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The country is already dealing with freezing temperatures and snow – but south Florida plant nurseries are quickly filling up. Nearly all the beautiful fern baskets along with the millions of flowering mandevillas and hibiscus are set and starting to grow. Thanksgiving was one of the last opportunities growers had to get away from the nursery to spend time with family and friends. The next six months bring increasing anxiousness as the days to shipping season draw near. Shaping the potential of a new crop is exciting. For Nature’s Dream Nursery, it means covering open ground acres with potted plants that come out hundreds at a time. It is a unique time in a nursery’s crop cycle. Getting plants started right can make all the difference in finished product quality (and the owner’s bottom line). The ability to know what is affecting a crop and understanding how to best manage those events makes all the difference. Ray Rueda, the owner of Nature’s Dream Nursery, and I regularly talk about his crop progress. Recently, a few rows of hibiscus began showing nutrient issues. The field showed signs of manganese toxicity. In October, we ran maintenance tests and found all levels in expected ranges. Using WinField’s NutriTech Tool, we confirmed the manganese toxicity as a new issue. As of this post, we do not have the soil results back to make a full diagnosis. Simple, inexpensive insight tools like the NutriTech Tool are crucial in managing crop issues before they become expensive. Now that most of the hibiscus plants are set, we add another insight tool. The GeoTech™ Tool gives Ray access to WinField’s satellite imagery which identifies crop stress areas – sometimes before they are visible to the human eye. The green zone represents the least stressed plants in the above image. After reviewing the results with Ray, we learned plants in the red zone were started in 2013. So, they aren’t particularly stressed but just at a different growth stage. As the season goes along, we will continue to monitor and push towards an all green crop view. In the meantime, follow along on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates on the manganese situation.