MNLA holds field day at Roseland Nurseries


Members of the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association gathered at Roseland Nurseries in Sudlersville, Md., June 26 for their annual summer field day. Updates were provided on insect and weed pests, diseases and regulations.
Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort brought a legislative update, including word that Congress "continues to slough through the muddy waters of immigration." Earlier in June, Regelbrugge thought there might be action in the House — the Senate had passed a bill in June of 2013 — but with it being an election year, he admitted being pessimistic now.
Neonicotinoids are another issue of major concern. "We need to keep tools for the professionals," Regelbrugge said. "If neonics go away as a class of chemicals, we've got a problem."
Regelbrugge said AmericanHort had worked hard to make sure the horticulture title in the new farm bill provides tools for specialty crops. He also thanked MNLA for being a major player in contributing toward the fight against boxwood blight and rose rosette.
Dave Clement of University of Maryland Extension provided an update on boxwood blight, showing photos of the "resting structures" of the fungus which causes the disease. The fungus can last for five or more years.
"Some cultivars are showing resistance," he said, in research being done by the USDA at Beltsville, Md., using the collection from the U.S. Arboretum. The breeding program, however, takes a long time. "Boxwood has gone from being a carefree plant to high maintenance."
He noted that the disease hits anything in the family, including Japanese and native pachysandra. He urged nurserymen to separate — by 10 feet or more — incoming boxwood by shipment and/or source in a holding area for new plants, and to keep them there for at least 30 days. Growers may have used fungicides which control but do not cure boxwood blight. Use drip irrigation to help keep the foliage dry; overhead sprinklers spread the disease. Some producers no longer allow visitors in the field, as a sanitation measure.
The rose rosette virus is spread by a tiny mite which hides where the bracts are. The disease is common in multi-flora rose and spreads to other roses. The disease cannot be pruned out. Remove and bag any plant material, including the roots.
Brent Rutley had a binder full of notes about composting in Howard County. "Changes are coming," he said. Maryland Department of the Environment plans to limit composing by any size facility to a single acre. Rutley said there have been complaints from homeowners who don't understand that composting decreases the waste stream and the use of fertilizer.
Following a hearty lunch, attendees were divided into groups for tours of Roseland Nurseries. Bryan Schlosser, rising third generation at the nursery, hopped aboard a wagon pulled by a tractor to act as guide. He's spending the summer working as an intern at Valley Crest Landscaping on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina but has had plenty of experience at the nursery. "They had me out here when I was pretty young," he said. He will return to Clemson University in the fall.
The fields included "cattle corn," he called it, grown by a farmer, but with more trees planted each year, some day the land will all be in trees. All the nursery stock is in the ground. "We can dig a tree in two minutes and have it burlapped and tied," Schlosser said.
It had been a successful spring, he said. Asked how many trees the nursery had sold, he replied, "Lots."