Welcome to the PNW Nursery IPM Blog

Hi Everyone. My name is Robin Rosetta. I am an Associate Professor and Extension Educator focusing on integrated pest management in greenhouse and nursery production systems for Oregon State University Extension. I am based at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center, located just south of the Portland metro area.

I already have a website, IPM listserv, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, so why add a blog? I thought this might be a tool to familiarize people with different aspects of my program that they wouldn't acquire otherwise through the bits and pieces of information I send out through the other media. Each medium has its strengths (wow, over 3/4 million pageviews last year at the PNW Nursery IPM website!), and weaknesses (140 bits, are you kidding?) and its own audience with different needs and interests. It is time to discover how a blog might help people wanting to know more about pests of ornamental plants, particularly in production nurseries and greenhouses in the Pacific Northwest.

I hope to use this first blog to give you a quick glance at some of my program activities of late. This time of the year, my program is transitioning (with just enough overlap to make things crazy) from the meeting season to research trials and Extension activities to help the nursery growers during this key time in the shipping season. Fortunately my program received a nice infusion of help now that we have our biotech Derek Wells officially working half-time for Dr. Luisa Santamaria, our nursery pathologist here at NWREC, and me and half-time working for the farm.

Amber snail trial

Amber snails are tiny native snails that sometimes infest nursery shipments which can lead to expensive rejections or shipment destruction. We began to visit our cooperating nurseries in February to see when and where amber snail activity was occurring. In March we staged and completed our amber snail chemical management trial at NWREC. We had different results from our summer trial where two of our botanical treatments gave 70% control or better. In this trial with natural infestations on nursery plants there are more places for the amber snails to hide, avoiding spray contact. Preliminary results indicate that carbamate molluscicides had greatest effect on killing the snails while the botanical products were not significantly different than the untreated controls.

Amber snail info and pictures at the Nursery Facebook page.

Hypoaspis mite for biological control of root weevils

We are investigating the ability of applications of the predatory mite, Stratiolaelaps scimitus (=Hypoaspis miles), to suppress neonate root weevil larvae in liner stages of nursery production. We have been conducting similar parallel replicated Petri trials in cooperation with Dr. Jana Lee and Dave Edwards at USDA over the last couple of months. The data so far is promising with predation by 0; 1 mite or 3 mites against larvae showing the desired effect. We are currently beginning to stage for liner trials on pansies. Trial speed is limited by the amount of root weevil eggs produced in the USDA lab but we hope to be able to complete the Petri plate trials by the end of April and begin liner trials in late April.

I'd like to thank our other cooperators,  John Maurer with Evergreen Growers Supply in Clackamas and Applied Bionomics in Canada.

Continuing Extension activities

My pest management outreach begins to rev up quite a bit right now. I utilize electronic outreach in many forms to reach many of our clientele and peers. Below are some of the tools I use on a daily or weekly basis to supply outreach:

  • PNW Nursery IPM site: The site has received 1.9 million hits in 2010 with 191,115 visits equating to 524 visitors/day. In 2010 the website had 791,805 pageviews with an average of 2169 pageviews per day.
  • IPM alerts: There are over 591 subscribers to the pest alert system in 22 states 10 foreign countries. The subscribers include growers, consultants, Extension Agents, educators, landscapers, public employees, researchers, and regulatory personnel. I average about 4 ½ alerts per week regarding pest activity, weather, regulatory changes, workshops, etc.
  • Facebook and Twitter: The Nursery Research and Extension page is a great place to see some of our research and Extension activities.
  • Twitter: I currently have 157 Twitter followers that get short notifications of IPM activity.

Grower presentations and other outreach:

  • February I spoke at the Urban Pest Management Course at Clackamas Community College talking about invasive species in ornamental systems. We had 90 growers and landscapers at this event. While this is often a very depressing topic, it is one where I firmly believe one person can make a difference. And the people who can help us detect and stop establishment of the next deleterious pest, are the "experts" of their own neighborhoods and workplaces, who will recognize when something seems different.
  • Jane Goodall Science Fair at West Linn High School. This is my third time working with the CREST folks to help judge the science exhibits. Thanks to Mike Haugh (Fairdale Nursery in Wilsonville) and his wife Ellen, for connecting us with these talented students.

Well, that was a bit of an introduction to some of my recent activities here at OSU. I just returned from a meeting of the Pacific Branch Entomology Society of America. There is more to tell. But that, I will save for the next blog. In the meantime, happy growing.