OFA Bulletin July/August 2012 : Page 1

July/August 2012 • Number 934 July/August 2012 • Number 934 Meet the Mildews: Downy & Powdery By Margery Daughtrey Y ou may have already met the mildews: these plant pathogens usually attack plants in a rather conspicuous way. The powdery mildews are fungi that often grow as white polka dots or chalky smears across the upper surface of the leaf. The downy mildews, on the other hand, are water molds rather than fungi, and they are more often seen on the undersurface of the leaf where their spore structures form masses of gray or white fuzz. Powdery and downy sound pretty much the same, but from the plant’s point of view there is a lot of difference. The downy mildews are often systemic diseases growing throughout the What’s the Difference? body of the plant. Only the spore structures of downy mildew show up outside the plant. Powdery mildews grow across the surface of leaves, stems, sepals, bracts, and petals, making them easy to contact with sprays – except that they are also well anchored in the epidermal cells by nutrient-absorbing structures called haustoria. Neither disease is very easy to control. They are also very different in their strategies for being parasites of plants. What they have in common is that they are both important diseases. In recent years growers have been battling some newer diseases in these two categories, which will be covered in this article. Continued on page 10 The Value of Benchmarking By Bridget K. Behe D id you or your parents have a place in a closet where your height (or that of your children or siblings) was etched into the wall? Looking back at those marks, and the corresponding dates, is a real trip down memory lane. Those marks, or benchmarks, were milestones in our growth to adulthood. Companies grow and develop; some mature, but how many make the effort to do what Mom used to do and mark our progress on the closet wall? Analysis of company financial statements is a helpful approach to achieving greater financial efficiency, productivity, and profitability, and benchmarking can certainly help establish the company’s milestones along the way. Owners and managers can use benchmarking information to guide financing of business expansions, develop marketing strategies, select an appropriate mix of products, control costs, and plan operations. Financial analysis can assist in identifying problems, such as low pricing, expanding costs, and poor cash flow. Taking the time to do these financial activities can yield benefits in terms of increased profitability, reduced risk of business failure, better customer service, and a higher likelihood of achieving financial goals. Continued on page 12 Inside this Edition ... Meet the Mildews: Downy & Powdery The Value of Benchmarking Quality Control in Growing Media: Porosity for Plug and Liner Mixes Simple Upgrade to Sand Filter Performance Plants for Attracting the Birds & the Bees (and the Butterflies): Part 2 1 1 2 7 15 How to Sell More Flowers Consistently & Stop Worrying about “Slow” Seasons Impact of CO 2 on Plant Growth & Quality Marketing the Power of Flowers to College Students Helping Your Customer Choose the Right Cultivar Translaminar Pesticides: What Can Impact Effectiveness? 16 18 21 23 24 Employee Training – Foundation of Workplace Safety Programs OFA Member Spotlight Stop Guessing Get Answers – OFA Perennial Production & Retail Conference OFA News 26 27 28 36 OF A Bulletin This is a member benefit of OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals. 1

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