AmericanHort Meets with Plant Regulatory Officials

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Each year in August, the National Plant Board convenes its annual meeting of state plant regulatory officials, along with federal cooperators including the Departments of Agriculture, and Homeland Security. The meeting presents a very useful opportunity for AmericanHort to brief those who inspect and regulate us on the health of the horticulture industry, and to represent the industry and seek solutions to plant health and quarantine challenges.

Topping the list of industry issues we presented on were boxwood blight and Phytophthora ramorum. Challenges experienced with both have us and the regulators looking for realistic ways to improve efforts to keep these pathogens out of the nursery trade. In the case of boxwood blight, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Institute are initiating a dialogue with key researchers on what’s been learned over the last few years, which will support a review and possible revision of the boxwood blight cleanliness program. We also urged extreme vigilance with respect to boxwood plants moving from Canada, where a serious new pest known as box tree moth has been detected in a residential area in Toronto.

In a second presentation, we had the chance to discuss ongoing efforts to develop sterile cultivars of useful but potentially invasive landscape plants. We urged the state officials to work to ensure that state-level invasive species restrictions allow for recognition and exemption of sterile plant cultivars.

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