Southeastern Ornamental Horticulture Production and Integrated Pest Management

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Diagnostics System for Crop History and Disorders in Greenhouses and Nurseries

Bodie Pennisi, Extension Horticulture Specialist, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223      bpennisi@uga.edu
Paul Thomas, Extension Horticulture Specialist, 224 Hoke Smith Building, Athens, GA 30602    pathomas@uga.edu

This manual has been put together based upon consultation with Extension specialists and industry consultants with a great body of experience. Hundreds of greenhouse problems, and our experience with hundreds of business owners (as well as their responses to problems and the outcomes) have provided much insight into the best ways to handle problems, especially large scale losses. Based upon this experience, we recommend that each business owner decide in advance of implementation: 1) Who will be in charge of developing the records and documents required to maintain the information required for this system to work, and 2) Which management person will be given the ultimate responsibility/accountability for overseeing the diagnostic process, reporting the findings, implementing the recommendations from the owner/board, and finally, documenting the outcomes.

In general, the owners of most businesses (even small businesses with only five or more full time employees) are the least efficient people to handle the duties of record keeping, and absolutely the worst possible choice for handling the responsibilities of problem diagnosis. Ignoring the obvious impact an owner inquest has on employee morale, a major point to consider is how spending time on problem diagnosis might affect ongoing business. Most owners cannot afford to drop everything and dive into a production problem, although their emotions and attachments tell them to do so. The owner should be the one receiving the reports, taking recommendations from the staff, and formulating a response to the problem(s) based upon facts and recommendations. The likelihood the diagnosis will be carried out in a consistent manner increases dramatically by making this work a formal part of a manager’s duties, or by hiring a qualified consultant, rather than the owner taking on the work. This strategy also keeps the owner out of the emotional stresses problem diagnosis can generate. By keeping a clear mind and some distance from the problem diagnosis process, rational and effective decisions are more easily made. Owners will also find reading this document a bit easier if they decide in advance this is not work they will have to incorporate into their busy schedules. We respectfully offer this advice as perhaps the most important issue to be considered within this document.

For the full manual (publication) – visit:

Diagnostics System for Crop History and Disorders in Greenhouses and Nurseries – UGA Extension Publication B 1273

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