OFA Bulletin March/April 2010 : Page 1

March/April 2010 • Number 920 Putting the Dirt Back into Root Media: Using Clays & Calcined or Mined Materials in Soilless Mixes by Kimberly A. Williams, Rose A. Ogutu, and Geraldine B. Opena characteristics of soil are missing. Substrates serve four functions for plants: support for the root system, aeration for gas exchange, water retention, and nutrient retention. So how do soil and soilless mixes compare? S • Soilless media are lightweight when dry, whereas soil is heavy. The low bulk density (weight per volume) of peat-based soilless mixes is an advantage in reducing shipping costs, but a disadvantage when containers topple in the market channel oilless mixes are the standard for herbaceous plant production, and they serve us well. But some beneficial as the mix dries down. Clays and other calcined materials increase bulk density of root media. • Soilless mixes are engineered to provide adequate aeration and gas exchange during container plant production. Depending on the particle size of the clay or calcined material, it can either increase or decrease aeration. • Water retention is provided by soilless media, but why not more? Using less water is central to sustainable production practices. The small particle size of clays fill air space in Continued on page 8 Four Steps to Take Add-On Sales Beyond “Do You Want Fries With That?” by Alicia Wells phrases with unfriendly, pushy sales techniques. Let’s face it, no one wants the reputation of being the used car salesman of the garden center world! On the other hand, you have a business to run, and the reality is that every dollar counts, and more importantly each repeat customer is worth, well, a lot. And if you’re not meeting your customers’ needs there’s a good chance they’ll take their money elsewhere. E Inside this Edition... Putting the Dirt Back into Root Media: Using Clays 1 & Calcined or Mined Materials in Soilless Mixes Four Steps to Take Add-On Sales Beyond “Do You Want Fries With That?” One More Big Thing? The Value of a Safety & Health Management Program 1 2 4 Challenges & Opportunities for Interiorscapers Effect of Moisture and Fertility on Insect and Mite Pests Ask the Doctor – Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Impatiens Grown with CRF Perform Better in the Garden 13 14 18 19 How Long Do Sanitizing Chemicals Last in Irrigation Water? OFA Award of Excellence Nominees for the 2010-11 OFA Officers and Board of Directors News from the American Floral Endowment OFA News 21 23 24 26 32 mployees often cringe when add-on sales, up-selling, or suggestive selling is mentioned, because they associate these Unfortunately, your sales team may not understand how add-on sales are benefitting customers by enhancing their gardening experiences. This results in increased customer satisfaction and repeat customers – all of which is good for the business and ultimately the employee’s pay check. Here’s a four-step strategy for overcoming their aversion to add-on sales. Continued on page 11

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