July 2020 Newsletter.

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Calendar of Events

Field Days
To be confirmed


2021 - Hamilton - our 50th conference so time to celebrate
May 6th - 9th, Novotel, Hamilton. 

2022 - Invercargill

2023 - Auckland

2024 - Timaru

2025 - Rotorua (International) 


In this issue:

Spirit of IPPS
Extra Phosphorus for Flowering and other myths
Committee Profile - Ian Swan
Myrtle Rust
Resolving New Zealands Cultivated Plants Problem
Royal New Zealand Institute Award
Queens Birthday Honours 2020
University of Florida Online Training Courses
Plant Production Scholarships
Conference Scholarship

Newsletter Format

This newsletter is sent to all New Zealand IPPS members by email if we have your address or by post if you prefer. It's also available on our website -

Some members have experienced problems reading the email version and may prefer to receive a hard copy.

If you'd like to change the method by which we send your copy, please advise:
Shirley Ogilvy
Post 208 Narrows Rd, RD 2, Hamilton
Phone 07 843 4902 
Fax 07 843 4396
Mobile 027 490 6010


2020 Conference Sponsors

This is the list of sponsors who were supporting the 2020 Conference at the time it was canceled. The organising commitee and the IPPS New Zealand Regions Executive thank them for their support and understanding at this time. 

Platinum Sponsors
Horticentre - Hortfert
Hayes Wholesale

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors
Canterbury Landscape Supplies
Egmont Commercial
Headford Propagators
Reference Publishing Company

Lowlands Nursery
Orion Labelling Solutions 
Plantlife Propagators

Scobies Transport

Thank you to all our sponsors for their generous support and please show your support to them.
IPPS New Zealand 
 Executive 2020 - 2021
International Director (until 31/12/20)
Jill Reader
International Director (from 1/1/2021)
Richard Beaumont
Antony Toledo

1st Vice President
Lisa Burton

2nd Vice President
Hayden Foulds
Glenys Evans
Shirley Ogilvy
Jill Reader
Trevor Allan
Ian Swan

Jackie Williams 

Mark Seebeck 
Click here to download IPPS Committee list
Presidents Report

In a thought-provoking time under a complete nationwide level4 lockdown we held our 49th Annual General Meeting on April 18, 2020, a first ever, without a backdrop of conference and a room full of people, we completed it, virtually. During this meeting, the election of officers took place and I accepted the role as President. The completion of our AGM is a testament to a robust society, in particular a dedicated committee, one of which I am proud to be part of, thank you for your support. 

You will notice there has been no provision for field trips, this was because of the uncertainty around gatherings at the time of our last meeting. Rest assured we will be addressing this in our July committee meeting as we do appreciate how important these events are.
We have been continually welcoming new member applications which are great to see, helped along by this year’s top recruiter, congratulations award winner!  It was unfortunate we never had a conference this year to demonstrate the essence of IPPS to our new members and to realise the appreciation we have to our sponsors, however in some way I hope you will see this through your newsletter. 

Listening to science? we are on the world stage, a country of people that is well known for doing just that. Operating a plant tissue culture laboratory, I am continually utilising new protocols. Some work out well some get rubbed off the board, but it is always worthwhile. Although throw in a cost saving and a benefit for the environment, that will make us all want to read on.

This year is certainly flying by, maybe it has something to do with how much we have had to deal with and make provisions for, but one of the things we can be thankful for is that our industry has weathered well, in fact some may say has increased from the previous year.

Cheers & Keep well

Conference 2021

6th - 9th May 2021
Novotel, Hamilton

Our 50th anniversary conference is in the early planning stages and all going well with the Covid 19 situation, we should be able to go ahead and have a full conference celebrating our 50 year anniversary of IPPS in New Zealand!
Welcome to new members
Full members
Debbie Asher-Law, Nigel Bain, Ann Bell, Donna Grey, Mike Peters, Kathleen Stewart, Lisa Williams.

Student members
Michaela Coney, Felicity Deans, Jessica Preddey.
The Top Seek and Share Recruiter!
  • This competition is open to all members. 
  • The member who recruits the most paid full members in a conference to conference year wins free membership for the following year. 
  • If it is a tie the best dressed at the conference themed dinner wins.

    The winner of the competition for 2019 - 20 was Ed Morgan of Plant and Food Research, Palmerston North.  
Click here to download a membership form
Click here to download 2020 AGM Minutes

Spirit of IPPS
Eddie Welsh

Presented to the IPPS Singapore Symposium November 2019

In the mid-20th Century, Jim Wells an English nurseryman transplanted to the East Coast of the USA got together with other likeminded propagators and suggested setting up a Society to promote the craft of propagating plants that is starting new plants from seed, cuttings, grafting and tissue culture. The idea was to hold annual conferences where members gave talks on their special techniques for propagation and growing plants. These papers are edited and published as Combined Proceedings known as the Black Book. Regions also hold field days to visit nurseries and gardens where ideas flourish and friendships are made.
This Society spread amongst Northern American propagators and three regions were subsequently formed: Eastern, Southern and Western Regions which span Canada and the USA. Jim Wells was also instrumental in forming a Region in his mother country and the GB&I Region (now known as the European Region) was established. A trip was made to Australia and New Zealand with Regions also forming in those two areas. In the early 1990’s it was decided to expand into new Regions with the New Zealand Region cultivating interest in Japan and Australia spreading the word to South Africa. Those two areas are now full IPPS Regions.
Once again the Society is looking at expanding into new areas which includes India and China. This meeting in Singapore is to test interest in tropical areas of Southern Asia.
So one might ask why would a person in the business of propagating and selling plants want to give away “trade” secrets. One propagator put it this way: “You go to a meeting and give away one secret and you come home with a bag full.” The Motto of the society is “Seek and Share”. To become a member, you must be willing to do so. To join the society you must be nominated by one member and be involved in plant propagation, growing plants, maintaining plants (Botanic Gardens), education or supply of growing materials. Most importantly you must be willing to share. This can be demonstrated by giving a paper at conference, opening you nursery for visits, attending conferences and sharing your knowledge even if it is in the hotel bar. Some go onto serve on the Regional committee with the possibility of going onto represent the Region on an International level which involves attending International Board meetings and pre-conference tours. Regions take in turn the responsibility of hosting the International Board’s meeting and tours.
Why do I think IPPS has been so successful?
  • Membership is on an individual basis not as a business or organization. You might have up to ten members from one nursery and all are members on an equal basis. It is not a Society just run by the “Bosses”
  • In my 40 years as a member it has been a great way to see most parts of New Zealand attending Conferences and field days in various locations. I have also met a wide range of propagators. I now have over 200 “mates” I can call on for technical advice.
  • The Executive that governs the Region cycles through executive positions. Those members who want to serve in a governance role go onto to Vice President, President and International Director. After giving that service to the society you then bow out and let others take the helm. However for efficient administration Treasurer, Secretary and Editors serve longer terms.
  • Conferences and Field Days are educational but also fun and a chance to catch up with mates. Some late nights, music and dancing, dress ups and always too much food and drink make it the highlight of the year for most propagators.
  • We are a family. Even though many are competitors in business we leave business grudges and ambitions behind for a weekend to gain from each other. It is frowned on to promote your business or products directly as part of a presentation. However indirect promotion does occur with sponsorship of Conferences given by allied businesses or member nurseries which helps keep the costs of Conference affordable particularly for new members.
  • We encourage new blood. Young propagators can apply for scholarships and might be nominated to attend conference at no cost to assist with conference tasks. Known as the “six pack” in Australia and “four pack “in New Zealand.
  • In my career as a teacher and nurseryman IPPS has been my source of professional development. When I was a young Tutor at Massey University I attended my first International Board meeting and tour at GB&I. I regularly made use of three textbooks while teaching practical’s on plant propagation. All three authors of those texts books were on the tour and became friends.
  • Finally it can be lonely propagating plants in isolation. You need to share your experience with likeminded people. Friends and partners don’t really want to know about your latest tricks to get roots on your new and wonderful plant discoveries. Most plant propagators I know can’t keep secrets anyway and they need to brag and show off their achievements.
Here is a message from Past International Chairperson Alan Jones who resides in the Eastern Region.
On behalf of the IPPS International Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate the New Zealand IPPS Region for organizing a spectacular program in Singapore.  The Singapore meeting truly encompasses the IPPS motto “To Seek and Share” and fully embraces the international component of IPPS. Singapore is an ideal location to hold a meeting and generate interest in IPPS as in recent years IPPS members have participated in conferences in China and India with the hope of establishing IPPS regions in those countries.
The IPPS website offers members unique access to over 68 volumes of regional conference papers containing over 32,000 edited pages of industry information. IPPS can also be followed on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
We are also excited by our rapidly growing student membership. IPPS Regions around the world now offers a free membership to over 800 student members who have an interest in the Horticulture industry.
IPPS celebrates its 70th year in 2021    The Society is always open for new membership and new ideas.
Extra Phosphorus for Flowering, and Other Myths
Paul R. Fisher1 and Jacob H. Shreckhise2
1 University of Florida, PO Box 110670, Environmental Horticulture Dept., Gainesville FL 32611-0670, USA
2 United States Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Research Service, Agricultural Engr. Bldg., 1680 Madison Ave, Wooster, OH 44691, USA
Keywords: Nursery production, Landscape Management, Fertilizer, Flowering, Controlled Release, Best Management Practices

Do you use a high-phosphorus fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 to promote roots or flowers? If so, you are following an outdated recipe for nursery production and landscape management. Hopefully this article will convince you to avoid that practice. In the process, you might save on fertilizer costs, protect natural water resources, and avoid an environmental damage lawsuit!

Phosphorus: A key plant element
Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient with an interesting mythical origin. This 13th element in the periodic table was discovered by the alchemist Hennig Brand in Germany in 1669 in his quest for the Philosopher’s Stone which would turn other metals into gold. Hennig experimented with thousands of liters of human urine, figuring that it had a promising golden color. He discovered an interesting residue which would not turn lead into gold, but did burn and glow in the presence of oxygen (hence its modern use in match heads). The element was named phosphorus, meaning “bearer of light”. Appropriately, given the raw material from which it was first derived, its chemical symbol is P.
Phosphorus is one of 12 essential fertilizer nutrients (Figure 1). The ability of P to add and drop electrons leads to a major role in plant metabolism as the plant’s battery, allowing energy from photosynthesis (the sun) to be used for many processes in the plant. Like other essential plant elements and environmental conditions, lack of P can limit plant growth and flowering. However, it is not specifically a root- or flower-promoting nutrient.
Figure 1. Phosphorus is one of the essential requirements for plant growth.
Phosphorus is the “P” in NPK fertilizers (along with nitrogen, N, and potassium, K). The traditional way to write fertilizer phosphate is P2O5, and K2O is commonly called potash. Depending on your location and supplier, blended fertilizers are often expressed in two ways. Fertilizer labels can list N–P2O5–K2O (which we will use in this article), or as elemental NPK. This can cause challenges when interpreting fertilizer recommendations:
  • Nitrogen (N) is always described on a fertilizer label as elemental N.
  • Elemental phosphorus (P) = P2O5 × 0.4364; P2O5 = elemental P × 2.2915.
  • Elemental potassium (K) = K2O (potash) × 0.8301; K2O (potash) = elemental K × 1.2047.
A common symptom of P deficiency is purple or red leaves (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Purpling of leaves from phosphorus deficiency in verbena (top) and kale (bottom).
However, avoid diagnosing P deficiency based on physical appearance alone. As shown in Figure 3, purpling can result from several other causes, such as cold temperature, nitrogen deficiency, excess light level, and pesticide phytotoxiciy
Figure 3. Red or purple coloration can be caused by several factors, not just P deficiency.
Some species show other P deficiency symptoms, such as tip burn in azalea or decreased growth (Figure 4). To confirm a P deficiency, it is therefore necessary to send soil and leaf tissue samples to an analytical laboratory.
Figure 4. Evergreen azaleas show tip burn (top) and hydrangea ‘Limelight’ has decreased growth (bottom) in response to phosphorus deficiency. Research by Virginia Tech University.
You can ensure adequate P in container crops by providing a moderate fertilizer level and substrate-pH. Phosphorus deficiency may result from lack of fertilizer. When growing in container substrates, P will remain available if the substrate pH is less than 6.5. Insoluble calcium phosphate can form at high pH (above 6.5) in both field soil or container substrates. Phosphorus can also be tied up in acidic field soils, because high levels of iron and aluminum in mineral soils reduce P solubility at low pH.
Excess P fertilizer can have negative environmental impacts. Because the soluble, plant-available form of P (phosphate, PO43–) has a negative charge in the substrate solution, it can easily drain from the substrate (just like nitrate, NO3-) and subsequently leach into groundwater or runoff to nearby streams and lakes. Around 40 to 70% of P fertilizer typically leaches from nursery containers. This is a wasted expense, which is important because and the cost of P fertilizer is rising quickly and profit margins are often tight for horticulture businesses.
Phosphorus and N contamination are the main algae-promoting nutrients in natural waterways, and a very low concentration (0.1 ppm P) can be enough to trigger eutrophication. Mining P from calcium phosphate in the ground can also cause a significant waste issue, which has been experienced in phosphate mines in Florida, US. As the “green industry”, we want to both stay out of the spotlight and be good stewards of the environment.

Figure 5. Phosphorus is easily leached from container substrates and causes eutrophication of water resources.
Do high P fertilizers promote flowering?
Blooming annuals: Many fertilizers sold to consumers as flowering fertilizers contain high levels of P. For example, the N-P2O5-K2O ratio of one retail “Bloom Plus” product is 10-54-10. However, how much P from a water-soluble fertilizer (WSF) do plants need to flower? Henry and Whipker (2015) from North Carolina State University showed that 5 to 10 parts per million (ppm) of P provided with each irrigation using a WSF is adequate for most flowering and foliage annuals. Additional P did not increase blooms or growth. Another research team from North Carolina State University (Kraus et al., 2011) reported similar findings for herbaceous perennials, citing that growth and flowering of rudbeckia and hibiscus fertilized with 3 ppm P were similar to those given 50 ppm P. In fact, 100 ppm P (with 100 ppm N) severely decreased growth of ‘Luna Blush’ hibiscus. This is just another reason why it’s better “aim low” when selecting your P fertilizer levels.

Table 1 will help you calculate how much P is in a WSF. The concentration of blended WSF is usually described in terms of ppm of N. Typical constant WSF concentration for annuals is based on 100 ppm N or up to 200 ppm N for heavy-feeding crops such as roses. With different N-P2O5-K2O ratios, this means the ppm of P increases if the overall fertilizer concentration is increased, or if we choose a fertilizer with a high P2O5 content relative to N. If we used the Bloom Plus fertilizer, even at a low N level (100 ppm N), we would be applying 236 ppm P (which is 20 times the amount that a plant would need for flowering). Instead we could apply a fertilizer such as 15-5-15 at 100 ppm N, and not waste all that P fertilizer.

ppm of elemental phosphorus (P)
At 100 ppm N At 200 ppm N
10-54-10 236 472
20-20-20 43 86
20-10-20 22 43
15-5-15 11 22
13-2-13 4 9
15-0-15 0 0
Table 1. The concentration of elemental P in a water-soluble fertilizer with different N-P2O5-K2O ratios when applied at two nitrogen concentrations (ppm N). Levels in bold italics are close to recommended 6 to 13 ppm of P for maximum flowering (for example, 100 ppm N from 15-5-15 provides 11 ppm P).

Flowering shrubs: Perhaps you grow flowering shrubs and therefore think your plants are different and need higher P. In fact, research has found that only 5 to 10 ppm P on a constant feed basis (similar levels to annual plants) is needed for maximum growth and flowering. Best management practices (BMPs) adopted around the US for nursery growers to provide healthy growth (and to avoid environmental law suits) is to only use 5 to 15 ppm P when applying constant WSF.
Study Plant Taxa ppm P
Graca and Hamilton, 1981 Cotoneaster divaricatus 5
Yeager and Wright, 1982;
Wright and Niemiera, 1985
Ilex crenata ‘Helleri’ 5
Havis and Baker, 1985 Rhododendron ‘Victor’ 2.5
Havis and Baker, 1985 Cotoneaster adpressus var. praecox 10
Shreckhise, Owen & Niemiera, 2018 Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ 5
Shreckhise, Owen & Niemiera, 2018 Ilex crenata ‘Helleri’ 1
Shreckhise, Owen & Niemiera, 2018 Azalea hybrid ‘Karen’ 3
Table 2. Research showing the minimum ppm P in constant water-soluble fertilizer required to maintain maximal growth in flowering shrubs.

Controlled release fertilizer: You may use controlled release fertilizer (CRF) and it is hard to relate these WSF concentrations to your nursery. Research at Virginia Tech found that 0.3 to 0.6 grams P per 1-gallon (3.8L) pot provided maximum growth of holly and hydrangea. To achieve that level of P depends on how much fertilizer you apply to a container and the N–P2O5–K2O ratio. For example, plants grown with 18-3-12 or 18-4-12 CRF applied at the medium recommended label rate had as much growth and flowering as a 15-6-12 CRF that contained up to twice the P level (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Growth and flowering response of hydrangea and holly to several CRF products. Research by Virginia Tech University.
Table 3 shows examples of the P contribution from three common CRF products. A high-P fertilizer (14-14-14) greatly over-applies P if it is top-dressed at a high rate of 24 grams of fertilizer per container.
Fertilizer N-P2O5-K2O ratio Grams of elemental phosphorus (P) per
1 gallon (3.8 liter) nursery container
Top-dress 12 grams
fertilizer per container
Top-dress 24 grams
fertilizer per container
14-14-14 0.7 1.5
15-9-12 0.5 0.9
13-3-13 0.2 0.3
Table 3. The grams of elemental P from controlled release fertilizers with different N-P2O5-K2O ratios when top-dressed at two weights of total fertilizer per container. Levels in bold italics are close to recommended 0.3 to 0.6 grams of P for maximum growth (for example, 12 grams of fertilizer per 3.8L container from 15-9-12 provides 0.5 grams P).

Landscapes: Are you still not convinced? Perhaps your business is in landscape maintenance. Many landscapes where manures, composts, and general fertilizers have been applied in the past are already high in P. You might be able to save money without decreasing plant performance by not applying any P fertilizer. Best management practices for P fertilization in landscapes is to take a soil test first (this is actually a requirement in some areas of the US). If the soil analysis shows high P, no fertilizer is needed (or even permitted in some areas). For example, Florida has porous sandy soils, high rainfall, a high water table, and a subtropical climate, and is therefore very sensitive to algal blooms. Landscapers in Florida are required to have BMP training and follow several guidelines, such as:
  • No more than 0.25 kg P2O5/100 m2 per year may be applied to urban turf without a soil test. A one-time application of up to 0.50 kg P2O5/100 m2 is permitted for establishment of new turf.
  • Annual landscape rates for established Florida garden beds (kg per 100 m2 per year) are up to 1.0 kg N, 0.5 kg P2O5 = 0.2 kg P, and 1 kg K2O = 0.8 kg K, using slow-release fertilizer or compost in order to reduce rapid leaching.
Recommended rates vary depending on the plant, soil, and location, but we recommend reviewing BMP documents provided by university extension services. Free fact sheets are available from University of Florida IFAS Extension (see Note that when interpreting US units, 1 lb/1000 ft2 = 0.5 kg/100 m2.
Do high P fertilizers promote rooting?
Here is the kind of misinformation that permeates the internet: “[I]f you want a fertilizer that supports root growth, ensure the second and third numbers are larger than the first. For example, a 3-20-20 fertilizer that contains 3 percent nitrogen, 20 percent phosphorus and 20 percent potassium encourages roots to grow strong and healthy.”
It is true that high levels of nitrogen encourage excess shoot growth. Therefore, do not over-apply nitrogen. However, does high P increase rooting? No.
The billions of commercial transplants grown each year provide evidence for avoiding high P. Seedling plug growers often purposely create a slight P deficiency by limiting phosphorus fertilizer supply in order to produce transplants with compact shoot growth, strong roots, and dark green leaves. That is why a low P fertilizer (13-2-13 N-P2O5-K2O) is widely used in seedling plug production in the US. Increasing P does not increase root/shoot ratio, and these growers limit both P and N (especially ammonium-N, favoring instead nitrate-N) to avoid leggy shoot growth.
As an essential element, P is of course required by plants to grow. That is true of growing both roots and shoots. However, P is not a root-promoting nutrient. Research at Virginia Tech found that increasing ppm P when fertilizing hydrangea and holly had a big effect on increasing shoot growth, but had less effect on increasing root growth. In other words, as P was increased from 0.5 to 6 ppm P, there was less allocation by the plant to growth of roots relative to the growth of shoots (the “root-to-shoot ratio” decreased). Phosphorus does not specifically target root growth.

In Conclusion
Phosphorus has mythical origins. Unfortunately, our industry also hangs on to a persistent myth about the need for high P fertilizer. This negatively affects both our wallet and our environment. Why is it so hard to change our beliefs, and for the nursery and landscape industry to reduce P application? We can put it down to the psychology of bloody-mindedness:
  • We would rather deny new, uncomfortable information than reshape our worldview
  • When doubts do creep in, we dig in our heels
  • There is a grief process to change: denial - anger - bargaining - depression - acceptance
  • We love myths!
Don’t just take our word for it, but look at the research that this article is based on and take the following steps:
  • Run a soil test in the landscape to see if any P fertilizer is needed. Remember that N, not P, is the most common production and landscape deficiency.
  • Use a tissue analysis to diagnose a P deficiency (not just red or purple leaves).
  • Use slow release forms, including CRF or compost in the landscape.
  • Provide nutrients in the ratio that plants can use: A 4-1-4 N-P2O5-K2O is always adequate for vegetative and flowering growth.
  • See for yourself by running trials.
Using best management practices can help improve plant quality, reduce production cost, and is our responsibility as stewards of the environment.
Literature Cited:
Havis, J.R., Baker, J.H., 1985. Phosphorus requirement of Rhododendron 'Victor' and Cotoneaster adpressa praecox grown in a perlite-peat medium. J. Environ. Hort. 3:63–64.
Henry, J. and B.E. Whipker. 2015. Revising Your Phosphorus Fertilization Strategy. E-Gro Research Update 2015.10, accessed April 2020.
Kraus, H.T., S.L. Warren, G.J. Bjorkquist, A.W. Lowder, C.M. Tchir, and K.N. Walton. 2011. Nitrogen:phosphorus:potassium ratios affect production of two herbaceous perennials. HortScience 46:776–783.
Shreckhise, J., J. Owen and A. Niemiera. 2018. accessed April 2020.
Wright, R.D. and A.X. Niemiera. 1985. Influence of N, P and K fertilizer interactions on growth of Ilex crenata Thunb. ‘Helleri’. J. Environ. Hort. 3:8–10.
Yeager, T.H., Wright, R.D., 1982b. Phosphorus requirement of Ilex crenata thunb. Cv. Helleri grown in a pine bark medium. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 107:558–562.
Acknowledgements: We thank USDA-ARS Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative #58-3607-8-725, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA “Clean WateR3 - Reduce, Remediate, Recycle”, #2014-51181-22372, Horticultural Research Institute, Virginia Agricultural Council, Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, and industry partners of the Floriculture Research Alliance at the University of Florida ( for supporting this research.
Committee Profile  - Ian Swan
Well where to start? I wanted to be a National Park Ranger so worked for them in my school holidays for free. They didn’t take on Rangers until 21 years of age back then so I had to find something to do so that I could leave school. An apprenticeship at Duncan & Davies Nurseries would give me some plant experience which would be beneficial for the National Parks work. Once hooked into growing plants thoughts of National Park work seemed to fall by the wayside.
The Apprenticeship was for 4.5 years and Duncan & Davies was probably the best place in New Zealand, at the time, to get training in all facets of horticultural work. That was a great time to work in horticulture with D & D taking on about 10 apprentices in that year (1972) Yes there are a lot of Ex Duncan & Davies staff in IPPS. I worked for them for about 7 years doing Saturday work in their garden centre and week days in the nursery. Eventually I was assistant manager in the garden centre for about a year.
I then did one year running the nursery for Solanum Extraction Industries growing the NZ native Solanum aviculare for the extraction of a chemical for use in pharmaceuticals . The price fell out of that industry when it was synthetically made but by then I had moved on to start my own nursery.
I purchased 12.5 acres of land and got my first real break when Bill Robinson from Tikitere Nursery gave me a contract to grow field grown Rhododendrons for him. At one stage we were growing 10,000 Rhodo’s and 3,000 2yr Daphne just for him. I’ve been trapped ever since in the roundabout of growing plants and it’s pretty hard to get off.
I no longer grow Daphne but still grow Rhodo’s and Dec. Azaleas along with Japanese Maples and a small range of other plants that fit in with our production system. Taranaki has a terrific climate for field growing plants, apart from the horrible wind that we get, with excellent soil and rainfall due to the proximity of Mt. Egmont/Taranaki.
Wendy and I moved to our new site about 12 years ago where we built a new prop house and capillary growing beds and continue growing and working in with my Daughter and Son in Law who have 10 acres behind us and also grow plants.

Myrtle rust is having sex –
why this matters and what it means for New Zealand

Reprinted from the Eucalyptus Action Group Newsletter No 51 April 2020.

Myrtle rust is having sex – why this matters and what it means for New Zealand A study has just been published containing new evidence that Austropuccinia psidii, the fungus that causes myrtle rust, is reproducing sexually in New Zealand in addition to cloning itself. This means that the fungus will have a better chance of adapting to natural plant resistance as well as biological and chemical controls. Clonal reproduction is a strategy of making identical copies of oneself. The benefits of clonal reproduction are simple: why change what’s working?

“Reproducing clonally means you can have a really successful explosion of clones,” says Dr Stuart Fraser, a researcher from Scion who is one of the authors on the paper, published in the European Journal of Plant Pathology. However, clonal reproduction does have its limits. Clones that are too successful can wipe out their host, leaving the pathogen with no resources and a limited ability to adapt to a new host. Or, when a clone encounters a resistant individual, it will be unable to infect that host. “Having sex creates new individuals with new genotypes, allowing the fungus to adapt to host defences,” says Stuart. “Sexual recombination also allows it to adapt to new environments and new host species.” Although most fungi have a mixed mating system, meaning they can reproduce both clonally and sexually, previous research from other parts of the world have suggested that A. psidii reproduces clonally. However, this new study on samples of A. psidii from New Zealand shows evidence of sexual recombination in addition to cloning. This evidence is twofold. First, the sexual stage of the fungus was present in the samples. Second, the high genotypic diversity found is best explained by genetic recombination rather than random mutation. This has important implications for scientists who are working to protect New Zealand’s native myrtles – like pōhutukawa, mānuka and kānuka – from infection by myrtle rust. “Sexual recombination will allow the pathogen to diversify, increasing the likelihood that it will eventually resist chemicals and control agents,” says Stuart. This also makes it more likely that the fungus will adapt to resistance in host plants. “If you find a resistant individual and you cultivate it on a large scale, that’s not the end,” says Stuart. “You have to keep screening for new resistance as the rust changes.” While it can be easier to manage clonal pathogens, Stuart doesn’t think sexual recombination in A. psidii necessarily spells disaster for efforts to find resistance and to develop controls. “Sex makes myrtle rust more complicated to manage,” says Stuart. “It is important that we are aware of the impacts of sexual reproduction and plan our research around it.”

The Beyond Myrtle Rust Programme is doing just that. One of their key goals is to improve understanding of A. psidii reproduction in New Zealand. This research area, which is being led by Stuart and Alistair McTaggart, the lead author on the paper, will investigate how sexual recombination is being driven by the environment and by hosts. “We don’t know the frequency or impact of sexual reproduction in natural populations,” says Alistair. “However, we hope our research improves knowledge on the biology of myrtle rust and informs strategies for combatting the disease in the future.”

New Zealand’s cultivated plant species: filling the gaps

A project began in January 2020 to help fill missing species of cultivated plants known to exist in New Zealand.
Led by Murray Dawson of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture, its aim is to significantly improve the comprehensiveness and accuracy of New Zealand’s ‘official’ plant name databases – the NZ Plant Names Database (Ngā Tipu o Aotearoa) and the NZ Organisms Register (NZOR).
“There are many thousands of species of cultivated plants in New Zealand,” says Murray, “yet lack of knowledge and poor cataloguing of which exotic species are actually present impacts our prosperity: we do not adequately know what is in this country, what it is called, or where it is growing.”

Since 1998, innovation is severely hampered by barriers to importing new germplasm, uncertainty about presence, validity of names, and the correct identities of plant material of economic interest. 
Pre-border problems arise for commercial growers and plant breeders trying to import new selections, germplasm, and breeding stock in accordance with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, because of the limitations of the MPI Plants Biosecurity Index in accurately listing which species are already in New Zealand. 

The Plants Biosecurity Index is incomplete, and also lacks taxonomic authorities, references, and synonymy from which to validate names. 
MPI is well aware of these problems with the PBI, and has provided three-years funding from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, in addition to contributions from the RNZIH, Landcare Research and horticultural organisations. 
The project will involve searching, collating and evaluating scattered information held in living collections, stocklists, nursery catalogues, horticultural and botanical literature, and herbarium specimens to confirm what species are present in NZ, checking the taxonomy of these species and documenting their correct names.

For an estimated 600–800 species with the best evidence-based cases for presence in New Zealand, applications will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Authority for Section 26 determinations.
“This work will help resolve major knowledge gaps for faster and more informed plant importation and regulatory decisions, improved access to new germplasm for plant production and breeding, and more effective management of biosecurity, pest plants, disease and biocontrol vectors, and living collections,” says Murray. 

Collaborators include Botanic Gardens Australia and NZ (NZ Region), International Dendrological Society (NZ Branch), International Plant Propagators’ Society (NZ Region), Massey University, NZ Plant Producers Inc, NZ Rhododendron Project Group, NZ Tree Crops Association, and the Orchid Council of NZ. 

This is a unique opportunity to pool resources to resolve some of the issues facing growers. 
If you know of species present in NZ before 1998, that are not recorded on the ‘official’ databases, please contact Murray Dawson at

Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Award for John Liddle

Congratulations to Dr John Liddle of Waikanae for becoming an Associate of Honour (AHRIH) of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture for 2020.

After graduating from Massey University in 1982 with a PhD in chemistry (and a degree in business management), John began a professional career as a scientist working in the trace element animal nutrition section of the then Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Wallaceville Agriculture Research Centre in Upper Hutt (1982–1984).

He then moved to the commercial sector (1984–1989), as Manager and Chief Analyst for Analytical Services Ltd in Cambridge, a company providing specialist laboratory services including soil testing, plant tissue analysis and water testing.

From there, John returned to his horticultural roots (1989–1995) with DJ Liddle Ltd, a family owned production nursery established in Waikanae by his father, Don Liddle, in 1958. Don retired in 1995 and John established Liddle Wonder Ltd. Liddle Wonder is well-known for introducing new and interesting plants onto the market, and produced around 450,000 shrubs and perennials annually. John employed a base of 15 staff that grew to 30 during peak seasons.

Although the nursery closed in 2009 the Liddle Wonder website remains as a useful resource at This website was built by John's own website development company, KingGrapes Ltd, which he established in 2000. KingGrapes focusses on nursery sector enterprises and has created sites including Go Gardening, Incredible Edibles, KiwiGold, Lyndale Nurseries, Colourwave and Thirkettles, with the latter two currently undergoing redevelopment.

John then embraced the corporate world in Wellington, as Chief Executive (2009–2017) of the NZ Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) (formerly the Nursery and Garden Industry Association of NZ Inc; NGIA). This is a major role, as the NZPPI are active in nursery industry and member advocacy and representation, capacity development, and biosecurity and industry promotion.

Nowadays, John continues working on key initiatives within the plant production and nursery industry, as a consultant under the resurrected company name Liddle Wonder Ltd. Prominent in this work is a lead role in the team developing the Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme, a certification programme for nurseries, and more recently assisting in the industry’s COVID-19 response.

With his extensive background in the nursery industry, from the potting shed to the board room, it’s not surprising that John Liddle has held many memberships and voluntary roles, including, to name a few: International Plant Propagators’ Society (2nd Vice President through to International Director, 1993–1999), NGIA’s Growers Sector (2002–2006), National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA) Steering Group (2010–2017), chairing the Germplasm Advisory Committee (GERMAC) (2012–2017) and NZPPI representative for the DOC Loder Cup Committee (2015 to present).

An Associate of Honour is awarded to “Persons who have rendered distinguished service to horticulture”. Dr John Raymond Liddle is recognised as achieving the highest standards of professionalism in horticulture, and is accordingly a most worthy recipient of the highest award conferred by the RNZIH.

John Liddle is one of three new Associates of Honour for 2020.

Queens Birthday Honours 2020
One current and one former IPPS New Zealand Region member were recently recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours for 2020. 

Jo Dawkins became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Horticulture

Mrs Jo Dawkins joined the New Zealand branch of the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS) in 1980, working in a variety of administrative and governance roles before becoming the New Zealand IPPS President in 1992.

Mrs Dawkins became New Zealand’s International Director of IPPS and later International President of the Society in 1994. She remained involved with IPPS until 2002. She co-founded the Te Puna Quarry Park in 1995. The Park was transformed from an old quarry into a major horticulture and floriculture tourism destination in the Western Bay of Plenty, which opened to the public in 1997. She has been on the Park’s committee for the past 25 years, including as President from 2001 to 2004. Mrs Dawkins continues her hands-on involvement with the Park three days a week, contributing to weeding, planting and other general maintenance tasks.


Marie Taylor received the Queens Service Medal for services to Horticulture and Native Revegetation

Ms Marie Taylor has single-handedly developed a thriving native plant nursery that grows more than 150,000 native plants annually.

Ms Taylor owns and manages Plant Hawke’s Bay Ltd, a native plant nursery supplying the Hawke’s Bay revegetation market with eco-sourced, wholesale native plants. She established the nursery in 2005 as a small part-time business and has overseen its steady growth. Her work has contributed to the survival of rare native species in the region. She is the founder and Chair of the Hawke’s Bay Botanical Group and a Trustee of Puahanui, a large area of native bush in Central Hawke’s Bay. She was part of the Implementation Planning Group who wrote the Hawke’s Bay Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2020. She was a regional representative on the QEII National Trust from 1990 to 2005 and is a Board member of New Zealand Plant Producers Inc., the nursery industry body. Ms Taylor was named the Supreme Winner of the NZI Rural Women Business

University of Florida Online Training Courses

For more information about each course, and to register, see Remember to use the coupon code when you sign up for a course in order to receive the discount. The 20% discount code for NZ IPPS growers is NZGROWERS20. That drops the price from $US199 to $US159 per course.
If you have any questions, please contact Pili at
The next course, Greenhouse 101, begins June 1.
Course name Dates Levela
Nutrient Management 2 (Advanced) Aug 31 – Sep 25 2020 •••
Disease Management Sep 28 – Oct 23 2020 ••
Weed Management Oct 26 – Nov 20 2020 ••
Hydroponic Vegetable Production Nov 9 – Dec 11 2020 ••
Costing & Profitability Next course 2021 •••
Water Quality & Treatment Next course 2021 •••
• Introductory: Practical experience but without formal horticultural science education.
•• Intermediate: Some experience and training, entry university level.
••• Advanced: Experienced, well-trained grower, upper university level.


Plant Production Scholarships

Did you know IPPS New Zealand offers Plant Production Scholarships? Each year, up to three scholarships, worth up to $1600 each may be awarded for the following purposes:
  1. Creating a video interview of an IPPS member
  2. Studying a programme or courses relevant to plant production
  3. Undertaking a research project relating to plant production
  4. Gaining relevant plant production experience in New Zealand or overseas.
Further information and an application form can be downloaded below or click here for information on the IPPS New Zealand website. 
Click here to download further information and application form for Plant Production Schlorships

New! - IPPS Conference Scholarship

The IPPS New Zealand Region has introduced a conference scholarship to financially support a member to attend an IPPS New Zealand conference or a field trip.
  1. Each year one scholarship may be awarded that will cover the conference registration fee of an IPPS conference in New Zealand (excluding accommodation, travel, and non-conference meals). Please note the scholarship for the 2021 conference has been awarded. 
  2. Each year one scholarship per field trip may be awarded that will cover the field trip registration fee and other trip costs up to a value of $150, for an IPPS field trip in New Zealand.
Further information and an application form can be downloaded below or click here for information on the IPPS New Zealand website. 
Click here to download further information and application form for IPPS Conference Scholarships
Important change regarding the Black Book
From this year, the Black Book will no longer be produced in hard copy which has been communicated through previous newsletters. The New Zealand Region is looking into producing its own copies which would be made available to members at cost. 

Using the IPPS logo

IPPS members and all companies and institutions that actively support the Society, are welcome to use the IPPS logo. Use it anywhere you wish showing your affiliation to IPPS, e.g. your business card, company letterhead, catalogue or any other marketing material.

If you use the logo and are a member in good standing, you may ad the designation "Member, IPPS" and if your company or institution supports the Society in anyway, please ad "Supporting IPPS".

IPPS Membership

Do you know of anyone who would be interested in joining IPPS? The best method of recruiting new members is by word of mouth by existing members. Download the membership form below and see who in your organisation or local area might be interested in joining.

Don't forget to mention some of the great benefits of joining IPPS including:
  • Great conferences and field trips.
  • Scholarship and exchange opportunities.
  • Free, unlimited access to all IPPS papers online. 
Click to download IPPS membership form

Free Student Membership

Free student memberships are on offer as a way of attracting younger members into IPPS New Zealand. 

Student Membership will be free and each membership will be for two years, with one right of renewal for a maximum of a further two years.  The criteria for recognition as a student will be set by the New Zealand IPPS Board and is as follows:
  • The individual must provide proof of enrollment in any NZQA approved program of study to qualify for Student Membership
  • The individual should provide details of a contact person from their education institution/training provider who is able to confirm their student status
  • Student Membership will apply whether someone is studying full time or part time.
 If you know of anyone who would be interested, download the application form below to apply for this membership option. 
Click here to download Student Membership Form


Hayden Foulds
40 Gordon St, Woodville 4920 
M: 027 232 4589


Next Newsletter - September 2020
Deadline 31st August 2020

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