“Accreditation to Improve Restoration and Native Plant Nursery Stock Cleanliness” (AIR) is a voluntary, audit-based accreditation program designed to increase the confidence in the cleanliness of restoration and native plant nursery stock.
Nurseries and greenhouses participating in the AIR program conduct a self-assessment to confirm that they are producing plants with the practices outlined in the Phytophthoras in Native Habitats Work Group (WG)/California Native Plant Society (CNPS) best management practices for restoration nursery stock (BMPs). An auditor visits the facility, checks the nursery’s assessment and samples for Phytophthoras. The samples are then sent to the CA Department of Food and Agriculture laboratory for identification to genus or species. Depending on the results of the lab tests and auditor findings, modifications are recommended, or the nursery is deemed “AIR compliant” for one year.
The pilot started in 2018; as of 2020, 13 northern California restoration nurseries have been evaluated, five of which have met all the program requirements. A pilot has been started in Southern California with about a dozen nurseries enrolled.
Leachate Baiting Technique Training Video & Instructions
AIR monitors for Phytophthoras using a leachate baiting technique developed by Phytosphere Research. For instructions see “Testing Procedures for BMPs for Producing Clean Nursery Stock” or the “Leachate Baiting Technique Training Video’.
Participating nurseries fill in a spreadsheet that describes several aspects of their growing system including propagation methods, irrigation, seed collection and storage, etc. A sample evaluation spreadsheet for growing media may be viewed HERE.
Swiecki, T.J.; Bernhardt, E.A.; Frankel, S.J.; Benner, D. and Hillman, J. 2021. An accreditation program to produce native plant nursery stock free of Phytophthora for use in habitat restoration. Plant Health Progress. 22(3), https://doi.org/10.1094/PHP-02-21-0025-FI (Early View).