2012 Summer Turf and Nursery Expo well attended at UD’s Carvel Center in Georgetown
For farmers and landscapers in the Delmarva region, 2012 has been a difficult and frustrating year. A dry winter, and sustained heat and drought during spring and summer – critical growth periods – have left challenging conditions for anyone working in the agriculture or horticulture industries. Throughout Delaware, crops, ornamental trees, shrubs and lawns have shown signs of stress, leaving them vulnerable to pests, weather-induced damage, or stress-related death.
At the 344-acre Carvel Research and Education Center, the Sussex County agricultural research farm for University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, some of these conditions were purposely left in place to serve as specific teaching tools – an ideal educational backdrop for the 2012 Summer Nursery and Turf Expo organized by the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association (DNLA) and Delaware Cooperative Extension. The Expo is a day-long program that provided a variety of informative workshop sessions for horticulture industry professionals.
A picture perfect day welcomed more than 140 exhibitors, presenters, DNLA and Extension experts and industry professionals who appreciated seeing real-time examples in actual field and landscape settings.
“This is a great refresher course on common insects and problems we all have,” says Aaron Jackson, nursery supervisor at Tunnell Companies. “We get to see it in person and have professionals tell us what we are looking at.”
Local landscapers agreed. “The University of Delaware provides a lot of resource materials, but it is good to see working or field information” said Sue Manlove, who with her husband Larry, own and operate Manlove Lawn and Landscape Company in Seaford. “It adds a whole different dimension seeing it in person,” offered Larry Manlove.
A variety of sessions were available to landscapers, horticulturists, and related industry professionals. A crew from EP Henry provided a demonstration on using pavers in the landscape and for raised beds. A take down of an overgrown Chinese Paulownia tree provided an opportunity for Sussex Tree, Inc., to explain when tree removal should be handed over to an experienced pro. Techniques in chain saw operation and best safety practices were emphasized.
Outdoor classroom venues included the Sussex County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden, a new Integrated Pest Management (IPM) educational ornamental section, and trees and shrubs planted around the Carvel Center – each providing diverse examples of common landscape situations that Extension educators other presenters used at the Expo as teaching tools.
Cooperative Extension specialist and entomologist Brian Kunkel led a morning and afternoon tour, identifying both beneficial insects and pests commonly found in Delaware landscapes, and suggested control strategies and examples where no measures are necessary. IPM strategies emphasize the use of beneficial insects and parasitoids, which can effectively control damaging pests without the use of pesticides
Richard Pratt, state arborist with the Hagley Museum and Gardens partnered with UD Extension’s Dot Abbot and reviewed proper planting and pruning techniques for trees. Delaware State Police Cpr/3 Keith Lamey conducted a session on the laws and regulations regarding commercial transport and the nuances between being classified as intra or inter – state business and provided guidance on commercial road safety.
In addition to landscapers, several state agencies were represented including the Delaware State Parks and Delaware Departments of Agriculture and Transportation. Rose Ogutu, an Extension specialist with Delaware State University, taught a session on soil health.
“To Delaware’s green industry, Cooperative Extension means top-notch researchers, educators and facilities,” said Valann Budischak, executive director of DNLA. “They keep us up to date on the latest practices and products and allow us to partner in some of their research projects.”
Michelle Rodgers, associate dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of Cooperative Extension was impressed with the variety of practical sessions offered to the participants. “It is great to be in partnership with DNLA in order to share knowledge and expertise for Delawareans.”
To view more images from the 2012 Summer Turf and Nursery Expo, visit our photo album on Flickr, or view below.
Article and photos by Michele Walfred