$17 Billion in Sales of Ornamental Plants in the US-Growers Have to Use Insecticides to Satisfy Consumers

Azalea Leafminer

Azalea Leafminer

Ornamental plants are big business in the US-$17 billion in retail sales. Ornamental plants provide visual beauty and reduce the stagnation that occurs in everyday work environments. Ornamentals may have a profound effect on observers or occupants. Several studies have shown that ornamentals have a positive impact on an individual’s well-being and emotional stability and may improve productivity. When purchasing an ornamental plant, consumers demand that they be free of insects and insect damage.

“The intensive nature of production and aesthetic quality requirements of producing ornamental plants supports the necessity of using pesticides to manage arthropod pests. The use of pesticides is vitally important to the ornamental industry in order economically to prevent the multitude of arthropod pests from damaging plants and at the same time produce quality plant material that may be purchased by consumers/homeowners. Furthermore, the use of pesticides allows ornamental producers successfully to compete in national and international markets.

…a single arthropod pest can significantly damage or vector a disease, rendering a crop unmarketable. As such, ornamental producers cannot wait for arthropod pest populations to build up to a critical level, and so, in actuality, pesticides serve as an ‘insurance policy’ to manage or regulate the diversity of arthropod pests so that they do not damage ornamental crops.

The aesthetic value and the consumer demand for high-quality ornamental crops necessitates the application of pesticides in order to protect crops from the myriad of arthropod pests encountered in ornamental production systems.”

Authors: Bethke, J. A., and Cloyd, R. A.
Affiliations: University of California, and Kansas State University.
Title: Pesticide use in ornamental production: what are the benefits?
Source: Pest Management Science. 2009. 65:345-350.

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