Spring seminar series for specialty cut flower growers

Online series addresses some of the most commonly asked questions in specialty cut flower production.

A person planting flowers in a tray.
Seedlings being potted up in a greenhouse. Photo by Unsplash.

The floriculture team at Michigan State University Extension is pleased to present a free spring webinar series for field, high-tunnel and greenhouse specialty cut flower growers during the month of March. The series covers some of the most fundamental aspects of plant production with topics that have been selected for their significant influence on the overall quality of the final product. Each of the three webinars will be presented in a comfortable format (about 60 minutes) and are designed to help both beginning and experienced cut flower growers reduce losses and increase the amount of high-quality harvestable material.

Series highlights

All concepts in the March 2022 series are presented in the context of specialty cut flower production systems and feature a combination of researchers and Extension area specialists from Michigan State University (MSU).

Headshot of Roberto Lopez
Roberto Lopez

A Seed for Cut Flower Success: Propagation Pointers

Roberto Lopez – Thursday, March 3, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Producing high-quality, compact and uniform seedling (plugs) is not as difficult as you might think. However, it does require attention to detail from stages 0 to 5 and not cutting corners to save money. In this session, participants will learn:

  • How to properly store seeds.
  • Methods to improve germination.
  • Tips on managing temperature, light, moisture, fertility and height during the various stages of plug production.

By the end of the seminar, you will have the information necessary to decide if growing or purchasing plugs is best for your operation.

Speaker bio: Roberto G. Lopez is an associate professor and controlled environment/floriculture Extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture at MSU. His research focuses on young specialty crop (floriculture, leafy greens and herbs) propagation and finish plant production in greenhouses, growth rooms, and vertical farms.

Headshot of Jan Byrne.
Jan Byrne

What’s Happening to My Plants?

Jan Byrne - Thursday, March 10, 12-1:15 p.m.

Viruses, bacteria and fungi, oh my! Many growers will attest that the weather in 2021 created perfect conditions for plant diseases to get a foothold in their fields. Diagnosing diseases can be tricky business, especially when the symptoms look similar to nutrient deficiencies and other physiological maladies. In this session, floriculture disease expert Jan Byrne discusses a variety of floriculture diseases, common symptoms, and the conditions that favor an outbreak.

Speaker bio: Jan Byrne is a pathologist in the MSU Plant & Pest Diagnostics lab where she also teaches plant pathology and diagnostic skills courses. Over 20 years of experience has given her exposure to some of the many challenges faced by Michigan’s growers.

Headshot of Cheyenne Sloan and Christina Curell.
Cheyenne Sloan and Christina Curell

The Dirt on Plant Nutrition: An Intro to Soil Management

Cheyenne Sloan and Christina Currell – Thursday, March 24, 10-11 a.m.

Soil health is essential to the production of healthy crops. Due to the nature of agricultural systems, however, maintaining soil health can be tricky for even the most experienced farmers. In this session, Cheyenne Sloan and Christina Curell from MSU Extension discuss soil fundamentals, fertility and cover crops, and wrap it up with some management tips to help keep your soil healthy and productive from season to season.

Speaker bio: Cheyenne Sloan is a blueberry and small fruit educator with MSU Extension and is a native of southeast Michigan. After studying horticulture and crop and soil sciences at MSU, she moved to Washington state to study the effects of nitrogen release from soil organic material decomposition in high bush blueberry systems.

Speaker bio: Christina Curell is a statewide cover crops and soil health educator with MSU Extension and serves all agricultural commodities. Her mission is to help all farmers throughout Michigan increase their farm's environmental and production sustainability with a focus on soil health and inclusion of cover crops into their cropping system.

There is no cost to attend these online seminars; a one-time registration is all that is required. Registrants will receive reminders prior to the live webcasts as well as links to the recordings. Registration information, along with the series schedule, can be found at Spring Seminar Series for Specialty Cut Flower Growers or by contacting Jeremy Jubenville at 269-492-2813.

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