The Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association (RINLA) held its annual 2-day Winter Meeting at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in January, 2014. Experienced landscapers, nursery growers, cooperative extension professionals, horticultural researchers and industry representatives shared their experience with over 200 attendees each day. Speakers inspired audiences of with business tips, industry innovations as well as pest and disease alerts.
More than a dozen educational and hands-on workshops covered landscape businesses management and plant health care in today’s changing environment while inspiring audiences with gorgeous public gardens and plants.
Keynotes Ed Laflamme & Bill Arman, Harvest Landscape Consulting spoke on “Landscape Businesses: How the Business World is Changing & Capture Your Share of New Opportunities." Laflamme later led a workshop for landscape leaders entitled ”Fierce Competitors are Great Marketers and Sales People” while Arman led “Recruiting to the Rescue!” on how to recruit and retain the best staff.
Audiences learned about historic and expected plant responses to climate change from State Climatologist at UMaine, George Jacobson. Arborists and other landscape professionals learned "How to manage trees for wind stability” from Dr. Mark Rudnicki, UConn Forest Ecology Professor. With increasing storm intensity, it is more important than ever to protect trees and power lines.
Young green industry professionals shared their perspective on industry trends in a workshop called “What Does the Next Generation Really Want?” The panel included Katie Parent of the Newport Restoration Foundation, David Bosco of Wildwood Nurseries as well as Erin Muir and Ethan Timm of The Figure Ground.
Dr. Richard Casagrande, URI Professor of Plant Sciences and Entomology, Heather Faubert, URI Extension Fruit Specialist provided the latest information on new pests and opportunities for biological control. Vickie Wallace, UConn. Extension Educator discussed plant science and turf grass research at UConn.
Randy Zondag, Commercial Horticulturist and Director at Ohio State University Extension shared his approach to Integrated Pest Management (IPM). If pest issues do occur, Zondag urged professionals to identify the pest and research the most effective method(s) to control them. Zondag shared tools for predication, scouting tips and the importance of proper coverage and spray timing. Zondag also led a classroom workshop on selecting and applying pesticides as well as a hands-on workshop on how to properly calibrate, operate and verify pesticide application rates.
Key staff from regional public gardens helped inspire audiences. Panelists included Alan Peck of Wilcox Park, Thomas Clark of the Polly Hill Arboretum and Dan Helman of Cape Coastal Nursery. Each shared special features and plants from their park, arboretum and garden center.
A diverse panel described the impact of Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM) The panel included Heather Faubert of URI Extension, Mitch Rand of Ball Horticulture Company, Gail Read of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum and Harry Chase co-owner of Chase Farms. Rand said it would be at least 5 years before a seed-based IDM-resistant impatient would be widely ready. Read shared lovely photographs of alternate shade-loving plants offering diverse colors and textures.
Many workshops offered Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) for RI Pesticide Applicators, Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Northeast Organic Farming Association's accredited Organic Land Care Professionals (NOFA OLC).
Over 50 exhibitors) participated in the 2-day Trade Show including suppliers of these products:
- Trees, shrubs and plants
- Mulches, fertilizers and soil amendments
- Landscape tools and equipment
- Landscape pavers, decorations and stone
- Agricultural advisors and educators
- Financing and insurance
- Trade publications
Major sponsors included Helena Chemical Company, John T. Howard Insurance Farm Family Insurance, Farm Credit East, Bartlett Tree Experts and Rhode Island Nurseries.
The Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association (RINLA) holds its 2-day Winter Meeting at the University of Rhode Island each January. Learn more about RINLA at rinla.org.
A similar story ran in the March 2014 Eastern edition of Country Folks Grower.