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AZH Newsletter

  • December 04, 2017 11:12 AM | Anonymous


    Sacramento Zoo Specimen Tree Signage

    By Michaele Bergera, Sacramento Zoological Society

    The purpose/goal of this project was to create and install four signs to educate/inform our visitors about the significance of some of our trees that are endangered, threatened, or otherwise in need of protection. By providing signage for these trees, we hope to show our guests that the Sacramento Zoological Society places a priority on plant conservation as well as animal conservation.

    Two signs, 16” x 18”, were made and installed under our Heritage Valley Oaks. One sign gives information specifically about Quercus lobata, and the other explains why it is important to protect our trees. The other two signs, both 8” x 10”, describe the Jubaea chilensis and the Wollemia nobilis.

    Project Schedule: We received the grant check in early April, and ordered the signs two days later. They arrived in mid-June, and were installed within the week.

    The Grant amount was $840, to include the design, fabrication, and installation of the signs. The cost of the fabrication was $731, for which I have attached a copy of the receipt. The balance of $109 was used to cover our in-house design and installation costs.

    On the following pages are photos of the signs in detail and installed.

    The Sacramento Zoo is visited by over 500,000 guests annually, and this signage will help to raise awareness of the importance of plant conservation for our guests.

    I would like to thank the AZH Board of Directors for approving this grant, and helping me to show that Horticulture is important in our institution!

  • December 03, 2017 10:00 AM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    "The Impact of Climate Change and Natural Disasters on Rare Plant Conservation"
    April 12th and 13th, 2018
    Meeting venue: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Jacksonville, FL

    Co-hosted by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Bok Tower Gardens, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Bok Tower Gardens, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are pleased to announce the 2018 Florida Rare Plant Task Force sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry. Each year, the Rare Plant Task Force of Florida serves as the place for Florida’s professional plant conservation community to share ideas, discuss, prioritize, and coordinate ongoing plant conservation efforts around the state.

    Thursday, April 12, 2018 will offer a full-day program featuring oral presentations followed by an afternoon meeting of the Florida Plant Conservation Alliance. On Friday, April 13, 2018, there will be optional field trips to local rare plant habitats and other points of interest.

    This year, we invite abstracts for oral presentations focusing on impacts, modeling/projections,
    and other considerations of climate change and natural disasters both for rare plant populations
    and their habitats as well as projects, programs, and paradigms that aim to conserve them.

    Registration information will be distributed in early 2018, and registration forms and updated
    information will be available through the Bok Tower Gardens website at that time.

    Please submit abstracts to Jimmy Lange jlange@fairchildgarden.org by January 26, 2018.

    Please forward this announcement to any interested parties.

    To submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation please limit content to 250 words and follow the following sample format. Indicate whether this is an oral or poster presentation. Oral presentations will be 15 minutes in length. Presenters are encouraged to allow up to 5 minutes for questions.

  • December 02, 2017 9:42 AM | Anonymous


    By Sandy Feather, Penn State University (Submitted by Susan Pierce, Pittsburgh PPG Zoo)

    Four-lined plant bugs, Poecilocapsus lineatus, are active in Four-lined plant bug adult. Photo: S. Feather, Penn State the Pittsburgh area now. They are one of the few pests that injure a wide variety of plants, including herbs that are rarely bothered by anything else.

    Other plants that often sustain damage from this pest include shasta daisies, Russian sage and blue-mist shrub, as well as the new growth of many shrubs, such as forsythia, deutzia, dogwood, and weigela. Your customers may really notice this damage in their herb and flower gardens. Four-lined plant bug damage is very characteristic: circular brown to black spots about one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter. The spots often coalesce to create a more blotchy appearance that could easily be mistaken for some kind of disease, or possibly frost damage. These shy insects move very rapidly and are often difficult to see.

    Four-lined plant bug damage. Photo: S. Feather, Penn State

    Four-lined plant bugs overwinter as eggs lain in the twigs of woody plants during the previous growing season. Females cut a slit in the new growth and lay their eggs while it is still tender. The eggs hatch in the following spring at about the same time as forsythia leaves begin to unfold. They generally feed on tender new growth with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They extract the chlorophyll as they feed, and also inject enzymes, which results in the characteristic spots. As the growing season progresses, the damaged areas often drop out, leaving holes in the leaves of affected plants.

    Four-lined plant bugs feed for about six weeks in May and June. Adults die once they mate and lay eggs for next year's generation, so you will not see more damage from them until next year. Adult four-lined plant bugs are yellowish-green with four black stripes. They are about one-quarter of an inch long. The smaller nymphs range from bright red to yellow. The black lines on the nymphs do not extend all the way down their bodies because their wing covers are not fully developed until they molt into adults. Both nymphs and adults create damage as they feed.

    Four-lined plant bug nymph. Photo: S. Feather, Penn State

    Although the damage they cause is unsightly, it is not generally life threatening to affected plants. On herbaceous plants such as herbs and perennial flowers, one of the easiest ways to deal with the damage is to wait until the pests have gone for the year, and then cut the plants back below the damage. They will regrow nicely, and no one will ever know how bad they looked in spring. This treatment can delay blooming of herbaceous perennials a bit.

    If your customers are intolerant of damage, begin making applications at the first sign of their activity, because just a few of these pests can create a lot of damage. Also, nymphs are easier to control than the adults. Insecticides labeled to control four-lined plant bugs on woody ornamentals include acetamiprid, bifenthrin, carbaryl, cyfluthrin, flonicamid, insecticidal soap, lambda-cyhalothrin, malathion, permethrin, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and thiamethoxam.


  • December 01, 2017 9:38 AM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    AHS Members Making a Difference article from The American Gardener magazine.People who work with plants tend to be pretty passionate about their jobs, but putting the idea of a career involving horticulture in people's minds in the first place can be quite challenging. This reflected in the fact that around 40 percent of currently available horticulture positions remain unfilled.

    "There's a huge demand that's just not being met," says Susan Yoder, executive director of Seed Your Future, a national organization that promotes horticulture as a career. There simply aren't enough people, she explains, who can grow food, conserve plant species, and create engaging green spaces. (Read more...)

  • November 23, 2017 9:34 AM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    Danielle GreenAs I sit to type my final AZH President’s report, I am a little saddened but also very excited to pass the torch to your new AZH President and board members. It has been an amazing experience to serve on the AZH Board of Directors since 2006 as Treasurer and President. Our organization is led by a passionate and dedicated group of professionals who volunteer their precious time to grow the organization, expand our reach, support our members, and promote zoo horticulture and plant conservation. AZH is unique in the fact that we determine our direction and where we can make the biggest impact through exhibit design, conservation, IPM, or simply promoting the value of horticulture. We need to continue to educate and promote ourselves as the experts in the field of zoo horticulture–not just as an organization but also as individuals.

    Each one of you is an expert and plays a vital role in the success of AZH.  I challenge all of you to seek opportunities to become a larger part of the success of AZH by joining a committee, running for a board position, writing articles about your projects, and becoming a mentor to those new to our organization. I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to lead AZH and share in our success.

    Soon we will gather here in Naples to educate each other and revive our passion for what we do every day. I cannot thank you enough for your flexibility and support through one of the most difficult experiences of my life. Many of us have experienced natural disasters and I think I can speak for some who will say the phone calls, emails, and messages during that time are often what will get you through the days, weeks, and months of recovery efforts. We have learned a lot about each other and what we can accomplish as a staff and family. We are excited to share our paradise that we call Naples with you and can’t wait to see you!

  • July 07, 2017 8:24 AM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    The horticulture department kicked off spring this year by giving back to the Florida State Parks community. JZG horticulture technicians went on a trip to lend a hand restoring the wetlands at Deer Lake State Park. Over the last 50 years, due to fire suppression, many of the park’s natural plant inhabitants declined due to being crowded out by other native, yet aggressive growing plant species, especially the native shrub known as black titi (Cyrilla racemiflora).

    The mission of this trip was to plant... (Read entire article)

    Jennifer Dambrose, Horticulture Technician
    Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

  • June 24, 2017 8:18 AM | Anonymous



    By Peter Szymczak, publications manager, Oregon Association of Nurseries (Diggermagazine.com)

    The horticulture industry must accentuate the positive if it is to cultivate a new crop of plant professionals.


    The law speaking, goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do attraction, colloquially with vinegar.” The horticulture industry is heeding this homespun wisdom as it tries to attract new workers to its ranks.

    There’s good reason for sweetening the pitch. The average age of Oregon farmers and ranchers is at an all-time high — 60 years and climbing. The United States is on the cusp of the largest retirement of farmers in its history, with more farmers over the age of 75 than between the ages of 35 and 44.

    Ideally, there would be a new generation to take the outgoing one’s place, but
    that is not the case.

    A recent survey found only 26 percent of 18–24-year-olds agreed with the statement, “Horticulture is a diverse area of study, and it offers viable, fulfilling and respected career paths.”

    Why have young adults today soured on horticulture? Partly because only one percent of the population is farmers, so many simply lack first-hand exposure to ag. The rest have been conditioned to associate jobs in horticulture with long hours, hard work and low pay. (Read full article here.)

  • June 22, 2017 8:14 AM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    The year is nearly half over and the 2017 AZH annual conference is fast approaching! We are busy planning the details of the conference and tours as well as trying to raise money. Easier said than done, but we keep asking! The pre- and post-conference tours are posted on the AZH annual conference registration site, and don’t miss the sunset cruise icebreaker aboard the Naples Princess—register online to reserve your spot! You can access the registration site via the AZH website or here http://napleszoo.org/azhconference2017.

    You can expect sunny days, afternoon rains, and gorgeous sunsets during your visit to paradise. Our theme for the conference is “vintage beach party,” so pack your Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts for the banquet. The Program committee is wrapping up the schedule of educational sessions and we should have the details posted soon with CEUs offered. Applications are being accepted for the 2017 AZH Plant Conservation Grant Program until July 27. We are looking forward to another collection of great conservation projects and partnerships from the AZH membership.

    You should have received a survey on traveling exhibits—be sure to complete this as the information collected will be shared at the conference. We are hosting a traveling exhibit this fall so I am eager to hear about other organizations’ experiences. You will be receiving another survey soon on browse species offered to avian species. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Avian Scientific Advisory Group Chair contacted us for information on what species are used as browse, perching, etc. and we offered to poll AZH members to gather this information for them. Remember that we are the best resource for what we do. We are all—but make some time to share your knowledge with others.

    Cant’ wait to see you in September!

  • June 22, 2017 7:34 AM | Anonymous


    The most diverse gardens in structure and species will have food and shelter available for insects of different sizes, different life cycles and different habits, mimicking the natural environment.

    By Amy Yarger, Horticulture Director

    A healthy landscape will foster a complete food web with producers, predators, pollinators, decomposers, and yes, even plant-eaters. When the damage from herbivores exceeds the agreed-upon threshold, horticulturists have a toolbox full of possible management strategies. Fortunate is the horticulturist, however, who can encourage nature to “take its course.” Garden food webs may already include predators and parasites that can make short work of many common garden pests. Some landscapes support diverse trophic levels better than others, however.

    It will probably come as no surprise that gardens that sport plants of different heights, shapes, chemical profiles and bloom seasons tend to provide more ecological niches for beneficial insects. The most diverse gardens in structure and species will have food and shelter available for insects of different sizes, different life cycles and different habits, mimicking the natural environment. Compare the complexity of this sort of “wild” garden to the old school monocultures of bedding plants popular decades ago.

    Structural diversity not only supports more different kinds of beneficial insects, but supports the entire, often complicated, life cycles of these “good bugs”. Juvenile predators, such as syrphid flies, ladybugs and green lacewings, have entirely distinct needs from their parents. In many cases, the larva are hungrier predators than the adults; one larval ladybug can eat 40 aphids a day! Allowing some moist spots, leaf litter, loose bark or other potential habitats can provide shelter for these “hidden” (and often misunderstood) predators. Including small-flowered plants such as fennel and lovage may add some nectar to the diet of adult ladybugs and lacewings, making it more likely that they will stick around and reproduce.

    Most of us understand that many chemicals in the garden environment can negatively impact common insect predators such as ladybugs and syrphid flies, and professionals have become, by and large, more careful about chemical pesticide use. The next step may well be to look at how we design and maintain our gardens from an ecological perspective. These habitat gardens can be even more attractive and engaging than the traditional flowerbeds often seen in public places, drawing people to investigate and appreciate the natural world in a safe space. They can also serve as spots for educational programming and citizen science. I have a feeling many of us are already approaching our landscapes from this perspective, and I’d love to hear about your successes and challenges!

  • June 21, 2017 7:25 AM | Anonymous


    By Christy Powell, San Diego Zoo

    From May 4–6, 2017, San Diego Zoo Global hosted nearly 100 conservation professionals from 27 of the 43 participating institutions of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC). The CPC is a network of participating botanic gardens and plant conservation organizations throughout the United States. In 2016 it moved its headquarters to San Diego Zoo Global. In addition to participating institutions, several partners and guests were in attendance. These included the U.S. Forest Service, American Public Gardens Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Nature Serve, Institute for Applied Ecology, and the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership-Kew Gardens.

    Dr. Joyce Maschinski created an excellent agenda that featured the ever-popular Lightning Talks. Highlights of these presentations focused on conservation genetics, plant propagation and reintroduction efforts, and data analysis and information sharing opportunities. The network brainstorming session on assessing the challenges and opportunities of seed collections and break-out groups provided input for the seed collection protocols that are key to plant conservation.

    This year’s annual CPC Star Award, presented to plant conservation professionals for their service to ending plant extinction, was awarded to Joan Yoshioka of the Hawaii Plant Extinction Prevention Program and to Anita Tiller of Mercer Arboretum in Houston, Texas. Congratulations to Joan and Anita. Thank you for inspiring all of us.

    About 4,500 of the roughly 18,500 species of plants in the U.S. and Canada are considered to be of conservation concern, with almost 1,000 of them either listed under the federal Endangered Species Act or qualified for listing. Without human intervention, many of them will be gone within the next few decades. The CPC and its partner institutions have become known world-wide as the leaders in saving endangered plants.

    CPC network gardens are helping to reduce extinction risk of the rarest plants in North America. In 2016 with funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the organization collectively made 37 seed collections of 30 globally rare species that occurred on federal lands. These seed collections safeguard the genetic resources of some of the rarest plant populations in the U.S. They provide a resource for future recovery actions and are a safety net against catastrophic loss. All seed collections are stored at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

    The species collected will become part of the CPC National Collection of endangered species. The network participating institutions are custodians of these species ex-situ. In addition, they contribute to in-situ conservation actions. The 2018 CPC conference will be hosted by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth, Texas, from April 25 through 28.

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