Archive for the “Research” Category

Mary Thurn, research support specialist with the Cornell Turfgrass Program, demonstrates how she uses the [make and model] drone to get an aerial view of turf research plots.

Above: Mary Thurn, research support specialist with the Cornell Turfgrass Program, demonstrates how she uses a DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter with GoPro camera drone to get an aerial view of turf research plots.

Cornell Turfgrass Program researchers are employing a drone this summer to take aerial photos of their research plots.

“Of course we still collect data. But with the bird’s-eye view, you can see things that you can’t see readily — or at all — from the ground,” says research support specialist Mary Thurn. “We can also send pictures to collaborators who can’t visit the site in person and they can still see treatment differences for themselves.”

Drones may prove to be a practical tool for turf managers, too, Thurn points out. For example, a golf course superintendent could fly one around the course to spot stressed grass that may need water, fertilizer or pest management attention before the problem gets too severe.

Aerial images can show differences not readily visible at ground level.

Aerial images can show differences not readily visible at ground level.

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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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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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From Thomas Björkman:

On May 30, faculty, staff and students gathered at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva for the annual awards celebration:

Meredith Persico and Alan Lakso

Meredith Persico (left) is a junior Viticulture major at Cornell who will be doing a viticulture research project at the Station this summer thanks to a Shaulis scholarship. This scholarship was established in memory of Geneva viticulture professor renowned for developing the principles and practices of vine balance. Professor Alan Lakso introduced her on his last official day of work after more than 40 years on the faculty.







Benjamin Gutierrez

Ben Gutierrez (right) was awarded the Perrine scholarship to support his graduate studies. Ben in a PhD student with Susan Brown and Ganyuan Zhong, studying the genetics of antioxidants in apples. The Perrine Endowment was created to support students’ research in pomology.









Bill Srmack

Bill Srmack was recognized for 40 years of service at the Station. He has been with the clonal repository since just before it was officially founded! He now is responsible for maintaining the thousands of accessions in the orchard of the national germplasm collection. Here he receives congratulations from PGRU Research Leader Ganyuan Zhong and curator Thomas Chao.

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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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Two new berry plantings went in this week at Cornell Orchards:

Michael Brown and Justine Vanden Heuvel planting cranberries.

Michael Brown and Justine Vanden Heuvel planting cranberries.

Cornell Orchards interns planting cranberries.

Cornell Orchards interns planting cranberries.

A day at the beach: On a sunny Tuesday, associate professor Justine Vanden Heuvel and research support specialist Michael Brown got a good start on planting a new cranberry bed, the first at Cornell Orchards. (The inaugural class of Cornell Orchards interns continued planting on Friday.)

The 35- by 25-foot wood-framed raised bed features layer of drain tile in gravel, followed by a thick layer of compost topped off by a layer of sand. Later, Vanden Heuvel will install drip irrigation to water the plants.

Vanden Heuvel is no stranger to cranberry research. That was her specialty in her previous position at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Cranberry Research Station.

The bed is planted to a single variety (Stevens) that Vanden Heuvel will use to study bud hardiness and answer other questions about basic cranberry physiology. “Compared to grapes — where we know so much about how the plants work — we know next-to-nothing about cranberries,” she says. “I’m looking forward to shedding a little more light on this crop.”

Marvin Pritts and graduate student Maria Gannett plant strawberries

Marvin Pritts and graduate student Maria Gannett plant strawberries

A day in the mud: On a misty Wednesday, professor Marvin Pritts and crew planted a day-neutral (everbearing) strawberry trial that will compare the performance of several different types of low tunnel plastic  – plastic tenting that extends the harvest season and protects plants from frost. He’ll also be testing a new netting designed to protect the fruit against Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), an invasive fruit fly pest first detected in New York in 2011.


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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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