UGA Extension fruit pathologist says use lime sulfur on blueberries to manage Exobasidium disease

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

The key to managing Exobasidium leaf and fruit spot disease in blueberries, which makes the fruit unmarketable, is one application of lime sulfur approximately two weeks prior to bud break, according to Jonathan Oliver, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit pathologist.

Exobasidium disease causes spots on the leaves and fruit, decreases the fruit’s size and, because of the fruit’s immaturity, gives it a bitter taste. The leaf spots eventually turn velvety and white and lead to early defoliation, and the spotted fruit is not fit for sale. Continue reading

National Pesticide Safety Education Month launched to promote safe pesticide use

By Christina Conner, University of Georgia

Hundreds of people get sick each year from inappropriate pesticide use, but those who don’t deal with pesticides daily may not think about it very often.

Pesticides are used in homes, workplaces, apartments, farms and other places where humans need to control pests such as weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and even viruses. Of the 11 states participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pesticide safety program, workers reported 853 serious injuries from pesticides in 2011, according to the CDC. Continue reading

Whiteflies are a top priority being discussed at county production meetings

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia entomologists advise farmers to kill crops capable of hosting whiteflies after the crop is harvested a final time. Crops left in the field could continue to serve as hosts.

“The very best thing we can do right now is to minimize the amount of host material out there and starve these whiteflies to death during the winter,” UGA Cooperative Extension vegetable entomologist Stormy Sparks said. Continue reading

UGA entomologist encourages the use of cultural practices in managing spotted wing drosophila (SWD)

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia entomologist Ashfaq Sial advises Georgia blueberry farmers to manage the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), the crop’s most destructive pest, by incorporating cultural practices into farming.

Practices likes heavy pruning, controlled burns of the wooded areas surrounding blueberry fields, and the use of weed mat as a ground cover are effective management tools. These practices ensure the success of SWD management programs implemented during harvest, the time when blueberries are most vulnerable to SWD infestations. Continue reading

How wildlife biologists predict the deer rut

By Michael Anthony Foster, University of Georgia

Once again, it is that time of year when bucks start chasing does, and deer hunters hit the woods. You guessed it: It is time for the rut, or breeding, season. But the question to be answered is, “How do biologists predict when the rut is going to be?”

Rut season is when bucks furiously seek to breed. During this time, buck feeding activity severely decreases, and bucks’ primary goal is to breed as many does as possible. Throughout this period, bucks become aggressively territorial. With whitetail deer, this territorial behavior is not so much about defending a particular piece of land, but rather, excluding other bucks from breeding a receptive female. Continue reading

UGA Extension pecan specialist believes cover crops are valuable additions to pecan orchards

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells recommends planting crimson clover, or a similar cover crop, in pecan orchards to supply much-needed nitrogen and build up organic matter in the soil.

Whether used in fields where row crops are produced or planted in home gardens, cover crops are most often planted during the fall. They provide nutrients that will benefit the soil profile later. Cover crops may be particularly beneficial in pecan production. Continue reading

UGA mycologists partner with the CDC to tackle fungicide resistance

by Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

There are a limited number of compounds available to combat fungal infections in both plants and people. A team of University of Georgia researchers is helping to assess the risk posed by fungi developing widespread resistance to the stable of antifungal compounds used in the United States.

Michelle Momany, professor in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Plant Biology, and Marin Brewer, associate professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Plant Pathology, recently received a $197,798 contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study antifungal resistance in agricultural settings. Continue reading