July 2016 archive

Neonic – Free Buying Guide

If you wish to avoid buying neonic-treated plants, here is an alphabetical list of local and mail order sources with information about their neonicotinoid policy.  If you gather info from additional plant sources, please let me know so I can update this list for the benefit of everybody . (Email briggs505@verizon.net).

  • American Beauties Native Plants (these are sold by many nurseries and are easily identified by the large American Beauties label).  No neonics are ever used on these plants.
  • Babikow, wholesale plant nursery, NJ, subscribes to IPM (Integrated Pest Management) policy and rarely if ever uses neonics.
  • Behmerwald Nursery, Schwenksville PA.  Uses no neonics, and practices IPM. Their rep also said,   “We use very few chemical controls at all, we only would resort to them if faced with a major problem” and  noted that “an advantage of buying from a smaller nursery that actually grows their own plants is that we do not have huge quantities of one plant which creates an environment that fosters large pest populations. The growers that supply the big box stores grow unbelievable quantities of a few varieties of plants”  so  that the plants require heavy pesticide applications to remain healthy.
  • Black Creek Nursery East Earl, PA.  Does not use neonics on plants they raise.
  • Bluestone Perennials, Ohio.  Mail order plants.  They sell no neonic treated plants.
  • Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, in Bucks County near New Hope, runs a native plant nursery and uses no neonics.  Most plants are grown on site.
  • Clearview Nursery, Souderton, PA.   Here’s what the owner says:  “We do use neonicotinoids, but only early in the season as an initial knock-down, and not on blooming material.  We host bees here at the nursery, and are very careful about what we spray after the hives arrive.  We will be getting Lady Bugs in soon to take care of the remaining aphid population. [. . .]I have read similar articles [on neonics] in the past and understand your concerns.  We are doing our best and working to phase out pesticide applications here all together!  I have no exact answers about impact [of neonics] at this point, as none of the research is definite or articles conclusive.  To be on the safe side they usually use phrases like “potential negative impacts”….   All I can tell you is we are working on safer solutions here and I am in contact with our bee keeper as to what chemicals we are using here on the property. I will continue to educate myself so I might practice the smartest pest reducing options at my disposal.”
  • Conestoga Nursery, East Earl, PA.  They say they don’t know whether the nurseries they purchase from use neonics, so you will need to check plant tags and contact the wholesalers.  See also the entry for Quality Greenhouses, below.
  • Good Host Plants, Mount Airy, PA.  All plants are neonic-free.
  • Groff’s Nursery and Plant Farm, Pittman, NJ.  Some of their plants are treated, some not.  The ones in the blue pots with “bee friendly” tags are not treated.  Other plants are not labeled, but the manager will be able to tell you which are not treated if you ask about a particular plant because she knows which suppliers use neonics.
  • Groff’s Plant Farm, Kirkwood, PA.  All  plants other than food crops and milkweed are treated with neonics early in the season before bloom.  They said they went neonic free for two years, but found they had to spray more often with other pesticides without the neonics so they resumed neonic use.
  • Home Depot requires that all neonic-treated plants it sells be labeled.
  • Lowes sells neonic-treated plants but is phasing them out and plans to be neonic-free by the end of 2019.
  • Miller’s Greenhouses, Inc., Landisville, PA.   This is a major supplier of Spinelli’s next to Ricklins Hardware in Narberth.  The owner says he does not know what a neonicotinoid pesticide is, but he does use “lots of different pesticides.”
  • Mostardi Nurseries, Newtown Square, PA says “our grower is 100% organic and uses no neonicotinoids.”
  • New Moon Nurseries, Bridgeton, NJ (wholesale only).  Native plant nursery,  uses no neonics.
  • North Creek Nurseries, Landenburg, PA (wholesale only):  uses no neonics
  • Northeast Native Perennials, Quakertown, PA.  Uses no neonics on the plants it raises, but it does sell plants raised by other nurseries that may use neonics.
  • Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, Kirkwood, PA uses no neonics.  (It is wholesale only, but check their website for a list of local retailers that carry their plants).
  • Prairie Nursery, Westfield WI (mail order) uses no neonics.
  • Prairie Moon Nursery, mail order nursery in Minnesota, uses no neonics.
  • Quality Greenhouses, Dillburg, PA, wholesaler.  They use neonics routinely on most plants, except for Asclepias (milkweed) species.  Major perennial supplier of Conestoga Nurseries East Earl, PA.
  • Rarefind Nursery, Jackson, NJ, retail and mail order nursery, sells no neonic treated plants.
  • Redbud Native Plant Nursery, Media PA, retailer and nursery, sells no neonic treated plants and in fact does not use pesticides of any kind.
  • Spinelli’s Narberth, PA.  They say they don’t know whether the nurseries they purchase from use neonics, so you will need to check plant tags and contact the wholesalers.  One of their major suppliers appears to be Millers Greenhouses in Landisville PA—see their entry above.
  • Trader Joe, Ardmore, PA.  They say they don’t know whether their plants are treated or not.

Note:   Info on wholesalers is included because plants at retailers may carry a tag showing the nursery, or the retailer may be able to tell you what wholesaler produced the plant, or it may help to know the status of the sources your landscaper uses.

 

 

Neonics in Your Garden

Some of us in the Garden Club  have become very concerned about the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on the plants we buy.   Briefly, neonics are absorbed into plant tissues, nectar, and pollen, and may persist for months or even years.  At high levels they kill bees, butterflies, and a host of beneficial insects that feed on plant nectar, pollen or leaves; and recent research suggests that very low sub-lethal doses may significantly impair their reproductive and behavioral health.  Many nurseries use these pesticides routinely.  Here are two helpful links that explain the problem:

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is at the forefront of evaluating the research; here is a link with both a summary and longer article : http://www.xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/

And here is a nice short summary:  http://www.prairiemoon.com/what-are-neonicotinoids-more-detail.html.

If you share our concerns, check out our Neonic Free Buying Guide.  This list shows whether local suppliers do or do not sell neonic-treated plants along with any additional information that the seller provides. The list is far from complete, so please share the results of you inquiries to improve the list.  And, consumer pressure can work wonders, so the more people expressing concern, the better.