OFA Bulletin September/October 2011 : Page 2

OFA Mission Statement To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals Grower Fall Mums: A Guide to Higher Profitability Mark Schermer 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org www.ofa.org Dutch saying. In chrysanthemum, it is even more than half. When you have the plant making a great start, it will reward you with the best results. Asked about how to get to the best results, Dresselhuys advocates a general principal: “A stress-free start for the garden chrysanthemum is very important: enough water, sufficient nutrition, and light. Make the plant take off and grow. A stress-free plant will not go into premature budding.” Royal Heins agrees. “Make sure to create an optimal environment for the vegetative stage. Provide 50 to 60 ppm of a fertilizer like 17-5-17 in the mist or feed with 200 to 300 ppm 20-10-20 at about day 7, but make sure to rinse the foliage after the feed. Also provide long days in propagation at any time prior to June 1 with minimum of 10 foot candles. Also, never let night temperatures fall below 68°F during propagation and before transplant to avoid premature flower-bud set.” Dresselhuys adds, “It is also important to not let it get too hot. Chrysanthemum is a crop that performs very well in a moderate and steady environment. On very hot days you can use extra misting to cool off the crop. Crop temperature is a very important issue to manage.” Propagation OFA Bulletin September/October 2011 NUMBER 929 Editorial Staff Editor Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Laura Kunkle Contributors Stephanie Burnett Shawn Combs Paul R. Fisher Dr. Charlie Hall Jinsheng Huang Michelle L. Jones Bruce R. MacKay Neil Mattson Rosa E. Raudales Mark Schermer Ronald Valentin Nicole L. Waterland Alicia Wells Published Bimonthly Copyright © OFA 2011. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) September/October 2011, Number 929.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. e all understand that every penny counts in the chrysanthemum market. Since the market for mums is highly competitive and the product is seen as a commodity, it is difficult to influence market pricing. To grow garden mums profitably, we must grow them efficiently and minimize shrink. Royal Heins says, “The more I think about this, the clearer and simpler the answer gets: just doing the things right. Pick the right product range for the customer in the right amounts, then do things right in growing and packaging and you can’t do any better.” So, what is involved in doing things right? According to Henk Dresselhuys and Royal Heins it includes: • Making the appropriate variety choices • Using clean, healthy cuttings • “Starting good, finishing right” First, choose cultivars suited to your area and purpose. To the consumer, a chrysanthemum is a chrysanthemum. All she or he expects from the retailer is to have the colors they are looking for, so that is what the retail store will ask for: “Give me a good range of chrysanthemums in different pot sizes, which appeal to the consumer.” Now, as a grower, you are left with the choice. The questions that matter are: • What do I want to provide size wise and color wise? • What is my growing environment? Now let your breeder representative set up the program with the right varieties for the right end result. Equally important, if substitutions are unavoidable get the variety with the right characteristics for the expected end result! Second, inspect your cuttings as they come in; they need to be healthy and free of disease problems. Third, “A good start makes half of the end result” is a famous W Figure 1. Just-pinched garden mums After propagation or upon reception of the rooted cutting, stick the plant immediately. Do not let the liners dry out. OF A Bulletin Nutrition 2

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