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Prevention of Diseases in Zinnia Plug Production 2002

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Project Leaders: Jana Lamboy, NYS IPM Program

Nellie Call, Flower Fields, Elba

Roxanne McCoy, Lilies of the field, West Falls

Cooperators: Art Harrington, Harrington's Greenhouses, Elba

Karen Hall, Erie Co. CCE, East Aurora

Deborah Kwasniewski, Taylor Greenhouse, Portland

Karen Snover, Plant Disease Clinic, Cornell University

Type of Grant: Demonstration and Implementation, Greenhouse Ornamentals

Use of microbials and active composts

Cultural methods, sanitation

Project Location: Ontario, Genesee, Tompkins

Results will be useful across NY, the Northeast, and nationally


Nearly all cut flower and bedding plant growers plant zinnias. Many growers observe losses in crop quality due to leaf spot diseases. This project entailed seed treatment trials to study source of inoculum and an efficacy trial of disease suppressive compost in the greenhouse. Zinnia seeds from all sources tested were contaminated with many microorganisms. Clorox at 20% for 20 minutes reduced general contamination significantly, but possible Alternaria and Xanthomonas were isolated from the treated seeds of all six varieties. Hot water treatment (52°C for 20 minutes) reduced the presence of fungi and bacteria completely from seeds of 5 varieties. One greenhouse grower is using PlantShield preventively now on bedding plants. The goal in the other greenhouse is to avoid growing zinnias under hanging baskets, and to move the plants out when small so that they are not crowding each other in the flat.

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