Category Archives: Horticulture Industry

Delaware Horticulture

Horticulture and greens remains an important agricultural industry, Tracy Wootten—Horticulture Specialist and Valan Budischak—UD Director of Botanic Gardens, discussed its impact. In 2014 alone there were a reported $21 million dollars in horticultural sales, and it continues to trend upward.

DelDOT is the largest landholder in Delaware and the company works towards enhancing the roads with native vegetation to lower driver fatigue, increase the beauty, decrease landscape maintenance, and decreasing emissions from reduced mowing. The railroad industry requires specific rail—plant maintenances as brushes, shrubs, and plants left unkept are the number one fire hazard. One of the biggest industries in Delaware is the Christmas tree industry. Sposato is a Delaware landscape company that remains in the top 100 in the country.

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Guest Lecture – Green Industry

On October 16th Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak came into class to talk about the green industry. There are two different groups of crops in the industry, Floricultural and Nursery. Floricultural crops include potted flower plants, garden plants and foliage plants. Nursery crops include evergreen tress, flowering tress and Christmas trees. Floricultural crops are focused on small decorative plants where as nursery crops are focused on trees. Landscapers use the green industry to get tress and plants to decorate areas. Golf Courses use tress and grass supported by the green industry. Greenhouses are used in the green industry because of how they help control watering, temperature, and diseases.

The Horticulture Industry in Delaware

Last Wednesday, Tracy Wootten and Valan Budischak came to talk to the class about the horticulture industry in Delaware. They mostly dealt with aesthetic plants used in residencies, so things like flowers and lawn care.

Regarding the cultivation of flowers, the two went over the process of planting a flower to the consumer’s purchase.  By the time the flower is bought, it likely has spent it’s past in many different places because different locations have different specialties when it comes to the life cycle of the flower (i.e. different places for potting and initial planting of the seed).

Other that lawn care and flowers, the green industry is involved with the management of places like parks and public areas. In these places, the industry is responsible for things such as removal of invasive species and keeping some forms of vegetation at bay. Something interesting is that the industry is responsible for keeping grasses away from railroads in order to prevent fires from the friction from the train.

Understanding Today’s Agriculture, AGRI130 Guest Lecture #6- Horticulture/Greens Industry

On October 16, 2019 Ms. Valann BUDISCHAK & Tracy WOOTTEN spoke to us on the Horticulture/Greens Industry.  This was the first guest lecture where the guest speakers were actually at the Georgetown campus, instead of the Newark campus.  Each speaker took turns, giving information on their professional journey as well as current information on the industry around the state.

First to speak was Ms. WOOTEN. She informed the class that she had an extensive background in agriculture, with her grandparents having farmed ad she herself growing up on a farm.  She majored in Plant Science and Vegetable Education to become a horticulture agent for home horticulture.  She earned a BS in Plant Science where she observed 1/3 of the samples that were brought in suffered from ‘environmental problems’, i.e.,  problems due to how the plant grew on the weather , rather than disease or bacteria.

Next, Ms. BUDISCHAK spoke on her background.  She took a very different path that Ms. WOOTEN, working at Black and Decker for 14years and commuting between Baltimore and New York before deciding to make a change.  She decided to work for the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Organization before managing grants for the Delaware Dept. of Transportation (DelDOT) and then becoming an extension agent for the University of Delaware.  She then volunteered for the Botanic Garden of which she eventually became director.

After those brief biographies, the two speakers told us about nurseries.  First, that nurseries are usually selling products for the home garden- over 60% of sales a container plants.  Most nurseries are located in Maryland, though there are a few noteworthy establishments in the first state.  Many nurseries are plug and container nurseries.  Many nurseries sell floriculture crops of bedding and garden plants- the biggest purportedly in Lanesboro, PA.  Cut flowers may even be sold at CSA’s.

A nursey might sell broadleaf evergreens, trees, and shrubs- ‘ball and burlap’ evergreens that begin as cuttings.  A garden nursery might sell field or container plants, plants for garden store and centers, and zero-scaping for low-water, native plants.  Sod and turf nurseries may sell bent grass- used on golf courses- or tall fescue and Kentucky Blue- used for home lawns. Sod generates $13.8 billion in revenue.

Other retailers might earn revenue by selling videos and how-tos for independent garden centers.  Others my reach consumers through radio shows, displays, and unique offers.

Certain garden centers specialize in particular services. The Gateway Garden Center for example, specializes in ponds, as landscape, providing consumers with the service of install and maintenance.  Another garden center might only market major brands like Proven Winner brand, sell only annuals, or sell directly from growers. Sposato Landscape is one of the top three landscaping business in the US, located right here in Delaware. Sposato Landscape has implemented a container rental program where last seasons’ planters may be replaced according to consumer.  Other noteworthy garden centers include Coast Garden Center, RSC Landscaping, Ronney’s Garden Center, Lakeside Greenhouse, & Bess’ Buds.  These garden centers will aid consumers with the name recognition of plants and provide care instructions and ‘How-to’ tutorials. Though landscaping is a big industry there are a small number of garden centers.

There is a growing market within the industry for indoor plants.  Landscapers will go into large corporate buildings and office parks to maintain or change out potted plants.  Landscaping is a very science-oriented field. However, in addition to helping to design and build, a landscaper may also be expected to maintain by handling mowing, pest, and invasive control, fertilization, lighting, and water features. A landscaper may also use soil conservation techniques such as stormwater management, irrigation, and hardscaping, or by assessing plant health.  One such technique, accessing the health of plants, namely trees, is handled by Delaware Arbor Care.

Those jobs are not without risks however.  While working on some landscape maintenance, a Mr. Steve JOHNSON, a nationally-known plant pathologist from New Jersey dies via tree limb.    The limb fell from a pine with shallow roots due to the sandy soil of the area.  The pine was part of a stretch of trees in a homeowner’s property that posed a risk to the people living and working there.  Because of this, insurance had the rest of the trees taken down.

Landscaping is a large component of ‘Land Management’, particularly of parks, schools.  The largest landholder in Delaware is DelDOT.  DelDOT’s responsibilities include enhancing highways with warm season grasses & meadows.  DelDOT does this by conducting minimal invasive management in the roadside, planting pollination strips flanked by mowed edges to cut down on labor.  These mowed edges show the public that maintenance is indeed ongoing, while giving a less intensely manicured look that a simple mowed strip would provide.  These plantings help curb the spread of invasive weeds like Japanese Knotweed, though the speakers note the mowed turf itself is not so healthy as water runs over it as opposed to seeping into the water table. Creating rain gardens & bioswales is an effective solution, as these improve water quality by filtering run-off.

In addition to highways, DelDOT also has a part in maintaining railroad tracks.  By maintaining the vegetation around the tracks they prevent obstruction and mitigate fire risks by cutting back encroaching plants to prevent ‘railspark fires’, which pose a risk to farmers and can burn crops.  The risk of fire also allows them to impose burning bans.  They will also scan for and remove invasive weeds.

Lastly, DelDOT contributes to the management of parks and recreation areas, like sportsfields.  Replacing turf is often cheaper than replacing mature trees and shrubs, as such, sod is a big component of volume purchases.  When designing and maintaining these fields there is a choice to be made between cool and warm season turf grasses or simply synthetic groundcover. Warm season grasses grow with rhizomes & stolons that knit together & create a smoother playing surface than cool season grasses, which grow clumped in bunches and spread via seed.  To keep the fields in optimum condition, they must be aerated, especially in high-traffic areas such as those found in front of goals, where compaction of the soil causes sand to crust on clay pockets.  To amend the soil, compost may been used.

To conclude, the lecture ended with the speakers informing the class on the various in-state opportunities for anyone who might be interested in pursuing landscaping.  To begin, it is helpful to know certain definitions such as annual, perennial, and bi-annual.  An annual plant grows in one season, i.e., Impatiens plants, while a bi-annual plant has a two-year lifespan, and lastly, a perennial dies and comes back, for example, the invasive Japanese Knotweed where pieces of the plant may break off and it’s underground runners can generate a new plant.  In Delaware, a license is required to sell plants, but for the average homeowners, there are tools to inform them of the best ways to manage their properties.  For example, a rain garden cannot be created from, ‘wet spots on the lawn’, but rather, must be able to drain.  This information and more is available from Delaware Livable Lawns, a program that helps homeowners and lawncare professionals mitigate run-off from nutrient applications from drifting into waterways.  In addition, they also have 2.5 month internship gardens.  For professionals, there’s the Delaware Nursery & Landscape Association (DNLA) at

Delaware’s Green Industry

On Monday October 16th, 2019 Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak gave a lecture to our class on Delaware’s Green Industry and its influence on our markets and state. In 2014 Delaware’s Green Industry had product sales around 22,000,000, showing an increase in sales from the previous years. This particular industry is found many diverse areas such as turf and sod, golf courses, greenhouses, florist, Christmas tree farms, etc. The presenters emphasized strongly on the benefits of a healthy lawn at your home. Having a healthy lawn helps the environment by providing a stronger filtration system for water. A yard that is well managed helps the environment by providing us with cleaner water. Having this lecture really showed my classmates and I that agriculture is more than livestock and crops, it’s found in everyone’s yard.


Tracy Wootten & Valann Budischak Guest Lecture

Hearing Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak talk was so cool. I didn’t know that there was such a job as a master gardener. But, now that I know it is a job and it sounds like an amazing job. I love that Tracy said that she calls herself a plant detective that is such a awesome title. It is a title that definitely makes sense because sometimes in my garden I feel like a detective when I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with my plants. I also always wondered about why states don’t try to make all the side areas more dense with flowers and high grass. So I am super happy to hear and see that  there are programs in place to make the highways better for the environment and look better overall. I never realized that state parks would need a land manager but it definitely makes sense to have one now that I think about it.

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak on Delaware’s Horticulture Industry

On Wednesday, October 16th, Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak gave a guest lecture on the importance of the Delaware green industry. This industry, according to a 2014 estimate in sales, accounts for over 21,774,000 dollars in the state and supplies jobs to thousands of Americans as producers, retailers, landscapers, and cultivation equipment suppliers, etc. The most popular items in production are containerized floriculture and nursery crops worth over 13.8 billion dollars. These consist of bedding and garden plants, potted plants, evergreen trees, cut greens, ornamental plants and many more. The containerized plants are most profitable, accounting for 62.4 percent of purchases in Delaware. B & B trees come in second with 28.7 percent in production. We were shown many pictures relating to these businesses with mass production of annuals in greenhouses, and open-acre farms for evergreens, Christmas trees, as well as other trees and shrubs. Some may ask, “What is the green industry?”, It is the retailers and suppliers. From large companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot to the small ones like Cordrey Companies and Ronny’s Garden World, these businesses provide many varieties of plants that people of Delaware know and love.

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak’s Lecture class

On October 16, 2019, Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak came to my class lecture us about the Green Industry in Delaware. When I hear green, I thought it is just about the plants. But I was wrong. It is more interesting than I though. Green industry includes that nursery business, landscape design and maintenance, land management and so on. It is similar with other industries that many people play different roles. It has producers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses suppliers and others. Horticultural Product Sales is a big part of green industry in Delaware. It creates over 21.7 million dollars sales. When Ms. Wootten and Ms. Budischak showed us a picture of railroad landscape, professor Issacs raised a question that why weed is not allowed to grow on the railroad. It is because the train will pass through with high speed and produce elevated temperature in the surface of rail which will cause fire hazard when weed is growing in there. To sum up, I learned some interesting information about green industry.

Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak: Dleaware’s Green Industry

On October 16th, Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak spoke on behalf Delaware’s green industry. During this lecture, they discussed the different set ups from nurseries,  and different careers that are included in this industry. The two types of Nurseries that they spoke about were Field Nurseries and plug nurseries. A field nursery is set up like an open ceiling store where people can go and purchase the different types of plants they need. There is more of a variety here. In a plug nursery, it contains one breed of plant that is usually used for mass production. The percentage for plants grown in  nurseries currently is at 62.4%. As for businesses involved in the green industry, there is the Cordrey companies (which primarily focuses on landscaping, and various nurseries, such as Ronnie’s garden World and Gateway garden center. But most importantly, with these businesses dealing with the green industry with  the public, there are specific things growers may be required to participate in. For starters, some landscapers are hired by DelDot to maintain care of land around high ways, to keep it looking clean and beautiful. They want to reduce the amount of driver’s fatigue, and if the land around the driver looks interesting they’ll pay more attention to what’s up ahead of them. From this presentation, the biggest takeaway is that there are many jobs in the Green Indrustry, outseide of only planting  plants and making the land look nice. People have to sell the plants to the growers, people have to design what’s going to go into the landscape jobs, and people have to regulate what is the best for growers to do, in order to protect the environment, as well as supply the highest quality of plants.

Guest Lecture: Horticulture

I found that the lecture given by Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak about horticulture was my favorite of all the lectures so far. I have a large interest in plants. I have about 20 houseplants that I enjoy taking care of, and 13 of them are in my dorm room. Let’s just say that I have a mini jungle in my room, with plenty of oxygen. They talked about Delaware’s green industry and the specific aspects of it, the producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, and golf courses. In the nursery industry, there are different parts that are very profitable, such as the Christmas tree industry and point seta industry. The retailers range from big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot and smaller more local garden centers. There are different kinds of land management like railroads and golf courses. Turf grasses also have a strict industry. There are also different kinds of plants such as annual and biannual. The kinds of plants I own would be annual as they last all year.

Delaware’s Green Industry

October 16th, 2019 Tracey Wooten and Valann Budischak talked to our class about the Delaware Green Industry. Delaware’s green industry is full of producers, retailers, landscapers, etc. There aren’t many Nurseries in Delaware. By Nursery they mean fields and greenhouses. There is a lot of science involved in plant producing. The biggest plug producer is in PA. Cut flowers and succulents go into the play of plant producing. Nursery crops are categorized by what you would typically see in your home. The Christmas tree industry is one of the biggest things involved in Nurseries. The grower sales for nurseries are 8 billion dollars. Annual doesn’t grow back the nest season perennial grows back every season. They talked to us about the effects of soil on grass and the landscaping side to planting. Horticulture is very important to small communities.

Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak guest lectured about Delaware’s Green Industry. The green industry includes producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses, and equipment suppliers. In 2014 the horticultural product sales was $21 million just in Delaware. Nursery entails the growing of the plants, be it annuals in containers, B & B trees and shrubs, or anything in between. Floriculture crops are cut or potted flowers and garden plants. Nursery crops are evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Together, these have a total of $13.8 billion in sales in the US. The retailers are the people who sell the plants after they are grown. This includes big box stores and local plant nurseries. Landscapers have a wide variety of tasks they might do, and what services they have will depend on the specific company. Some things that landscapers do are building, designing, and maintaining landscapes, mowing, fertilization, hardscaping, lighting, irrigation, and tree health to name a few. Land managers take care of public lands, roadsides, and state parks. I did not realize the importance of keeping plants away from railroad tracks, as there is a decent fire hazard if dry plants are too close. I found that pretty interesting.

Horticulture/Green Industry Guest Lecture

Prior to this guest lecture I had never realized that Delaware had a pretty large sized horticulture industry. The fact that there is almost twenty-two million dollars worth of product sales, really surprised me. I had not thought about how much really goes into the green industry and the different techniques that are used to grow these plants as well as possible and make it as profitable as possible. I also did not realize how much hard work actually goes into the production of these plants. It was also cool to be able to talk about different aspects of the green industry that aren’t just about growing flowers and plants to be sold. Land maintenance and beautification are also a huge part of the green industry. Overall I really enjoyed this lecture and Mrs. Wootten and Mrs. Budischak were extremely easy to listen to and kept the lecture interesting and intriguing. 

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak Greens Lecture

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak talked about Delawares green’s industry and how fast it is growing. Firstly, Mrs. Budischak talked about production, greenhouses, and what is being produced. The greenhouses allow us to grow any kind of plant or flowers all year round to maximize retail production. She also touched on a program that she was apart of that planted meadows in medians and on the side highways, throughout Delaware. The meadows are filled with beautiful flowers and are visually pleasing, clean the water, and provide a home for wildlife and insects. Mrs. Wootten spoke to us about the retail side of horticulture and local business around Delaware and how important these places are to communities. She also lectured about grasses, the roots, and how soil effects how a grass will grow.

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak Guest Lecture – Sean Michael

Today, Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak presented Delaware’s Green Industry, which includes producers, retailers, landscapers, and golf courses. This industry adds about $20 million a year to the state economy, through floriculture (bedding and garden plants) and nurseries. Because of Delaware’s small size, its horticulture industry is very close knit with many connections between occupations. The class learned about how plant experts are working to reduce the maintenance needed for public land, for example, planting something other than grass that needs to be mowed once a week compared to trimmed once a month. I was intrigued when Wooten and Budischak said that the hardscaping industry is going to grow in the coming years. In fact, of my friend’s dad is a landscape architect back home, and I had always had a vague interest in that profession. Overall, I never thought much of the horticultural industry before today, but now I see how big of an impact it has on the state.