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Be on the lookout for brown patch, large patch diseases this fall

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Cases of the turfgrass disease commonly identified as brown patch — more likely large patch in most warm-season turfgrasses — have spiked during a cool September that broke rainfall records across parts of the state, according to specialists with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Large patch and brown patch are caused by different groups of Rhizoctonia solani, a fungal pathogen, said Dr. Becky Grubbs, AgriLife Extension turfgrass specialist in College Station. The group associated with brown patch in cool-season grasses follows a different life cycle from the one responsible for large patch in Texas’ most common warm-season grasses, including St. Augustine and zoysiagrass.

Diagnosis by a certified nursery professional or turfgrass specialist is the best option for accuracy, Grubbs said. Continue reading

Three-day mosquito workshop in Jackson, MS

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Harris County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are sponsoring a 3-day workshop on mosquitoes and vector-borne diseases in Jackson, Mississippi.

Date: August 28-30

Place: 570 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave, Jackson, MS.

Register: https://livestockvetento.tamu.edu/3-day-master-vector-certification-course/ Continue reading

New turfgrass specialist begins at Texas A&M

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Efficient varieties and informed management practices can help Texans make the most of turfgrasses’ natural human health and environmental benefits, said the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s new turfgrass specialist.

Dr. Lindsey Hoffman assumed her post at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas July 9. She said her public outreach initiatives will deliver holistic approaches for coaxing maximum benefit from turfgrass use. Continue reading

Gene editing approach aims for broad disease resistance in staple food crops

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

A novel gene editing approach could hold the key to broad-spectrum disease resistance in certain staple food crops without causing physical detriment to the plants, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Dr. Junqi Song, AgriLife Research plant pathologist in Dallas, explores how a “knock-in” gene editing approach might achieve better disease resistance in a wide range of crop plants. Continue reading

New kissing bug guide helps with fight against Chagas disease

from School Pest News, Texas A&M AgriLife

A guide to help battle a potentially fatal disease transferred by a blood-sucking insect called the kissing bug has been published by a task force led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

While it may not make good bedtime reading, the new image-based guide from the Texas Chagas Task Force could keep you from falling victim to a disease caused by a parasite that the kissing bug carries. The parasite is Trypanosoma cruzi (T.cruzi), and the disease it causes is called Chagas disease. It is dubbed the silent killer because its symptoms are so elusive. If caught early, Chagas disease is treatable but if left undetected and untreated, it can eventually lead to problems such as heart failure, an enlarged heart or stroke. Continue reading

South Korea consults with Texas A&M on fire ants

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

South Korea has asked Texas A&M University for help in stopping an alien pest new to their country, but all too familiar to most Texans, officials said.

“The red imported fire ant has invaded Asia over the last few years, but the South Korean invasion is brand new,” said Dr. David Ragsdale, Texas A&M entomology department head at College Station. Continue reading

Experts gather in Texas to discuss mosquito and tick issues

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

With ticks posing an ongoing threat to Texas’ cattle industry and mosquitoes causing challenging human health diseases such as Zika virus, a consortium of public health experts met at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco to hear the latest research and offer potential solutions.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are leading a collaboration to solve threats from the pests as members of the Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. Continue reading