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Summer Plant Symposium (SPS)
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RESCHEDULED for 9-21-2021 beginning at 9am - Summer Plant Symposium will be at Fernbrook Farms' outdoor tented area. Speakers are Steve Rettke, Randi V. Wilfert Eckel, Bruce Crawford, Richard A. McCoy and Keynote Speaker Dr. Douglas Tallamy in person! There will also be an optional tour at the end by Larry Kuser of Fernbrook.

When: September 21st, 2021
9am to 4:30pm
Where: Fernbrook Farms
144 Bordentown Georgetown Road
Chesterfield, New Jersey  08515
United States
Contact: Jeanne Ondusko

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Rescheduled for Tuesday, September 21st

Join us for our in person Summer Plant Symposium!

Outdoor Event - although in-person, this will be an outdoor event following all current CDC guidelines for safety.


2021 Summer Plant Symposium Agenda



NJ Pest: Core - 2, 3A - 4, 3B - 2, 8C - 4, PP2 - 4

PA Pest: PC - 4, 06 - 4, 18 - 4, 23 - 4

ProFACT (Fertilizer): 2 Credits

LTE/LTCO: 2.5 Credits

NJUCF: 4 Credits

ISA: 5 Credits

APLD: 5 Credits

CNLP: 1 Design, 1 Plants, 2 Environment, 1 Professional

NALP: 5 Credits



NJ Pest: 3A - 2, 10 - 2, PP2 - 2

LTE/LTCO: .5 Credits

NJUCF: 1 Credits

ISA: 1.5 Credits

APLD: .75 Credit

CNLP: .5 Environment, 1 Professional

NALP: 1 Credit



9:00am-10:00am             Speaker: Steve Rettke, Ag & Natural Resources

                                         Program Associate, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of

                                         Monmouth County, NJAES

                                         Topic: "Selecting Reduced Risk Insecticides to Protect

                                         Beneficial Insects & Pollinators."

                                         Description:  Steve’s talk will focus on pesticides that are

                                         classified as "EPA reduced risk" as well as materials that are

                                         OMRI approved. Steve will also discuss pesticides that are

                                         stated to be pollinator friendly.


10:00am-11:00am           Speaker: Randi V. Wilfert Eckel, PhD - Toadshade Wildflower Farm

                                         Topic: If you Plant it, they will come: The Importance of

                                         Native Plants in the Landscape

                                         Description:  Butterflies, pollinators, birds, and other

                                         wildlife relies on native plants and trees to survive. Randi

                                         will discuss the importance of supporting our native wildlife

                                         within our gardens, show examples of some creatures that

                                         rely upon specific plants, and discuss the complexities of

                                         attracting rare wildlife (rare butterflies, for example) to our

                                         gardens. She will also touch on how and when to protect

                                         native plants from problem pests (such as Japanese Beetles

                                         or Emerald Ash Borer), while minimizing the impact of

                                         pesticide use on pollinators and wildlife.


11:00pm-12:00pm           Speaker: Bruce Crawford, State Program Leader in Home &

                                         Public Horticulture, Rutgers

                                         Topic: Native Plants, Shrubs and Trees – Designing to

                                         Attract Wildlife

                                         Description: There has been a tremendous surge in the use

                                         and interest in native plants.  Yes, these plants provide

                                         both attractive floral and foliar additions to the Garden,

                                         but the interest in these plants extends far beyond beauty.

                                         The also provide food for our beneficial insects.  Bruce will

                                         share thoughts starting from the ground up on how to

                                         combine these plants into a cohesive and attractive



12:00pm -1:00pm          Lunch – Vendor Introductions - Update by NJ State

                                          Board of Ag President, David DeFrange


1:00pm-2:00pm                Speaker: Richard A. McCoy, Richard A. McCoy

                                         Horticultural Services

                                         Topic: Organic-Ecological-Sustainable Land Care

                                         A traditional landscape company's transition to sustainable


                                         Description: Learn how innovation and adaptation can

                                         transform a company and the greater landscape industry

                                         to consider more environmentally friendly practices. By

                                         treating the landscape as a whole living system, organic,

                                         ecological, and sustainable practices demonstrate that all

                                         living things matter. No matter how small. All living things

                                         are recognized and nurtured. The ecosystem services that

                                         sustain life on our planet all depend on and begin with the

                                         microscopic living biology of the soil. The soil provides

                                         nutrients to plants and trees, the plants and trees then

                                         become food for caterpillars, and in turn, the caterpillars

                                         are food for birds and so on. Times are changing, and it's

                                         time for the landscape industry to recognize the need to be

                                         more environmentally conscious of our impact on the

                                         planet's overall health by being thoughtful of these natural


                                         As public awareness continues to grow regarding

                                         the dangers of synthetic pesticides, invasive plants, and

                                         gas-powered equipment, the pressures of consumer

                                         demand will drive our industry to change. With that, the

                                         responsibility to create a healthy environment for our

                                         clients fall on us, and these discussions of environmental

                                         consciousness become more imperative. Learn how to

                                         transform your company to meet the new demands of

                                         clients in 2021 and beyond with best landscape practices

                                         that illuminate our responsibility not only to the

                                         environment but to human health.

                                         Information will be provided on ways to remove synthetic

                                         pesticides, invasive plants, and gas-powered equipment

                                         from your business and how to incorporate eco-friendly

                                         practices such as native plants, battery-powered

                                         equipment, 25b minimum risk pesticides, and the

                                         consideration of soil health.


2:00pm-3:00pm                Keynote Speaker: Dr. Douglas Tallamy

                                         Topic: The Nature of Oaks

                                         Description: Once we have decided to restore the

                                         ecological integrity of our human-dominated landscapes,

                                         we need to decide what plants to add to our properties.

                                         Oaks are superior landscape trees throughout most of the

                                         U.S. because of their many ecological and aesthetic

                                         attributes. Using activity on the oaks in his yard each

                                         month of the year as examples, Tallamy will compare oak

                                         species to other popular shade trees in terms of their

                                         ability to support animal diversity, protect watersheds, and

                                         sequester carbon dioxide.  Learning that oaks provide life

                                         support to thousands of species, may motivate us to return

                                         more of these essential trees to our built landscapes.   


3:00pm-4:30pm                Signing for Credits

                                          Optional tour of Fernbrook Farms, hosted by owner

                                          Speaker:  Larry Kuser, Owner

                                          Title:  Tour of Fernbrook Farms

                                          Description:  Join Fernbrook Farm’s owner, Larry Kuser on a

                                         tour of his family-owned nursery.  This wholesale nursery grows

                                         and sells a large variety of native, ornamentals, conifers, shade,

                                         container & flowering plants, trees and shrubs. We’ll board the

                                         wagon and enjoy the sights of this 230-acre preserved

                                         farm, while hearing about growing methods and what

                                         cultural practices are used to maintain high quality plant

                                         material.  The minimal use of pesticides, types and

                                         uses and pesticide alternatives will be discussed, and

                                         examples of plants that were reviewed in the day's talks

                                         will be highlighted.  Credits for tour have been applied for &

                                         will be separate from the rest of the day.

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