Weather and pests can make summer squash a frustrating crop for home gardeners

by Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Pests and diseases make summer squash one of the most challenging vegetables to grow in Georgia home gardens, according to University of Georgia plant pathologist Elizabeth Little, who studies plant diseases and control methods at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“Through my plant pathology experience and observations, I’ve noticed what is most difficult to grow in Georgia’s hot, muggy summers. Squash tops the list,” Little said. “That’s why summer squash will grow better where summer conditions are cooler and drier.” Continue reading

Cover Crops Work? See them working in pictures

All across the United States, farmers are increasingly using cover crops to suppress weeds, conserve soil and control pests and diseases. But agricultural educators know that savvy farmers are reluctant about risk and often want to see cover crops in action before making significant change. SARE’s Library of Cover Crop and Soil Health Images is now available to help educators show producers how cover crops can work on their farms.

The collection includes over 1,500 photos and illustrations organized into 10 galleries. A soil health gallery features high-resolution illustrations compiled in a set of 20 PowerPoint slides for use in presentations.  Continue reading

High Plains sorghum outlook outlined by AgriLife Extension specialists

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Producers may be concerned about planting sorghum this season, but several Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists said there are ways to prepare for upcoming issues and be profitable.

During the Interstate 40 Sorghum Luncheon recently in Amarillo, producers heard the latest on managing sugarcane aphids, weed control and how it all figures into the bottom line as producers manage crop budgets and pricing strategies. Continue reading

Fire Ant Control: The Two-Step Method and Other Approaches

by Janet Hurley, Texas A&M AgriLife

When it comes to insect pests, fire ants would probably top everyone’s list! Red and black imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri) are invasive species and their painful bites can injure or kill livestock, wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Their large mounds (as many as 300 per acre) are unsightly and often damage mowers and other equipment. Fire ants also infest buildings and can damage electrical equipment by chewing on wire insulation.

Fire ants cost Americans $6 billion a year, including the cost of insecticides. The Two-Step Method and other approaches described here can lower that cost while reducing environmental damage and improving fire ant control. Knowing your options will allow you to make better choices to protect your family, pets, and property. Continue reading

Spotted Lanternfly national pest alert published

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive sap-feeding planthopper, first discovered in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Field observations indicate that the tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, is an important host plant; however the spotted lanternfly is known to feed on a wide range of hosts including wild and cultivated grapes, stone fruits, willow, and various hardwoods. This species is thought to be native to China, and has spread to other Asian countries. In 2004, it was first detected in Korea, where its populations expanded and it became an economically important pest of grapevines and fruit trees. In Korea, it damaged plants directly by phloem feeding, but also caused indirect damage due to mold that grew on honeydew excretions deposited on the leaves and fruits of host plants. It was recorded utilizing 67 host plant species in Korea, many of which also occur in the U.S. Given the wide range of hosts it feeds upon, the spotted lanternfly poses a serious economic threat to multiple U.S. industries, including viticulture, fruit trees, ornamentals and timber.

For the complete alert click on this link.

Early eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch anticipated for Central Kentucky

by Holly Weimers, University of Kentucky

It is likely eastern tent caterpillars will begin to hatch soon, according to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist.

“Eastern tent caterpillars are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Consequently, they can cope with the erratic temperature swings that are common in Kentucky. This year’s unseasonable warmth points to abnormally early activity,” Townsend said. Continue reading

Spider mite control in corn aided by moisture

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to spider mite treatment on corn, according to Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Amarillo.

Spider mite damage can reduce corn silage yields about 17 percent and grain yield production by 23 percent or more when not controlled, Bynum said, speaking recently at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo. Continue reading