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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 https://www.dnlaonline.org/.

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak Guest Lecture

Last Wednesday, Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak gave a guest lecture on the Green Industry in Delaware. The Green Industry comprises producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses, and suppliers. The Green Industry primarily produces plants and trees for home gardening, among many other diverse things. In 2014, Delaware cash receipts for greenhouses and nurseries totaled around $21 million.

The majority of nursery production, approximately 62 percent, is  devoted to containerized plants or trees. Ball and burlap production comes in second with 28 percent. Bare root makes up a further 13 percent, with field grow bags, balled and potted plants, and in ground containers making up the majority of the remainder of nursery production. Evergreens, deciduous trees, shrubs, and ornamentals, fruit and nut plants and Christmas trees are examples of crops grown in a nursery.

Floriculture crops include bedding/garden plants, cut cultivated greens, cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage plants, and others. Floriculture and nursery crops are most frequently used in outdoor home gardens.

Enhancing Delaware Highways was also discussed. This program aims to improve the scenery on Delaware highways by planting meadows, doing nothing, or performing minimal management.

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.

Delaware Green Industry

On October 17, Our AGRI-130 class has two very nice ladies Mrs Wooten and Mrs Budischak came in  and give a lecture on the green Industry and  the diffrent types of jobs you can acquire from working in that field. Also they mentioned that you never know what you are going to be getting into when you are looking for jobs. You may want to be one thing and later on down the road you find out that you want to be something completely different. Also what surprised me the most was how much  revenue was in the mark of green agriculture. And that it bring in so much money in the state. From there lecture it help broaden my knowledge on the green Industry and how everything you do can involve the green Industry in one way or another.

Delaware’s Green Industry

On October 17th 2018 the AGRI130 class had the pleasure of guest speakers Tracy Wooten and Valaan Budischak. These women first spoke about what exactly the “Green Industry of Delaware” was. The Green Industry of Delaware includes horticulture among other types of agriculture. Horticulture is the art or practice of garden cultivation and management. This entails a large variety of planting methods from greenhouses, farming, and even growing plants in your home garden. At first I was not aware of how big the green Industry was in the state of Delaware. However, I learned quickly that this is a very important part of Delaware’s Economy. For example, in 2014 Delaware’s Green Industry from $21,744,000 from sales. The shear amount of money was mind-boggling to me. This was a very interesting and thought provoking guest lecture discussion. Before this guest lecture I thought that this was a very basic and not that interesting of a topic. However, now that I have heard exactly what the Green Industry of Delaware is I am really interested in this topic.

Delaware’s Green Industry

We had the opportunity to learn about Delaware’s Green Industry during a guest lecture by  Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak during one of our classes. Both of these ladies were incredibly knowledgeable about this industry. They first spoke about what exactly encompasses the “Green Industry” of Delaware. Then through out the lecture they shared many pictures and information about the many aspects of the industry from producers, retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and many others in the industry. I learned that these sales are very dependent on consumers wants and need, which isn’t uncommon for any industry, but the catch it that some of the plants grown for sale take several years to grow. This aspect of the horticulture industry makes producers really have to stay onto of current and future trends of their buyers. These buyers include everyone from regular people to landscapers.

They also talked about how there are many nurseries and garden stores that really hone in on trying to give the customers a connection to what they are buying. These businesses often will provide pictures of what the mature plant will look like, and then help the customer pick what plants they want based on the area they are trying to grow them. This connects back to making the consumer feel connected to agriculture, a common trend of consumers these days. Overall, I learned a lot about the Green Industry as whole. This industry is something I’m not all too familiar with so it is cool to see how other agricultural industries operate in their similarities and differences.

Delaware’s Green Industry

Delaware’s green industry brung in a crazy $21,774,000 in the year 2014. People involved in the industry consist of producers,retailers, landscapers as wells several others. In the industry, containerized nursery products lead at a whopping %62.4. In the means of grower sales nursery crops produce $8 billion and floriculture crops produce $4.8 billion. Over the years, DE cash recipients of greenhouse/nursery has risen from $16,615,000 in 2008 to $21,774,000 in 2014. Some of the green industry’s retailers compose of garden centers, East Coast Garden Center or Ronnys Garden World. While most of the percentage of household bought items consist of 51% also mentioned in the presentation was DELDOT, the largest landholder in the state of Delaware. There job is too maintain along railroads or maintain invasive weeds throughout our state, keepin it looking  at a ugh standard. One thing that really caught my eye was the use of trees or plants used as windbreakers or privacy screens for poultry house.

Guest Lecture: Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischack

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak came in to our class and gave a very interesting lecture on Delaware’s green industry. Economically, Delaware’s green industry generates over $21 million every year. This includes landscapers, producers, retailers, golf courses, and many other fields. They told us a lot about how a nursery works and the types of plants they produced. I was surprised to learn about the Delaware Christmas Tree Grower’s Association. I once worked for a nursery who sold Christmas trees, so it was very cool to learn that there is an association for those that grow them. I also thought it was interesting that landscapers do so many different jobs within Delaware to keep everything looking nice, including landscaping between the highways in an attempt to keep Delaware beautiful. They also told us about the State Parks, which own the most land in the state, and all that they do in Delaware.

Delaware’s Green Industry

In this lecture Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak spoke about Delaware’s Green Industry.  Delaware in 2014 had $21,774,000 in horticultural product sales this includes numerous different nursery products such as Containerized which was 62.4% and B and B which concluded of 28.7% of the production. The plants are grown in a nursery and can either be a floriculture crop which is garden plants or nursery crops being trees and shrubs.  From here their sent to retailers and then eventually sold. Nursery crops bring in 8.0 billion and floriculture crops bring in 4.8 billion, each year more and more plants are being sold bringing in more money.  The Green industry is overseen throughout Delaware by landscapers and DelDOT who is the largest landholder in the state.   DelDOT provides management and maintenance for the land on the side of roadways such maintenance includes invasive plant removal and design to help boost appeal.

Experience from the Delaware’s Green Industry Lecture

In the Delaware Green Industry in 2014 the Horticultural Product sale was  $21,711,000.  This number has a lot of hard work behind it with the producer, retailer, landscapers, land managers, golf courses, and suppliers of equipment.  The plants begin in a nursery either a Floriculture crop which is garden plants and the nursery crops which is trees and shrubs. The nursery crops bring in approximately 8.0 billion dollars while the floriculture crops bring in apprximently 4.8 billion dollars totaling up to 13.8 billion dollars. From 2008 greenhouse and nursery receipts were selling at about 16,615,000 but in 2014 sales went up to 21,774,000. Some of the retailers that assist to the Green Industry are large hardware and home improvement stores with garden centers, local and family-owned garden stores, and landscapers. State Parks and Forests also make sure that their environment is pleasant to the eye and is healthy, along with state programs like DELDOT who are the largest landowners in the world who want to do something with roadways and make them more appealing and relaxing for drivers and incoming and passing traffic. The overall goal is to create something appealing and keep it that way to draw a second glance and want someone to be coming back for more

Delawares Green Industry

After listening to this lecture many students may have developed a green thumb. Mrs. Tracy Wootten and Mrs. Valann Budischak spoke to the class about Delawares green industry.

The Green Industry includes producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses and suppliers. Its incredible that horticulture product sales in 2014 were $21,774,000, with Containerized being number one in nursery production at 62.4%. We learned their are two crop groups in the industry including floriculture crops which include bedding/garden plants, cultivated greens, cut flower and potted flowering plants. Nursery crops include broadleaf evergreens, shrubs, Christmas trees and fruit and nut plans.

Delaware Nursery & Landscape Association was a nonprofit organization we learned about that works to advance the common interests of its members and to promote the use and enhance the quality of the products and skills of the green industry.

I found this lecture to be very interesting because it shows how many jobs are tied to the green industry.

My garden is agriculture?

Before our lecture by Ms. Wootten and Ms. Budischak, I had never considered gardening or landscaping to be a part of agriculture. Many people may consider their only involvement in agriculture to take place in the grocery store, however our roles in a branch of agriculture known as the Green Industry are in closer proximity than we may realize (in fact, right in our backyards!). Based on what and how a person plants and landscapes, his or her backyard can not only look great, but also support the local ecosystem and environment. Simply planting one oak tree can support up to 534 different species of butterflies and moths, which in turn supports the avian population in the area and then extends further up the food chain.

The University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension department and Botanic Gardens staff work towards educating both students and the community about facts to better develop our land and plants/crops. The Green Industry includes producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses, and suppliers. Each aspect of this industry plays an important role in sustaining our environment and also helping it to look great, too!

Delaware’s Green Industry

On Monday Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak gave a guest lecture on Delaware’s green industry. They had an abundance of knowledge  on the industry and were very passionate about it. In 2014 the horticultural product sales were $21,774,000. The green industry encompasses producers, retailers, landscapers, golf courses, suppliers, equipment, etc. We learned about the species native to Delaware and how through modifying species, non-native crops can be grown here as well. It was very interesting to learn how specialized most landscapers are because of how many services fall under landscaping. They also taught us more about the Master Gardener Club, which is a group of people, mainly retired, who are interested in gardening and receive free training from the university, to go help people who have questions about their gardens. It was amazing to see how big the green industry is in Delaware.