Does anyone care?

There is a guest post at Garden Rant by James Roush titled, “Japanese Beetles for Sale? Really?” James relates a story about his day at “a large regional nursery about 60 miles east of Manhattan, Kansas.” He says, “This nursery sells each spring, among other plants, the largest variety of potted roses in a 100-mile radius. I could not help but stop to view the few remaining potted roses on sale, hoping particularly to find a ‘St. Swithun’ marked down to a price that even a curmudgeonly rosarian would accept.  And there, I saw them.  Japanese beetles!”

The nursery is at fault for not letting its customers know about this up-front. Rather than educate, they sell the plants infested so you can deal with it at home. This is what can happen with large nurseries and growers that ship all across the country. You get diseases and insect pests being spread faster than they would on their own.  I am sure they will have some pesticides you can buy later to get rid of them. See, everything will be better.

Where you choose to do business does make a difference. Not all nurseries, or nursery people are as uncaring. I work with nursery people from all over, and they would never allow this to happen in their businesses. They watch as these large regional stores, their suppliers, and customers continue the long slow march to the bottom.  See if you can find a garden center in your area that cares, and then show you care by supporting them. If you can’t find one, it could indicate a need (business opportunity) for the community. It appears the local regulatory agency has done a poor job of alerting the public, and the “large regional nursery” could care less, so who are you going to call next time a pest or disease threatens your garden? It’s kind of scary when no one cares.


About Trey Pitsenberger

Trey is a nurseryman, author, and speaker.

05. July 2012 by Trey Pitsenberger
Categories: | Tags: , , , , | 5 comments

Comments (5)

  1. I may be in the minority, but this seems like much ado about not much. The proper authorities were aware of the situation. The writer, and some of the commentors, seemed to want the store shut down and the quarantined, and are disappointed that everyone wasn’t running around like Henny-Penny. Maybe part of it is that we have had Japanese Beetles forever.

    • Chris,
      We are just now dealing with Japanese Beetles on the West Coast, so my knowledge of how to deal with them is limited.

      I would equate any pest of plants, be it Japanese Beetles or aphis , as a no-no in the garden center. We have aphis all over the region in the native landscape, but we do our best to make sure the plants we are selling do not contain any obvious plant pests. It’s just common sense horticultural practice. The nursery should be proactive in letting it’s customers know about the problem and/or not selling any plants with pests attached.

      The agricultural department should be at the forefront of educating the gardening public, but as is often the case isn’t. The info may be out there, but where?

      In my mind the bottom line is: You do not knowingly sell plant pests under any circumstance.

  2. Chris, there’s no doubt that I wrote the “hysteria” piece a little bit tongue-in-cheek…but not very, because I really was upset that if I didn’t have some small knowledge of pests and roses, I would have taken these home and advanced the wave of beetles 50 miles farther. It’s the attitude of “who cares” that keeps these pests spreading. And we haven’t had them forever….they hit Indiana in the late 80’s. They are just getting to Kansas.

  3. I’ve had suspicions for awhile that growers aren’t identifying Rose Rosette Disease on Knockout roses and just pruning off the contorted stems thinking it to be a weird witch’s broom. I’ve seen roses coming in with obvious cuts on branches that raise my suspicions and spoken to reps about it. Either they know there stock is infected and are covering it up or there is a lack of knowledge about Rose Rosette Disease and its symptoms. Lets face it Knock Roses are a big seller and a cash crop in hard times for any grower, why jeopardize this by admitting to a incurable disease issue.

    • Robert,
      This is interesting. Anyone pruning off witch’s broom would have to know it would be wrong to then sell the plants. I don’t understand how any nursery could sell “knowingly” infested plants.

      I get tired of plants being heralded as “disease free”, “no-maintenance”, or “dig, drop, and done”. Catchy advertising slogans that when fail disappoint gardeners and potential gardeners.