Cut flowers are a very important component of the U.S. floriculture industry, surpassing $382 million in annual national sales with Ohio alone accounting for over $2 million (NASS, 2020). These data do not include the contributions of small-scale growers with sales less than $10,000, which represent many cut flower growers in North America, including Ohio. Although flower crops imported from offshore account for the majority of purchases, the industry is facing an increase in popularity and consumption of locally grown “specialty cut flowers”, which include crops that cannot ship well or have a short postharvest life. This market boost parallels the growth experienced by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) as its membership increased more than 100% in the last five years.
The Ornamental Crops Pathology Laboratory at The Ohio State University (u.osu.edu/handlab) has received a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to support Ohio’s specialty cut flower industry. The goals of this project are to assess what plant diseases are most frequently impacting profitability in Ohio’s specialty cut flower farms and to develop research and outreach resources for disease identification and management. As part of this grant, Dr. Francesca Hand’s laboratory in Columbus, OH is offering free disease diagnostic services to specialty cut flower growers in the state through August 2024. If you are a specialty cut flower grower and are interested in taking advantage of this service, please contact Dr. Francesca Hand (email: email@example.com| phone: 614-292-1293) for instructions on how to submit a sample. Data collected through this project will be used to develop a disease diagnostic guide that will be freely available to growers for download.