May 14, 2020

A little bit more – New Guidance on Reopening Horticulture Businesses by Region 5.14.20

Answers to a few more questions.  Sometimes we have to search out the information!


Farmers’ Markets – I’ve asked and looked but haven’t heard anything more yet on changes in guidance for selling ornamentals at Farmers’ Markets.  You should check with your Farmers’ Market management.

AND do your reopening plan ( and reading and affirming the non-food ag guidelines (


For landscaping – besides the maintenance and pest management aspects of it that were already allowed.  It is considered a low-risk outdoor activity in the Governor’s May 11 announcement.  Construction is part of the Phase One reopening. However….


From ESD Finger Lakes

NOTE: Additional details for “low-risk outdoor activities” that will be allowed in phase one will be confirmed separately. Same for specific business types to be included in future phases.


Regardless, landscaping will require the reopening plan ( and reading and affirming the non-food ag guidelines (


I do like progress!

May 14, 2020

New Guidance on Reopening Horticulture Businesses by Region – please read even if you are already open 5.14.20

Good news! We now have the specifics we have been hoping for on NY Forward and horticultural businesses.

Please remember that this is not business as usual – there are specifics on what can be done and how it is done.


Phase One begins May 15 and is allowed in Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and North Country regions at the moment. The map for the regions is here:  I sincerely hope that more regions open soon and I’ll keep you posted.

In order to be eligible for the new rules on opening (Phase 1 of NY Forward) you need to be in a region that has met the COVID metrics set by the state.

Here’s a way to check on that – remember to refresh the screen so you have the current date (top left corner)


Phase One includes Agriculture – which includes Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Production. It also includes delivery, curbside, and in-store pickup service only for Florists and Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores.

(I have not seen anything new on landscaping but I will keep looking.)


** If you have both types of operations, the safety plan is the same but read both Interim guidance documents in case there are differences (I haven’t read them all yet myself!)


All businesses, including essential businesses, must develop a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan – even if you have already been open!


Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Production.


The Guidelines – what is mandatory and what is recommended  – are at

Please read!

We are also creating Best Management Practices also, that will come out soon but this is the official deal!


There are 2 documents you need to read and fill out/affirm (link at the end of the document)


Interim Guidance for Non-food Related Agriculture Activities


Business Reopening Safety Plan


Florists and Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores

The Guidelines – what is mandatory and what is recommended  – are at

Please read!


There are 2 documents you need to read and fill out/affirm (link at the end of the document)


Interim Guidance for Curbside and In-Store Pickup Retail Business Activities


Business Reopening Safety Plan


Also more information at Frequently Asked Questions –


My business was previously allowed to operate because I am providing a support function to an essential business. However, I am not in a Phase 1 industry or region. Am I allowed to continue operating?



If I am an essential business, am I subject to the new operating requirements detailed in the Guidance?



Let the happy dancing begin for those regions that are opening.  If you aren’t in one of those regions, get a head start on filling out your forms.


Have a GREAT! Day.


May 10, 2020

Persistence of COVID on surfaces 5.10.20



Some of you have heard of the incidence of COVID cases in a large vegetable greenhouse in NYS.  In case you or your customers have questions on persistence of the virus on surfaces – including food and plants – I am sending you the FAQs produced by Cornell’s Institute for Food Safety.  Scroll down just a bit for the section on Persistence of COVID 19.  It covers a lot of different angles on persistence, with citations where available, and is updated frequently.  It also covers lots of additional useful information on disinfection, distancing, employees, etc.


May 10, 2020

GDD update 5.8.20 update

Based on a question I just got (nice to know people are paying attention), here is a little information about growing degree days (GDD) from the NEWA site.


You can find GDD 2 ways for a weather station. I go through the Degree Day Calculator under the Weather Data tab (which also has the 5 day forecast).  You have to change the Accumulation start date to March 1 and choose the station then click get report.


You can also go through the Station page and click on Growing Degree Days (Base 50F) then look at the current date under Accumulation since March 1. It is a day behind – I think because it is calculating the information on actual data.


I think knowing what is supposed to happen is useful for planning so I send out that information.


Here’s what I see for Geneva today:


I hope this is helpful!


May 10, 2020

Greenhouse IPM Update 5.10.20. Powdery mildews

Good morning,


I should have gotten this email out right after the downy mildew one. Yes – we have 2 different kinds of mildews.  Again, Margery Daughtrey, Cornell’s Mistress of Mildews (in only the best possible way), responds:


Powdery mildews are NOT the same thing as downy mildews.  Powdery mildews are true fungi [whereas downy mildews are water molds and have higher need for a wet environment]. Powdery mildews thrive with high humidity, so they can trouble your crops even in a well-managed greenhouse. 


The white colonies of powdery mildew are most often noticed on the top surface of leaves, but they can begin on the undersurface where only a clever scout will find them.  Although all powdery mildews look alike, these are really caused by a large group of fungi that are fairly host-specific, sometimes affecting plants within one family and sometimes affecting plants in several families.


The greenhouse crops most often seriously troubled by powdery mildew include African violet, begonia, calibrachoa, gerbera, hydrangea, nemesia, petunia, rose, rosemary, torenia, verbena and zinnia. Poinsettias can get powdery mildew also, but one rarely sees this disease today (and let’s keep it that way). Many herbaceous perennials get a powdery mildew disease, the most notorious of these being phlox and monarda.  A large number of plants in the aster family are also prone to powdery mildew, as are columbine, delphinium, peony and scabiosa. Tree and shrub species can get powdery mildew too—such as lilacs, which almost always develop powdery mildew by late summer, and London plane trees, apples, pears and ninebark.


Controlling powdery mildews is all about finding resistant cultivars to grow, trying not to overcrowd plants, and using the appropriate fungicides.  These include strobilurins and DMIs, as well as bicarbonates and horticultural oil. See Cornell Guidelines for more information on materials for powdery mildew control –


Looking for resistant species and cultivars of woody plants?  Check the fact sheets, here:


From University of California:


A quick comparison – remembering that they don’t always look like the pictures.


IPM Images

Have a great, mildew free, week!