Wollaeger, Michigan State University Extension‘s floriculture educator for southwest Michigan. She will present the results of her research from a nationwide survey to understand consumer’s perceptions about insecticide use, biological control strategies, and common greenhouse pest control practices.

In the past, if your business had reduced the amount of Impatiens walleriana you produced because of impatiens downy mildew, then you should consider coming to hear MSU ornamental plant pathologist Mary Hausbeck talk, “Controlling Downy Mildew on Impatiens,” on Tuesday afternoon. She will present her latest research from two years of landscape studies that show greenhouse treatments can help protect impatiens planted in the landscape. She will give her latest recommendations to keep your customers coming back for more impatiens.

Perhaps your greenhouse has struggled with Pythium during ornamental plant production. Johanna Del Castillo-Munera, a PhD candidate in MSU’s ornamental plant pathology program, will give a brief talk about control practices you can use to control this root pathogen during the MSU Research Update session on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

If pest management is not your concern, then consider attending the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo this December for other reasons, including learning about marketing and business management strategies, or learning about production and plant selection strategies. For more information, including cost, lodging and how to register, visit the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo website. Early registration ends on Nov. 20.

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