Saturday, July 28, 2012

Irrigation Contractor Law Change

Change in Irrigation Contractor's Law

Recently during the Short Legislative Session a bill was passed that may directly affect some of your constituents. Although the bill was initially a stand alone and did not make it to the floor for a vote, a portion of the irrigation contractor's bill was "attached" to an unrelated bill. The bill is SB847, Section 65.8, a and b.

Irrigation Contractor's License Board Amendment

SECTION 65.8.(a)

G.S. 89G-3 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(17) Any person who can document 10 years in business as an irrigation contractor as of January 1, 2009, can document competency in the practice of irrigation construction or irrigation contracting, as determined by the North Carolina Irrigation Contractors' Licensing Board, and meets all other requirements and qualifications for licensure may be issued an irrigation contractor's license under Chapter 89G of the General Statutes, without the requirement of examination, provided that the person submits an application for licensure to the Board prior to October 1, 2012."

SECTION 65.8.(b)

The North Carolina Irrigation Contractors' Licensing Board shall notify the North Carolina Cooperative Extension of the provision for licensure of experienced irrigation contractors without the requirement of an examination as provided in G.S. 89G-3(17) as quickly as practicable upon the effective date of this section.

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

Pest News for July 30th 2012


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Oleander Aphids

Anyone who has grown or looked at milkweed has seen oleander aphids. They are orange and usually very abundant. Sometimes oleander aphids become so abundant they reduce plant growth and flowering but most of the time they are not very harmful. Since they are inevitable you might as well enjoy them. The most enjoyable and interesting thing about these aphids is that you can witness all kinds of ecological interactions. Inspecting a colony of these aphids you will see parasitoids and their mummies; predacious maggots of hoverflies that specialize on aphids; predacious maggots of Aphidoletes midges that bite aphid knees, inject paralytic toxins, and eat the aphids. Many other generalist predators such as green lacewing larvae, lady beetles, and minute pirate bugs also hang around. These are great plants to have in public gardens because you can always teach people about these predators and parasitoids.

Emerald Ash Borer Update

Around this time in 2010 I reported that emerald ash borer had been found in Tennessee not far from our border. I figured I would pass along the recent status of this pest in our neighboring states. Please visit the below link to map showing the emerald ash borer which is now in five Virginia counties bordering North Carolina and has spread to many counties in Tennessee:

It is essential that people are watching for this pest and report unusual boring damage in ash trees. The most complete and current information this pest can be found on the official website:

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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pest News for July 23rd


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Rose Rosette Disease

I have had several clinic samples of rose rosette disease this year. It is believed to be caused by a virus transmitted by tiny eriophyid mites. The disease causes unusual symptoms on rose bushes including rapid growth, deformed shoots and buds, dense areas of soft spines, witches broom and others. The symptoms are highly variable and depend on rose cultivar and other unknown factors. The important thing to recognize is that unusual growth symptoms may indicate the disease, that there is no cure for the disease and very little effective control for the mites. Infected plants should be discarded and as much roots and other tissue removed from the site as possible. This disease also attacks exotic multiflora roses. Though no one would shed a tear about that multiflora rose, it can be a reservoir on your property, which is another good reason to kill the multiflora rose.

Flea Beetles Abound

Flea beetles of all kinds are active this time of year. I have seen them on many kinds of plants almost in every landscape I look in. Flea beetle damage is very characteristic and looks like tiny shot holes in the foliage. The beetles themselves are generally tiny and shiny black though there are many species. They generally jump when you approach. Though you will not necessarily be able to determine exactly which flea beetle you have since there are so many kinds. Some are fairly host specific or at least are primarily a pest on some hosts even if they feed widely. An ornamental example includes the red headed flea beetle (

June Beetles are Flying

This week we saw the first June beetles in Raleigh. I have not seen many except the poor critter in this picture but others have reported more. They are not much of a threat to plants. The grubs feed on turf but rarely to the extent that damage is seen. The adults will feed on ripening fruit such as grapes but are only out a couple weeks so it is best to just wait.

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

Speaking of Gardening

The Garden Symposium for Horticultural Professionals and Enthusiasts
Friday, August 24 & Saturday, August 25, 2012
International and regional horticultural experts join us for this perennially successful symposium in 2012. The program includes seven lectures, book signing opportunities and, again this year, a live and silent auction featuring rare and storied plants!
Mike Buffin, this year’s keynote speaker, is Gardens and Parks Adviser for the National Trust, United Kingdom. Buffin provides technical advice for historic gardens and parks in London, Southeast England and Northern Ireland. His garden portfolio includes some of the Trust’s most treasured garden properties including Sissinghurst, Nymans, Sheffield Park, Cliveden and Chartwell, as well as Mount Stewart and Rowallane in Northern Ireland. He trained at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and has worked at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. He was curator at Hillier Gardens in Hampshire for over 10 years. Until 2011, he was the National Trust’s national specialist on plant conservation and worked with an international consortium to pilot a web-based plant database called Plant Collections. Mr. Buffin is Chair of the Plant Conservation Committee of Plant Heritage, the UK’s largest cultivated plant conservation organization. He is a published author and his work includes Winter Flowering Shrubs and The Illustrated Guide to Trees.

Mr. Buffin will be joined on the program by:
·       Takayuki Kobayashi, Nurseryman, Kobayashi Nursery,Saitama Prefecture, Japan
·       Jenks Farmer, Horticulturist and Nurseryman, Moore Farms Botanical Garden, SC
·       Rita Pelczar, Educator, Author and Owner of Blue Ridge Hops organic farm, Marshall, NC

This program is developed and supported by an advisory committee of WNC’s most passionate gardeners and horticulturists, alongside local green industry businesses, is hosted by The North Carolina Arboretum and may qualify for PLANET, NCBOLA and APLD continuing education credits with board approval.   Approved for the following credits:
NCBOLA (10 credits), PLANET (10), and APLD (10).

For registration form and more information go to:

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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Safety Videos

Although few of you in the green industry use Migrant labor you may find several of the videos from NC Department of Labor useful.

Consider watching and sharing with your Spanish speaking labor force.

The following videos  are excellent for all employees during this time of extremely hot temperatures:    (Spanish)  (English- * not a duplicate of the above)

Regardless of your role on your farm, greenhouse range, or landscape project,  you are susceptible to heat stress, heat stroke, and worse.   Take frequent breaks, drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol, and highly carbonated beverages as these can increase dehydration not prevent it.  While it may mean a change in your work day pattern- healthy employees are more productive.   

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