Archive for the “Extension and outreach” Category

Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) announced that it is funding 21 projects at a total of $1,539,324 in 2015.  Grant recipients seek to build and share practical knowledge that directly improves the economic viability of New York’s farmers.  “Our increased funding from New York State allowed us to support more projects, and a wider range of projects.” said Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

In order to ensure grants address on-the-ground priorities, all proposals were evaluated by NYFVI’s extensive farmer review network. The Institute’s volunteer board or directors, comprised of ten farmers from across the state, made the final funding decisions.

Many of the projects are of horticultural interest, including:

  • Cornell Onion Thrips Management Program (COTMP) Saves Money and Reduces Insecticide Resistance
  • Managing an Emerging Threat: Ambrosia Beetle Black Stem Borer Control in Apple Nurseries
  • Sustainable Management of Root Weevil Populations for Improved Profitability on Eastern NY Berry Farms
  • Low Tunnel Strawberries: A Cost-Effective Approach to Extending the Growing Season for NY Berries.
  • Increasing the Efficacy and Economic Viability of Trap and Kill Systems for Invasive Pests
  • Assessing the Impact of Pesticides on Honey Bee Health
  • Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Heath and Vine Productivity in Concord Vineyards
  • Equipping Apple Growers to Quantify the Role of Native Bees in Pollination
  • Integrating Spatial Maps to use Variable Rate Technology in Mechanized Concord Vineyards
  • Engaging Growers for NY Production of Chinese Medicinal Herbs
  • Marketing Plans to Help NYC Greenmarket Farmers Build Sales
  • Greenhouse Assistance Directory

View project summaries.
Full news release.

Comments No Comments »

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

From Margery Daughtrey, Senior Extension Associate, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University. She is based at the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, Riverhead, N.Y. Click on images for larger view.

Everyone is asking about impatiens: Is it safe to plant them again?

Beginning in 2008, a new disease, impatiens downy mildew, started showing up in the landscape in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. By 2012, it was wreaking widespread havoc all season long for gardeners in New York and many other states.

With a few exceptions, the disease only plagues the impatiens commonly used as a bedding plant in shady locations (Impatiens walleriana) and a close relative, balsam impatiens (Impatiens balsamina). But the disease can also infect native jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

The disease is most devastating on the bedding impatiens. They stop flowering, drop all their leaves, and keel over. Balsams just show spots on their leaves with the characteristic white “downy” spore structures coating the undersides of the leaves.Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

 

The dramatic outbreaks of this disease have not been as widespread in recent years. But that is because greenhouse growers and landscapers and have shied away from producing a plant that they knew wasn’t going to perform reliably. Fewer plants grown means fewer instances of the disease.

But impatiens downy mildew hasn’t gone away. In 2014, my helpful network of impatiens-watchers reported the disease in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the Hudson Valley in June, in balsam impatiens flower beds in Lockport, N.Y., and Buffalo in July, on bedding impatiens in central New York and on Long Island in August, and in Rochester in September. The disease also turned up in 20 other states last year.

balsam-impatiensx400

Balsam impatiens are also susceptible to the disease, but aren’t affected as dramatically. There are many other shade-loving annual and perennial alternatives to impatiens.

So, no. The disease is not gone. But we are using less of its host plant so we don’t hear as much about it.

Here’s the problem: Impatiens downy mildew can persist in frost-free parts of the country, and also the mildew can form special spores called oospores that we expect may help it to survive New York winters and re-infect plants the following season. Cornell researchers are focusing on the oospores to learn more about the overwinter survival of the downy mildew, and on breeding new hybrid impatiens that are less susceptible to the disease.

Ultimately, the solution to this problem will be found by breeding downy-mildew-resistant impatiens. In the meantime, gardeners can grow New Guinea impatiens and the new hybrid Bounce™ impatiens with full confidence, knowing that they will resist the downy mildew and flower colorfully all season.

And it’s perfectly OK for gardeners to add in a few bedding impatiens in shady areas, along with begonias, coleus, torenia and other great bedding plants that flourish under similar shady conditions. (Nora Catlin, Floriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, created a great factsheet on Alternatives to Garden Impatiens.)

The luckiest of the impatiens will escape downy mildew. We just need to realize that they are still susceptible to the disease, and that the disease is still a possibility, subject to the variation in weather from year to year.

For more information on impatiens downy mildew, visit the CCE Suffolk County floriculture website.

Comments No Comments »

Climate Change‬ and agriculture experts presented a forum in Albany on Tuesday to bring their research to lawmakers and staff in order to help inform potential policy. Pictured are (L-R): Professor Mike Hoffmann, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change in Agriculture; David Wolfe, Horticulture professor and co-author of New York’s ClimAID report. New York State Sen. Tom O’Mara; Toby Ault, assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and Julie Suarez, associate dean of government and community relations for CALS.

Climate Change‬ and agriculture experts presented a forum in Albany on Tuesday to bring their research to lawmakers and staff in order to help inform potential policy. Pictured are (L-R): Professor Mike Hoffmann, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change in Agriculture; David Wolfe, Horticulture professor and co-author of New York’s ClimAID report. New York State Sen. Tom O’Mara; Toby Ault, assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and Julie Suarez, associate dean of government and community relations for CALS.

Via CALS Notes [2015-05-13]:

Floods, droughts, pests and pathogens were among the weighty topics considered at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday.

In the middle of a busy legislative session day, Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assembly member Steve Englebright, chairs of the Senate and Assembly environmental conservation committees, hosted a Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences educational forum designed to provide insight into how extreme weather variations are impacting New York’s farm community. O’Mara and Englebright opened the forum, which also saw attendance by Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee, Assembly members Barbara Lifton and Cliff Crouch – along with a packed house of legislative and executive staff, and agricultural and environmental stakeholders. …

Horticulture Professor David Wolfe, a contributing author to the 2011 New York State ClimAID report, told the audience how increased “growing degree days,” changes in plant hardiness zones and fluctuations in extreme rainfall events are hitting New York’s farmers. With ecosystems changing as direct result of changing weather patterns and more extreme weather events, farmers will face greater challenges in dealing with invasive species, increased overwintering pests, early warming and unseasonable frost events, intensified rainfall and difficulty in predicting what types of crops to plant.  Wolfe emphasized the need to focus resources towards Cornell’s New York State Integrated Pest Management program, noting the prevalence of new and different pests will bring more challenges to farmers that should be met with by environmentally sensitive strategies for control.

Read the whole article

Comments No Comments »

brown-smart-twc-news
View video

Researchers Provide Information Farmers Need to Improve Production, Quality of Crops
[Time-Warner Cable News 2015-05-11]

GENEVA, N.Y. — Out on a field at the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station, professor Larry Smart is growing shrub willow. Every two or three years, the stems are harvested and turned into wood chips. Those chips heat two buildings at the center. …

“Our mission is to apply cutting edge science to improve agriculture in New York State, in the Northeast, across the U.S. and even across the world if we can,” said Smart.

Susan Brown is also featured. She says:

“Our vegetable growers will say when people enjoy a carrot or cabbage; they don’t realize the research that goes into it. You know that bumper sticker that says if you have food, thank a farmer? Thank a researcher as well,” said Brown.

Read the whole article/view video.

Comments No Comments »

Poppy cyanotype

Poppy cyanotype

Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, will have its final plant sale of the school year on Friday, May 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hortus Forum greenhouse at the Kenneth Post Lab greenhouse complex on Tower Rd. (Directions.)

The students will be selling their usual selection of tropicals and succulents, plus pitcher plants, air plants, ferns, ivy topiaries, and lots of spring bulbs (tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils).

And as long as you’re in the area, be sure to check out SoHo’s Horticulture Outreach Day activities …

From Jeffrey Beem-Miller, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo):

Our planned Horticulture Outreach Day that was postponed because of rain and cold weather has been rescheduled:

Friday, May 8, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Horton classroom at Kenneth Post Lab.

Come learn about plant propagation, make beautiful artwork with plant materials (cyanotypes, right), create soil painting and compete with the bees for prizes in a game of pollination at the annual Horticultural Outreach Day.

hort outreach day flower

 

Comments No Comments »

Nina Bassuk, founder of Cornell University’s Urban Horticulture Institute, was awarded the 2015 Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the Arbor Day Foundation.  (See April 6 post.) Bassuk is a professor in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS).

While Nina couldn’t be there in person to accept the award, the Foundation did profile her in this video:

Comments No Comments »

Celebrating soils at Mann Library

Celebrating The Year of Soils
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 9:00am to 4:00pm
Mann Library Lobby

Join Cornell and the School of Integrative Plant Sciences in celebrating The Year of Soils. The Soil and Crop Sciences Section has organized giveaways, snacks, amazing soil facts and demonstrations featuring Cornell researchers and graduate students.

Gummy worm snacks while they last.

Gummy worm snacks while they last.

Comments No Comments »

The world’s largest seed, called a “double coconut,” from the fruit of a palm called a Coca de Mer from the Seychelles.

The world’s largest seed, called a “double coconut,” from the fruit of a palm called a Coca de Mer from the Seychelles.

Cornell Chronicle [2015-04-27]:

The fourth floor of Mann Library on campus houses the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Herbarium, a collection of more than a million dried and preserved plant specimens.

The roots of this botanical library of pressed leaves, branches, flowers and seeds go back to Cornell’s beginnings. In 1869, Andrew Dickson White purchased a collection called the Wiegand Herbarium for $1,000 from Horace Mann Jr., the son of an educator who helped develop the nation’s public school system and an acquaintance of naturalist Henry David Thoreau. Then, in 1935 Cornell plant biologist Liberty Hyde Bailey donated his private 150,000-specimen herbarium to Cornell.

The two herbaria were combined in 1977 under the umbrella of the Hortorium, a Cornell department in the Plant Biology Section.

Bailey coined the word hortorium to mean “a collection of things from the garden,” said Peter Fraissenet, assistant curator of the herbarium, one of the largest university-affiliated collections of preserved plant materials in North America.

Read the whole article.

Comments No Comments »

Paul Cooper, head greenhouse grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, poses with 11 young titan arum plants, all offspring of the university’s world famous ‘Wee Stinky’ plant’s first bloom in 2012 (the first of two).

Paul Cooper, head greenhouse grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, poses with 11 young titan arum plants, all offspring of the university’s world famous ‘Wee Stinky’ plant’s first bloom in 2012 (the first of two).

[Cornell Chronicle 2015-04-23 via CALS Notes]

Researchers working with Cornell’s collection of rare titan arum plants are hoping three blooms will point them toward answers.

For those who may have missed it, one of Cornell’s titan arums – a tropical plant native only to Sumatra and famed for its giant corpse-scented flower – famously bloomed for the first time in the spring 2012. The event drew international media attention and thousands of visitors to the Kenneth Post Laboratory Greenhouses.

It also offered researchers throughout the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences a rare chance to study the complex biology of this unique reproductive spectacle. The massive bloom stayed open for days, lines of visitors snaked along hallways and sidewalks, and nascent insights into the subtle biochemistry of the bloom were born.

Read the whole article.

Comments No Comments »

If you fell asleep, Walter De Jong, potato breeder in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Section, appeared on The Daily Show last night in an investigative segment The Return of a Simplot Conspiracy.

“Walter does a great job explaining the science, even with potatoes being thrown at him, says Horticulture Section associate chair Steve Reiners.

Comments No Comments »