March 10, 2017

Christmas tree IPM update 3.10.17

Snow 🙁   Sun 🙂   Just like life, we are getting some of each!  Pretty philosophical for a Friday afternoon!

MSU has the NEW third edition of the USDA Christmas Tree Pest Manual for sale
I’ll let you know if I figure out why theirs is $5 and Amazon has it for $29.
The previous edition is a wonderful resource and I suspect this will be, too.  I ordered mine today!

While you are there, check out their IPM Pocket Guide for Weed ID in Christmas Trees.

So – what do growing degree days mean for insect pest development in a year like this?  I’ve got that question out to some entomologists.  Do we use January 1 or March 1 as a baseline date?  This year, both would tell you you could be spraying for white pine weevil now.  Does that make sense with the temperature still bouncing around?  I don’t think so.  But you might want to be ready as soon as the weather smooths out a bit (it is spring and variation is what we expect after all).  Do I know for sure?  Nope!  But I’ll let you know what I find out.

Questions, comments, information you need?  Let me know!

March 10, 2017

Greenhouse IPM update 3.10.17

Snow again!  And since they removed the Cornus mas from outside my window, I don’t have that friendly reminder of swelling buds to tell me spring is coming.  But it is, I know it IS!

Check those fertilizer injectors!  Who wants to find out they aren’t working by having plants show symptoms – and then trying to figure out why!  Thomas Ford in eGro says from his work “75% of the fertilizer injectors employed by growers in are greenhouses are not working properly”. We’ve already heard of one case in NY. Lots of information here.

Get the key to locking out pests (my, that’s kind of a stretch but it is Friday).  Leeane Pundt at UConn has a great post on key plants and key pests to help you inspect new plant material coming in and scouting it once it’s in your greenhouse.

Another on scouting guidelines and biocontrol options for the most common insects and diseases found in greenhouse crops.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words…illustrated scouting tips for lots of crops
Ornamental crops
Vegetable bedding plants
Herb bedding plants
Herbaceous perennials
Identifying pests and beneficials on sticky cards
Go UConn!

Think (no) thrips!  UMass’ post on reviewing thrips biocontrol 

Webinars and more webinars…
Our series on high tunnel and greenhouse vegetable IPM continues to grow.  The most recent one was just posted!

OMAFRA’s greenhouse vegetable IPM specialist on Heating, Lighting and IPM
March 30, 2017
Using biofungicides, biostimulants, and biofertilizers to boost crop productivity and help manage vegetable diseases – not just greenhouse but perhaps still useful!

Bees are still in the news!  One study from England I read said that most varieties surveyed in garden centers were unattractive to pollinators (actually measuring the number of visits by pollinators at the garden center itself).  While still low, those with some notation as being friendly to bees had 4x as many visits.  Hopefully this listing would fare better –  Bee friendly trees and shrubs

Yes, but can they learn to dust?  Bees are smarter than we thought – or else maybe they are training us.  Hmmm….

Courage in the face of cold!  It will be warm again!

February 26, 2017

Greenhouse IPM Update 2.26.17

Spring?!  I know it’s not but I do like seeing that witch hazel and some snow drops blooming on campus.

And that makes me think of aphids…really?  Well, since Sarah Jandricid reports that foxglove aphids produce more offspring at 50-60F than at higher temperatures, maybe we should be thinking about them.  Especially if you had foxglove aphids last year (they are the one’s with dark green patches at the base of their ‘tailpipes’).  Go look now!

Early – that’s the key word – and here it is in Michael Brownbridge’s article Prevention and Early Intervention:  The Keys to Biocontrol Success in Greenhouse Crops published in Greenhouse Grower

More aphids?  Dan Gilrein’s e-GRO blog post on aphids and calibrachoas (aphids do seem to love them!)

Spring cleaning?  I am trying to reduce the amount of stuff in my office and house (not that you can really tell yet) but the same is true for greenhouses, and even relates to IPM.  Reducing clutter might help figure out where the pests are hiding over the winter (sneaky weeds get everywhere!).

Hooray for alliteration! Premier Tech led me to Pythium and then to Penn State – who have a lot of useful information on plant diseases I hadn’t found before.  Noodle around on the website, there are some listed by crop and other under general diseases.

And back to Pythium – Here’s Penn State’s fact sheet and the one from Premier Tech  and their list of things you can do after planting to minimize root diseases

Just in case you get tired of me telling you about Integrated Pest Management (well, how could you?), here’s the word from Van Belle Nursery with a nice video, too.

Want to read something a little edgy?  Very comprehensive article on the causes of leaf margin issues from Paul Thomas and U of Georgia.  We usually see a few of these every spring!

Wonderful wrigglers?  Not worms but nematodes – the good kind!  A nice article from UMass on using beneficial nematodes.

Boxwood blight – I don’t even have to add the alliteration.  The original article and one where you can see the pictures (which are from Margery Daughtrey!).

Back to bee basics.  Grow wise Bee Smart  BMP’s for bee health in horticulture
http://growwise.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/HRI-Pollinator-BMPs-January2017.pdf

Rent a chicken?  There are a few chicken owners I know but they haven’t capitalized on their bug eating habits yet (that I know off) for greenhouses.

Wow, a lot to cover today!   Must be because it is spring!

Have a great week!

February 17, 2017

Greenhouse IPM update 2.17.17

The sun is shining in my office window, which makes me want to head home. But I’ll stick around long enough to send this off to you (and hope you find time to get out in the sun, too)

I gave a talk on biopesticides so guess what? I have information on biopesticides for you!

Looking for biopesticides that are appropriate for a particular problem – heck, even if you are just looking for pesticides for a particular problem? IR4 has a cool labels database which includes efficacy data so you can compare! Its got a good search page and links to labels, even tells you if it is acceptable for organic production. I LOVE it when people make my job easier!

Spear and Spear T are biological insecticides – based on spider peptides no less (Charlotte! Who knew!) – newly registered for NYS. Spear is registered for ornamentals, edible, and turf (a variety of Lepidoptera and thrips). Spear T is labeled for thrips management in greenhouses. If you’ve tried them, I’d like to hear about efficacy.  To find NYS labels go to  NYS PAD and look under Names – Spear and Registrant – Vestaron.

Apps, apps and more apps. Of course, my favorite is my own and you can watch me talk about it at a Horticulture seminar  (January 30 blog post) It is called Greenhouse Scout and is available on Apple and Android.

19 for Nurseries! And other plant geeks.

Greenhouse Grower’s App (only for Apple smart devices) – a set of 12 production calculators and a free Lite version of 5 of them). It is from Australia so the measurements are in different units.

Now that you are (or are thinking about) warming up your greenhouses for the spring crop, don’t assume that the cold weather killed off all the insect pests. They are diabolically clever at surviving (remember some of them survive outside in the winter, too). A great article from UMass with additional resources to convince you.  Want to know what’s popping out before the plants go in? Hang sticky cards under the benches if there is enough soil on the floor for fungus gnats and thrips to survive in, or near where pests might come in to the greenhouse and see what you catch.

I’ve heard one report so far of broad mite (admittedly not in NY but they like it here, too) so here’s Dan Gilrein’s broad mite post from e-Gro. There are other posts on the topic there, too – just Google e-Gro and broad mite and they will pop up, just like broad mites)

Aphids will tolerate cooler temperatures than some pests so we have seen aphids happily going about their unfortunate business in overwintered perennials in tunnels in late winter (is it late winter yet?). And heard anecdotally that people have successfully used ladybugs to control them. So, an article from Suzanne Wainwright-Evans (the BugLady) on using wild collected ladybugs  (Don’t even think about it!)

Enough for one post! But lots more to come.

February 15, 2017

Christmas tree IPM update 2.15.17

Hooray for snow!  Not too much at a time and not too cold works for me!  And we need the water to get us out of drought conditions.

So this doesn’t seem very ‘IPMy’ but production factors make a difference in pest management.  More bugs and diseases next time!  Promise!

How to keep your trees happy and green? Michigan State just put out 2 articles on fertilizer sources:
Part 1 and Part 2

They also reference a U Minnesota (Go, Gophers!) article on the nitrogen cycle in soil

And Rutgers has a nice article on Soil Fertility Recommendations for Christmas Trees  with information on when to apply nitrogen.  They recommend 3 weeks before bud break but also discuss using a split application of spring and fall applications.  I must admit, I favor a split application for risk avoidance in case the weather at one season is not helpful.

So how does one calculate 3 weeks before bud break?  We haven’t found any calculators yet.  I’ve looked for information on temperature or other conditions that might help but haven’t found what I was looking for yet.  So it is up to you and your experience!

You can still register for the webinar series on Christmas tree genetics and Tree Improvement.
They have been quite interesting.  If you register, they will send you the recorded webinars even if you can’t attend.  Here are links for the first two.

Feb. 1 webinar, “The Tree Improvement Process: Selection, Testing, & Breeding,”

Feb. 8 webinar: “Capturing Genetic Gains: Seed Collection Zones & Seed Orchards,”

I love getting responses to my emails.  The information on costs for producing an acre of trees caused at least a few of you to 1) laugh hysterically, 2) shake your heads in disbelief or 3) send me a response.  Jon Freckleton is willing to let me reprint his here and I am doing it because I think it brings out a lot of information – especially for new growers – that is really important.  It makes the point that real growers are a resource that should not be ignored and that the ability to balance all these factors is an incredible skill!  And, regardless of the frustrated tone, Jon loves growing and selling trees!  So thanks for helping those of us in research and extension to get a real world view.  This might actually lead to a grant and some locally produced information!

I reviewed the attachments and the persons writing them must be on drugs!  Seven to ten year cycles are ridiculous and selling 5′, 6′ and 7’max trees is a dream that will not come true!  All have time and expense of monitoring but then lack the hours to call IPM, show to IPM, buy and apply spray, or cut out bad trees!  They are all growing in the land of milk and honey.  None have an “oh *&%$#” late frost that kills a years growth! All show constant dollars!  Where is real world inflation?  Where is liability insurance? Repair tools?  All imply accuracy to either the penny, or the dollar!  None reflect the real world repairs, dealing with nests of yellow jackets, woodchucks, deer, etc.  None show time to drive for parts, supplies, Urgent Care, IPM and grower schools.  None show cost of Grower Organization membership.  None show time and expense of applicator license, etc.  None show office mgt time, and tax prep time.  None show time to market trees, time with buyers marking trees, and to carry trees that haven’t sold.  None show winterizing and storing equipment, etc etc.  None show serious rain gear and gloves, none show safety equipment: chain saw gloves, chaps, helmet, shoes and boots.  None show Comp Ins, and other insurance and permits to legally hire help; nor a discussion of the risks of hiring “under-the-table” help we are forced into at small farms.

1- WP article: costs too low
2- PA article: very good write up at start; costs to the penny imply accuracy to the penny!!  Costs do NOT reflect minimum quantity of material that can be purchased; repair costs way too low and lacks repair hours, where is the machinery the fuel is burned in?
3- Oregon: 90% 6-7!? market wants 8+; 1500/ac!!  must have roads; Repair on tractor @ $.5 & truck @ $.15; while backpack @ $2.14, elev at $12, and baler @ $18????  Tractor and trk way too low (in 40+ yrs my only back pack repair was a lost tip); need insurance on shop: five years to 6-7′ Gr 1???  No mowing? Again implied accuracy to a penny!!  Assumes market to sell all trees at 6-7′ at decent price!!
4- Kentucky: starts great and then: again no roads with 1200/ac, again done in 7 yrs, too much machinery that is only used once and the prices shown are for very used equipment so there needs to be money in tools and parts.  Fifth year pruning with sale sized trees in 16hr?? coloring with a 4g backpack in 4 hr!!  All mowing with a tractor with 3.5′ bush hog in full sized trees!!  and selling 6-7′ in five years, won’t happen since that bush hog is going to ruin lower branches (especially at 6×6 planting) selling 5′ & 6′ trees!!!??? demand is 8 – 10 and up.  again no repair hours.

Have a great week!

February 12, 2017

Greenhouse IPM Update 2.12.17

How did it get to be February?!  And almost Valentine’s Day?  A great excuse to buy flowers and plants….maybe tomatoes?  They are ‘love apples’ after all.

Instead of thinking ‘babe magnets’ how about pest magnets – those plants that always get an insect pest first.  The best thing about them?  They are great places to scout to find out who’s bugging you early before populations rise.  Michigan State has a handy list of insect magnets.

Ball Hort has a large collection of upcoming and recorded webinars on pest management topics, among other things.  Root rot, mites, nematodes, weeds – what’s not to love?  And several are aimed at nursery operations, too.

Want a home grown webinar series?  We (Brian’s in there, and John and Neil and Jud Reid and more) are putting on webinars aimed at training Extension Educators (those folks who help you get questions answered) in greenhouse and high tunnel vegetable crop IPM.  They will be archived shortly after they are completed.  Here are the topics to come:
Feb 16: In-ground fertility/water management – Judson Reid
Feb 23: Production factors for greenhouses and high tunnels that relate to IPM – Amy Ivy
Mar 2: Disease management in greenhouses and high tunnels – Brian Eshenaur/Amy Ivy
Mar 9: Insect management in greenhouses and high tunnels – John Sanderson
Mar 16: Weed management in greenhouses and high tunnels – Betsy Lamb
Mar 23: How to write/use an IPM plan – Betsy Lamb

A note from an MSU newsletter that is worth keeping an eye out for:
With respect to disease, there has been documentation of strains of Pythium found in Michigan greenhouses that are resistant to mefenoxam (Subdue MAXX). Growers should be documenting rates and timing of pesticide applications and be making notes on efficacy.

Sierra Biologicals – a producer of beneficial nematodes –  is moving to the Buffalo NY area.  Cool!  We’ll keep an eye out for them and their products.

Some nutrition basics videos: Part 1 and Part 2 – good for a cold damp night like tonight!

Sneaky orchids? Okay, I’m a bug and plant geek, and think this is cool from the plant’s point of view, but don’t get me one of these for Valentine’s Day, please!

Enough for today! Stay warm and have a great week!