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Professional Resources for the Green Industry

American Standards for Nursery Stock


The purpose of the American Standard for Nursery Stock is to provide buyers and sellers of nursery stock with a common terminology in order to facilitate transactions nvolving nursery stock. For instance, the standards establish common techniques for (a) measuring plants, (b) specifying and stating the size of plants, (c) determining the proper relationship between height and caliper, or height and width, and (d) determining whether a root ball or container is large enough for a particular size plant. In other words, this book is a communication tool, and does not provide buyers with any assurance of the health or quality of the nursery stock being specified or sold.

The latest version (2004) of the standard is available to members and non-members at no charge and can be downloaded here.

Registration to Buy and Sale Nursery Stock

The Office of Plant Industry Services is responsible for a number of agricultural and horticultural issues, http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant&pest/index.shtml, including compliance with a variety of laws - specifically the Plant and Plant Products Inspection Law. This law requires nurseries and dealers to register with VDACS, which initiates an inspection of the plant material in an effort to help prevent the introduction and spread of disease and insect pests of nursery stock.

Failure to do so could result in a stop sale of the nursery or dealer until the registration fee is paid. The fee is minimal, but the payoff can be big if we can prevent unwanted invasives from being spread.

Wholesale nurseries should ask to see a buyer's VDACS registration license when they purchase nursery stock.

The primary goal of the nursery inspection program is to prevent the spread of insect, weed, and disease pests into or out of the Commonwealth, and to ensure that consumers are purchasing quality plant products, relatively free of plant pests. 

The Plants and Plant Products Inspection Law authorizes, requires, and explains the annual registration and inspection of all plant nurseries in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Category 91 - Nursery Operation. This law also authorizes the registration and inspection of retail establishments selling nursery stock, Category 89 - Nursery Stock Dealers. The office of Plant Industry Services inspects more than 10,000 acres of nursery stock for pests and diseases every year. Over 2000 nurseries and nursery stock dealers are registered to operate within our state.

Other VDACS links of interest:

Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices

Together with recognized irrigation experts, the Irrigation Association has developed best management practices for turf and landscape. Click here to download a copy in PDF format.

These BMPs are designed to:

  • Raise the bar for efficient water management.
  • Preserve water supplies and protect water quality.
  • Help stakeholders formulate and implement sound water policies, including appropriate codes and standards for effective water stewardship.
  • Help water purveyors, industry professionals and irrigation consumers make responsible and informed decisions about water use.

Each BMP includes a corresponding practice guideline that provides a template to establish specifications that address local needs. Practice guidelines are based on proven scientific and engineering principles.

2014 Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices

The development of Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices was a collaborative effort between the Irrigation Association and the American Society of Irrigation Consultants to update and revise the original document, Turf and Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices, originally published in 2002 and republished with minor revisions in 2005 and 2010.

The updated document identifies three best management practices for landscape irrigation.

  • Design the irrigation system to efficiently use water resources.
  • Install the irrigation system to meet the design criteria.
  • Manage landscape water resources to maintain a healthy and functional landscape.

The document also contains information in the appendix to provide further information about water budgeting, scheduling and procedures to inspect and commission an irrigation system.

National Tree Benefit Calculator (benefits to stormwater, property value, energy savings, air quality and CO2 sequestration)

Linking Ecology & Horticulture to Prevent Plant Invasions Voluntary Codes of Conduct on Invasive Plants  for Nursery Professionals

Here is the best website for invasive species information developed by the US Invasive Species Council.

The Invasive Species Council is made up of Secretaries of various departments of the federal government. There are also three co-chairs who are not Secretaries, one each from USDA, Interior, and Commerce. The day to day management and co-ordination is done by the co-chairs, which involves 54 agencies of which eight are USDA and approximately 1.35 billion dollars per year.

In 2001 they prepared an action plan for dealing with invasive species. One of the items in the plan was the development of an online Invasive Species Compendium (ISC). In 2003 ARS took the lead in development of the ISC, and the work was contracted out to CABI. 4.75 million dollars have gone into its development for the original work and five years of maintenance. Various agencies of the US government paid most of the cost, and USDA has paid about 1.5 million dollars. The ISC is now online at www.cabi.org/ISC

One reason that it was so expensive is that it is freely available to all. All of the data and the images in the ISC can be accessed and download at no cost. All of the biota is covered, and there are 1,539 full datasheets for species and 6,993 basic datasheets. It is supposed to include the worst invasive taxa that have the most impact on natural and managed ecosystems. No human pathogens are included. Each full datasheet includes: 1) geographic distribution; 2) biology and ecology; 3) identity and taxonomy; 4) impact; 5) management; 6) gaps in knowledge; 7) references; and, 8) illustrations. It is updated weekly.

CABI contracted with outside authors to prepare the datasheets. Only published information is put on the datasheets. CABI sent the datasheets to outside peer reviewers, and when completed edited them. - provided by Jim Owen, HRAREC

Boxwood Blight BMP's for Wholesale Nurseries
Boxwood Blight Webinar
Boxwood Blight Information from Virginia Tech

Chesapeake Bay Information Resources

Online Library and self-help site that is being used by local government across the watershed to promote citizen stewardship and home stormwater care. www.stormwater.allianceforthebay.org

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay www.allianceforthebay.org

FREE Planting Promotion for VNLA Members

The Plant More Plants campaign is now in full swing. Television ads are running in the Hampton Roads, Richmond and Washington, D.C. markets. Online banners ads encouraging people to “grow some good” are also running. The campaign has also seen articles or editorials in the Daily Press, Examiner, Washington Post and Fredericksburg Free Lance Star. An Associated Press article was picked up by media in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

The campaign’s website www.plantmoreplants.com, Facebook page, blog and Twitter account are all up and running. They all provide planting tips, sample planting plans and expert advice all designed to encourage homeowners to make their yards more beautiful by planting more plants.

Does it cost members to participate?

No, there is no out of pocket cost. We do ask retail garden centers and nurseries to share with us figures on the number of trees, shrubs and perennials they sold and compare those sales with the same period in 2011. For landscapers and designers, we require that you have certain certifications and that you agree to use the Eight Essential Elements of Conservation Landscapes developed by the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council. More information on these requirements is found in the sign up sheets below.

Is this another native plant campaign?

Plant More Plants is a plant more trees, shrubs and perennials to help make your yard beautiful and reduce the flow of runoff campaign. The campaign does promote the use of native plants. More importantly it promotes the use of plants suited to the region and it encourages avoiding harmful invasive species.

Go to www.plantmoreplants.com, view the TV ads and see the type of information being provided. If this type of campaign matches up with your organization's goals and practices, we encourage you to sign up your business as a Plant More Plants partner.

If you have questions please contact Gary Waugh, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation at gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov

Sustainability Standard for Nursery and Greenhouse Production

Food Alliance provides a sustainability standard which nursery and greenhouse producers may use to evaluate management practices, measure social and environmental performance, or seek voluntary third-party certification.

What Does the Standard Cover?

The standard addresses the following areas of concern:

  • soil and water conservation,
  • wildlife habitat and biodiversity conservation,
  • adaptive management of pests, diseases, and weeds,
  • safe and fair working conditions, and
  • operational efficiencies (energy use, recycling, etc.).

To Whom Does the Standard Apply?

The standard applies to field, container, and greenhouse operations in North America producing one or more of the following products:

  • woody ornamentals
  • annuals
  • perennials
  • foliage plants
  • potted flowering plants
  • cut flowers

The standard does not currently apply to Christmas trees, tree farms, etc.

Tree Value Calculator

The Tree Benefit Calculator allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide. This tool is based on i-Tree’s street tree assessment tool called STREETS. With inputs of location, species and tree size, users will get an understanding of the environmental and economic value trees provide on an annual basis.

The Tree Benefit Calculator is intended to be simple and accessible. As such, this tool should be considered a starting point for understanding trees value in the community, rather than a scientific accounting of precise values.

SITES (Sustainable Sites Initiative)

Advance your knowledge of sustainable landscapes.
A free webinar series by SITES provides more information about sustainable landscape design and development and why they matter, and tips to SITES certification:

  • Introduction to Sites
    Introduction to the SITES program
    Understanding the Sites Rating System
    Understanding the SITES Rating System
    Tips and Tools
    Getting Started with the SITES Program

Review our free SITES Rating System and scorecard that provides you with a complete set of prerequisites and credits used for measuring site sustainability. http://www.sustainablesites.org/resources

Watershed Implementation Plans, Phase II

WIPs for Pennsylvania, Virginia found wanting in EPA review

 By Karl Blankenship (excerpts from the BayJournal, for complete article go to http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=4305 )

The EPA gave generally high marks to the latest state plans to clean up the Chesapeake, but remained critical of portions of the submissions from Pennsylvania and Virginia. And, it provided a hint that it will act against states that fail to live up to expectations. The agency withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant money from New York, which didn't submit its draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan until Jan. 31. It was due Dec. 15. "From an overall standpoint, we're pleased, but some jurisdictions clearly did a better job than others," said Jim Edward, deputy director of the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office. Virginia's plan, while improved, still had shortcomings which could lead to federal actions. Pennsylvania's plan needed the most work, according to the EPA's review. >If shortcomings in the Virginia and Pennsylvania plans are not fixed in final plans due March 30, the EPA may exert "enhanced oversight" over some programs, including such actions as a greater federal role in monitoring and enforcing permits. The Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans are part of what the EPA considers its accountability framework - a strategy to ensure that the states stay on course to meet the cleanup deadlines. States are to fully implement their Bay pollution control programs by 2025, and are to accomplish 60 percent of the required nutrient and sediment reductions by 2017.

The Draft Phase II WIPs, and the EPA's reviews, can be found on the EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL website www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/

Farm Service Agency - Serving Family Farmers, Cultivating Opportunities.

FSA's farm loan programs are a valuable resource to establish, improve, expand, transition, and strengthen your farm or ranch.

For more information about FSA's farm loan programs


Anti-Virus Computer programs - What's the difference between free and paid version and what to watch for. No More Free Antivirus? (Ask Bob Rankin)

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