How to Minimize Botrytis Problems

Written by Gay Smith

Mother’s Day is the Hail Mary of flower holidays. Let’s Roll!

Production and availability looks very good as we head toward the shipping window. Growers are ready. Stores are ready. Promotions are in place and plants (especially roses) have fully recovered from the January freeze stress. Blooming cycles are back on track!

Challenges? Botrytis, the disease that keeps on giving!

How to minimize Botrytis problems:

  • Respect temperatures!
  • Fluctuating temperatures cause condensation…inside sleeves and as a micro-layer of moisture on petals.  Condensation provides ample water for Botrytis spores to start germinating
  • Ensure suppliers properly pre-cool boxes (33-36F) before trucks are loaded
  • Use netted shrink wrap so cold air flows around boxes rather than making tight plastic-wrap pallet barriers
  • Run temp tale recorders in shipments to check temps during transit
  • Get boxes into coolers fast (+/- 20 minutes) at distribution centers, wholesale houses, retail shops.  Think ice cream!
  • Stack boxes on pallets or cleats so cold air flows underneath the stack in coolers
  • Allow minimum 2-3 feet between rows, cooler walls and ceilings so cold air flows efficiently
  • Remove only as many boxes as you can process in 30 minutes
  • Set up prep area and buckets BEFORE taking product boxes out of cooler
  • Don’t overfill processing and / or display buckets. Keep solution level at 1/3 level of the height of bucket that way there is not a flood dripped on other blooms when bunches are pulled out
  • Once processed, allow bunches to sit outside coolers (30 min.) so condensation evaporates
  • Don’t cram buckets. Give breathing room when prepping display buckets. Do not stuff 1 box of mini carns into 1 display bucket
  • Keep flower heads dry!!
  • If a wet-pack gets tipped in transit, get those bunches out on display rather than tucking them into cooler rotation