Friday, May 22, 2009

Frost and Chill Injury

Blackberry Winter is the term old timers call the period of cold weather that typically occurs when blackberries are in full bloom. This year the cold settled in several places in Western NC with temperatures as low as 27 in a few valleys and mid 30s in many areas. We had reports of light frost but not "killing frosts". However, the chill caused some damage to a lot of tender vegetation, particularly our in vegetable gardens. We continue to get calls regarding small yellow or necrotic (dead) spots on garden plants from Ageratum to Zinnias. Mostly on things like corn, tomato, pepper, and bean plants. Most of the plants will grow out of the damage, but remember damaged cells can be ideal incubator sites for pathogens such as botrytis, which could spread to other parts of the plant. If you notice damage on your plants or get calls from customers experiencing damage, monitor the issue and use preventative fungicides to keep pathogens in check. While most plants will grow out of the chill injury, expect delays in harvest time.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Team Work

Sometimes it takes economic down turns to make us look at ways to help each other. I heard a story, this evening, about team work that I think needs sharing to all in our industry!
....There was a farmer who desperately needed to move his barn several dozen feet away from its old location. He dreaded the job as his only means of doing so was to dismantle the barn and rebuild on a new foundation. His neighbors heard about his need and came to his rescue. Did they help tear down the barn and rebuild it? No. Over 300 of them came together, jacked up the barn using various tools, and lifted it from its moorings, and then together carried it to the new location....

So who needs your shoulder today?

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nutsedge is Back Again

From Dr. Joe Neal:

Yellow and purple nutsedge are up and growing vigorously. Hand weeding nutsedge is possible early in the season before rhizomes have formed. But, plants have already started producing rhizomes and “daughter” plants. Once this occurs, hand weeding usually results in breaking the stem below ground and a new plant emerging in a day or two.

Spot spraying with a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate will control emerged nutsedge, but the sprouts below ground generally keep emerging. Many landscapers prefer halosulfuron (Sedgehammer) because it controls emerged nutsedge as well as leaving a residual that prevents new nutsedge from emerging for about 4 weeks. Sedgehammer works slowly but can be tank mixed with faster acting postemergence herbicides to achieve rapid kill and residual control. Combinations with glufosinate, glyphosate, or bentazon have been effective for this purpose.

If you have nutsedge in your beds, it is also a good idea to consider preemergence treatments. Pennant Magnum, Freehand, and Tower each will suppress yellow nutsedge. Note I said suppress not “control”. Perhaps a more accurate term would be “partial control”. So even if you have used one of these preemergence herbicides, you will need to be prepared to return to the bed with a postemergence control program -- that will likely even require some hand weeding.

For more information on yellow and purple nutsedge identification and control, follow this link to Horticulture Information Leaflet number 647 -- Nutsedge

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Pestcide Record Keeping Regulation

Press Release:

CONTACT: Jim Burnette, Jr., director
NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division
(919) 733-3556
N.C. Pesticide Board adopts pesticide record-keeping rule
changes for growers and aerial applicators

RALEIGH — Several new pesticide record-keeping rules went into effect May 1 following approval by the N.C. Pesticide Board. The new rules involve recording the ending time of applications, the recording of daily applications and how long growers must maintain records.

The changes reflect recommendations of the 2008 Governor’s Task Force on Preventing Agricultural Pesticide Exposure and implement the requirements of Senate Bill 847.

Growers making applications that fall under the scope of the federal Worker Protection Standard must now add the actual “end time” of application to the records under the change. This is in addition to the “time of the application” that is required to be posted before the application takes place under the current WPS regulations.

Also each day of application must be recorded as a separate application record. After application information has been displayed for the appropriate time (30 days after the restricted-entry period expires), the application information must now be maintained for a period of two years. This coincides with the USDA Requirements for Restricted-Use Pesticides.

Also effective May 1, aerial applicators must record the year, month, date and time of day when each pesticide application was completed for every pesticide application. Additionally, each day of aerial applications must be recorded as a separate record. The commercial ground applicators regulation addressing the same issues for restricted-use pesticides became effective April 1.

Revised record keeping forms may be downloaded from the Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division’s Web page,, or from your local Cooperative Extension Service. Applicators requiring assistance with these or any pesticide regulation, may contact the NCDA&CS Pesticide Section at (919) 733-3556 for help.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.