Monday, August 26, 2013

Bio-Energy Field Day

Event:         Western North Carolina Bioenergy Field Day
Date:         September 4th 2013
Time:         12:30 Registration, 1:00-5:00 Educational Presentations and Demonstrations
Contact:      Ron Gehl, ron_gehl@ncsu.edu828-684-3562 x129

North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services invite you to attend this event designed to provide a time for researchers to share the latest information of the work being conducted on energy crops in Western NC.  Tours of research plots and processing equipment demonstrations will help growers, researchers, and private industry interests learn how we are working to meet the state’s renewable fuels and energy goals of the future.  The afternoon event will cover topics including the science of cellulosic fuel production, production of energy grasses, cultural management of bioenergy crops, high-oil crops and biodiesel production, sorghum production for biofuels, breeding efforts  and genetic improvements of biomass crops. Speakers include NC State University researchers in Soil Science, Horticultural Science, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Forestry and Environmental Resources, and biofuel industry representatives.  Field demonstrations will include small-scale gasification, oilseed crushing and biodiesel production, and sorghum harvest, squeezing, and distillation.  The field day is free and open to the public.  For more information, please visit or contact Ron Gehl at of 828-684-3562 x129.

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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Soil Testing Fees

Soil Testing 

Getting you soil tested now to determine what nutrients are required for next year's growing cycle is a good thing.  The labs in Raleigh tend to back up during the winter and early spring and there may be delays in getting your results on time.  Knowing what you need this fall will help with developing your budgets and planning for the spring.  

Here's another good reason to take and send in soil samples:

color logo 300.tifNCDA&CS Agronomic Division
Peak-season Soil Testing Fee
August 1, 2013

The Appropriations Act of 2013 contains a provision to implement a new soil-testing fee.  Pending final approval by the Board of Agriculture, a $4 fee will be charged for all soil samples processed by the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division during its busiest season: December through March. There will still be no fee from April through November.
v  To improve lab efficiency by encouraging more growers to sample early, thereby fostering a more balanced sample load throughout the year
v  To enhance sustainability of the soil-testing program by generating receipts that will be earmarked for lab improvements, such as automated equipment, additional peak-season personnel and computer-programming enhancements  [The 2013 Appropriations Act ensures that receipts generated by the new fee will be appropriated to NCDA&CS for this purpose for FY 2014 and 2015.]
NOTE:  This year, December 1st falls on a Sunday and is preceded by the Thanksgiving holidays. Wednesday, November 27th, will be the last business day of the month for the soil testing lab. Any soil samples arriving after 6 p.m. on November 27th will be subject to the peak-season fee because they will not be logged in and processed until December 2nd.
Sample drop offs must take place during business hours (6 a.m.–6 p.m., Mon.–Fri.). A locked gate will prevent access to the loading dock area after hours and on weekends. This change will help increase the security of samples and improve customers’ access to Agronomic Division personnel.
Payment should not be placed inside shippers. By late Fall 2013, clients will have the convenience of entering sample and payment (credit card or escrow account) information online in the PALS website.  Cash and checks will be accepted for peak-season samples only if deposited in advance in an escrow account. 
v  The Agronomic Division provides a quality soil-testing service that includes comprehensive chemical soil analyses, site-specific lime and fertilizer recommendations and access to the consulting services of NCDA&CS agronomists.
v  It costs NCDA&CS approximately $3.22 to analyze one sample (based on average expenses 2008–2012), of which about $1 is covered by receipts from the state fertilizer inspection fee and lime tonnage tax.
v  For a typical 8-acre field in eastern North Carolina, we estimate that the peak-season fee will cost between $4 and $16, depending upon the intensity of the sampling protocol.
v  Most North Carolina growers submit fewer than 50 samples per year according to 2010 data.
v  Of the approximately 350,000 samples typically received each year, nearly 60 percent are analyzed from December through March, with turnaround times of up to 9 weeks.
v  The vast majority of soil samples analyzed during the winter months are from farms in preparation for spring planting. Most of these samples can be collected and submitted well before December 1st, thus avoiding the fee. Nearly all soil samples associated with home & garden and landscaping projects can be collected and submitted from April through November.

v  Clients who desire expedited service during the peak season can purchase NCDA&CS expedited shippers to receive a guaranteed turnaround time of ten business days. A limited number of shippers are sold each year (usually in August or September). The anticipated 2013–14 price for a 36-sample shipper is $200. 

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

Pest News for Week of August 19th

Ornamentals and Turf

From Dr. Steve Frank

Azalea Caterpillars

Azalea caterpillars, Datana major, are among our most attractive caterpillar species. The feed primarily on Rhododendron spp., but this week we also found them on blueberries. They are most evident late in the summer. There is one generation of this pest each year. Adults lay eggs on the underside of azalea leaves where the small caterpillars feed gregariously. As they grow the caterpillars take on the coloration as seen in the adjacent picture. Unfortunately, by the time they are noticed azalea caterpillars can consume a lot of foliage and defoliate a shrub. Scout for these caterpillars by scanning shrubs for bare twigs then look closer to investigate. If you find a group of them just prune the branch out. In larger infestations or nurseries there are several insecticides active on caterpillars, but any product works best on small stages.

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pesticide Credit Opportunities

Pesticide Credit Opportunities 

Have you waited until the end of the summer to get all of your pesticide credits?  Now your credits are scheduled to expire by the end of September. What do you need  to do?  Below are some opportunities that you should consider:

Pesticide Safety Training Sessions (Category V) 

September 10th 2013. 1:00-3:00 P.M.   WNC Regional Livestock Center, 474 Stock Drive, Canton NC.
(I-40 Exit 33- Newfound Rd) Call (828)255-5522 to register for this class

September, 12th 2013.  7:00-9:00 P.M.  Henderson County Extension Center,  100 Jackson Park Rd. Hendersonville, NC    (828) 697-4891

September 12th, 2013.  5:30-7:30 P.M.  Madison County Extension Center, 258 Carolina Lane, Marshall NC.   (828) 649-2411

Pesticide  (Category X)  or Commercial Credit Classes:

August 8th,  Tomato and Vegetable Field Day,  12:30- 4:30 P.M.,  Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center,  Mills River, NC

August 28th,  IPM for Green Industry Professionals- ( Invasive Weed Identification and Control,)  2:00- 4:30 P.M.  Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center,  455 Research Drive, Mills River,  NC,   Approved for credits in  L, G, D, H, N, O,  and X

August 29th,  Weed Identification & Control in Cool Season Turfgrass, 2:00-4:00  Henderson County Extension Center,  100 Jackson Park Rd. Hendersonville, NC    (828) 697-4891,  Approved for credits in L,D, N, and X

September, 10th,   Pesticide Labels and Storage,  9:30-11:30 A.M. WNC Regional Livestock Center,  474 Stock Drive, Canton NC. (I-40 Exit 33- Newfound Rd)  Call (828)255-5522 to register for this class

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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pest News for Week of August 5th


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Japanese Maple Scale in the Nursery and Landscape

Japanese maple scale, Lopholeucaspis japonica, is active now and much of the summer. It is a small, oystershell-shaped, armored scale introduced to the U.S. from Asia. Japanese maple scale is found in several eastern U.S. states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia, as well as Washington D.C. Japanese maple scale has a wide host range that in addition to maples (e.g.,  Japanese maples, red maples, paperbark maples and sugar maples), includes Amelanchier, Camellia, Carpinus, Cercis, Cladrastis, Cornus, Cotoneaster, Euonymus, Fraxinus, Gledistia, Ilex, Itea, Ligustrum, Magnolia, Malus, Prunus, Pyracantha, Pyrus, Salix, Stewartia, Styrax, Syringa, Tilia, Ulmus, Zelkova and others.

Although the lifecycle of this pest has not been fully examined, two generations a year are expected in the mid-southern U.S. First generation crawlers emerge in mid-May and the second generation in early August. Management efforts are complicated by the extended crawler emergence that results in first and second generational overlap. Thus, the most recent sample we received had every stage – egg to adult –present at the same time. 

Adult scales and crawlers are very small and most readily observed on bark of dormant deciduous host plants, but can also be found on foliage. The waxy coating on the body of male Japanese maple scales is white and females, eggs, and crawlers are lavender. The most work on this scale has been done by Paula Shrewsbury and Stanton Gill at the University of Maryland. There is also information on Japanese maple scales and other maple pests in our new book:

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, then 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. 

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

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weed Identification & Control - Pesticide Class

Thursday, August 29th from 2-4 p.m. @ Henderson County Cooperative Extension Office

Category X training for farmers needing credit for private applicators certification and for dealers and commercial applicators needing credit for L, N, or D classification. It is also provided for others who would like to learn more about Weed Identification and Control in Cool Season Turfgrass. There is a materials fee of $5 payable at the door. Please call the Henderson County Cooperative Extension office at 697-4891 or e-mail to register. This class will be taught by Kerrie Roach, Henderson County horticulture extension agent.