Pollinator Workshop, AAS to Trial Perennials and Spring Trials

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News and commentary for the perennial market GrowerTalks MagazineGreen Profit Magazine

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Paul Pilon Subscribe
Perennial Pulse

Pollinator Workshop
AAS Perennial Trials
Past AAS Perennial Winners
Spring Trials
Follow the Bobbleheads

Pollinator Workshop

Unless you've been stranded on a deserted island or living in a cave, you certainly have learned that the industry is abuzz with concerns and quandaries regarding the use of certain systemic insecticides and their potential toxicity to pollinators. In December 2014, the IR-4 hosted a special workshop attended by various ornamental horticulture industry professionals and scientists.

The workshop contained numerous presentations and discussions ranging from grower perspectives to risk assessments, to bee biology and behavior, to designing studies thaqt address data gaps for assessing risk to pollinators in greenhouses and nurseries. 

If you weren't able to attend the workshop or would like more information on this hot topic, click here to learn more about this event and to view the presentations. For your convenience, here are links to each of the individual sessions.

Growing Neonic Free, Gary Mangum

Neonicotinoid Registration Review and Pollinator Risk Assessment, Richard Allen

Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Other Bees - Managed and Wild, Kimberly Stoner

Neonicotinoid Residues in Pollen and Nectar of Food Crops, David Fischer

Things to Think About When Designing Pollen and Nectar Residue Studies, Jay Overmyer

Designing Studies for Pesticide Impacts on Pollinators, Dan Potter

Risk Characterization Summary for Production Ornamentals, Joe Chamberlin

Understanding Consumer Preferences and Demand for Ornamental Plants, Hayk Khachatryan

The Value of Neonicotinoids in Turf and Ornamentals, Pete Nowak

Pollinator Stewardship Initiative: Role of Science to Advise Public Policy, Lin Schmale

Pollinator Health: Horticulture's Role in the Solution, Joseph Bischoff

Here's another video from a Neonics and Pollinators presentation Joe Bischoff of AmeicanHort gave at the Garden Writers Association Region III meeting in Chicago on March 14. Joe shares facts and figures about neonics and pollinator health controversy.

What is IR-4?

IR-4 or The IR-4 Project is a major resource for supplying pest management tools for growers by developing research data to support new EPA tolerances and labeled product uses. This program essentially looks at specific needs of our industry, such as effective methods of controlling Q-biotype whiteflies, and implements research trials to collect the necessary data to address these concerns and, subsequently, the research results can be used to put these uses on product labels. This program routinely conducts trials with various insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and biopesticides.

The IR-4 website contains tons of research data. Click here for the searchable database. The database contains lots of useful information. The scope of the IR-4 Project is more than I can cover in this newsletter; click here to view a detailed document about the IR-4 project.

AAS to Trial Perennials

Hot off the press. All-America Selections (AAS) will now be conducting perennial trials. The Herbaceous Perennial Trialing Program is endorsed by, and in partnership with, the Perennial Plant Association (PPA).

As you may already know, the AAS has a long history (over 80 years)  of trialing new varieties. Historically, the trials have been done on new varieties (annuals, edibles and some perennials) for a single growing season and the best performers are recognized each year. In addition to these trials, which will still be conducted each year, the new perennial trials will consist of evaluating perennials propagated by seed, cutting, tissue culture and bare root over three winters.

The perennial trials will be located at various locations in three regions: Deep South (Zones 8 to 11), Mid Country (Zones 6 to 7) and North (Zones 1 to 5). There's no hardiness requirement to be an AAS winner. Winners will be selected based on their overall performance and survivability over time. 

Read more about the new perennial trials at the All-America Selections website.

I was part of an all too official sounding "Perennial Task Force," along with several esteemed perennial experts to help the AAS and PPA get this new program going in a direction that we felt would be most valuable to the industry. I look forward to seeing the new perennial trials progress and may the best perennials win.

Past AAS Winners

While on the subject, do any of these past AAS perennial award winners sound familiar? Many of them have become industry standards in their category and/or are still relevant today.

Achillea Summer Pastels—1990  (shown above)

Agastache Golden Jubilee—2003

Alcea Queeny Purple—2004

Coreopsis Early Sunrise—1989

Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit—2013

Echinacea Pow Wow Wild Berry—2010 (shown above)

Gaillardia Arizona Apricot—2011

Gaillardia Mesa Yellow—2010

Gaillardia Arizona Sun—2005

Gaura Sparkle White—2014

Lavender Lady—1994

Leucanthemum Snow Lady—1988 (shown above)

Penstemon Arabesque—2014

Rudbeckia Prairie Sun—2003 (shown above)

Rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset—2002

Rudbeckia Indian Summer—1995

Heading to Spring Trials

This weekend I'm heading to California to visit many of the trial locations to view some of the new up-and-coming perennials. Believe it or not, I've been in the industry for over 20 years and writing about perennials in trade publications for over 15 years, and although I've been to California several times, I've never been able to attend the Spring Trials. My work schedule doesn't allow me to attend all of the sites; this year, I'll be focusing my time at the Central trial locations—maybe next year I can attend again and hit the other trial sites. 

The Spring Trials are being held from April 11-16, 2015. There's still time to hunt for a last-minute travel deals. If you haven't already booked your travel, be spontaneous—it's been a long winter and doesn't California sound nice right about now? Hope to see you there.

I would like to thank the big boss, Chris Beytes at Ball Publishing, for helping to cover some of my travel expenses. iMuchas gracias, Señor Chris!

I'm looking forward to attending and promise to take tons of pictures and take lots of notes to pass on in future newsletters.

Follow the Bobbleheads

Can't wait to learn about the new perennials I'll be seeing at Spring Trials? No need to worry—Ball Publishing has this event well covered. Beginning this Saturday, fellow editors Chris Beytes, Ellen Wells (the Bobbleheads) and Jen Zurko will be providing daily updates in the Acres of Buzz e-newsletter—watch for this newsletter in your inbox. Although our travel schedules didn't match (besides there wasn't any room for me in their convertible), they cover Spring Trials like nobody else and offer tons of information. They also will be putting together a number of YouTube videos on their YouTube channel as well. 

Spring has sprung! Let's cross our fingers for good weather and no rain every weekend from now through June (except maybe in California). Drop me a line sometime with spring updates, comments or topics you would like to see covered in future newsletters.

Take care,

Paul Pilon

Perennial Pulse

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