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Late blight confirmed in New York

Late blight — a highly contagious and devastating disease of tomatoes and potatoes — has been confirmed in Wayne, Wyoming and Livingston counties. If your crops have been infected, it’s critical that you take action to help stop the spread of the disease.

The New York State IPM program has developed posters and videos to help you identify the disease and learn how to properly dispose of infected plants. Please share them widely.

late blight poster

In the news

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

New 6-County Agricultural Plastics Recycling Initiative [Empire Farm Days news release 2015-07-14] – A partnership of Ontario County, Casella Resource Solutions, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County is looking to divert farm plastic waste material away from the regional landfill in Ontario County to recycling opportunities. Recycling plastics can save farm and business owners landfill and dumpster fees of $70 or more per ton and removing farm plastics from the waste stream extends the life of landfill space. The program also serves farmers in Livingston, Monroe, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Read the full release.

Cornell team readies for national ‘Weed Olympics’ July 21 [Cornell Chronicle 2015-07-15] – After enduring practice through thistle and flashcards, the Cornell University Weed Team will send four graduate students and seven undergraduates for two days of agronomic combat at the 2015 National Collegiate Weed competition – affectionately dubbed the “Weed Olympics.” The contest will be held at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center at South Charleston, Ohio, July 21-22. Horticulture graduate student Vinay Bhaskar is among the students representing Cornell under the tutelage of Antonio DiTommaso, professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, School of Integrative Plant Science. Read the whole article.

Stopping Pests Earns Greenhouse Pro ‘Excellence in IPM’ Award [NYSIPM Program news release 2015-07-16] – : Nora Catlin, floriculture specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, has received an “Excellence in IPM” award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). The award honors Catlin for her work with commercial greenhouse growers who, on Long Island alone, contribute nearly $80 million to New York’s economy. Catlin received her award at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center’s Plant Science Day on July 15. Read the full release.

Free iBooks will make your lawn ‘green’

iBook covers

With the grass finally starting to green up in the Northeast, two new iBooks from Cornell University will help you turn your lawn into an environmental asset — as well as a beautiful place to relax and play.

Lawn Care: The Easiest Steps to An Attractive Environmental Asset  – This iBook features seven short how-to videos, photo galleries, interactive images and concise, easy-to-understand steps to cultivate a healthy lawn, including how to mow your lawn less and enjoy it more. It also details more advanced techniques, including best feeding strategies and how to cope with weeds, pests, diseases and soil compaction.

Turfgrass Species and Variety Guidelines for NYS  – Thinking about starting a new lawn or renovating an old one? This iBook will help you choose the grass species and varieties best adapted to your growing conditions, lawn care plan and expectations.

The Cornell Turfgrass Program, the Cornell Garden-Based Learning Program, and the New York State IPM Program all contributed to these iBooks.

Professional turf managers will also benefit from these recently launched Cornell websites:

Turfgrass and Landscape Weed ID – The first step when managing weeds is to know what weeds you have. This mobile-friendly site makes it simple to identify common New York weeds based on easily observed traits and provides simple solutions for control.

Managing Safe Sports Fields – Everything sports turf managers, coaches, administrators and players need to create safe playing fields, from managing soils and choosing grasses to mowing and fertilizing strategies and pest management. Interactive management schedules provide timely advice.

Best Management Practices for New York State Golf Courses – Research-based, voluntary BMP guidelines are designed to protect and preserve our water resources that enhance open space using current advances in golf turf management.

And if that’s not enough, turf specialist Frank Rossi, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, is restarting his weekly Cornell Turfgrass ShortCUTT podcast. In each podcast, Rossi takes a look at how the weather is affecting grass growth and management, and provides weekly news and advice for professionals in the lawn, golf and sports turf industry in New York State and surrounding areas.

Picking and preserving the perfect pine for Christmas

Brian Eshenaur and Elizabeth Lamb

Brian Eshenaur and Elizabeth Lamb

From Melissa Osgood, Cornell University Media Relations Office:

Still in the market for a holiday tree? Not to worry, two Cornell University experts share their tips and tricks to pick and preserve the perfect pine tree. 

Brian Eshenaur is a plant pathologist, a certified New York State nursery professional and a Western New York-based educator with NYS IPM. Elizabeth Lamb has a Ph.D. in plant breeding and is a senior extension associate with the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s New York State Integrated Pest Management program. 

Eshenaur says:

“Despite the subzero temperatures that occurred early in the year and some subsequent winter burn on certain trees, the 2014 growing season was a good one for New York Christmas tree growers.  Moderate summer temperatures and regular rainfall helped the trees at Christmas tree farms put on a healthy layer of growth.

“The mix of trees being grown and available to consumers continues to evolve.  We notice more Fraser firs than ever that are available this year and a nice mix of other firs and in some locations even spruce trees as well.

“The best way to preserve the tree’s freshness is to keep plenty of fresh water in the tree stand. If possible, when you bring it home make a new cut from the bottom of the trunk if you think the tree has spent some time on the tree lot and the cut stump looks weathered and dirty. That way you’re sure to have open ‘pipework’ to keep the water flowing to the needles.”  

Lamb says:

“The fresher the tree the better, which is a good reason to buy local. The branches should be springy and smell good. A few loose needles aren’t a problem but you shouldn’t get handfuls when you brush the branches.” 

Tips for selecting the best Christmas tree: 

  • Firs and pines have the best needle retention and can last for a month or more indoors. However if buying a spruce tree, plan to have it in the house for just a week to 10 days.
  • Look for a tree with a good solid-green color. Needle yellowing or a slight brown speckled color could indicate there was a pest problem and could lead to early needle drop.
  • Don’t be afraid to handle and bend the branches and shoots. Green needles should not come off in your hands. Also, the shoots should be flexible. Avoid a tree if the needles are shed or if the shoots crack or snap with handling.
  • Christmas trees should smell good. If there isn’t much fragrance when you flex the needles, it may mean that the tree was cut too long ago.
  • If possible, make a fresh cut on the bottom so the tree’s vascular tissue (pipe work) is not plugged and so the tree can easily take up water. Then, if you’re not bringing it into the house right away, get the tree in a bucket of water outside.
  • Once your tree gets moved to inside the house, don’t locate it next to a radiator or furnace vent. And always remember to keep water in the tree stand topped off, so it never goes below the bottom of the trunk.


County Cooperative Extension offices often have lists of local Christmas tree growers. You can also check the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York website at

New website helps sports turf managers maintain safe field

sports turf management homepageThe new Cornell Sports Field Management website provides sports turf managers with the latest best management practices and resources they need to maintain  safe and functional school and community sports fields.

The site includes information about soils, grass varieties, routine care (mowing, fertilizing, watering, etc.), integrated pest management and more. Interactive schedules for different levels of management and seasons that fields are in use make it easier for managers to time their field operations.

Recognizing that sports turf managers don’t work in isolation, the site also provides information for coaches, athletic directors, administrators, community members and others to help them understand how their decisions can affect turf quality and field safety.

The site was developed by the Cornell Turfgrass team with input from Cornell Cooperative Extension colleagues and sports turf grounds managers from across New York State. Funding was provided by the Community IPM Initiative of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program to support New York State schools in implementing the Child Safe Fields Playing Act.

Grant appointed NYSIPM director

Jennifer Grant

Jennifer Grant

From Chris Watkins Associate Dean and Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Jennifer Grant as director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM) at Cornell University. Jennifer has previously served as an Ornamentals and Community IPM Educator, Community IPM Coordinator, Assistant Director, and until now as Co-Director of the program with Curtis Petzoldt. In this role, Jennifer and Curtis have excelled in managing the NY IPM program which affects every area of the state. While maintaining excellent research and extension capabilities in agriculture, the program has expanded to address new challenges in community IPM. I am confident that Jennifer will continue to grow this critically important program that connects campus and statewide research and extension to individuals and communities around New York State.

Jennifer joined NYS IPM in 1989 after receiving BS and MS degrees in entomology from the University of Vermont, and later earned her Ph.D. in entomology at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Jennifer has worked extensively in many areas of IPM including turf grass, schools, and IPM on recreational lands. In her current and previous roles she has developed expertise in all areas of agricultural IPM. Jennifer has nearly 170 extension, technical, research, educational and media publications to her credit and is widely recognized in the IPM field nationally and internationally. She received the Entomological Society of America’s Eastern Branch Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management in 2011. Her golf course IPM research and demonstration work conducted at Bethpage State Park over the last 13 years has helped influence golf course managers to minimize the use of pesticides on many golf courses in New York and the US.

Zuefle is new vegetable IPM educator

Marion Zuefle

Marion Zuefle

From the NYS IPM Program website:

Marion Zuefle, M.S., has joined the staff of the New York State IPM Program as a vegetable IPM educator. Zuefle, who previously served as a NYS IPM vegetable implementation specialist and fruit survey technician, will work closely with growers and researchers around New York and the Northeast.

More recently, Marion has taken responsibility for the sweet corn pheromone trap network, an important resource for farmers, extension educators, and consultants throughout the state. She’s improved the network’s web interface for reporting results and created resources to help cooperators deploy traps and identify catches for accurate results and recommendations. And she’s obtained funding for research to help determine whether spotted wing drosophila, a known pest of small fruit, also poses a threat to tomatoes.

Read more at the NYS IPM Program website.

Greenhouse Education Day October 30

Betsy Lamb

Betsy Lamb

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County will host a Greenhouse Education Day October 30 in Binghamton, N.Y.

Among the speakers are Betsy Lamb, Cornell University IPM Program on Algae in Propagation Lines and Neil Mattson, Department of  Horticulture on Interesting Trends and Winning Plants from the Spring 2013 California Spring Trials. View full program.

Cost is $50 per person and includes all handouts, refreshments and lunch. DEC credits are available in the following categories: 1a, 3a, 10 & 24 – 3 credits each.

Registration and payment online at: Questions can be directed to Carol at or (607) 584-9966.

Accolades earn Lamb ‘Excellence in IPM’ award

Betsy Lamb

Betsy Lamb

by Mary Woodsen, New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.

“Impressive.” “The best workshop I’ve ever been to.” “She was committed to my success every step of the way.”

Accolades like these have earned Elizabeth Lamb the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program’s (NYS IPM) Excellence in IPM award. This award honors people who make outstanding contributions to preventive and least-toxic tactics for dealing with pests.

As ornamentals coordinator for NYS IPM since 2006, Lamb has provided scores of workshops for 2,000-plus nursery and greenhouse growers, Christmas tree farmers, and landscapers — people working in industries collectively worth nearly $200 million per year to New York’s economy, and that at wholesale prices.

“Betsy’s workshops are always full with waiting lists of people who’d like to attend,” says Mark Bridgen, director of Cornell’s Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center. “These people don’t hesitate to speak their minds. It’s a true indicator of Betsy’s success when the leaders of New York’s ornamental plant industry go out of their way to let it be known that they’re impressed.”

Read the whole article.

Keep tabs on spotted wing drosophila at new SWD blog

SWD male. Note spot on each wing.

SWD male. Note spot on each wing.

Damage to fruit by spotted wing drosophila (SWD) — an introduced pest from East Asia — is expected to increase this season. In response, Cornell researchers and extension educators have trap network covering some 30 counties around the state to keep tabs on the pest. (As of June 7, none have been reported.)

Growers and gardeners who want to stay up-to-date on the latest SWD monitoring, management options and more, can visit the new Spotted Wing Drosophila blog, managed by Juliet Carroll, Fruit IPM Coordinator for the New York State IPM Program.

The crops at highest risk for SWD infestation include fall raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. June-bearing strawberries may escape injury, but late summer fruit or day-neutral varieties may suffer damage. Cherries, both tart and sweet, elderberries, and peaches are also susceptible. Thin-skinned grapes can be infested directly, though cracked or damaged berries are more susceptible.

For more information:

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