Figure 1. Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance.’
Photos Courtesy of Hoffman Nursery, Inc.

Greenhouse growers, even those with heated facilities, have always been at the mercy of the elements. Fluctuations in cold, heat, humidity, light levels and ventilation can all take a toll on productivity.

David Hoffman, senior director of sales and operations, and Bill Hall, head grower at Hoffman Nursery know this well. Based in Rougemont, N.C., the company has been selling ornamental grasses to landscape architects and wholesale nurseries in the U.S. and Canada since 1986. Business was good, but Argus Controls played an important role on taking it to the next level.

“We started using Argus in 2016; we purchased a greenhouse and they recommended Argus,” Hoffman says. “We didn’t have much control before we built gutter-connect greenhouses. But now we have so much more control. It really was a game-changer for us having gutter-connect houses. It’s made a big difference, particularly in the winter months.”

Figure 2. Carex oshimensis EverColor ‘Everillo.”

Hall says that the nursery now uses Argus’ system in three inter-connected greenhouses and several hoop houses. “We probably monitor 1.5 acres with Argus’ system. It allows us to control the climate in the greenhouse and provides access to the [environmental] information. Pairing that data with the knowledge of our growers gives us a real advantage.”

“It’s made a big difference, especially in the winter months,” Hoffman says. “It made us a lot more productive being able to give the plants what they need. The gutter-connect houses have bottom heat and are passively cool. Plants grow well and we’re able to deliver a lot more of them in the off-season. We also have quicker turn.”

“With Argus, we have better production,” Hall says, adding that, by being able to target climate control, the company has been able to easily grow new varieties. “Plus, we enjoy working with them. When we have issues, the support team is very helpful. And the weather station that monitors our system informs other activities, such as spraying.”

Sounds like Mother Nature won’t be playing any more tricks on Hoffman Nursery.