Skip to main content

Is it safe to plant impatiens?

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.

Wolfe, CALS climate change experts share insight with Albany leaders

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

Eames-Sheavly’s botanical art classes teach how to ‘see’

Cornell Chronicle [2015-05-13]:

Eames-Sheavly

Eames-Sheavly

As a student, Marcia Eames-Sheavly ’83 enjoyed spending time in a Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture studio above Mann Library, creating botanical paintings with watercolors. Now, as a senior lecturer and senior extension associate in the Horticulture Section, she is sharing her passion.

A prolific artist, with a personal show of her work that opened May 4 at the Cornell Plantations Nevin Welcome Center, Eames-Sheavly teaches the Art of Horticulture and Advanced Botanical Illustration on campus, and three online courses in botanical illustration through Cornell Cooperative Extension.

She believes that teaching these courses is “carrying on a tradition” of art in horticulture, she said.

In any age, but especially in the modern era of technological distractions, “any form of drawing connects you to your world,” she said. “People in my classes often say they are starting to observe their world again, or even, see for the first time.”

Read the whole article/view slideshow.

Venna Wang's capstone display

Biological Science major Venna Wang ’15 took took Eames-Sheavly’s advanced botanical illustration class in 2014 and fell in love with the natural world. View the capstone project she completed for the Minor in Horticulture with a focus in Botanical Art in the display case just west of the first-floor foyer in Plant Science Building.

 

Dilmun Hill is starting a CSA!

From the managers at Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm:

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a business system that allows farmers and eaters to build a local food system based on trust, shared goals, and common values.

Our CSA members receive a share of the harvest. We provide organic produce, grown right on campus, and together with our members we share a commitment to the land, local economies, and environmental and agricultural education.

Our Summer CSA runs for 10 weeks, from June 21-August 30th.

For more information, or to sign up, please visit our blog or contact the farm managers at dilmunmanagers@gmail.com.

famshare poster

Brown, Smart on Time-Warner Cable News

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.

Mushrooms and more at Mann Galleries

mushrom-galleryx640
Larger view.

Looking for a study break? Here are two exhibits at Mann Library worth taking in:

Magic Mushrooms: Student work from PLPA 2010 on display through May 13

PLPA 2010, “Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds” is not your typical biology class— it’s more like a narrated double-decker bus tour of the Kingdom of Fungi. We tell the stories of weird and world-sustaining mushrooms, pay homage to the noble works of yeasts, and explore humid thickets of medicinal molds. We meet and eat some of our subjects in demonstration labs.

Because the class aims to be approachable, it attracts a delightfully diverse group of students —330 of them this Spring. For a pinch of extra credit, some seized the opportunity to make fungus-inspired art based on a fungus fact. The public is warmly welcome to drop by an exhibit of their work, on display in Mann Library’s Top Shelf Gallery space (1st floor) through May 13.

Knowledge with a public purpose

Knowledge with a Public Purpose

What’s so special about Cornell University? Our land-grant mission for one.

Fostering knowledge as a public good has been a cornerstone of Cornell University’s history from its earliest beginnings. Since its very founding, many of the teachers, students and staff  at this university have focused on helping people solve problems to make their world—their neighborhoods, homes, farms, cities, towns and natural environments—a  thriving place to live, work and learn.

Come to an interactive exhibit at Mann Library to learn more about their stories and the way their work has laid the groundwork for a lively culture of public engagement at Cornell today—making a difference to all of us over the last 150 years. On display in the Mann Gallery (2nd floor) through August 31.

Graduation schedule

From Leah Cook:

Here’s the schedule for the Plant Science events on Sunday, May 24:

  • 7:00-8:30 a.m.: Breakfast in Emerson 135
  • 9:15 a.m.: Assemble on ARTS Quad for procession
  • 10:00 a.m.: Procession arrives at stadium
  • 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Commencement ceremony
  • 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Certificates distributed in Plant Science 233

Award season

Yoshi Harada, not afraid of getting dirty TA'ing Urban Eden course.

Yoshi Harada, not afraid of getting dirty TA’ing Urban Eden course.

Via CALS Notes: Top TAs honored for excellence by CALS faculty and leadership

Many arrive at class early, stay late, answer questions before they can be asked and jump in to lecture at times when a professor’s research pulls her away from her students. Some tackle field research in Asia, outreach in Africa or biochemistry tutoring at midnight in Roberts Hall.

But all 29 of this year’s Outstanding Teaching Assistants honorees have at least one thing in common – the deep respect and gratitude of the more than two dozen faculty members and college leaders on hand in G10 Biotech on Thursday to offer their thanks.

“TAs definitely make a significant contribution to our teaching mission in the college, and we want to recognize that. You make a huge impact on the students you interact with,” said Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS. “We’re here to celebrate the positive things that you all have done.”

Read the whole article.

Two students in the Graduate Field of Horticulture were recognized:

  • Yoshiki Harada for his work in Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920).
  • Grant Thompson, who TA’d Jeff Perry’s EDUC 2410, The Art of Teaching.

Congratulations Yoshi and Grant!

 

 Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Grant Thompson.


Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Grant Thompson.

 Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Yoshiki Harada.


Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Yoshiki Harada.

Other recent recognitions include:

  • Two undergraduate Plant Sciences Majors — Sarah Nechamen and Emily Rodekohr were recognized for academic excellence at last month’s Dean’s Awards.
  •  Plant Sciences major Joshua Kaste, ALS ’16, received honorable mention in the Goldwater Scholarship competition.
  • And speaking of runners-up, Cornell rose to #2 in the  QS World University Rankings by Subject among the world’s elite universities in the Agriculture and Forestry category.

Urban Eden students plant Warren Hall perimeter

Urban Eden students replanting the Deans Garden.

Urban Eden students replanting the Deans Garden.

This spring, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) planted the entire perimeter of Warren Hall – from the front door around the building to the Centennial Garden – with a selection plants matched to the variety of growing conditions found in different locations.

“It was by far the largest class planting project we’ve ever taken on,” says Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who co-teaches the course with Peter Trowbridge, landscape architecture professor. Bassuk is also director of Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute.

In all, students planted and mulched more than 1,900 trees, shrubs, ferns, ornamental grasses and other plants. They planted around existing specimen plants, such as the mature Japanese maple in the Deans Garden, that were protected during the Warren Hall renovation.

Students in the two-semester course also got hands-on experience last fall when they planted the runoff-filtering bioswale along Tower Road.

Deans Garden from above.

Deans Garden from above.

A quick tour of the Warren plantings, starting at the front door …

Warren Hall plantings

Warren Hall plantings

Warren Hall plantings

Warren Hall plantings

Warren Hall plantings

Warren Hall plantings

Warren Hall plantings

IMG_4946

 

 

Hortus Forum Keeps It Green at Mann Library

Flowers brighten study area on the 2nd floor of Mann Library.

Flowers brighten study area on the 2nd floor of Mann Library.

Via Mann Library News [2015-05-04]:

The cupped blossoms you’ll likely have recognized–tulips! The exotic about-to-bloom bromeliads maybe not.  Both are part of the gorgeous color and greenery sprouting in various corners of Mann Library, as the Library’s plant collection has come under the care and supervision of one of the oldest student organizations on the Cornell campus, Hortus Forum.

Hortus Forum has long been known for their amazing weekly plant sales on the Ag Quad–in the Mann Library lobby during the winter, outside under the Ag Quad trees during warmer weather. If you’ve ever shopped at their table, you’ll likely have gotten a dose of excellent advice about proper plant care with your purchase. Earlier this year, Hortus Forum  agreed to apply their group’s expertise to the enhancement of the plant collection within the Mann Library building as well.

Read the whole article.

Skip to toolbar