April 30, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman
MURRAY, Ky.

As the nursery industry in Kentucky expands, so does the need for educational information for growers.

As part of that effort to aid this emerging industry, an ongoing series of monthly integrated pest management workshops is being held in western Kentucky.

“We have a concentration of growers in western Kentucky, so it was the ideal opportunity to give them integrated pest management practices that they can put into practice on their respective nurseries,” said Amy Fulcher, University of Kentucky Extension Associate for nursery crops.  “The goal then would be for them to use less chemicals; use chemicals at a prescribed time at a targeted pest so they are able to get the most out of their chemicals; and not use them to often, too late, too early, or not often enough.”

The hope is that growers will see an environmental and economic impact because they will be using and spending money only on chemicals that are necessary.

“Along with that, they should have even higher quality plants because pests are being managed at such a level that they are not taking their toll on the plants before they are being controlled,” Fulcher said.

Each month’s program includes speakers, and information about pests that are of particular concern during that month. The workshops contain a visit to one of the grower’s operations for some hands-on experience as well. The programs will run through August.

Many of the participants are members of the West Kentucky Nursery Cooperative based in Murray. But the meetings are open to any nursery crop growers who want to attend. The meetings are designed for the producer to attend a single meeting or all the workshops.

Most of those attending the monthly IPM workshops are second year growers, Fulcher said. Calloway County farmer Mitchell Paschall is one of them.

Paschall said the IPM trainings are similar to information he’s received over the years about other crops he grows, only these are geared toward trees. IPM is geared toward prevention and understanding what pest comes when and how to prevent or limit potential damage.

“We are all aware that prevention is best,” he said.

Paschall said he tries to attend the workshops despite the usual hectic schedule farmers maintain.

“Every time I go I learn something,” he said. “It’s beneficial.”

Increased interest in nursery crop production can be attributed to its potential profitability as well as the ability to do it on small acreage, Fulcher said. Additionally, the market for nursery crops is still growing.

“It is tied to the economy and construction to an extent,” she said. “One thing we have found, though, is even in a down economy people that are going to spend their money on ornamentals have it to spend.”

A grant from the University of Kentucky Integrated Pest Management program is providing funding for the workshops. All participants receive a large instruction manual. Additionally, an IPM calendar for deciduous trees also is available to participants and can be obtained through local Extension offices.

Fulcher also periodically publishes Nursery Update that is geared toward integrated pest management. That document is accessible to any grower at www.ca.uky.edu/HLA/Dunwell/KHC/NurseryUpdate.html

For more information on the nursery crop IPM program contact Fulcher at afulcher@uky.edu.

Contact: 

Amy Fulcher, (270) 365-7541 ext. 279