Return to Cultivate

Return to Cultivate

Supplement - Cultivate ‘21

Here are our picks for must-see educational sessions at the largest green industry trade show in North America.

June 7, 2021

We’re just as happy as you are to return to Columbus, Ohio, for an in-person trade show. As you prepare for Cultivate’21, thumb through this preview guide to find the nursery-centric educational seminars that fit your operation and crew needs. For the full list of educational sessions, go to

Show schedule:

  • Sat., July 10: Education sessions open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., trade show closed.
  • Sun., July 11: Education sessions open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., trade show floor open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Mon., July 12: Education sessions open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., trade show floor open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tue., July 13: Education sessions open 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., trade show floor open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cultivate is operated by AmericanHort ( Times and locations are subject to change. Please refer to a Cultivate show guide for final session locations.

Saturday, July 10

Using both SANC and Plant Sentry to Increase Productivity and Sales

The evolution of systems approaches is changing the way growers and staff think about producing high quality saleable plants. Learn how and why to embrace SANC and improve its effectiveness with the Plant Sentry systems approach to ease woes with intra/interstate plant shipments. You’ll also hear a grower perspective how these programs create and leverage production efficiencies and increase the marketability of an operation’s plant material - allowing companies to sell more plants hassle free.

Tom Buechel, chief compliance officer, Plant Sentry
Saturday, July 10 • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM • Location: A110

For the Common Good: Public Breeding Programs Address the Needs of the Industry

There are a myriad of private companies doing really outstanding work to develop and introduce plants that are new, beautiful, and exciting. But we should not overlook the work of academics who keep an eye toward the needs of the industry and use all the tools at their disposal to try to solve emerging and persistent issues. These programs are not there to compete with private industry. Rather, the goal is to compliment the strengths of the industry by addressing long-term problems or issues, such as tree breeding, for which the return on investment is sometimes decades in the future. This talk will highlight some of the work being done at public institutions from coast-to-coast and in between.

Ryan Contreras, associate professor, Oregon State University
Saturday, July 10 • 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM • Location: A110 See our Q&A with Ryan Contreras here.

The New Perennial Movement: Why it Matters to Our Industry

While much of the nursery industry is focused on the latest and greatest, compact, spring blooming whatever - there’s a counter movement afoot. The New Perennial movement embraces a more natural look, a different pallet of plants (and scads of them on tight centers) all while creating beneficial habitat and food for pollinators. This session will cover The New Perennial movement and why it matters to our industry.

Paul Westervelt, chief of container operations at Saunders Brothers, Inc.

Saturday, July 10 • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM • Location: A110
See our Q&A with Paul Westervelt here.

Sunday, July 11

Creating a Culture of Metrics

There’s an old saying, “You can’t expect what you cannot inspect.” Don’t wait for an economic correction to force you to focus and measure cost management and revenue generation. This session will provide the momentum and direction that you need to affect dramatic, accountable, and measurable change in your team, your company, and your clients. Come find out, “What the heck is EOS?” and how this simple way of operating can drive enthusiasm and engagement into your workplace culture.

John Kennedy, John Kennedy Consulting
Sunday, July 11 • 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM • Location: A213

Strategies to Reduce Weed Control Costs in Container Nurseries

Weed control in container nurseries is expensive. Despite multiple applications of preemergence herbicides supplemented with hand weeding, weeds continue to plague production. In this presentation, we will discuss several strategies for reducing overall costs for weed management such as: optimized herbicide selection, reapplication intervals, application methods, and sanitation practices that reduce overall labor inputs. Following these guidelines growers can reduce labor costs by an average of 40%.

Joe Neal, professor of weed science and extension specialist at NCSU
Sunday, July 11 • 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM • Location: Union Station Ballroom B

Don’t Let the Bark Bite: Proper Handling, Storage, and Utilization of Bark Substrates

This presentation will provide an overview of fresh versus aged pine bark substrates and the challenges growers need to be aware of when choosing different bark products. Selecting different bark products for different production needs (crops, container sizes, longevity of crops in containers, etc.) will be discussed. Bark handling and management at both the bark supplier as well as on-site at the nursery will also be discussed. We will overview the processes involved in making high quality bark substrates and review grower-supplier interactions, quality control protocols, and criteria for product selection and management on-site at nursery.

Brian Jackson, associate professor at NCSU
Sunday, July 11 • 11:15-12:15 p.m. • Location: Union Station Ballroom B

Approaching Grower-Level Pricing with a Strategy in Mind

In this session, we will cover the issue of pricing from the supply side. This will include a discussion of what constitutes a price floor, how often your prices should be increasing, and how important pricing is in determining your optimal product mix. We will also discuss how to shape customer purchasing behavior with various pricing tools. If you are unsure about how to go about setting your prices, or if you’re a veteran who just needs to tweak the process, you will not want to miss this session!

Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair in International Horticulture, Texas A&M University
Sunday, July 11 • 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM • Location: Union Station Ballroom B

In Deep Water: Making Sense of New Nursery Irrigation Technology and Strategies

This session will provide an update on the latest approaches to irrigating nursery crops and walk through the process of deciding when and how much to irrigate. From DIY to more complex approaches, options for all budgets and nursery sizes will be discussed.

Amy Fulcher, extension specialist and associate professor for sustainable ornamental plant production and landscape management, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Sunday, July 11 • 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM • Location: A110

Succession Planning When There is No Succession

According to recent surveys, 80% of business owners have no transition plan or have not documented or even communicated a succession plan. It gets even more complicated when there are no family members ready or willing to take over the business. What is clear is that the best business transitions begin early and go smoother when there is a team of people working in tandem to maximize the value of the business and enhance it for a change. We will look at preparation and planning steps, as well as value-building, optimizing and transitional strategies to use when there is no family or heir apparent to take over the reins of your operation. We also will address your emotional readiness and review actions you can start to take today that will make your business and you more transition ready. It is hard to transition when no one is in place to take over, but that doesn’t mean the planning should stop. It is more important than ever to get started.

Todd Downing, Chris Cimaglio, Ben Molenda, Best Human Capital & Advisory Group
Sunday, July 11 • 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM • Location: A213

Good Things Come in Threes (or more): Insecticide Resistance Management for Nurseries

Think pesticide resistance isn’t possible in nurseries? Think again. Come learn about what make certain pests more likely to develop pesticide resistance, and how to deal with them. Attendees will also learn how to develop pesticide rotation programs for common nursery pests, such as aphids, beetles, thrips, and mites.

Juang “JC” Chong, professor and extension specialist, Clemson University
Sunday, July 11 • 4:15 PM - 5:15 PM • Location: Union Station Ballroom B See our Q&A with JC Chong here.

Monday, July 12

Keynote: AmericanHort State of the Industry Presentation

Hear from the industry’s most experienced leadership team on where our industry stands today and what the future holds. Our experts will provide insights on how to plan and navigate the environment of strong spring sales, record government stimulus, and the business and regulatory challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Ken Fisher, president and CEO, AmericanHort; Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of public policy and governmental relations at AmericanHort; Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair in International Horticulture, Texas A&M University Monday, July 12 • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM • Location: Short North Ballroom

Leveraging Lavenders

For the last 5 years, lavender sales have been increasing in all markets by solid double digits and all levels of the supply chain are missing a great opportunity for selling a high-margin crop. A large part of this increase in lavender sales was caused by specific branded cultivars that presented major improvements; the biggest shift being that these new options are incredibly grower-friendly - a term never before associated with this crop. Still, it remains a challenging crop at many stages. In this session, learn tips, tricks, and techniques from one of the premier lavender growers in North America. You’ll learn what to do, what NOT to do, and what you should be offering to ensure success and profit from unrooted cuttings to final placement in the landscape.

Lloyd Traven, president, Peace Tree Farm
Monday, July 12 • 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM | Location: Union Station Ballroom A

Policy and Labor: Impact on Greenhouse and Nursery Growers

Need help untangling policy and some real-world clarity on H-2A? Join Lynn Jacquez and Shawn Packer from JPH Law for the latest happenings in on the policy environment impacting greenhouse and nursery growers; Tom Bortnyk, Vice President and General Counsel for másLabor, the nation’s premier provider of H-2A and H-2B services, will also share updates and best practices for H-2A employers.

Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of public policy and governmental relations at AmericanHort
Monday, July 12 • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Location: A213

Nursery Swap Shop

Join us for this nursery-specific, interactive dialogue. Art Parkerson of Lancaster Farms moderates quick presentations that share both successes and challenges in nursery operations, while encouraging audience participation and collaboration.

Art Parkerson, owner & CEO, Lancaster Farms
Monday, July 12 • 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM Location: A110

Tuesday, July 13

Are We Making Progress Toward Closing the Workforce Gap in Horticulture? An Update From Seed Your Future

The global health challenge has had a “green-lining,” attracting more people to plants and nature than in recent decades. The year 2020 brought new plant consumers to our industry — but will that turn into increased interest in pursuing careers working with plants? In this session, Seed Your Future will update attendees on their progress toward promoting horticulture and inspiring more youth to consider careers in horticulture.

Anna Ball, CEO/president at Ball Horticultural Company; Cole Mangum, vice president at Bell Nursery USA LLC; Susan E. Yoder, former executive director, Seed Your Future
Tuesday, July 13 • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Location: Union Station Ballroom A

Tune into Green Infrastructure Through the Power of Plants

From function, to aesthetic, to food source – producing plants that provide ecosystem services has become a rapidly expanding market opportunity for nursery growers and installers globally. Today, green infrastructure projects, including stormwater management and mitigation, green roofs, rain gardens, and bioswales are simultaneously curbing runoff, providing seasonal appeal, and nourishing our environment. Native plants used in these systems are beneficial for pollinators and create a lasting aesthetic impression. Join this session and learn more about why native plants are integral to providing solutions to stormwater management.

Steve Castorani, president/CFO, North Creek Nurseries Inc.
Tuesday, July 13 • 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Location: A210

Success with Cuttings: From Arrival to Stage 4 of Propagation

In this session, you will learn how to improve your rooting success with annual and perennial cuttings. You will get a better understanding of the ins, outs, and common mistakes made during rooting stages 0 to 4: from cutting arrival, storage, and handling to rooting, callusing, and toning.

Todd Cavins and Nathan Jahnke, Ball Horticultural Company
Tuesday, July 13 • 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM Location: Union Station Ballroom B