Crop protection and cybersecurity

by John Herlihy, Virginia Tech

Plants feed us. Without them we’re goners. Through thousands of years of genetic modification by selective breeding, humans have developed the crops that keep us alive. We have large kernels of grains, plump fruits and nutritious, toxin-free vegetables. These forms would never be found in nature, but were bred by people to keep us healthy and happy.

Unfortunately, microbes find our wonderfully productive food plants just as delicious as we do. These plant pathogens cause diseases that have changed world history and still affect us today. Continue reading

“Good-Guy” Fungus to Take on Killer of Oaks and Ornamental Crops

by Jan Suszkiw, USDA Agricultural Research Service

A beneficial soil fungus could offer a biobased approach to battling Phytophthora ramorum, a pathogen that kills oaks, other tree species and woody ornamentals.

BioWorks, Inc. of Victor, New York, is collaborating with Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist Tim Widmer to commercially formulate the fungus, Trichoderma asperellum. The species is a mycoparasite, meaning it attacks and kills other fungi, including P. ramorum, a fungus-like pathogen, notes Widmer, with ARS in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Continue reading

Wondering what has been going on with your juniper and cypress trees?

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

It’s been a tough 2017 so far for juniper and cypress varieties used in landscapes, as pests and diseases make the rounds, causing blight and tree die-offs.

Kevin Ong, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, said there are several different possible disease or pest issues plaguing juniper and cypress varieties around the state, from the Gulf Coast to Central, North and East Texas. Continue reading

Juniper and cypress varieties hit hard by blight

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

It’s been a tough 2017 so far for juniper and cypress varieties used in landscapes, as pests and diseases make the rounds, causing blight and tree die-offs.

Kevin Ong, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, said there are several different possible disease or pest issues plaguing juniper and cypress varieties around the state, from the Gulf Coast to Central, North and East Texas. Continue reading

Webinar on Phytophthora in nurseries, April 28

A Systems Approach To Producing Healthy Container-Grown Plants

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

10-11 a.m. PDT

Native plant nurseries are becoming increasingly aware of the risk of harboring plant pathogens, especially Phytophthora species, that have the potential to threaten the health of ecosystems.  In this webinar you will learn how to apply a systems approach to analyze your nursery production system and identify potential contamination hazards. You will also learn best management practices that will allow you to take corrective action and help ensure the health of your plants. The presenter will be Jennifer Parke, Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University.

Please register here: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=15277  

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Root rot threatens traditional Christmas fir trees

From the Daily Reflector

Jeff Pollard trudged up the steep slope and stopped at a desiccated, rust-brown tree. Two months earlier, workers had tagged this Fraser fir as ready for market.

It was going to be someone’s Christmas tree. And now it was dead.

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Research indicates new hosts for two major plant diseases

The Plant Management Network highlights two research projects this month that have uncovered new possible hosts for two deadly forest diseases: laurel wilt and Phytophthora ramorum.

Vectored by the redbay ambrosia beetle, laurel wilt attacks species in the Lauraceae family, causing death within a few years. Recently, scientists tested Persea indica, a tree species native to the Madeira and Canary Islands, for its attractiveness to the redbay ambrosia beetle. The beetle preferred P. indica over Persea borbonia (redbay), its primary host in the U.S.

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