Archive for the “Extension and outreach” Category

Research at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility is in full flower …

Technician Pat MacRae tends more than 600 varieties of David Austen roses in a newly planted five-year trial.

Technician Pat MacRae tends more than 600 David Austin roses (representing 80 varieties) in a newly planted multi-year trial.

Flower Bulb Research Program's lily variety trial.

Flower Bulb Research Program’s lily variety trial.

Pallet planters

This year’s annual flower trials also features edibles, some in planters made from recycled pallets.

Perennial flower plots

Perennial flower plots.

The Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility is not open to the public. But you can register for the annual Cornell Floriculture Field Day August 5, which also features the 11th annual Kathy Pufahl Container Design Competition.

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factsheet coverFrom the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program:

Having trouble with pests in your greenhouses and high tunnels? Interested in learning more about using biological control to manage them? Read SARE’s new fact sheet, Sustainable Pest Management in Greenhouses and High Tunnels, to learn how beneficial insects can protect crops in season-extending structures and enhance the sustainability of your operation.

SARE-funded researchers at Cornell University found that with a combination of controls, greenhouse and high tunnel pests could be managed effectively and, in some cases, eradicated.

Highlights of 23 New York case studies include the development of an effective combination of parasitic wasps (Aphidius colemani and Aphidius ervi) to eradicate an aphid infestation on winter greens and peppers. And predatory mites (Amblyeius cucumeris) used in conjunction with minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus) helped eradicate thrips on cucumbers. Researchers also found that the two-spotted spider mite was effectively managed by applying a parasitic mite (Phytoseiulus persimilis) on eggplant and strawberries. The Nile Delta wasp (Encarsia formosa) helped manage, and in some instances, even eradicate whiteflies on tomatoes.

The fact sheet includes an introduction to biological control, along with colorful photos that can be used to identify pests and their associated crop damage. It also provides specific how-to information on scouting for pests along with detailed release information, including optimal temperature, quantity of natural enemies and timing of release relative to pest populations. Management strategies for control agents, such as predatory mites and parasitic wasps, and a supply list for obtaining biological control agents are also found in the fact sheet.

Download the fact sheet now.

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cuvee participants in working vines

CUVEE participants working vines.

Cornell experts lead hands-on summer program in grape-growing and winemaking [CALS Notes 2014-06-22] - Wine enthusiasts can explore the science of growing grapes and making wine this summer at the Cornell University Viticulture and Enology Experience (CUVEE) in Ithaca, New York, from July 27 to August 1, 2014. Cornell fruit-crop physiologist Alan Lakso and wine microbiology researcher Kathleen Arnink will mentor participants in the field and classroom.

Inside Job: A New Chip Tells Farmers When to Water [Modern Farmer 2014-06-23] – Alan Lakso, professor emeritus in horticulture, Abraham Stroock, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Vinay Pagay, a Ph.D student at the time, created an electronic microchip water sensor that can be inserted right into grapevines. Pagay says the chips will soon start their testing rounds with Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery of Modesto, California. But the technology has a much broader use than just the wine industry. As the U.S. and other parts of the world labor under a record-breaking drought, the team hopes that their invention can help farmers who are coping with serious water shortages, or work in dry climate areas.

New York looking at outstanding back-to-back apple seasons [The Produce Grower 2014-06-20] – “Last year, we had an excellent crop, a full crop, one of the largest crops in history,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association in Fishers, N.Y.  ”This year’s crop is on the tree. Knock on wood, we had no frost damage.”  Two new varieties, SnapDragon and RubyFrost, will be actively promoted this season. “They just really hit the marketplace last winter,” Allen commented. Cornell University, in partnership with New York Apple Growers, announced these varieties last August.

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Registration is now open for the 2014 New York Weed Science Field Day July 16.

The day begins with a morning session covering vegetable crop weed control at the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

In the afternoon, the action moves to the Robert B. Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora, N.Y. for the New York State Agribusiness Assocation Annual Summer Barbeque at noon, followed by a session covering field crop weed control.

CCA and DEC Credits have been granted for both sessions.

More information and registration forms.

Questions? Contact:

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engaged screenshot

You may recognize senior Extension associate Judson Reid, inspecting high-tunnel cucumbers on the cover of Cornell University: Engaged — the first of a series of curated digital magazines on Flipboard, promoting themes that match to the university’s strategic initiatives.

“Part of our strategy for building a presence on Flipboard stems from the fact that the mobile and desktop application has 90 million users who can help spread the good word about Cornell’s activities to broad and possibly new audiences,” writes Jeri Wall, director of writing/content strategy, University Relations/Marketing.

Have a good story about how you engage growers, communities and other stakeholders? I’d love to hear it. Contact me:

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From Margaret Tuttle McGrath, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center:

Reminiscent of the late blight outbreak of 2009, basil plants with downy mildew are being found at big chain garden centers on Long Island, New York as well as in Connecticut, New Jersey, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and several locations in Ontario. And I’m getting reports of the disease from gardeners, in some cases associated with purchase of locally-produced plants at local nurseries rather than big chains (one case here on Long Island).

I’ve also gotten reports recently from Florida, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and a grower in Maine.

Please be on the lookout for this disease. If you have an opportunity to visit a garden center to look at basil, I’d appreciate hearing what you see. State inspectors here are done looking in garden centers.

Below are pictures of symptoms on potted plants for sale to gardeners. The last image of a yellowing leaf (on right) is more typical than the first image with collapsed leaves. Like the late blight pathogen on tomatoes and potatoes, this downy mildew pathogen produces an abundance of spores easily dispersed by wind. (See second image below.)

You can see more images on my Vegetable Disease Photo Gallery website. I also have more information and images at the Vegetable MD Online website.


Click for larger view.

Basil Downy Mildew-yellow leaf_2394 CROP

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Marvin Pritts

Marvin Pritts

Via Cornell Media Relations office tipsheet [2014-06-11]:

Marvin Pritts, a horticulture professor at Cornell University, explains why allergies are exceptionally bad this season and warns that while the rain provides temporary relief, it also promotes weed seed germination which will contribute to higher levels of pollen later this summer.

Pritts says:

“In a year with a long, cold winter, flowering – and the shedding of pollen – is compressed. This year, there is overlap between the shedding of tree pollen and the beginning of grasses flowering. Individuals sensitive to both kinds are getting a double-whammy of sorts. Fortunately, the recent rainy weather will wash out pollen from the air, and provide some temporary relief. Also, the shedding of tree pollen is mostly over.

“While the rain is providing temporary relief, it promotes weed seed germination so it may contribute to higher levels of pollen later in the season.

“People often associate seasonal allergies with a specific flower that they see in bloom during that time. In most cases, individuals are not exposed to the pollen from showy flowers. Such flowers are attractive to insects so their pollen is sticky and is not carried by the wind. So, when allergies begin to rise when the goldenrod flowers, it is not the goldenrod pollen causing the allergic reaction but rather the ragweed with its inconspicuous flowers shedding wind-borne pollen at the same time.

“Typically trees are the first plants to shed pollen in spring. They don’t have to grow to become reproductive, so most take care of reproduction first thing when the weather warms. This is followed by the flowering of perennial grasses that have to grow somewhat to become reproductive, but they already have a well-established root system from which to support their flowers. Lastly come the annual plants, like ragweed, that have to germinate and grow to a mature size before becoming reproductive and shedding pollen.”

For interviews contact:
Melissa Osgood
office: 607-255-2059
cell: 716-860-0587

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Nina Bassuk explains the websiteNina Bassuk presented a poster about her revamped Woody Plants Database at the SUNY Conference on Instruction and Technology held here on the Cornell campus May 27-30. (View poster.) The new site features mobile-friendly responsive design and is incorporating Google maps to locate plants on course walks. For nearly 15 years, different versions of the database have helped students in the course Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920).

Marvin Pritts gave a talk to the Central Carolina Alumni Association May 19th entitled, “Food, Fuel, Farms and Flowers: How Horticulture Contributes to Human Well-being around the World.”

Alan Taylor gave an invited talk at the Royal Golden Jubilee Scholarship conference in Pattaya, Thailand and also lectured at Khon Kaen University.

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Plantations gardener Tyler Hale works inside the new high tunnel structure in the plantations vegetable garden. (Robert Barker/University Photography)

Plantations gardener Tyler Hale works inside the new high tunnel structure in the plantations vegetable garden. (Robert Barker/University Photography)

Okra, peanuts, cotton and bananas are not exactly staple crops on Ithaca farms and home gardens. But as the world gets warmer, will there be a place for tropical varieties in New York state? And what will happen to current crops such as lettuce, radish and spinach?

Cornell researchers aim to find out by simulating potential climate change conditions under plastic.

A high tunnel – an unheated greenhouse covered by a single layer of clear polyethylene – is being erected at Cornell Plantations to house a climate change demonstration garden.

The high-temperature, controlled precipitation environment will be used by student and faculty researchers in the Departments of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture to research the effects of changing growing conditions on growth and survival of select plants, and potential adaptive solutions.

It will also be an educational tool for the 50,000 people who visit Plantations’ botanical gardens, arboretum and natural areas each year, said Sonja Skelly, Cornell Plantations director of education.

“It is an ideal location to mount such a demonstration, and we are excited to provide an additional opportunity for students and visitors to explore environmental issues through the lens of the garden,” Skelly said. …

“While the public may perceive the warmer summers and occasional droughts, the practical effect of these and other environmental changes on plants, ecosystems and long-term agricultural productivity is difficult to grasp,” said Chris Wien, professor of horticulture, a principal investigator on the project along with Skelly and Josh Cerra, assistant professor of landscape architecture.

Read the whole article. [Cornell Chronicle 2014-05-29]

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Associate professor Ken Mudge, program aid Steve Gabriel and research support specialist Jonathan Comstock appear in a new movie, The Resilient Ones: A Generation Takes On Climate Change from Bright Blue EcoMedia. The feature-length documentary explores how communities are adapting to climate change in the Adirondack Mountains as seen through the eyes of high school students.

In the film, Comstock discusses the effects of climate change on farming. Mudge and Gabriel talk about the promise of forest farming (excerpt below).

The Resilient Ones had its broadcast premiere on Mountain Lake PBS May 15. Producer Vic Guadagno is encouraging other PBS stations in New York to air the film, and hopes to arrange a screening in Ithaca. It’s not yet available online, but DVDs are available for purchase through PBS.

The film website also features climate change lesson plans, video excerpts and trailers.

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