Friday, December 12, 2014

Certified Turfgrass Short Course


Registration is now open for this winter's Certified Turfgrass Professional Short Course.  This year's class will be held on the beautiful campus of Asheville School surrounded by several acres of various types of athletic turf.  If you manage turf for a living, whether it is home lawns, a golf course, athletic turf, or a sod farm, this course is one you should not miss.  There is limited space in the class so get your registration in soon!

Registration form:
Certified Turfgrass Short Course

Asheville School

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NC Survey for Turfgrass Professionals

NC Survey for Turfgrass Professionals 
Turfgrass researchers across the southeastern US are gathering data on preferences and needs across different segments of the turfgrass industry. 

NC State representatives would like your participation to this short survey which should take less than 5 minutes for you to complete.  Your answers will be extremely helpful in planning for the development of new grasses that will benefit the turf industry as a whole.

The survey will be open until Nov. 23. Click on the link below to participate.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The deadline to contact your Extension Agent has passed(Oct.24), but if you are seriously interested contact him/her now to see if you can still get an appointment.

The NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission is the exclusive funder of three farmer cost-share programs which have begun accepting applications.  Each program targets specific counties and offers grants to farmers. Priority is given to farmers who have a tobacco production connection (current/former tobacco farmers, have land formerly in tobacco production, etc.)  and  who have innovative project ideas designed to increase farm income.  The projects should also serve as demonstrations to other farmers.  All programs require farmers to invest a minimum of 10% of their own funds towards the total project cost.  Deadlines for applications are coming up soon. For more information and to download applications, check out their websites:

WNC AgOptions

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AgOptions Grant Cycle

2015 AgOptions Grant Applications Available
The 2015 AgOptions grant cycle application process is now open.  Farmers with new production or processing ideas should consider applying.   Visit the WNC AgOptions website at:  for more information.   

Similar to last year, WNC AgOptions will be offering $3000 and $6000 mini-grants to individual farm businesses. The 2015 application is attached here. Here are some important dates to keep in mind:

October 2014: Outreach to farmers. 

We have scheduled an information session for potential applicants on Thursday, October 16th from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in  Mills River . Information about the session is attached to this email. 

October 24, 2014: Intent to apply deadline. Interested applicants should contact their County Ag Agent by this date to set up an appointment to discuss their project.
November 21, 2014: Applications due (must be post-marked by this date)

December 8-9 2014:
 Application review days. Review locations will be in Asheville and Marshall.

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Job Opening at Berrier Select Landscapes

Berrier Select Landscapes, Inc. is a Landscape Contracting company serving high end residential clients in the Asheville area. Our services include Landscape  Installation, Design,  Maintenance,  Irrigation, Lighting, and Hardscapes.

We are currently seeking someone for our year round ,full time Landscape Maintenance Supervisor position.This is a working supervisor position based on a 4 day work week                (40 hrs.).The qualified candidate will be responsible for the day to day care and maintenance of our clients Plant beds, Turf areas and insuring the total landscape is always in top condition and assuring these tasks are accomplished in timely manner. This position requires supervision of a crew between 1-4 people. Attention to detail is required and interacting with clients and crew in a professional manner at all times is necessary. An associates degree in Horticulture/Turfgrass Management is preferred or a minimum of one year performing Landscape Maintenance Supervision. We are looking for someone with strong leadership qualities, a great attitude and a strong work ethic that presents themselves in a professional manner. This is a year round ,full time position.

Duties include but are not limited to: proper scheduling of maintenance operations, operating various machinery such as mowers, weed-eaters, blowers, tiller, aerator and use of various hand tools. Ability to lift 50-80 lbs. on a regular basis is a necessity.The candidate will be responsible to arrive 30 minutes early on a daily basis to have tools and equipment loaded on vehicle prior to the crew arriving for work.

Applicants must have a valid driver's license and have a N.C. Pesticide applicators license or be able to obtain one within 6 months of employment.

Please send your resume and contact information to,, or to Berrier Select Landscapes, Inc. PO Box 17927   Asheville NC  28816.

Pay is based on experience and qualifications

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

4th Annual Horticulture IPM Symposium

4th Annual IPM Symposium

There are a few seats remaining in the 4th annual Horticulture IPM Symposium so be sure to get registered early.  Time is running out.  Below is the link to both the program and the registration materials:

IPM Symposium

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pest Alert for August 25th


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Azalea Caterpillars

Azalea caterpillars, Datana major, are among our most attractive caterpillar species. They 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 seen in the picture below. 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, prune the branch out. In larger infestations or nurseries there are several insecticides active on caterpillars, but any product works best on small stages.

azalea caterpillars by adam dale.jpg
Azalea caterpillars. Photo: Adam Dale, North Carolina State University.

Redheaded Pine Sawfly

This week we had a clinic report of pine defoliation on campus. The culprit is probably the redheaded pine sawfly, Neodiprion lecontei. It is a pest of pines in ornamental landscapes, nurseries, and plantations. Adults emerge in spring and a second generation occurs in mid-summer. Eggs are laid on many two and three needled pine species such as Jack pine, loblolly pine, and red pine. Sawflies are not flies and the larvae do not turn into butterflies. They are non-stinging herbivorous wasps. They can defoliate trees and bushes in the landscape. Since they are gregarious it is sometimes possible to prune an infested branch and remove all the larvae. Management for sawflies is similar to caterpillar management though not all the insecticides will work so check the label. Horticultural oil is a good bet especially for small larvae. Formulations that contain azadirachtin or spinosad are also effective. For sawflies and caterpillars, management of full grown caterpillars is generally not warranted. The damage is already done and they are hard to kill.

Redheaded pine sawflies on Pinus uncinata. Photo: S. D. Frank.

From: Mike Munster, Ornamental Pathologist, Plant Disease and Insect Clinic

Box Blight Confirmed in Wake County

Box blight has been confirmed in boxwood plants originating in a nursery in the North Carolina mountains and offered for sale at the North Carolina State Farmers Market in Raleigh. The disease also has been confirmed at the Raleigh home of the vendor. A small number of customers may have purchased infected plants between the beginning of July and mid-August 2014.

Box blight is a destructive fungal disease of boxwood leaves and twigs. Symptoms include brown leaf spots, dark streaks on twigs, and extensive leaf drop. Sarcococca (sweetbox) and Pachysandra can also become infected. A fact sheet ( is available with additional information about identification and management of this disease. Note that sanitizer information is currently being updated. For most bleach formulations the correct ratio of bleach to water is now1:14.

Personnel from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are attempting to trace the sales of these plants from the Farmers Market. Careful removal and destruction of all infected shrubs may help keep losses to a minimum and prevent further local spread. If you believe you may have purchased one of the plants in question, please contact the office of Phil Wilson, Plant Pest Administrator for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services at 919-707-3753. Other parties with questions about box blight should direct them to their local County Cooperative Extension Service office.

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Job Opportunity

Landscape Maintenance Crew Member

The individual in this position will work in all areas of lawn and landscape maintenance.  In addition to operating commercial lawn mowers, weed eaters, and blowers, he or she will assist with plant installations, bed maintenance, pruning, and leaf clean-ups.  Experience is preferred but we will train the selected candidate as needed.

  • One to two years landscaping maintenance experience preferred.

  • Experience using commercial mowers, weed eaters, and blowers in high end residential settings preferred.

  • Valid NC Driver’s License and approval by insurer to drive Company vehicles preferred.

  • Experience driving large pickup truck while towing and maneuvering a loaded landscape utility trailer preferred

  • Working knowledge of landscape ornamentals and undesirable vegetation preferred.

  • Experience in pruning using both hand pruners and other pruning devices preferred.

  • Experience in applying pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers preferred. 

To Apply Contact:
Dunkin FitzSimons, Owner/Manager
Cell:  (828) 243-4051

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

Hand Washing Signs in Spanish

Just a quick note to let you know that the NCAgromedicine Institute had 5,000 hand washing signs printed like the one in the above picture. They are 4”x4” with adhesive backing.

Growers can request by calling Elizabeth Bentz at the Institute at 252.744.1003 or emailing  You will need to provide number of signs being requested and mailing address.

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

Mosquitoes, Mosquitoes, Mosquitoes!!!

We just received this information from Dr. Mike Waldvogel, Extension Entomologist. Many of you work outdoors all day. Please take the proper precautions to prevent unnecessary insect bites & stings!

"The abundant (or over-abundant)  rains that we've received the past week will help boost mosquito populations with the addition of more flooded areas and objects that people overlook on their property.  NOW is the time to remind people get out in their yards and do some "tip and toss" - empty (or discard) those objects that filled with rainwater and probably leaves and debris that make them idea mosquito breeding sites.  Remove storm debris from gutters and make sure water does not pond beneath the gutter downspouts.  Debris-clogged drainage ditches along roads will have water for days/weeks and so they need to be cleared so the water flows and drains as quickly as possible.  Even with this effort, there will be unseen breeding sites and so most of all - remind people to use common sense in using EPA-registered repellents and follow the label instructions.  As I've stated previously, the preferred way to use mosquito repellent is to children is by applying the product to your hands and then rubbing it on the child's arms, legs, neck and other exposed parts of the skin (never under clothing). If people decide to treat their yards, remind them to remove or cover children's toys, grills and cooking utensils, pet food and water bowls, etc. *before* they spray and to avoid spraying flowering plants if bees are actively pollinating.  If they spray around a vegetable garden, either use a product that is also labeled for use on those vegetables or direct the spray in a way that avoids drift onto the plants."

Mike Waldvogel

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Scale Insects

Scale Insect Video for your Viewing Pleasure!

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pest News for Week of July 28th


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Sycamore Lace Bugs Cause Yellow Leaves

This week I have gotten three samples from the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic with sycamore lace bug, Corythucha ciliata. I had just taken some pictures of these beautiful critters last week when I was in Asheville. They really do a number on sycamore leaves and this time of year heavily infested sycamores look pretty bad. The other lace bugs that are important landscape pests are the azalea lace bug and hawthorn lace bug. Like these, the sycamore lace bug causes stippling damage by piercing the underside of leaves with its stylet and sucking out the fluids. Large yellow and gray areas develop on the top of the leaves. In some cases, most leaves on a tree can be entirely covered in stippling damage.

Sycamore lace bugs are a native insect. They overwinter as adults under bark or in other sheltered spots and become active soon after bud break. They lay eggs in leaves and complete their lifecycle in around 30 days. However, research from China, where this is an invasive pest, shows that at high temperatures this happens much faster, even twice as fast. This suggests that it could be more abundant in hot urban areas where sycamores are often planted in parking lots and along roads. My anecdotal suggests this is true. Sycamores are wetland trees and probably are not very happy in hot, sunny, dry spots, but lace bugs clearly are.

Management of sycamore lace bugs will be similar as for other lace bugs, but you are typically dealing with large trees instead of small azalea bushes or cotoneaster. Thus systemic insecticides applied as a drench can be a good option. Applications of horticultural oil should also help keep abundance low just by killing adults and nymphs that are present.

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Sycamore lace bug nymphs. Photo: S. D. Frank.

Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus

In the last month we have had several samples come into the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic with impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV). These have primarily been greenhouse crops like impatiens and mums, but the virus can infect over 200 plant species. It is a lethal virus spread by thrips feeding. Managing INSV is critical because it can easily over run your crop and cause long-term problems. Thrips become infected with the virus while feeding as larvae. After they pupate, thrips spread the virus to new plants when they feed as adults.

Thus, INSV management starts with thrips management. The essence is to start with sanitation. Thrips can feed on hundreds of plants so any weeds growing in or near your greenhouse can support thrips feeding and egg laying. Get rid of pet plants and mother plants. Maybe you or your grandmother want to overwinter last year’s peppers or begonias, but do not do it. These can serve as reservoirs for thrips and virus and keep your house constantly infected.

If you have INSV in the greenhouse, get rid of all plants that show symptoms and consider getting rid of all plants that thrips have fed on. Plants do not immediately show symptoms, but they can still infect thrips. So even if you get rid of plants with visible spots thrips may continue to get infected and spread the virus. Get rid of thrips with insecticide applications or ramp up an existing biological control program to get thrips under control. Now is not the time to start a biological control program. Keep an eye out for tell tale rings and spots on leaves so you can keep ahead of this virus and of course monitor for thrips with sticky cards to keep ahead of them.

You can read more about thrips management in an Insect Note and recent article in GrowerTalks.

If you would like to see thrips defend themselves from predatory mites by butt slappin’ them watch the video here:

INSV on impatiens. Photo: Robert Wick, University of Massachusetts,

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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Horticulture IPM Symposium

Horticulture IPM Symposium

Here are the links to  the newly revised version of the IPM Symposium materials for those of you looking to attend:

Registration form at:

Seats will sell out quickly so be sure to get registered for yours!

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Irrigation Summit

John Deere Landscapes Irrigation Summit 2014
Knowledge is power...AND...the key to greater profitability!!!

Do you have the technical skills to adapt to new trends in irrigation?

The 2014 John Deere Landscapes Irrigation Summit provides you the opportunity to increase your skills and improve your business.  New irrigation technologies and trends in water conservation, such as rainwater harvesting, create high-profit opportunities for the knowledgeable irrigation contractor. 

This year's summit will feature certified instructors from The Irrigation Association as well as professional business speakers addressing topics such as:
·       Pumps
·       Electrical Troubleshooting
·       Retrofitting for SMART Irrigation
·       Weather-based Controls
·       Soil Moisture Sensors
·       System Diagnostics & Locating
·       Backflow Prevention
·       Why Small Businesses Fail
Collect all 10 CEUs (8 Irrigation CEUs + 2 Business CEUs) at one location, fulfilling the NC Irrigation Contractors Licensing Board annual requirement.

Registration fee $99 per attendee.  Lunch will be provided. All events are 8:00am – 6:00pm – Full-day attendance is required to obtain the credits. Registration (sign in) begins at 7:00am at each event.

·    Wednesday, August 6, 2014  
     WNC Agricultural Center, 1301 Fanning Road, Fletcher, NC  28732 (ASHEVILLE, NC)

Register at:

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