University of Maryland Extension

Cut Flower Tours: A Learning Experience

Tour group at cut flower farmFor over 20 years, University of Maryland Extension has been conducting tours of commercial cut flower operations to provide a vareity of enjoyable learning opportunities for individuals already in business and those thinking about getting started. These tours are a great chance for everyone to learn from other cut flower producers and from University Extension Specialists.

At the August 6, 2012 tour, Stanton Gill, Entomology Specialist, David Clement, Plant Pathologist, and Chuck Schuster, Extension Educator, gave talks on insects, diseases, and weeds that can be found on and around cut flowers and how to manage these pests. Different life stages of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) were noted on amaranth at multiple sites last year. Stanton discussed Extension efforts to determine the extent of damage on cut flower crops and whether these bugs are reproducing on these plants.

Madgie McGaughan, M and M Plants, and Leon and Carol Carrier, Plantmasters, Inc., gave a talk on their participation in the Association of Specialty Flower Growers seed trial program. When participating in these trials, they stressed the importance of organizing seed according to time of year for sowing and planting and doing the research to determine the growing requirements of the trial plants. Madgie and Leon noted how important it is to take the data which includes sow date, transplant date, first harvest, number of stems and how the varieties are received by customers. They also make note of insect, disease and any other problems that develop. Madgie said that Sunflower ‘Goldy Double’ is a trial plant that was well received by customers. Another plant they liked was Celosia ‘Sunday Orange’ which has a rich color. They noted that stems are a bit short so an early pinch would be good.  Ron Peterman, Long Season Statice, gave a talk on plants that work well for him which included Orlaya grandiflora, white lace flower, which blooms in May and June and has a wiry stem with blooms that are somewhat like Queen Anne’s lace and the Hypericum Hypearls series.

Photo: Group touring Farmhouse Flowers and Plants, Brookeville, MD on August 6, 2012.
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