Chemicals vs. Probiotics in Cut Flower Production

Even though many significant advances have been made in modern horticultural techniques that allow for more sustainable production methods, pesticide, herbicide, and synthetic fertilizer use in the cut flower industry remains high. Most recipients of cut flowers don’t realize that they’re getting a face full of chemical residue when they stick their noses into a beautiful bouquet that they’ve received, and the small white packets of preservative materials that most cut flowers come with have been found to cause serious skin rashes in Columbian greenhouse workers.

The majority of the cut flowers available in the United States have been grown in Columbia and Ecuador in large floral production greenhouses, and many of these enterprises use chemicals that have been banned in the U.S. as a matter of routine. As the buying public becomes increasingly aware of this, the market for organically grown cut flowers increases proportionately.

However, another reason exists for commercial cut flower growers to consider the benefits of probiotics in organic farming. The cut flower industry experiences significant waste due to the relatively short shelf life of cut flowers, and commercial growers are finding that they can decrease this by creating stronger plants and by using flower varieties that last longer.

One of the main benefits of probiotic use in plant production is that beneficial microbes take nitrogen from the air and fix it into the root zones of the plants. This creates healthier vegetative tissue that is stronger and more capable of fighting off insects as well as fungal and bacterial pathogens, thus reducing the need for chemical pesticides and herbicides. Cut flower growers who use products such as terreplenish™ will easily find a market for their products because consumers will appreciate their longer shelf life as well as the fact that they’re produced without abundant amounts of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.

Another benefit is that growers using organic farming methods will be better able to attract and retain high quality employees because workers will appreciate not being exposed to toxic chemicals as a matter of routine. Experienced, well-trained employees who are happy with their work will result in a better end product.

As more and more commercial growers realize that there is a significant consumer demand for organically grown cut flowers, products containing probiotics will become even more widely used.

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