The IPPS North American Summit took place last week from Oct. 27-29. The group of propagators continued their mission of “To Seek and To Share” in a virtual three-day event.
In a typical year, the International Plant Propagators Society would have separate annual meetings for each of its North American regions — the Eastern, Southern and Western groups. However, the idea for a combined meeting had been in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the plan.
Virtual nursery tours and presentations by plantsmen and professors alike made for interesting viewing. IPPS volunteer moderators led rousing Q&A sessions with the presenters, as well.
The event had more than 900 registrants. More than 300 attended live, and the sessions were recorded for on-demand viewing later by IPPS members. The 1,600-member organization includes a global network of professionals with an interest in all aspects of plant production, horticultural research, and education.
“This speaks of the strength of IPPS and all its members,” said Liz Dunham, member of the IPPS Eastern Region board and along with Keith Osborne and Todd Baker, the IPPS North American committee. “We will continue to seek and share even in the face of COVID.”
During the first day of the Summit, presented by the IPPS Eastern region, Terri McEnaney kicked the event off with a video tour of Bailey Nurseries operations and some words of wisdom about leading during turbulent times. Alan Jones of Manor View Farm was recognized for his volunteer service to IPPS with the International Board Chairman’s Award. Alan served on the International Board for 10 years and as chairman for three. Dr. Darby McGrath of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario, Canada, presented her findings on the effect of air-pruning “levels” on tree root systems in propagation and in the field.
“All good things start with propagation,” said Dr. David Creech, Stephen F. Austin State University, who spoke on day two of the Summit on how to propagate difficult to root species. The second day, which was presented by the Southern region of IPPS, also featured the winners of the Charlie Parkerson Virtual Student Research Competition. Sneak peeks of the 2021 and 2022 annual meetings in Mobile, Alabama and Athens, Georgia, were also shown. Dr. Michael Dirr also shared insights from his breeding facility and thoughts on new introductions.
On day three, the Western region of IPPS arranged a virtual tour of the Denver Botanic Garden Steppe Collection. Mike Bone, curator of the Steppe Collection led the tour and showed a wide variety of plants from steppe regions, which range from forest to desert and alpine to plains. Next, the attendees virtually traveled to India to watch a tour of Rajat Biotech India Tissue Culture Lab led by Vinod Kumar. Also, Guy Meacham, product development manager for J. Frank Schmidt & Son gave a glimpse into the summer propagation methods used at the Oregon nursery.
More information on additional speakers and presentations is available on the Summit’s website.