Long Island Horticulture Conference

  • Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

At the forefront of Long Island horticulture for over 30 years...

We invite you to join us for the 34th Annual Long Island Horticulture Conference! Landscapers, nursery growers, arborists, landscape architects and designers, turf managers, and others in the horticulture industry throughout Long Island and beyond are invited to attend.

For detailed descriptions for each presentation, see below. Click on the brochure/mailer for other registration options or register online at the bottom of the page.


Walk-ins are welcome and it's $100 to attend. The location is Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY 11973, Berkner Hall (Bldg. 488). Brookhaven National Lab requires all attendees to check in at the entry booth with a valid government-issued ID before entering the campus. Please allow extra time for this procedure.


7:30-8:30 AM Sign-in/Refreshments

8:30-8:40 Welcome and Announcements
Mina Vescera, CCE-Suffolk & Timothy Green, Brookhaven National Laboratory

8:40 – 9:30NYSDEC Updates for Ornamental Horticulture
TBD, Bureau of Pesticides Management , NYS DEC Region 1

This 40-minute presentation will review confusing scenarios that pesticide applicators may encounter such as licensing requirements for treating food crops in customer gardens, guidance on treating for stinging insects, digital recordkeeping requirements, product removals/updates, and more.

9:30 – 10:30Why is My Boxwood Not Evergreen?
Andrew Loyd, PhD., Plant Pathologist, Bartlett Tree Experts

This presentation will review the abiotic and biotic factors that can result with winter pigment change in boxwood plantings. The degree of winter color change in boxwood may influence the aesthetic value of ornamental plants and raise concerns for plant health care professionals. Andrew will discuss research conducted in 2021 and 2022 that evaluated several cultivars for winter color change and tested resistance of fertilized plants to winter color change. Attendees will also learn how to distinguish winter color changes from symptoms that are associated with disease and pest issues.

10:30 – 10:45 SHORT BREAK with refreshments

10:45 – 11:45 Beech Leaf Disease Research Updates for NYS
Jessica Cancelliere, Research Scientist & Section Chief, DEC Forest Health

Learn about the current status of beech leaf disease on Long island and across NYS. Jessica will present results-to-date from the regional BLD monitoring program that tracks the severity and impacts of BLD in the forest. She will highlight a Long Island case study that demonstrates how rapidly BLD spreads within a forest, and discuss current research on the management of BLD, including recent trial applications of BioSar, a chitosan-based product that breaks down chitin in arthropods (including nematodes), and silvicultural experiments aimed at reducing within-canopy spread of BLD. Lastly, she will cover the DEC’s collaborative efforts to find potentially resistant beech and to conserve the species genetics.

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM LUNCH



1:00 – 2:00 PM Growing Plants in Constructed Soils: Challenges and Adaptations
Sam Anderson, Urban Agriculture Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension (NYC)

In urban agriculture and horticulture, plants are often grown in soils that were brought onto a site, rather than directly in the underlying soil. We will talk about how such constructed soils may behave differently than “typical” mineral soils, how to adjust soil test results to account for bulk density, and lessons learned from the many urban farms of New York City that grow commercially in these newly formed soils.

2:00 – 2:30 Rethinking the Specimen Tree for Climate and Pest Resilience
Heather Coste, Horticulture Technician, Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Two main goals of selecting specimen trees are multi-season beauty and longevity. Beech trees have long dominated this design selection, but now beech leaf disease has forced us to make other selections. This presentation will discuss alternative selections and site criteria for specimen plantings to thrive in our wild weather fluctuations and pest threats.

2:30 – 2:45 SHORT BREAK with refreshments

2:45 – 3:15 Win-Win Symbiotic Plant Microbial Interactions
Emily Lindback, Agricultural Stewardship Specialist, CCE-Suffolk

Symbiotic relationships between certain soil microbes and plants can create win win situations, promoting plant growth, fixing atmospheric nitrogen, increasing nutrient absorption, depressing pathogens, and increasing soil health. Emily Lindback will discuss these beneficial plant microbes including mycorrhizal fungi and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. She will explore the biology of the symbiotic relationship between plant and microbe and the potential plant and soil benefits of these microbes. Emily will also discuss what products are available, management and environmental circumstances that may affect their efficacy, and her research with mycorrhizal fungi in sweet corn on Long Island.

3:15 – 4:15 Exploring the New(ish) and Exciting World of Hardy Camellias
Vincent A. Simeone, Horticulture Director, Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

Camellias have an extensive, rich garden history dating back to the early part of the eighteenth century. While camellias had traditionally been considered landscape favorites for warmer, moderated climates in the United States, extensive research over the past 5 decades has produced many cold hardy varieties that can now be used in northern climates in hardiness zones 6 and 7. Planting Fields Arboretum has been cultivating hardy camellias since the early 1970's and has one of the largest hardy camellia collections in the Northeast. This presentation will provide participants with practical information about the best species, hybrids and cultivars for Long Island, sound maintenance practices, plant health care and pest management considerations, specific siting and landscape function of camellias.

4:15 – 4:30 Adjourn and Distribution of CEUs


1:00 – 2:00 Southern Pine Beetle Population Update
Poly Weigand, Science and Stewardship Program Manager, Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission

The southern pine beetle, a recently established neo-native bark beetle, threatens pitch and white pines as well as Norway spruce within forested and urban landscapes.This presentation will provide an update on the current distribution and impact and provide a refresher on the signs and symptoms of infestation as well as the management being advanced within regional forests within the Northeast.

2:00 – 2:30 Birds and Bees, Bugs in the Trees: What’s Up with Pests?
Dan Gilrein, Extension Entomologist, CCE-Suffolk

This presentation will review New York’s Birds and Bees Act and pest management implications for landscape and nursery ornamental plants, some new pest threats including southern pine beetle management, and results from our trial comparing adjuvants to use with insecticides when managing box tree moth and other pests on boxwoods.

2:30 – 2:45 SHORT BREAK with refreshments

2:45 – 3:15A Mish-Mash of Maladies
Margery Daughtrey, PhD., Sr. Extension Associate, Cornell University

Margery will cover some of the troublesome diseases of trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials seen in nurseries and landscapes in 2023—with the intention of helping you to avoid them in 2024! The lineup will include boxwood blight, Phytophthora root rot, anthracnoses, beech leaf disease and Fusarium wilts, as well as various leaf spots and powdery mildews and heart rots. Learn what problems to anticipate this year and how to recognize and to manage them using artful culture, plant choices, strategically deployed chemical and biological controls, and dumb luck (that is, when the weather gives you a break!).

3:15 – 4:15 Suffolk County Tick Surveillance, Management, and Control Pilot Program Update
Moses Cucura, Entomologist, Suffolk County Vector Control

Finalized data from Arena based field efficacy trials will be reviewed for over control for the products tests. Collaborative tick surveillance within Suffolk County will be reviewed, and the status and spread of the invasive Asian Long horned Tick and Gulf Coast tick will be detailed. The Tick Control Pilot Program at Indian Island County Park, the design features, concerns, and items still in question will be reviewed. This will cover a large-scale installation of 4-posters, acaricide treatments along high use areas, educational efforts, and more. Included is a detailed review of most major tick management options.

4:15 – 4:30 Adjourn and Distribution of CEUs


Walk-ins are welcome • $100


Courtney Fenyo
AG Program Administrative Assistant


Brookhaven National Laboratory
Berkner Hall
Upton, NY 11973

Last updated March 4, 2024