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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’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

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.

Delawares Green Industry

I have never clearly thought about the Green Industry till Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak opened my eyes about it. They told us about how many different people make up the green industry which included; producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses and suppliers. The green industry in 2014 composed of $21,774,000. Thats a lot, I would have never thought the green industry could bring in so much. Floriculture crops include bedding and gardening plants while the others being nursery include broadleaf evergreens and deciduous shrubbery. This industry involves many different job opportunities. The economic impact in this industry is unreal, from small walk through greenhouses to Lowes the impact this industry has in general is insane. I would like to thank these wonderful ladies for the important, eye opening information.

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.

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak’s Lecture on Delaware’s Green Industry

Most people go to the garden center and buy a plant or flower without even thinking about where it came from, myself included. In 2014, Horticultural product sales were at a whopping $21,774,000. A lot of water and time goes into growing each plant sold anywhere. A tree can take up to years to grow to the right height for it to be sold. I also had no idea that the medians in-between highways were maintained. I drive by nature all the time and never realize that someone made sure it looked that way to make it look presentable. Sometimes they even let it grow naturally and it may look overgrown but the plant is thriving. The land managers that control the sides of the highways just want to make sure there are no invasive species destroying our native plants. There is even a regulatory program called Delaware Livable Lawns that certifies homeowners and lawn care companies that apply fertilizer in an environmentally-friendly way while educating them. It is good to know people are still keeping in mind the potential impacts we could have on the environment and trying to prevent more chemicals going into the environment than what is needed.

Guest Lecturers: Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak

Who knew that on horticultural product sales alone Delaware’s Green Industry brought in over 21.7 million dollars. Horticulture is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and any other plant life. Unlike agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry. Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak delivered a beautiful presentation on Delaware’s Green Industry. They captured our attention with a variety of pictures and laid out their information filled lecture in a way that was easy to follow along. Throughout the lecture they went into depth about what and who the green industry consists of; producers, retailers, landscapers, golf courses and suppliers. After learning about the different aspects of Delaware’s Green Industry, Ms. Wootten and Ms. Budischak spoke to us about a couple of organizations that Delaware is a part of. Their goal is to educate horticultural related businesses as well as homeowners to promote the use of products in the green industry, enhance the quality of those products and to protect the environment.

Before this lecture I didn’t realize how much our state is involved in managing and improving the area around us. The next time you’re on the highway, look at the grassy median, most likely there have been specific flowers planted to enhance the sides of roadways and to bring some of the native plants back to Delaware! Horticulture never meant a lot to me before this lecture but after hearing Ms. Wootten and Ms. Budischak speak I have a new-found appreciation and respect for all the work that goes into this industry, it’s not all roses and daffodils!

Delaware’s Green Industry

The class lecture on Delaware’s Green Industry was presented by Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak.  I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture due to the fact that I’ve never been lectured on this subject and I was able to learn a lot from it!  The lecture was introduced with the question of what/who is the green industry.  Wootten and Budischak then went into describing different crops such as floriculture and nursery crops.  Before learning about these crops, I had no idea what they were but Ms. Tracy and Valann did a great job with visuals and their definitions which helped me understand the difference between these two crops.  Although this industry doesn’t relate to my major both woman provided the class with great job and internship opportunities.  I wasn’t aware of the many different job opportunities that exists in this industry, I found it very fascinating.  Overall, I enjoyed learning about Delaware’s Green Industry.

Delaware’s Green Industry

On October 18th, Tracy Wooten, Master Gardener State Coordinator and Valann Budischak, Executive Director of Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association, spoke to our class about Delaware’s Green Industry. The green industry in Delaware has a total cash receipt of $13.8 billion in 2014 and is a growing industry.

What and who make up the green industry? Producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, and suppliers. Producers are those you grow the variety of crops and sell to retailers. Retailers in Delaware specialize in different categories and Delaware is the home to the biggest garden center on the East Coast – East Coast Garden Center. Next there are landscapers, they have a variety of jobs that design, build and maintain anyone’s landscape. Land managers typically work for the state and maintain the roads, railroads, open area and state parks. DELDOT is the largest land manager in Delaware. Lastly, suppliers do not directly work with plants, they are those who provide the tools and equipment needed to grow and maintain the crops.

I found it very interesting that when you buy plants, it is typically at its third home. It begins at one location that plants it and grows it to a seedling. Then the second company will grow it to a pot size, that then is sold to a Garden Center to sell to the public. Now in the Green Industry there are two crop groups; floriculture and nursery crops. Floriculture Crops are bedding/garden plants, cut cultivated greens, cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage plants, and propagative floriculture material. Whereas Nursery Crops are broadleaf greens, coniferous evergreens, deciduous shade trees, deciduous flowering trees, deciduous shrubs and other ornamentals, fruit and nut plants for home use, cur and to-be-cut christmas trees, and propagation material or lining-out stock.

Lastly, some organizations that you should look into if you like landscaping and the green industry are Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association, Livable Lawns as well as Master Gardeners. Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association is a non-profit trade organization serving Delaware’s horticultural related businesses and the companies that supply them. Livable Lawns certifies homeowners and lawn care companies that follow environmentally-friendly best practices in fertilizer application while educating homeowners on these best practices. Master Gardeners is volunteer educators whose mission is to provide residents with information to make the best possible choices for managing their home landscapes in ways that are environmentally responsible.


Guest Lecture: Tracy Wootten & Valann Budischak

The Green Industry Guest Lecture was my favorite guest lecture of the course! I majored in Landscape Architecture, and I currently have a minor in Landscape Horticulture and Design. I also interned at Longwood Gardens, and so I have a passion for the Horticulture industry. I loved hearing these two women speak about University of Delawares horticulture programs and opportunities, and also the industry as a whole. They covered a lot of very interesting topics such as nursery production, green house production, liveable lawns, landscapers, florists, and crop production. I loved learning about each of these sectors in the industry separately, and how they work together like a puzzle piece. It was also interesting to be informed about their efforts to educate the public about smarter gardening by utilizing native plantings. It makes me feel very hopeful to know that there is a unified effort to create a sustainable earth! I even enjoyed learning about the Christmas Tree business, because I never realized how involved it is. I thought these two women were incredibly knowledgable, and I enjoyed their lecture very much!

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.

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.

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.