HJA Newsbuds

Special horti week

For four days, December 7-11, Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) and Australia’s top breeders and growers, will present the 2021 Australian Horticultural Trials Week. This event is an opportunity to discover new lines, visit some of Australia’s finest propagators and growers, and enjoy networking with industry colleagues from Australia and overseas.

UK garden centres’ ‘roller coaster’

The 11th annual (2021) Horticulture Week (UK) top garden centres data and analysis, shows figures running through coronavirus crisis lockdown, which closed garden retail from 23 March to mid/late May 2020. The figures show how garden centres bounced back, despite having catering, leisure and events closed for long periods. The analysis of the top 175 garden centres, their suppliers, buyers, regional distribution, turnover and new developments has grown since launch in 2010. Longacres, in Bagshot, Surrey, was named the UK’s biggest turnover centre, again, at £25.9m. Horticulture Week summarises that garden retail has coped with the impact of the pandemic, with many centres showing better than expected results.

Top 10 for 2021

1. Longacres Bagshot

2. Bents

3. Dobbies Woodcote Green

4. Webbs of Wychbold

5. Burford Garden Company

6. Scotsdales Garden Centre

7. Garsons Esher

8. Hayes Garden World

9. Ruxley Manor

10. East Bridgford Garden & Home (Blue Diamond)

(Full report: www.hortweek.com Subscription applies)

Sustainability: ‘no more time to waste’ in ornamental horticulture

“There is no more time to waste. It is vital that impactful sustainability measures are adopted as the norm across the industry,” says Dr David Bek, Reader in Sustainable Economies based at the Research Centre for Business in Society at Coventry University (UK). He co-leads the Sustainable Production and Consumption Cluster there, and was a keynote speaker for ‘The Path to Sustainability in Ornamental Horticulture’ virtual conference in September. The conference was sponsored by Royal FloraHolland and PERA, and organised by The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), in partnership with GreenTech Live & Online, Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) and FloraCulture International (FCI).

“Noise around sustainability in horticulture has grown exponentially in the last five years,” Dr Bek added, “with ‘green’ products and branding exploding within the horticultural marketplace. Now, measurable and transparent actions are needed across the industry to make sure that initiatives are truly sustainable and not greenwash.”

Another speaker, Mr Jeroen Oudheusden, Chief Executive of FSI, said “Together we make sure that our sector is fully transparent, credible and continuously meeting and exceeding expectations, so that the true benefits of flowers and plants can be communicated. We do that by joining forces and improving practices. Still, there is work to be done. The sector, for example, should focus more on the bigger picture and a data-driven narrative; engage more vividly in sustainability debates to make sure that the consumer always makes the right choice when buying flowers and plants.”

(More information: https://aiph.org/event/sustainability-conference-2021/)

Growing more food with a reduced carbon footprint

The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture has collaborated with international researchers to identify how smallholder farms can grow more food with a reduced carbon footprint. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

(More information: https://www.uwa.edu.au/news/article/2021/september/growing-more-food-with-a-reduced-carbon-footprint)

Partnering a win for plant biosecurity

A national partnership agreement has been announced between Australian, State and Territory governments for a plant health surveillance system, with the Australian Government committing $1 million annually, matched in-kind by jurisdictions. The commitment is expected to enhance the national plant health surveillance program which provides early warning of high priority exotic plant pests, giving us a better opportunity to contain and eradicate them. The program also provides evidence of Australia’s pest-free status to support trade and market access. A national steering committee representing all governments will oversee the implementation of the program.

Shot Hole Borer The Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is responding to the detection of Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer (Euwallacea fornicatus) in East Fremantle. It is a tiny beetle (about 2mm in length) that bores into living trees which can result in tree death. It is considered both an agricultural and environmental pest with more than 400 host species including horticulture production, native and amenity trees.

This is the first time that Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer has been detected in Australia. Further surveillance in the East Fremantle and Fremantle areas is underway by DPIRD to determine its spread. DPIRD is working closely with the local plant industries, including GIA and NGIWA, councils and the community to conduct the surveillance and tracing activities.

If the borer spreads beyond urban amenity trees, it could impact the production nursery, fruit, and nut tree industries, as well as the forestry industry. In South Africa where it is present, the removal and treatment of dead trees in urban areas has caused significant economic impacts.

The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests met recently and agreed that the borer and the fungus it feeds on, is an emergency plant pest as categorised under Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. The committee agreed that more information is needed in terms of its spread, before they can decide on whether it can be eradicated.

A Quarantine Area Notice is in place to help contain the spread of the borer in WA. Containerised plants, trees, mulch and wood cannot be removed from the quarantine area. The quarantine area applies to parts of the suburbs of Fremantle, East Fremantle, North Fremantle, Palmyra and Bicton for an initial period of six months. A detailed map is available at agric.wa.gov.au/borer.

If you suspect borer damage, report it to DPIRD through their MyPestGuide® Reporter app or call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Spring and autumn are when the beetle is most likely to be seen, as it moves to new trees.  For identification information: https://pestid.com.au/

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