In the midsummer heat, an estimated 10,000 people will converge on the Greater Columbus Convention Center to visit more than 700 exhibitors. The trade show takes place from Sunday, July 15 to Tuesday, July 17, but there are several educational opportunities the day before the show floor opens. As in previous years, AmericanHort has packed Saturday with several add-on tours and workshops that may be worth your time and money. And the seminars don’t stop when the show starts. We’ve highlighted some of the nursery and business-related sessions here. For all the details regarding Cultivate’18, including greenhouse, garden center, landscape and business sessions, visit

Saturday, July 14

Drone Workshop: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. | Room C150
In this workshop, we'll be introducing attendees to small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). The focus will be on risk-based training for current and future commercial users of this cool, emerging technology. Attendees will achieve an improved understanding of flight regulations, types of platforms and sensors, data processing, potential agricultural uses, and liability issues related to UAS. Attendees will leave knowing how to make improved decisions to match the best sUAS with their needs. This workshop is partially supported by a grant from the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC). The cost of this workshop is $65.

Biocontrols Workshop: Learning to Identify Key Pests | 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Room C160
The basis for a good pest management program is knowing what you're dealing with. In this workshop, we'll teach you how to ID key pests found in the greenhouse. We'll be going beyond the basics and help take you to the next level. The workshop will continue at on offsite location after this session where we will discuss advanced release techniques. Hands-on demonstrations and discussions will be done with a top biocontrol specialist from the industry. The cost of this workshop is $125 and it is approved for pesticide re-certification credits.

Nursery and Landscape Tour | 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Union Station B
If you have a multifunctional business in the nursery and landscape world, this tour is for you! We will visit A. Brown & Sons Nursery, a large grower of healthy, quality shade & ornamental trees, evergreens, shrubs and select perennials with more than 50 years growing experience. They supply a wide variety and great quantity of wholesale nursery stock to landscapers and re-wholesalers across the country. They also have a garden center and Landscaping crew that services the Dayton/Miami Valley region of Ohio. This tour will also visit Peabody Landscape Group, Inc. in central Ohio. They started in 1982 and have grown throughout the area to provide landscape design-build and environmental site management services. The cost of this tour is $125. (See more on the tours in this special supplement.)

CareerUP – Define your future | 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | Short North Ballroom
Connect with other young professionals who are ambitious about growing their careers and are passionate about revolutionizing the way we promote horticulture as a career, hobby, and life necessity. This one-day workshop series is tailored to emerging horticulture professionals to help you expand your skills, define your future, and navigate the green industry career ladder. The cost of this workshop is $125.

Can Recycled Water Improve Your Profit Margin? | 1 to 4:30 p.m. | Room A210
Recycling irrigation is of critical importance to sustaining the horticulture industry’s water supply while reducing its environmental footprint. However, water quality in runoff containment ponds was not known until recently and its impacts on horticultural production remain largely unknown. This presentation highlights what we learned about recycled water quality through two major multi-institutional projects over the past decade. It also discusses how water quality may affect chlorine and pesticides’ performance, nutrient availability, plant quality and productivity, and how to reduce potential impacts. Speaker: Chuan Hong, Virginia Tech

Hydrangea Workshop: Get Blooming with the Best and Biggest Blooms | 1 to 5 p.m. | Room C170
Learn how to consistently produce blooming, high-quality, nursery-grown hydrangeas in your clients' desired bloom color at this hands-on workshop. We will cover fertilization, blueing, pH management, forcing, container substrates, and controlling growth with irrigation and plant growth regulators. Leave with the information you need to grow hydrangea crops that match your clients’ quality and size requirements every time. Speakers: Amy Fulcher, Anthony LeBude, Jim Owen, Jeff Stoven

Intellectual Property Rights for Plant Breeders and Growers: Obtaining and using multiple types of IP in a comprehensive strategy | 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. | Room A210
Intellectual property (IP) rights for plants have become increasingly important over the years and are now a major part of the business model of many breeders and growers of ornamental and fruit plants. This session will discuss the two main types of IP rights that breeders and growers should always be considering - plant patents and trademarks - and will provide valuable information on how to obtain and use both these types of IP protection, including: why growers and breeders should obtain both types of protection, how patents and trademarks are obtained, timing issues around filing applications, considerations to keep in mind when both types of protection are being sought, and strategies for utilizing both types of IP rights in a comprehensive strategy to maximize your protection and the monetization of your novel plant varieties. Speakers: Travis Bliss and Laura Pitts, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Focusing on Substrates: The Wood Fiber Frenzy | 4 to 5 p.m. | Union Station A
Recent commercialization and marketing of wood fiber substrates has generated a lot of excitement, curiosity, and questions in the horticultural production world. This session will highlight many North American and European wood substrate products, including Hydrafiber, Greenfibre, Hortifibre, Forest Fiber, Forest Gold, WholeTree, Clean Chip Residual, and Pine Tree Substrates. How are they different? How are they similar? What are the advantages, disadvantages, problems, and potentials? A review of the characteristics of these materials will be given as well as laboratory analysis and grower trial experience. Speaker: Brian Jackson, NC State (See Q&A with Brian Jackson in this supplement.)

Sunday, July 15

On the Front Lines: IR-4 Project and New Active Ingredients for Plant Success | 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. | Room A210
The IR-4 Project develops efficacy and crop safety data on new active ingredients and products to manage diseases, pests and weeds. We screen any type of active ingredient from living biologicals to designer chemistry to find the best tool for the situation. We then provide our information to the companies registering these actives to turn them into commercial products. In this presentation, we will highlight IR-4’s registration support research activities and then dive into recent research outcomes for new fungicides/bactericides, insecticides/miticides and herbicides. Speaker: Cristi Palmer, Ornamental Horticulture Program Manager IR-4 @ Rutgers University (See Q&A with Cristi Palmer in this supplement.)

Progressive Work Utilizing Manufacturing Principles | 10 to 10:20 a.m. | Knowledge Center
Learn how manufacturing assembly techniques are being used in the Green Industry. Learn how progressive work is applied in potting/canning, sticking, patching/fixing, and shipping. See how these simple techniques will help you increase productivity as much as 40%. The best thing about this technique is that you do not need expensive equipment to make it work - use what you have. Speaker: Gerson Cortes, FlowVision

Assembling a PourThru Kit: What You Need to Know Now | 10 to 10:30 a.m. | Live for Growers Stage
Which pH and EC meter should you purchase? What other pieces of equipment do you need? In this demonstration session, we'll provide you with the answers on how to assemble your own PourThru Toolbox so that you can begin an in-house nutrient monitoring program. Speaker: Brian Whipker, NC State

Safeguarding Boxwood with the Latest Research | 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. | Room A210
Is boxwood blight keeping you awake at night? Are you looking for new research to improve horticultural practices for better protection of your crops and customers from this destructive disease? If so, this is your session. It presents and translates the latest boxwood blight research into practical knowledge and technologies. It also discusses how they may be integrated into current production systems to strengthen the lines of defense against this disease. Speaker: Chuan Hong, Virginia Tech

Need Labor? Seed Your Future’s BLOOM! Has New Resources for You | 10:45 to 11: 45 a.m. | Room A113
According to industry research, one of the most challenging issues for horticulture businesses is the lack of qualified candidates to fill our open positions. Seed Your Future is the movement to help make long-term change in the industry and inspire more people to pursue careers working with plants. Last year you heard from Seed Your Future about our research findings - specifically our focus groups with middle schoolers, their parents, their teachers and their guidance counselors. Since then, we've launched a multi-faceted, education, marketing and PR campaign based on that research – BLOOM! Hear from Seed Your Future co-chair Anna Ball of Ball Horticultural Company, along with national leadership cabinet member Cole Mangum of Bell Nursery, and SYF executive director Susan E. Yoder. We'll share our new educational tools, PR outreach, and the partner toolkits you can use to participate in the movement and help ensure a qualified horticulture workforce for the future. Speakers: Anna Ball, Ball Horticulture Co.; Cole Mangum, Bell Nursery; Susan Yoder, Seed Your Future

Using Math in Real Life: Squeezing Every Drop Out of Nursery Irrigation | 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. | Room A220 Want to improve your nursery irrigation, but don’t know where to begin or unsure about the math? This session will give you the math primer you need to implement changes with immediate results. Join us for a math lesson you won't soon forget! We'll give you easy steps--things you can do the day you return to your nursery to make changes, small and big, that save water and fuel while maximizing the impact of your fertilizer. Calculations will be broken down, step by step, with easy-to-follow examples. Speaker: Amy Fulcher, University of Tennessee

New Ways to Find Labor | 11:30 to 11:50 a.m. | Knowledge Center
Are you having trouble finding labor? Come join us for some new ways to think about recruiting and retaining employees. It’s time to step outside of the box! Speaker: John Terhesh, Willoway Nurseries (See Q&A with John Terhesh in this supplement.)

Crape myrtle Bark Scale: Solutions for Crape myrtles and Other At-Risk Hosts | 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. | Live for Growers Stage
Crape myrtle is prized for its beauty and its relative freedom from pests in the United States. It provides pollen to pollinators in the summer, when few other trees are flowering. Unfortunately, this $66 million/year crop is threatened by an emerging pest: Crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS). CMBS has spread to 13 states and now counts the native American beautyberry among its host plants, causing significant concerns among stakeholders in the Green Industry and native flora. This session will inform you documented and confirmed alternative hosts of CMBS and provide solution to this pest. Speaker: Mengmeng Gu, Texas A&M

Water Tools for Growers: SCRI Research | 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. | Room A210
Water conservation, management, and recycling are critical aspects of plant production. Fortunately, new research results are providing new tools to help green industry professionals track water quality, implement solutions to manage water quality problems, and assess risk for plant disease problems based on your current (or newly adopted) production practice. Speaker: Sarah White, Clemson University

Getting a Handle on Boxwood Blight Mitigation 3:30 to 4 p.m. | Live for Growers stage
Boxwood blight is a disease of increasing concern to all parties on the horticulture chain - from grower to consumer. This session looks beyond the latest research. We'll examine the state of knowledge about this disease and chart strategies to prevent, contain, and manage its accidental introduction at local, state, and national levels through live discussions with growers and other horticulturists. Speaker: Chuan Hong, Virginia Tech

Finessing Fertility Programs for Nursery Crops | 4 to 5 p.m. | Room A210
Understanding your fertility program can bring profit to your business. How much do you really know about the controlled release fertilizers and growing media amendments regularly added to your container mix? This session will review the basics about these components before diving into the latest research and recommendations. We'll discuss using fertilizer formulations to reduce phosphorus, share opportunities with controlled release fertilizer placement, examine nutrient movement within the container, and the effect of amendments and fertilizer on pH of pine bark based substrates. This overview of the basics, combined with new insights, will help you better understand and fine-tune your fertility program with an eye on increasing profitably. Speaker: Jim Owen, VT

Monday, July 16

Morning Jolt Keynote: Elevating Performance for Leaders and Their Teams | 8 to 9:15 a.m. | Short North Ballrooms
In his can’t-miss keynote, Scott Greenberg, noted businessman and speaker, discusses both skill set and mindset, helping business leaders and their teams elevate performance and grow their companies. He’ll be challenging conventional thinking and getting people immediately focused on the ideas and actions that matter most. Speaker: Scott Greenberg

When Stuff Gets Hard: Managing Difficult Employment Issues | 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. | Room C170
Have you ever had to handle a sexual harassment issue, employee under the influence of drugs, or an employee with medical issues that limits his or her ability to do his or her job? In this session, we'll examine some of the most difficult employment issues a business can face and how supervisors, companies, and fellow employees should respond to these situations. Speaker: Richard Aliniz, Cruickshank & Alaniz

Stay on Track: Working Smarter with Productivity Metrics | 10 to 10:20 a.m. | Knowledge Center
Want to know how cutting-edge research can help you reduce, remediate, and recycle irrigation water? Twenty-two researchers at nine universities across the U. S. have been working together over the past four years to help develop water treatment technologies, economic analyses, and practical water use and treatment strategies. In this session, you'll learn about the ongoing research, how it can help you save water and money, and how to stay up-to-date with tools the team is developing to help inform your decision-making processes. Speaker: Neil Marek, general manager, Magnolia Gardens Nursery tissue culture lab (See Q&A with Neil Marek in this supplement.)

Pollinators, Plants & You: Speed Updates on Recent Research | 10:45 to 11:15 a.m. | Live for Growers stage
The IR-4 Project is facilitating a research project on how to protect pollinators in ornamental horticulture. In this presentation, we will provide short updates on several experiments examining the level of attractiveness of top selling crops and the amount of residues in pollen and nectar after foliar sprays or drenches with systemic insecticides. Speaker: Cristi Palmer, Rutgers University

Taming the Top 10 Troublesome Insect Pests of Woody Landscape Plants | 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. | Room A210
This talk covers the diagnosis and control of major insect pests of woody landscape plants including borers (e.g., emerald ash borer), Japanese beetles, scale insects, caterpillars, mites, sawflies, leaf miners, and other pests. It includes many tips on managing pests with non-chemical tactics or reduced risk insecticides with straight talk on which approaches are most effective. This session is eligible for pesticide re-certification credits for OH, IN, NJ, MA, MD, FL, MI, CT as of 4/12/2018 (This list will be updated as states approve sessions). Speaker: Daniel Potter, University of Kentucky

Understanding the New Tax Law | 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. | Room A220
Join national tax consulting leader K-Coe Isom, along with members of the AmericanHort advocacy team, to discuss elements of the new tax law and learn how to best position your business for success in the future. A presentation from K-Coe will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Speaker: Ryan Stroschein, K-Coe Isom

Back from the Ban: The Complex Issue of Sterile Cultivars from Invasive Species | 4 to 5 p.m. | Room A210
A number of landscape plants have escaped cultivation to become weedy or even invasive in native ecosystems. This has led to regulation or banning of some species of great economic importance to the nursery and landscape industries. To address this issue, breeders are developing new cultivars with reduced fertility. It remains to be seen if these cultivars will be allowed in states or regions for which the species-type is banned or otherwise regulated. This session will present a discussion between researchers, breeders, department of agriculture representatives, and industry members. Speakers: panel includes Ryan Contreras, Oregon State University; David Fujino, UC Davis; Dan Kenny, Ohio Dept. of Agriculture; Gary McAninch, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture; Tim Wood, Spring Meadow Nursery

Tuesday, July 17:

Weeding Out Weed Control Costs in Container Grown Nursery Crops | 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. | Room A210
Weed management in container nursery crops can be costly! Overall costs can be over $4000 per acre. Would you like to reduce your hand weeding labor and costs by 40% (or more)? In this presentation Dr. Neal will describe several weed management strategies and practices that have been shown to provide an average of 39% cost savings compared to standard grower practices.(This session qualifies for pesticide recertification credits in OH, NC, IN, NJ, MA, MD, FL, MI, CT as of 4/12/2018 (This list will be updated as state departments approve sessions). Speaker: Joseph Neal, NC State (See Q&A with Joseph Neal in this supplement.)

Horticultural Tags and Signs to Fit Every Budget | 10 to 10:30 a.m. | Live for Growers stage
Whether you have a budget of a few hundred dollars or thousands, you can still up your game and improve your marketing with high-quality labels, tags, and signs. Join us for this session, and we'll show you how. Speaker: Todd Davis, Horticultural Marketing and Printing/Orora Visual

The Green Slime: Nostoc Know-How | 11:30 to 11:50 a.m. | Knowledge Center
Nostoc, that dreaded green slime that grows along common surfaces in nurseries (gravel, cement, ground cloth), is not a pest to nursery crops—but it does pose a safety hazard for workers by creating slippery surfaces. If the infestation is severe enough, colonies of this bacteria can spread to containers, where it is visible and unappealing to buyers. Join this session to understand known control methods for Nostoc. This project was funded by the Horticultural Research Institute, the research arm of AmericanHort. Speaker: Joseph Neal, NC State