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UK - Commercial Production of Ornamental Plants

IPM Programs Reduce Pesticide use and Increase Profitability in Commercial Ornamental Plant Production

Issue:  Nursery crops continue to expand in Kentucky. As the number of new producers increases, so does the amount of pesticide active ingredients used. Many new producers are unfamiliar with pest and non-pest insects, insect and disease biology, and are unable to determine the economic importance of pests. As a result, many producers resort to calendar spraying and/or spraying at the first sign of any possible threat. Often these threats turn out to be non-phytophagus insects, diseases that can only be controlled preventatively, or pests of limited economic importance. Excessive amounts of pesticides are used without the desired result, natural resources are exposed to chemicals unnecessarily, and growers are left wondering why a spray application didnít work and what to try next.

Established nurseries struggle with emerging insect, weed, and disease pests, particularly exotic pests. In addition, new and tenured nursery crop producers are challenged by pests that are not new to Kentucky but are becoming increasingly economically important.

What Has Been Done: An IPM for Nursery Crops demonstration / education program was established. Field and classroom education programs and demonstrations provide information and hands-on experience to nursery owners and workers in IPM concepts and techniques particular to ornamental nursery crops.

Impact: Growers were surveyed after attending the IPM for Nursery Crops programs. They stated as a result of attending the program that they have reduced pesticide use and associated labor expenses by $568.00. With 79 grower-participants, this averages to a savings of $44,872 statewide. In addition, growers averaged an estimated gain of $2266 in quality due to practice changes in their production as a result of attending the IPM program. With 79 grower-participants, this means an economic value of $179,014 to growers attending the programs. One central Kentucky grower stated that his nursery will save $1500 from information on one pest alone, the shoot boring caterpillar. Lastly, new and established growers shared information and developed business relationships that are already proving beneficial to the nursery industry in Kentucky.

For more information on this project contact:

Ms. A. Fulcher

Extension Associate for Nursery Crops

 N318 Agriculture Science North

 University of Kentucky

 Lexington, KY 40546-0312


Kentucky IPM

Original document: 1 October 2004

Last updated: 29 March 2006

Scoutcat logo courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 2000

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