From July 15-18, an estimated 10,000 folks will converge on the Columbus Convention Center to visit more than 600 exhibitors.

Besides the trade show element, Cultivate also offers more than 150 educational seminars that cover all facets of the industry, as well as separate tours to greenhouse and nursery operations.

We’ve highlighted some of the nursery- and business-related sessions in this supplement. For all the details regarding this year’s Cultivate, including greenhouse, garden center, landscape and business sessions, visit

Cultivate is operated by AmericanHort ( Times and locations are subject to change. At press time, some sessions’ locations had not been determined. Please refer to a show guide for final session locations.

Saturday, July 15

7:45 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Plant Production & Nursery Research Learning Tour

Location: Union Station B

Learn to improve nursery production efficiency from the USDA-ARS Application Technology Research Unit (ATRU), which is located in The Ohio State University’s OARDC campus. Also learn how Eagle Creek Wholesale approaches growing a resilient business based on sound economics, technology and fundamental plant practices.

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Succession Planning In A Family Business - A Workshop

Location: A220 - A222 | Speaker: Beatrice Wolper

Tailored to business leaders, this day-long workshop will help you identify and systematically develop new leaders within your company. Craft the perfect exit strategy while confident that your legacy will continue successfully.

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Update On Rose Rosette

Location: C160 - C161B | Speaker: Alan Windham, PhD

2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Growing with Green Infrastructure

Location: C160 - C161B | Speaker: Shannon Currey

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Mastering Inventory Control With RFID Applications #NR117

Location: C160 - C161B | Speakers: Ben Meyers, Matt Vollmer, Arbre Technologies LLC

5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Horticulture Research Institute Summer Reception

Location: C170

The Horticultural Research Institute celebrates donors, members and friends who are interested in continuing to develop green industry progress through innovation and research. Celebrate with great food, drinks and merriment at this complimentary reception.

Sunday, July 16

8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Morning Jolt Keynote: The Energy Bus

Location: Short North Ballrooms | Speaker: Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon, bestselling author and business consultant, shares the secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive thinking that leads to true accomplishment at work and at home. Everyone faces challenges. And every person, organization, company, and team has to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create success. No one goes through life untested, and the answer to these tests is positive energy — the kind of positive energy consisting of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and a spirit that defines great leaders and their teams. You will learn how to create more success in your career, workplace, teams, and home and enjoy the ride of your life!

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

How Mycorrhizae Provide Value At Your Nursery Or Greenhouse

Location: C170 - C172 | Speakers: Hugh A. Poole, PhD and Jozsef Racsko, PhD

Learn how beneficial symbiotic soil fungi, known as mycorrhizae, can benefit your greenhouse or nursery production through expanded plant root mass, increased soil nutrient efficiency, improved water acquisition and storage, improved shelf life and drought tolerance, and ultimately enhanced transplant success and landscape survivability. Hugh A. Poole, Ph.D. and Jozsef Racsko, Ph.D. will explain the science behind these beneficial microbes, as well as the practical applications for your greenhouse, nursery, home garden, or landscaping. You will not only learn about this fascinating microscopic evolutionary building block and how it is essential to life on earth, but also how you can utilize mycorrhizal fungi to benefit your professional growing operation and ultimately your business’ bottom line.

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Family Business: Best Practices, Potholes & War Stories

Location: A220 – A222 | Speaker: Jeffrey Scott

Family businesses can outperform the competition if all synergies are realized. They can also under-perform if they are mismanaged. While statistics will say that most family businesses fail when handed to the next generation, Jeffrey Scott will share his extensive experience in ensuring the opposite — unbelievable success. Protect and grow your family business by learning how to increase the speed of growth and company morale; define and stay in your lane; increase profitability and productivity; and shift focus from inputs to outputs. Enjoy more success and increase your confidence that both family and non-family employees can carry on your family business legacy.

10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Attracting Pollinators AND Eco-Friendly Homeowners

Speaker: Hayk Khachatryan

Learn strategies to incorporate pollinator-related attributes into residential landscape designs, marketing strategies, and product offerings. Discover insights into consumer preferences for pollinator-friendly landscapes and the tradeoff between maintenance requirements, economic benefits, and eco-friendly characteristics. These principles are relevant for garden centers, nurseries, and landscapers. Understand the various opportunities pollinator friendly landscapes present and how working together across all fronts can successfully aid pollinator health in urban environments.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Diagnosing Plant Diseases

Speaker: Alan Windham, PhD

10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Upgrade Mulch With A Grass & Sedge Package

Speaker: Shannon Currey

Replace those oceans of mulch with beautiful plants that preserve and build the soil, outcompete weeds, and provide a host of ecosystem benefits. Learn which grasses and sedges work well for ground covers or alternatives to turf grass. See how these workhorse plants can bring beauty and functionality to any landscape.

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Industry Promotion To Consumers: Plant Something

Speaker: Cheryl Goar, CAE

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Water Recycling From Clean WateR3 Research

Location: C170 - C172 | Speaker: Paul Fisher, PhD

Water conservation is a critical aspect of plant production. Recent research provides best common-sense practices to reduce, remediate, and recycle irrigation water based on real-life examples.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Sales & Marketing In A Lean Flow Environment

Speaker: Gerson Cortes

Learn how sales and marketing plays a significant and vital role in the success of Lean Flow implementation, as well as how to apply Lean Principles to sales and marketing. Understand the parameters of Lean sales and marketing and how the results can add up significantly.

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Cultivate Town Hall: Changing The Industry

Location: Union Station B | Speakers: Alex Traven, Lloyd Traven, Brienne Arthur, Scott Endres and Valerie Nalls

Join the upfront and personal panel discussion and get various perspectives on consumable goods and how they’re changing the industry. Be prepared to think, consider, and discuss while getting the big-picture view of where the industry is headed.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The Next Generation Of Horticulturists Seed Your Future

Location: A220 - A222| Speaker: Susan E. Yoder

As American interest continues to grow for plant-based movements such as farm-to-table, field-to-vase, and school gardens, the same growth isn’t being seen in young people pursuing horticulture careers. University programs are shrinking and horticulture companies are challenged to fill their open positions despite 58% of graduating college seniors being unable to find work in their field. Seed Your Future is a collaboration of leading horticulture companies, public gardens, and affiliated organizations. Through focus group research completed in early 2017, we tested imagery and language that will be used to create a national outreach campaign to reverse the trend. Learn about the research findings and hear newly developed resources and tools to help horticulture businesses attract qualified applicants and ensure a robust pipeline of future talent.

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Who Says I Need A License To Fly My Drone?

Speaker: James Robbins, PhD

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

CMBS And Why You Should Worry

Location: C170 – C172 | Speaker: Mengmeng Gu

Crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS) is a relatively new exotic pest of crape myrtle and has many documented alternative hosts including plants from 16 genera in 13 families. This session may be eligible for pesticide recertification credit.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Targeting Consumers With Pollinator-Related Promotions

Location: B130 - B131| Speakers: Alicia Rihn and Hayk Khachatryan

Backed by research, see how pollinator-related marketing actually impacts consumer perceptions including their response to pollinator friendly plants, various plant attributes, production methods, promotional wording, and neonicotinoid insecticide use. The use of “pollinator friendly” in marketing has been proven to improve customers’ perceived value; learn how it can be used to meet new market needs and justify higher price points by product differentiation.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

“Sorry Not Available” - Dealing With Plant Shortages

Location: A210 - A212| Speakers: Craig Cawrse and Bill Hendricks

The reality of landscape plant shortages can lead to challenges in meeting design specifications. By working together, landscape installers, designers, and growers can develop cohesive strategies for navigating shortages together. Join Landscape Architect Craig Cawrse and nurseryman Bill Hendricks as they share insights on being open-minded and preparing in advance to meet future needs, especially the shortage of caliper trees.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Edibles & Container Combos: Function & Flair

Location: A115-A113 | Speaker: Christina Salwitz

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Business Software 101 And Your Best Options To Benefit

Location: C170 - C172 | Speaker: Greg Lafferty

Business software comes in many shapes and sizes, but how do you know what system is right for your company? Learn the building blocks of business system software, the relationship between growth and complexity, how to know when you’re ready for a change, and keys for successful implantation.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Finding Labor: Where We’re Headed

Location: A220 - A222 | Speaker: Craig Regelbrugge

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Utilizing Native Plants In The Landscape

Location: A210 - A212| Speaker: Jim Kleinwachter

Creating better habitats for butterflies and birds is a key element in sustainable landscaping. Native landscapes are a cost effective alternative to traditional landscaping, and municipal codes are helping the cause by promoting more native areas in detention basins and pond edges. Learn about a new trend — the Pollinator Meadow — that is attractive to both humans and pollinators and very cost effective in the long run, too.

Photo by GIE Media staff

Monday, July 17

8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Keynote: State of the Industry

Location: Short North Ballrooms| Speakers: Charlie Hall, PhD, Craig Regelbrugge and Ken Fisher

A wind of change has been sweeping the country since last year’s November elections and much of it will impact our businesses. In this State of the Industry Keynote we will hear perspectives from AmericanHort’s leadership team on this new and rapidly changing policy environment. Ken Fisher, AmericanHort president and CEO, will discuss key, green industry trends and efforts from AmericanHort to navigate this new environment for our members. We’re six months in and counting with a new president, new administration, and new Congress, and Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Research will give his “Inside Washington” perspective on the new political order and outlook on horticulture industry policy priorities from workforce to tax and small business issues. AmericanHort Chief Economist Charlie Hall will report and explain current economic indicators, policy implications, and help set the stage for our best strategic thinking for the rest of the year.

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Tobacco Mosaic Virus Meets Its Match

Location: C170-C172 | Speaker: Lorence Oki

Slow sand filters are a time-tested, low-input technology that’s being used to remove pathogens from captured runoff water. This water can then be used for irrigation. Learn the latest research findings that indicate how these filters can be used to remove Phytophthora and tobacco mosaic virus.

10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Build Your Business With Biological Products

Speaker: Keith Jones

With consumer demand for sustainable products at an all-time high and increasing regulatory pressure on conventional horticulture production products, the biological sector has flourished. How do you respond to customer inquiries about the use of biological products? How have biological products including biopesticides and biostimulants evolved to improve product quality, availability, and field support? How can you grow your business by gaining knowledge and expertise in this burgeoning category? Keith Jones, the Executive Director of the Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), will answer these questions and more.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Organic Substrates: Priming Soil For Quick Response At Plant

Speaker: Jean-Pierre Fortin

Nutrient availability is a challenge in organic growing. There are numerous organic substrates on the market and an array of additives. Proper handling of the media prior to planting is the key for success, aka “soil priming.” This session will reveal test results on different ways to prepare organic substrates for quick and efficient release of nutrients necessary for short cycle crops such as spring crops and ways to maintain nutrient charge in longer cropping systems.

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Mysteries Of The Cloud: Solved

Speaker: Greg Lafferty

Cloud-based computing isn’t as mystical as some would have you believe. Chances are, you’ve been using cloud-based products for some time in business and at home. In this session, learn what the cloud is and what it’s not, its benefits and pitfalls, and the future of this technology and how it will impact your business operations.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Turning Common Sense Into Common Practice

Location: A220 – A222 | Speaker: John Stahl-Wert

The best leadership advice and strategies seem simple and straightforward — until it’s time to implement them. Discover the Serving Leader Model that is transforming individuals and organizations worldwide. Its success, which is soon to be your success, is found in small, practical changes that produce big results. Hear how leaders are applying “serving leadership” principles and changing their industries, improving bottom-line results, and making a difference in the world of their employees, clients, and communities.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Beyond Herbicides: Improving Weed Control Through IPM

Location: C170 - C172 | Speaker: Christopher Marble, PhD

We all know that herbicides are the most economical way to manage weeds, but there is definitely more to the story. Almost everything that goes on during production can impact weed growth and herbicide performance including how we fertilize, how we irrigate, and what kind of substrate we use. In this presentation, the impacts of various production practices on weed control will be covered along with many integrated, non-chemical approaches to weed management that are actually effective. This session may be eligible for pesticide recertification credit.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Differences In Outdoor Vs Indoor Herbaceous Production

Location: C170-C172 | Speaker: John Erwin, PhD

The vast majority of ornamental crop production in the US occurs outdoors, not in greenhouses. Outdoor edible/ornamental crop production is very different than growing plants in greenhouses. What medias are suited for outdoor production? How is fertilization, crop timing, and pest and disease management different? John will address these issues and talk about when it makes sense to combine indoor and outdoor growing for some crops.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of AmericanHort

Hiring And Retaining Quality Employees

Location: A220 - A222 | Speaker: Mark Sellew

The horticulture industry offers meaningful employment, but it can be challenging to find the right people for the job, hire them, retain them, and help them grow into their careers. Hear creative and common sense solutions to the industry’s labor challenges with a focus on hiring the right people and keeping them on-board and engaged.

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

Speaker: Mengmeng Gu

2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

CA GROWN Nursery Marketplace, A New Bilingual Resource

Speakers: Aimee Darville and Leticia Macias

The CA GROWN Nursery Marketplace is a free bilingual online resource where California nursery growers can connect with retail and landscape buyers. This sales tool for CA GROWN green goods allows buyers to more conveniently and readily identify a plant source from a California nursery grower. Learn how to extend the reach of your inventory with this new digital platform.

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

What Is SANC?

Speaker: Jerry Lee

SANC (Systems Approach to Nursery Certification) was developed cooperatively between the National Plant Board, USDA, and AmericanHort to promote the shipment of pest-free plant material interstate and intrastate more efficiently. Six years in, eight “phase one” pilot nurseries have been working through the process, while five have been certified. Phase two is underway with nine additional nurseries. Learn about what SANC is, how it helps business, the results the pilot nurseries have seen, and the steps you can take to take advantage of SANC.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

HRI Update

Location: C170 - C172 | Speaker: Jill Calabro

Hear the latest research funded by the Horticulture Research Institute.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Great Purpose: The Missing Ingredient

Location: A220 - A222 | Speaker: John Stahl-Wert

Discover the power of defining your organization’s Great Purpose and how it will increase employee engagement, organizational results, and customer satisfaction. Through the moving stories of real-world leaders, you’ll hear how this strategy results in the gift of meaningful work for your employees and a purpose worth serving.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Lean Flow: “Dock Supermarket” Thinking

Location: Union Station A | Speaker: Gerson Cortes

Learn how a supermarket concept in your shipping process can produce very impressive results that include improved productivity, less discrepancies, and better quality. Hear from two growers who have implemented the Dock Supermarket concept. They will tell you about their experience and the benefits they achieved.

3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Photo by GIE Media staff

SANC Preparing For The Future

Speaker: Dana Rhodes

3:30 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, NPGN

Speaker: Mary Phillips

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, National Pollinator Garden Network - Learn how 50 national organizations are engaged in an unprecedented partnership involving garden trade organizations, pollinator conservation organizations, and public civic member groups to create a MILLION pollinator-friendly gardens nationwide. Garden centers, growers, and others are leading the way to creating a more eco-friendly landscape and actively addressing pollinator and monarch decline. BONUS: catch a preview of a new plant database that helps consumers identify the best plants by zip code to attract butterflies and birds.

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

How Much Water Do Landscape Plants Really Need?

Speaker: Lorence Oki

How much water does each plant use? Do you actually know? And know why it matters? Learn how knowing landscape plant water usage translates into more effective irrigation and adherence to state laws. Water budgeting is the new line item, so see how to work it to your advantage.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Rethinking Your Substrate To Reduce Water

Location: C170 – C172 | Speaker: James Owen, PhD

Over the past 5 years, Drs. Fields and Owen have re-engineered soilless substrates utilizing conventional components such as screened pine bark, peat, and coir. Their objective has been to find out how to better distribute water throughout the container and allow for improved delivery of stored water to the plant between irrigation events. In this presentation, you will learn how their work utilizing engineered substrates has improved growth of hibiscus and hydrangea using equal or less water. These findings may help you rethink how water moves through your container and how you can improve substrate and water management at your nursery or greenhouse.

Photo by GIE Media staff

Tuesday, July 18

8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Diversity Is Key: Plants For Pollinators & Pest Control

Location: A210 - A212 | Speaker: David Smitley, PhD

Explore how a diverse selection of perennials, shrubs, and trees are attractive to pollinators AND enhance natural control of plant pests. When a landscape of carefully selected plants is maintained in a way that protects pollinators, predators and parasitoids in turn provide a high level of plant protection. Selective management strategies will also be discussed for saving problem-prone trees and shrubs.

9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Helping Phosphorus Get Over Rejection

Speakers: Jake Shreckhise and James Owen, PhD

In containerized nursery crop production, only about 20-50% of applied phosphorus (P) fertilizer is taken up by the plant. Rising fertilizer prices and the environmental implications of unused fertilizer run-off makes it incredibly important to optimize fertilization rates that efficiently support crop growth and plant nutrition. Learn the latest research of how growers can save money, reduce waste, and promote healthier crops by knowing true crop needs for phosphorus and where phosphorus applications ultimately end up in containerized production using pine bark substrate.

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

SANC: Perspectives From A Consultant, Regulator, And A Nursery

Location: C170 – C172 | Speakers: Dana Rhodes, Kimberley Lovelace-Young and Jerry Lee

10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Planning In A Lean Flow Environment

Speaker: Gerson Cortes

Lean Flow practices not only make current production more cost and time effective, but it also gives you the tools to use data to forecast future plans. Learn the techniques that will align your production schedule with actual sales and the strategies behind producing the right products based on sales history.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

What’s New In The Weed Control World?

Speaker: Christopher Marble, PhD

A world without weeds is still only a dream, so learn the latest research on herbicides, including new formulations, new combinations, and new ways to use these products to get just a little closer to the dream of “weed-free.”

11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Marketing An Ecosystem Of Plants, Pollinators, And Benefits

Speaker: David Smitley, PhD

Pollinator-attractive plants serve multiple uses in the landscape and have become the ultimate combination of function and beauty. Learn about the go-to list of important annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that serve as food sources for pollinators, predators, and parasitoids. Then learn how having a community of plants and these critters provides important benefits such as natural pest control, reduction in pesticide use, a boost for honey bees, and a habitat for threatened species.