Woodland management is focus of UK forestry extension short course

by Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

Kentucky forests are becoming fragmented, and landowners’ objectives are changing. Woodland owners who are wondering how to get the most from their property can benefit from attending one of three short courses being offered around the state this summer by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Kentucky boasts nearly 12.5 million acres of forests. More than 300,000 families and individuals own fewer than 10 acres. Well-managed forests can provide extra income and recreational opportunities for their owners, as well as a beneficial environment for wildlife. The 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course will cover all those aspects for both novice and experienced landowners.
Continue reading

University of Kentucky study combines outdoor exercise with tree health observations

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky researchers are looking for Lexingtonians interested in improving their health while gaining a greater awareness of their natural environment for a six-week research pilot project.

The project, titled “Healthy Trees-Healthy People,” gets participants out into two Lexington parks to walk and assess the health of selected trees. During the study, they will complete a daily log of their physical activity and tree health observations on designated trails at either Kirklevington Park or Harrods Hill Park. Depending on the park, routes are just under a half-mile and a mile. Continue reading

University of Kentucky resources help growers manage diseases sustainably

by Candace Pollock-Moore, Southern SARE

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, has developed a series of outreach materials for small fruit producers to aid in disease management.

“Like many diseases of small fruit, they are best managed using cultural practices, such as sanitation. Thus, we developed outreach materials to assist fruit growers with virus and disease management,” said Nicole Ward Gauthier, University of Kentucky Extension plant pathologist. Continue reading

UK entomologist offers tips on ticks

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

A mild winter can have its downsides. One is that more ticks probably survived than normal. The result is more hungry ticks out earlier than usual, according to Lee Townsend, extension entomologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Typically, warm weather brings ticks out of hiding to find the blood meal they need to continue their life cycle. In the past two weeks, Townsend has received calls about ticks on both people and pets. Continue reading

7 horticulture jobs available

Seven new jobs in horticultural science are now available:

Extension Educator, Floriculture and Greenhouse Crops, Michigan State University
As part of Michigan State University Extension and the Agriculture & Agribusiness Institute, the Floriculture/Greenhouse Extension Educator will have statewide Extension programming responsibilities focused on floriculture and greenhouse crop production and pest management. Michigan, a national leader in greenhouse-grown plant material, ranks third among U.S. states in floriculture crop production. This position, based in Kalamazoo County, is in the heart of the greenhouse plant production in southwest Michigan. (See more) Continue reading

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

Warm winter could affect tall fescue toxicosis in broodmares

by Krista Lea, University of Kentucky

Mild weather this winter is likely the cause of higher than average concentrations of a toxic substance in tall fescue called ergovaline that has been observed in Fayette and Bourbon pastures in Central Kentucky, according to University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment experts,. Tall fescue toxicosis in broodmares, which is caused by ingesting ergovaline, is rare in the early months of the year due to typically cold winter temperatures.

Naturally occurring tall fescue is often infected with an endophytic fungus that can produce ergovaline, a known vasoconstrictor – something that causes the narrowing of blood vessels. This has been blamed for prolonged gestation and low milk production in late term pregnant mares. The UK Horse Pasture Evaluation Program sampled three farms in Fayette and Bourbon counties this year and found a handful pastures with higher than average ergovaline concentrations for the time of year. Continue reading