Pros and cons of CO2, plus the relationship between birds and mental health

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A sustainable e-newsletter from GrowerTalks and Green Profit GrowerTalks MagazineGreen Profit Magazine

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jennifer Duffield White Subscribe

New Biosolutions Line
Cons of CO2
Field to Vase
Birds & Mental Health
Designing for Pollinators

OHP Introduces Biosolutions Line

Growers are changing the way they do pest and disease control. And companies are changing, too. OHP just announced they will begin to introduce new products under their new OHP biosolutions line. It will mainly include reduced-risk products that are compatible with beneficial insects and pollinators. Most of them will also be compatible with organic production.

OHP says the new line will help serve the increasing segment of growers who use biological products, either exclusively or in combination with conventional products.

"We see the steady evolution of our industry from one where conventional products were dominant to one where growers are using all available options,” says Dan Stahl, OHP vice president and general manager.

The line, which caters to greenhouse and nursery growers, including vegetable and herb production, will see its first introductions in early 2017.

The Pros and Cons of Increased CO2

Many greenhouse growers love to increase CO2 levels to improve production. But when we’re talking about elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 due to climate change, will agriculture benefit?

An interesting new study out of Purdue University modeled the effects of increased CO2 on global crop production. Their conclusion? Yes, there are some benefits to higher CO2 and warmer temperatures, such as increased photosynthesis, but there are some negative effects as well. In the experiments, those same conditions also caused stomata to narrow, reducing the amount of moisture plants release into the air. That might have its perks, in some cases, but it could also impact climate. In a press release from Purdue, professor Qianlai Zhuang said, "This study reveals that while increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide can directly strengthen plant uptake of CO2, it can also reduce plant transpiration, influence global precipitation patterns, and increase warming locally.”

Field to Vase Dinner Tour

A number of U.S. flower farms have come together to promote the American Grown Flowers brand. They want to encourage consumers to buy certified American Grown Flowers from domestic flower farms. And they’re doing some savvy promotions. They launched a Field to Vase Dinner Tour on various flower farms across the country.

The setting alone is a draw: a dining experience in a field of flowers. Combine that with a farm tour, beautiful centerpieces, artisanal food, libations, flowers to take home, and a flower-lovers gift bag. You’ve got an event that’ll get people talking (and likely one that will make them devoted to your product).

If it’s any indication, Martha Stewart’s website got pretty excited about it.

Learn more at

Birding & Greenery for a Mental Boost

Looking for new ways to promote plants and hard goods in your garden center? Take a cue from some of the great research on the benefits of plants. If a consumer is debating over a high price tag on a potted plant, that’s the time to remind them it isn’t just home decor, it’s going to improve creativity and reduce anxiety. After all, consumers are willing to splurge a little more if there are health benefits involved. And now, thanks to some research out of England, you can use the same logic to promote hardgoods related to birds.

A study from the University of Exeter found that the number of birds that people could see (as well as vegetation cover) in an afternoon was associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Learn more HERE.

So maybe it’s time to give those bird feeders and bird seed a marketing makeover.

Designing for Pollinators

If you’re in New England, I’d recommend catching this presentation at the University of Massachusetts Spring Kickoff for Landscapers: Sustainable Landscape Management Day. Former Inside Grower editor Annie White will present “Designing Pollinator-Friendly Landscapes” on March 30. Annie will talk about perennials suitable for pollinators, and creative and effective ways to use them to help support pollinator diversity.

And (in full disclosure) I'm not just saying that because she’s my sister. I did have the sibling privilege of reading her doctoral thesis on pollinators and perennials and there’s some fascinating information she uncovered about pollinator preferences for various perennial cultivars and native species. Annie has a masters in landscape architecture and a PhD in plant and soil science from the University of Vermont and now owns Nectar Landscape Design Studio.

The Spring Kickoff for Landscapers is March 30 at TownePlace Suites in Wareham, Massachusetts. Other topics on the schedule that day are native shrubs in the landscape, managing common diseases and insects, and managing invasive plants. Learn more about the Spring Kickoff HERE.

Until next time,

Jennifer Duffield White 

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