UT Experts Provide Education on Producing and Maintaining Hydrangeas

Landscape contractors, designers and nursery producers should mark their calendars and plan to attend two hydrangea workshops offered by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The first will take place in Knoxville on Thursday, August 1, and the second will take place in Clarksville on Wednesday, August 7.


“The nursery industry is a $6.2 billion industry, with hydrangeas generating the second highest revenue of any deciduous flowering shrub, more than $91 million annually,” says Amy Fulcher, UT Extension nursery specialist. “We want to help commercial growers in Tennessee produce hydrangeas more efficiently and profitably.”


Both workshops will feature hands-on demonstrations and sessions on fertilizers, controlling growth with pruning and irrigation scheduling, insect and disease management, and understanding plant patents. Experts from UT and Tennessee State University will be joined by Lisa Alexander, a research geneticist from the USDA, and Jim Owen, a scientist with expertise in bluing hydrangeas from Virginia Tech.


“We are very excited to offer this workshop in both East and West Tennessee,” says Fulcher. “At a previous workshop, growers reported to us that they learned how to manage substrate inventory and how the physical characteristics of substrate changes over time, how to monitor nutrients and recognize nutrient deficiencies, and how to control growth with plant growth regulators,” continues the plant expert. “We will also go over how to control flower color. Consumers prefer blue hydrangeas to pink hydrangeas 10 to 1, so controlling flower color can be very lucrative. Previous workshop participants were surveyed and estimated saving an average of $6,009 per person from information gained and anticipated operational changes.”


The workshops, sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture, are free and open to members of the nursery industry, but pre-registration is required. Lunch is also provided. The workshop lunch in Knoxville is sponsored by the East Tennessee Chapter of the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association.

Both workshops will begin at 8 a.m. local time and conclude at 5 p.m. local time. To register, call 865-974-7968 or emailkitts@utk.edu. Registration closes July 29 for the Knoxville workshop and August 2 for the workshop in Clarksville.


Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.