Before ARS was eliminated from Alaska, they conducted a thorough survey of the peony fields at the Georgeson Botanical Garden for thrips. Thanks to the efforts of Div. of Ag, Curtis Knight and Dr. Derek Syles, UAF Museum, they have now been identified. We don’t have one type of thrips, we have nine species! The most common is western garden thrips, onion thrips and tobacco thrips, all of which cause significant damage to vegetable crops and will definitely be an issue with peonies. At the GBG this summer, thrips damage is extensive, the most I have ever seen. Perhaps it is because of the hot, dry weather. I am cataloging all the damage I have seen and will share at a later date. Thrips are extremely difficult to identify. These specimens were sent to Spain for verification! It is clear we need a statewide survey and then information on how to minimize damage and control infestations.
Here’s another generic article about post harvest handling of flowers, another article from Austrailia. They cover all kinds of flowers including monkey paws and proteas, both of which Alaskans only see in the florist shop. It’s a good read, however, for background information.02.Faragher
Attached is an article by retired CA researcher, Michale Reid, on post harvest handling of cut flowers especially as it relates to air transport. It covers basic information on growth and senescence (death) of cut flowers, factors influencing post harvest quality such as light, water, and flower maturity, flower treatments and packing and handling techniques. It is generic for all cut flowers so some of the issues are not directly related to peonies. However, it is a great review of post harvest handling techniques. 08.Reid
The attached article is from Austrailia about issues with insect infestation of cut flowers and foliage. It summarizes multiple methods, both chemical and environmental to eliminate the problem. Not all of the chemicals are legal in the U.S. (methyl brominde for one), many chemicals have different names here, but it is an interesting summary of possible control methods for export.13.Seaton
The statistics for the floriculture industry in the U.S. have been published. USDA only surveys businesses whose sales are over $100,000. It is not surprising, then to see the decline in cut flowers and cut greens. During the past year, the U.S. Government made permanent its free trade agreement with countries such as Colombia which have taken over the trade in the “big three”- roses, carnations and chrysanthemums and are dominant in many other cut flowers. They are also dabbling in peonies, and those are the not-so-gorgeous flowers that show up in Freddies in June. If you attend meetings of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, you also realized that the bulk of the businesses outside California are small, often family or one-person businesses, most of which will never make the $100,000 cutoff.
Wholesale crop value is up 1.1% to $4.126 billion.
- Total bedding/garden plant sales are up 3.1% to $1.995 billion*
- Foliage plants, up 4.6%, now the second largest floriculture segment
- Potted flowering plants are down 3.5%
- Domestically produced cuts are down 4.7%
- Domestically produced cut greens are down 1.5%
- Propagative material is up 3.0%