Enhance Tennessee's nursery and ornamental plant industry

Research to keep a major industry strong


Development of biological based IPM for powdery mildew in flowering dogwood

Management of imported fire ants in Tennessee nursery production system using biopesticides

Development of new methods and treatments to manage imported fire ants and Japanese beetles in field-grown nursery plants

Alternatives to conventional pesticide in disease and pest management in nursery production system

Greenhouse and nursery businesses in Tennessee: assessing energy use and cost, type of skills needed and purchase decisions by consumers


 

Development of biological based IPM for powdery mildew in flowering dogwood
Dr. M. Mmbaga, Dr. S. Ochieng, Dr. R. Sauve
The goal of this research is to develop a biological control-based integrated pest management (IPM) system that will reduce or eliminate the use of conventional pesticides and potential environmental contamination and health hazards resulting from conventional pesticides. Biopesticides/biorationals developed from synthetic or natural compounds such as plants, microorganisms, and certain minerals are more environmentally friendly, safer for workers, and pest specific. Out of hundreds of epiphytic microorganisms that were isolated from leaves of wild dogwoods that were free of powdery mildew and other leaf spots, two fungi, two bacteria and two yeast suppressed powdery mildew on dogwood in greenhouse and shade house environments. This project will advance efforts made in previous research by continued search for novel products and better understanding of the selected organisms. This research will take the next step towards a practical management strategy for powdery mildew. This system will incorporate the use of native microorganisms as biological control agents. The environmentally friendly systems developed will reduce the use of conventional pesticides, accidental pesticide exposures and thus result in environmental preservation and health benefits to nursery workers. The availability of cheaper and safer products will result in economic gains to the industry. While two powdery mildew resistant selections have been tested at multiple locations in replicated trials for new cultivar releases, evaluation for resistance will continue to identify additional material that can add to new generation of disease resistant cultivars.

Management of imported fire ants in Tennessee nursery production system using biopesticides
Dr. S. Ochieng
Currently only nine conventional insecticides are approved under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA, 1972) to control imported fire ants in the nursery industry. Chemical treatments provide fast control in limited areas, but are expensive, potentially damaging to the environment and provide only temporary fire ant suppression. Regulatory tolerance for quarantine pests such as fire ants in nursery plant shipments is zero, requiring treatments with conventional pesticides even if pests are absent from the commodity.

Development of new methods and treatments to manage imported fire ants and Japanese beetles in field-grown nursery plants
Dr. J. Oliver, Dr. S. Ochieng, Dr. C. Ranger, Dr. A Callcott
Invasive species are costly to manage and often move readily via human commerce, which makes it difficult to contain and regulate their spread. Multiple invasive pests now impact the nursery industry in the United States. The Japanese beetle (JB) and imported fire ant (IFA) are two invasive species that have caused millions of dollars in damage to U.S. agriculture and public interests. Both JB and IFA are regulated by nursery quarantines to prevent their spread to new regions of the U.S. because they are readily transported in nursery soils. Current JB and IFA quarantine treatments for field-grown nursery plants are expensive, impractical, and limited to a few insecticide ingredients (i.e., bifenthrin, chlorpyrifos, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam). All field-grown nursery treatments for IFA currently use chlorpyrifos, which threatens industry viability if chlorpyrifos becomes unavailable. The purpose of this project is to find new alternative insecticides and biopesticides to eliminate JB and IFA from field-grown nursery stock and provide growers with more options, to evaluate new application techniques for treatments, and to release and establish new IFA biological control agents in Tennessee. Project benefits will include improved, sustainable, and environmentally friendly quarantine pest management, as well as potential region-wide reductions in IFA populations, which are a human- and animal-health threat.

Alternatives to conventional pesticide in disease and pest management in nursery production system
Dr. M. Mmbaga, Dr. J. Oliver
Due to high aesthetic standards for ornamental crops, pesticide applications have become a routine practice, often starting before symptoms appear and continuing all season long. The high frequency of pesticide applications creates a potential for frequent and repeated pesticide exposure and the potential for accidental pesticide poisoning of nursery workers and pesticide handlers. In addition, nursery quarantine pests such as Japanese beetle and imported fire ants have regulatory tolerance of zero and plant shipments often receive pesticide treatments even when pests are absent from the commodity. Many of the pesticides widely used in nursery production systems have high acute toxicity or other toxicological issues including carcinogens that may cause chronic health problems. This project focuses on technology transfer of research results to nursery production systems; provide reduced-risk alternatives to conventional pesticides in pest and disease management, and educational information that can allow growers to make informed choices. The following are specific objectives of this project: (1) Conduct demonstrations on effective and reduced-risk products, reduce conventional pesticide usage and pesticide exposure in nursery production systems, (2) Conduct demonstrations on effective and reduced-risk methodologies for pesticide applications to lower pesticide exposures to plant handlers, (3) Advance on-going studies to evaluate additional biopesticides for management of disease and insect pests, (4) Release and disseminate new disease resistant cultivars of flowering dogwood and (5) Provide experiential student training on the role of research and extension to address agricultural production problems.

Greenhouse and nursery businesses in Tennessee: assessing energy use and cost, type of skills needed and purchase decisions by consumers
Dr. F. Tegegne, Dr. S. Singh, Dr. E. Ekanem
Energy prices and related input costs such as plastics, fertilizers, and pots have increased in recent years due to various reasons. This phenomenon has necessitated exploring alternative sources of energy particularly by greenhouse and nursery businesses that involve intensive production systems. The objectives of the research are: 1) Assess energy use and cost to greenhouse and nursery businesses; 2) Identify and analyze skilled labor force needed by greenhouse and nursery businesses; and 3) Analyze factors affecting consumers' decision to purchase greenhouse and nursery products. Data from greenhouse and nursery businesses will be collected at focus group meetings and by mail survey. Buyers will also be surveyed using mail survey. The analysis relating to producers can illuminate the strategies greenhouse and nursery businesses plan to pursue in energy use to avoid decline in their profit. Analysis of factors driving purchases of greenhouse and nursery products will provide insight on their preferences and willingness to pay for different products. Analysis of skill needs of the greenhouse and nursery sub-sector is expected to underscore the importance of managerial and technical skills if the businesses have to meet the challenges in the domestic and international markets. Students will be involved in all of the above activities and acquire understanding of the research process thereby getting experiential learning. In addition, they can use project data for senior projects and to write their theses.

 






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