Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Handley, Rebar Quoted in BDN Article on Crop Insurance

Friday, May 30th, 2014

David Handley, a vegetable and small fruit specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension, spoke to the Bangor Daily News for an article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture offering new crop insurance options to cover fruits and vegetables. According to the article, the program will extend coverage to smaller farms as opposed to only benefiting growers of commodity crops, such as corn and soybeans. Previous insurance programs gave little incentive for farmers to diversify their crops, the article states. Handley said in previous Farm Bills, crop insurance appeared to cover the same crops that crop subsidies covered, and the new options appear to be an effort by the USDA to try to fix some of the current issues that haven’t been popular with farmers. “We are seeing a real resurgence in growth of diversified farms,” Rebar said. “They need some risk protection.”

Moran Talks to WLBZ About Maine Farmers Experimenting with New Crops

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about Maine farmers experimenting with new crops for the region as weather patterns change. Moran said stone fruits, such as peaches, may one day end up playing a bigger role in Maine’s farming economy. She advises Maine farmers to weigh their tolerance for risk before investing in risky crops. “When you’re planting peaches, you have to be willing to lose every tree. If you can’t handle that, stick with something tried and true like apples,” she said.

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 2 – May 30, 2014

Friday, May 30th, 2014

StrawberriesStrawberry IPM Newsletter No. 2 – May 30, 2014

Click on photos to enlarge.

STRAWBERRY PESTS NOW ACTIVE DESPITE COOL, WET WEATHER

Clippers, Tarnished Plant Bugs, Spider Mites Found in Fields this Week

Strawberry Frost Injury

Frost Injury to Flowers and Leaves, Photo By David Handley

Vegetable and Berry Growers Twilight Meeting
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Fairwinds Farm, Bowdoinham, Maine

Situation: Continued cool wet weather has kept strawberry development at a relatively slow pace.  Fields in southern to mid-state Maine are coming into full bloom for early varieties, while late varieties are just starting to show a few primary blossoms.  The time from bloom to harvest is approximately three weeks, but may take a little longer under extended cool conditions.  Most fields we visited this week showed some moderate winter injury.  Weak plants, especially in areas where the mulch was thin, show browning within the crown tissue, indicative of freeze damage.

Twilight Meeting
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association will hold a twilight meeting at Fairwinds Farm in Bowdoinham on Wednesday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.  Pete and Cathy Karonis grow 10 acres of strawberries and approximately 40 acres of mixed vegetables in fields along the Kennebec River and have a farm stand and greenhouses in Topsham.  They will host a tour of their strawberry, raspberry and vegetable plantings, and describe their growing and marketing practices.  In addition, we’ll discuss the upcoming season and pest management issues facing vegetable and berry growers this year.  One pesticide applicator recertification credit will be awarded for the meeting. Hold the date! We’ll give driving directions soon.

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” is now active in most of the fields we’ve scouted. Damage so far is very light, suggesting that the adults are feeding on pollen and mating, but they will very soon start laying eggs and clipping buds. If you haven’t yet been looking for clipped buds, now is the time. Insecticide options for clipper include Lorsban®, Brigade®, Bifenture®, Danitol®,  Sevin® and PyGanic®.

Clipper Injury

Clipper Injury, Photo by David Handley

Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph on Strawberry Blossom

Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph on Strawberry Blossom, photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bug nymphs were found in most of the fields we scouted this week.  The nymphs can be hard to find, especially if the plants are wet. Young nymphs are very small (2 mm), active, yellow-green insects.  It is important to scout for them regularly, as they can appear very quickly. Only one field was over the threshold (4 or more flower clusters infested per 30 sampled). Start scouting any field with open flowers now.  Insecticide options for tarnished plant bug include malathion, Assail®, Brigade®, Bifenture®, Danitol®, and PyGanic®.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites were over the threshold (25% of leaves infested) in one location this week.  This is surprising given how cold and wet it has been.  Mites typically proliferate under hot, dry conditions, and we often first find them in plantings under row covers.  But plantings that harbored a high mite population last fall are also likely to see a problem with mites in the spring.  Spider mites will reproduce rapidly under warmer temperatures, so it is important to scout for them regularly. Chemical control options for two-spotted spider mites include Acramite®, Savey®, Zeal®, Vendex®, Oberon®, Brigade®, Danitol®, Thionex® and JMS Stylet oil® (oils will cause plant injury if used in combination with captan or within 14 days of an application of sulfur).

Cyclamen mites:  One two-year old field showed symptoms of cyclamen mite injury this week.  Infested plants show weak growth and yellow, crinkled leaves. These mites are very small and reside in the crown of the strawberry plant, feeding on the developing leaves and flower buds. They are very hard to see, even with magnification. Portal®, Kelthane® or Thionex® can be effective, but must be applied in lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns where these mites reside.

Root weevil management
Plants damaged by root weevils should become more obvious in the coming days as the fields dry out and the grubs become more active.  We have not found any additional fields infested since our reports of two fields last week. Infested plants appear weak and stunted, and may wilt during hot days. Digging under the plants will reveal small (1/4”-1/2”) crescent-shaped legless grubs. Typically, the grubs begin to pupate when the plants are in bloom.  Once the adults become active in July, bifenthrin (Brigade®) will provide some control if used at the highest labeled rates.

Diseases: As the fields come into bloom it is time to protect the flowers against infection by spores of the gray mold fungus, Botrytis cinerea. Two to three sprays of fungicide during bloom are typically required to provide good protection against this disease. Remember that fruit infections take place through the flowers, so gray mold control efforts must be focused on the bloom period.

Leather rot (Phytopthora cactorum) may become a problem in fields where standing water is common during bloom and fruit development, especially if the fields were not mulched last fall. Incidence of leather rot can be reduced by applying straw mulch between the rows to prevent berries from touching the soil and reducing soil splashing onto the berries.  Foliar sprays of Aliette®, Agri-Phos® or Phostrol® may be applied during bloom and fruit development to prevent leather rot when there has been excess moisture in a field, especially those with a history of this problem.

Anthracnose fruit rot is a potential problem when fruit ripens in fields that are wet from irrigation or rain.  This fungus disease is favored by warm, humid conditions and can spread rapidly during rains or when fields are irrigated with overhead sprinklers.  In cool seasons, it may appear close to harvest or may not show up at all.  Anthracnose fruit rot is identified by black sunken lesions with wet, orange (and sometimes gray) spore masses in them.  The fungus can survive and multiply on leaves without visible symptoms, appearing suddenly as a fruit rot when the conditions are right.   Fungicides such as Cabrio® and Abound® can provide good control of anthracnose.

Powdery mildew:  We have not yet seen symptoms of this fungus disease in fields.  It tends to be more prevalent under warm, humid conditions. It may first appear as purple or red blotches on the leaf and flower stems. Later, upward curling leaves and white, powdery growth on the undersides of the leaves becomes evident. Check your fields for pinkish purple leaf and flower stem lesions as new leaves emerge. Pristine®, Cabrio®, Topsin-M®, captan, Procure®, Torino® and JMS Stylet oil® are registered to control powdery mildew.

Angular Leaf Spot

Bacterial Angular Leaf Spot, Photo by David Handley

Angular leaf spot was found in one field this week.  This is a bacterial disease characterized by small water-soaked spots on the leaves, which may turn yellow or black. The symptoms start on the lower leaves but spread throughout the foliage when spores are splashed up by rain or irrigation water. Infections can cause blackening of the berry stems and caps. This disease is favored by extended cool, wet weather with night temperatures close to freezing. Irrigating fields for frost protection encourages development and spread of the disease. Hydrogen dioxide (OxiDate®) may also have some activity against angular leaf spot when used on strawberries as part of a gray mold management program.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME  04259         Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating.  Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.  A Member of the University of Maine System.

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 1 – May 23, 2014

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 1 – May 23,2014

Click on photos to enlarge.

2014 STRAWBERRY PEST MANAGEMENT SEASON BEGINS

Red Stele, Root Weevils and Grubs Attack Strawberry Roots

Situation: A much later start to the season this year compared to last!  Early strawberry varieties in southern Maine are just starting to show a few open blossoms. Plants that were under row covers and/or plastic mulch are now in full bloom or just beyond.  Later varieties and plants in northern Maine are just starting to show flower buds.  Moderate winter injury is common in fields this spring, especially in plantings that were not mulched or had mulch blown off the field.  Injured plants appear weakened with small, dull colored leaves. Cutting into the crowns will reveal brown discoloration in the internal tissue. To help injured plantings recover, make sure the plants get plenty of water, especially during dry periods, and it may help to apply extra nutrients to encourage root growth and recovery, including nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. While we do not recommend heavy nitrogen fertilizer applications in the spring, up to 20 pounds of actual N (e.g. 125 lb. calcium nitrate) may improve early spring growth.  Boron is also often applied in the spring to aid in the pollination process and fruit development.  Boron is a micro-nutrient, meaning it is only required in very small amounts, and can cause damage to plants if over applied.  Typically we recommend one to two pounds of actual boron per acre.  A soluble form of boron such as Solubor® (21% boron) is often applied to strawberries in the spring in a foliar spray to assure even distribution across the field.

Twilight Meeting
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association will hold a twilight meeting at Fairwinds Farm in Bowdoinham on Wednesday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.  Pete and Cathy Karonis grow 10 acres of strawberries and approximately 40 acres of mixed vegetables in fields along the Kennebec River and have a farmstand and greenhouses in Topsham.  They will host a tour of their strawberry, raspberry and vegetable plantings, and describe their growing and marketing practices.  In addition, we’ll discuss the upcoming season and pest management issues facing vegetable and berry growers this year.  One pesticide applicator recertification credit will be awarded for the meeting. Hold the date! We’ll give driving directions soon.

Scouting
We have started scouting strawberry fields for major insect pests at volunteer farms, in Limington, Wells, Cape Elizabeth, Poland Spring, New Gloucester, Dresden, Monmouth, Wayne, and Farmington, and will be reporting our findings through this newsletter on a weekly basis until harvest time.

The best way to manage strawberry pests is to scout your own fields regularly and often. You should start scouting regularly as soon as flower buds emerge from the crown. You should be able to identify the major pests and their damage, and be able to determine if control measures are necessary.  Please contact us if you need any help with insect or disease identification.

Clipper Beetle on Strawberry Bud

Clipper Beetle on Strawberry Bud, Photo by James Dill

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” is just starting to become active as flower buds emerge from the crown. I found clippers in southern Maine this week, but no damage yet, meaning the overwintering adults are still feeding on pollen, but they’ll soon start laying eggs and clipping flower buds. The clipper is a small weevil, which girdles strawberry flower buds, causing them to dry up and fall off the flower stalk.  Scout for damage by counting the number of clipped buds in two feet of row length at five different locations in a field. If the average number of clipped buds per two-foot sample exceeds 1.2, or if live clippers are found, control measures are recommended. Damage is usually first noticed at the edges of the field. Border sprays may be effective in keeping this insect from becoming a problem in larger fields. Fields with a history of clipper problems will typically exceed threshold nearly every year.  Insecticide options for clipper include Lorsban®, Brigade®, Bifenture®, Danitol®,  Sevin® and PyGanic®.

 

 

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, Photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bug adults are becoming active  in southern Maine, meaning that they will soon be laying eggs. Strawberries are one of their preferred hosts at this time of year. When the eggs begin to hatch, we’ll find the nymphs feeding in the flowers.  The nymphs are small, active, yellow-green insects.  It is important to scout for them regularly, as they can appear very quickly when the weather gets warmer.  Tarnished plant bugs feed on the open strawberry flowers, causing the berries to have seedy ends. To scout for the nymphs shake or tap 30 flower clusters (six clusters in five different locations) over a plate. If four or more of the clusters out of the 30 sampled have any nymphs, control measures should be taken. Be on the alert and scout your fields as soon as blossoms appear.   Insecticide options for tarnished plant bug include malathion, Assail®, Brigade®, Bifenture®, Danitol®, and PyGanic®.  The grass, hayfields and weeds surrounding a strawberry field may harbor thousands of tarnished plant bugs.  For that reason we recommend that you do not mow fields surrounding the strawberries during bloom to prevent tarnished plant bugs from moving into the strawberries from the mowed fields while the berries are in their most susceptible stage.

Cyclamen Mite Damage on Strawberry Plant

Cyclamen Mite Damage on Strawberry Plant, photo by David Handley

Cyclamen mites:  Plants showing weak growth and yellow, pinkish or blackened, crinkled leaves may be infested with cyclamen mite. Cyclamen mites are very small, smaller than spider mites, and reside in the crown of the strawberry plant feeding on the developing leaves and flower buds. They are very hard to see, even with magnification. Infested plants have shrunken distorted leaves and flower stalks, and produce few, if any, marketable fruit. Miticides such as Kelthane® and Portal® can be effective, but must be applied in lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns where these mites reside.

 

 

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites have not yet been a problem this spring, but growers with plants under row covers should be alert. This is often where we first find mite problems. Spider mites will reproduce rapidly when warmer weather arrives, so it is important to scout for them regularly. Spider mites feed on the undersides of strawberry leaves, rasping the plant tissue and sucking the sap. Infested leaves will develop yellow flecking and a bronzed appearance. The plants become weakened and stunted. Fields that have had excessive nitrogen fertilizer and/or row covers tend to be most susceptible to mite injury. To scout for mites, collect 60 leaves from various locations in the field and examine the undersides for the presence of mites.  Mites are very small – you may need a hand lens to see them.  Chemical control options for two-spotted spider mites include Acramite®, Savey®, Zeal®, Vendex®, Oberon®, Brigade®, Danitol®, Thionex® and JMS Stylet oil® (oils will cause plant injury if used in combination with captan or within 14 days of an application of sulfur).

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub, photo by David Handley

Root weevil management
Fields that were infested with root weevils last summer should be inspected for grubs this spring.  We have found some root weevils in southern Maine and in some coastal fields this week. Infested plants appear week and stunted, usually in somewhat circular patches in a field. Digging under the plants will reveal small (1/4”-1/2”) crescent-shaped legless grubs. Typically, the grubs begin to pupate when the plants are in bloom. A soil drench of Platinum® (thiamethoxam) insecticide during the spring and/or fall when the grubs are active in the soil can provide control. However, Platinum® has a 50 day pre-harvest interval, so it is too late for applications in most fruiting fields this year.  Platinum® may also be used as a pre-plant or planting treatment for root weevils.  It is not too late to put on an application of nematodes to control the grubs (optimal timing is about mid-May). Two species of nematodes appear to offer the best control of root weevil grubs. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Hb) appears to be the best candidate for control of root weevils when the soil temperature is above 60 degrees (‘J-3 Max Hb’ from The Green Spot Ltd., http://greenmethods.com/site/; ‘GrubStake Hb’ from the Integrated Biocontrol Network, http://www.biconet.com/; ‘Larvanem’ from Koppert Biological Systems, http://www.koppertonline.com/).

Nematodes are living organisms and they can be killed if they are misapplied. Order nematodes ahead of time and be ready to apply them through a sprayer or irrigation soon after they arrive. Refrigerate them if you can not apply right away. Do not apply nematodes using a sprayer with a piston pump. Use clean equipment, removing all screens finer than 50-mesh. Apply nematodes in early morning or evening in a high volume of water to already moist soil, pre-irrigating if needed. Apply another ¼ inch of irrigation after application to wash them onto and into the soil. Researchers and suppliers recommended 250 (if banded in the row) to 500 million per acre, at a cost of $100-$200 per acre depending on volume and source. Nematodes tend to work best in heavily infested fields. Strawberry plants can recover their vigor remarkably well if crown feeding has not occurred and diseases haven’t taken over the roots.

Once the adults become active in July, bifenthrin (Brigade®) will provide some control if used at the highest labeled rates. The best timing for this spray is at night during the peak feeding activity of adults, before they start laying eggs, or about the time harvest ends.

White Grub

White Grub, Photo by David Handley

 

White grubs:  Weak growth noted in fields this spring may also be the result of white grubs feeding on the roots of newer plantings. Grubs were very evident in many fields last summer, as we deal with increasing numbers of Japanese beetles, rose chafers, Asiatic garden beetles and European chafers. The grubs of these beetles will all feed on strawberry roots. They differ from the larvae of black vine weevil and strawberry root weevil in that they have legs and a swollen anterior (rear end), and they tend to be larger. The grubs can be found by pulling up weak plants and sifting through the soil that surrounds the roots.   Controlling white grubs once they have become established in a field can be difficult. These tend to be more of a problem in new fields that have been planted following a grass rotation crop, because the adults prefer to lay their eggs in sod. Admire Pro® and Platinum® insecticides are labeled for control of white grubs and should be applied within two hours of irrigation or rainfall to be sure the chemical gets into the root zone. Admire Pro® requires a 14 day to harvest interval, while Platinum® requires a 50 day pre-harvest interval.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

 

Diseases:  Bloom is a critical time to protect strawberry fruit against gray mold caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, especially when conditions have been damp. Two to three sprays of fungicide during bloom are typically required to provide good protection against this disease. If you tank mix insecticides and fungicides, avoid spraying when bees are active. Botrytis cinerea overwinters on old leaves and plant debris. Fruit infections take place almost exclusively through the flowers, so gray mold control efforts must be focused on the bloom period.  If the bloom period is dry and/or good fungicide coverage is maintained, incidence of gray mold at harvest should be low.

There are several excellent fungicide choices for control of gray mold in strawberries. Elevate® (fenhexamid) has good to excellent activity against Botrytis. Captevate® is a pre-mix of captan and fenhexamid and has a broader spectrum of activity than Elevate® alone. Switch® (cyprodinil and fludioxonil), Scala® (pyramethanil) and Pristine® (pyraclostrobin and boscalid) are also excellent products for gray mold control.  Topsin M® + captan is also a good fungicide combination, but remember that captan is strictly a protectant and can be washed off by rain or irrigation water. Thiram is similarly effective but also susceptible to wash-off.

The fungicides Cabrio® (pyraclostrobin) and Abound® (azoxystrobin) are NOT suitable for gray mold control, but are effective against anthracnose and other fruit rot and leaf spot diseases. All fungicides mentioned above have a 0-day pre-harvest interval, except Topsin M® (1 day) and thiram (3 days). Remember to alternate fungicides with different modes of action for resistance management purposes.

Red Stele Symptoms on Strawberry Plant

Red Stele Symptoms on Strawberry Plant, photo by David Handley

 

Red stele root rot
It has been cool and wet this spring, following a wet fall last year, which creates soil conditions suitable for the development of red stele root rot.  Be alert for this disease if any fields appear to be weak, stunted or dying. To diagnose red stele, pull up a few plants that look weak and scrape the roots of these plants to see if the center of the root, known as the stele, is rusty red in color, instead of the normal white. Red root cores indicate an infection.  Red stele is caused by Phytophthora fragariae, a soil pathogen that infects roots when soils are wet with temperatures around 50°F. The pathogen grows into the roots causing the plants to become weak, stunted and to eventually die. Symptoms are most evident in the spring, and can be mistaken for winter injury. The symptoms often first appear in the most poorly drained portions of a field.  Applications of Ridomil Gold®, Alliette® or Phostrol®  in the spring or fall when soil temperatures are cool can offer some control of red stele.  Some strawberry varieties have resistance to the disease, but the most effective management strategy is to plant only into well-drained soils, and/or plant onto raised beds.

 

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew, photo by David Handley

Powdery mildew:  This fungus disease often first appears as purple or red blotches on the leaf petioles and flower stems in strawberry fields. Later, the  more familiar symptoms of upward curling leaves and white, powdery growth on the undersides of the leaves becomes evident. Check your fields for pinkish purple leaf and flower stem lesions as new leaves emerge. Pristine®, Cabrio®, Topsin-M®, captan, Procure®, Torino® and JMS Stylet oil® are registered to control powdery mildew.

 

Angular leaf spot is a bacterial disease that is characterized by translucent leaf spots that may turn yellow and eventually black. The symptoms start on the lower leaves but may move upwards as bacterial spores are splashed up by rain or irrigation water. Infection of the calyxes may result in blackening of the berry stems and caps. Bacterial angular leaf spot is favored by extended cool, wet weather and nights with temperatures close to freezing. Frequent irrigation for frost protection will encourage the development and spread of the disease, as will extended cool, damp weather. Susceptibility to this disease appears to vary significantly between varieties. Kocide®, which contains copper, can reduce the spread of this disease. Spray applications should start before bloom to prevent spread of the bacteria on the leaves to the berry caps. Application of copper sprays after bloom can result in fruit injury and is not recommended. Hydrogen dioxide (OxiDate®) may also have some activity against angular leaf spot when used on strawberries as part of a gray mold management program.

2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guides are available at Highmoor Farm. The guide contains the latest information on management options for small fruit pests as well as cultural information. Cost of the guide is $10.00 plus $2.69 postage for a total of $12.69. To order this guide, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, atten. Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

Copies of the 2014-2015 New England Vegetable Management Guide with a color picture supplement of the important pests and diseases are available from the Cooperative Extension Publications Office, telephone 207.581.3792. Cost of the guide is $25.00 plus $6.38 tax and postage for a total of $31.38.

Vegetable Growers: Expanded Crop Label for Dual Magnum® Herbicide
Maine vegetable growers now are able to use Dual Magnum® on an expanded range of vegetable crops including: asparagus, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, garden beets, dry bulb onions, green onions, spinach, Swiss chard, and pumpkin.  The target weeds for this registration and use are galinsoga and yellow nutsedge.  Growers need to go to Syngenta’s  web site http://www.farmassist.com/ and agree to a waiver of liability and print off the 24C label.   All label instructions will be supplied after the application for use is completed. Once on the FarmAssist web site, click products at top left, then indemnified labels.  Create a user name and password, select Dual Magnum®, and the crop.  This is ONLY for the product Dual Magnum®, EPA #100-816.  It is not for Dual II Magnum® or the generic Dual®/metolachlor products. Rates are about ½ of the normal rate of Dual® on many of these crops, so growers will need to pay attention to that.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME  04259         Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating.  Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.  A Member of the University of Maine System.

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

High Tunnel Workshop – June 6, 2014

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

High Tunnel Workshop

THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT. IT WILL BE RESCHEDULED SOMETIME THIS FALL.

Friday, June 6, 2014
8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: $25.00
Location:
Morning session 8:00 AM to 12:45 PM

Maine Sea Coast Mission’s Chapel (Weald Bethel Center), 39 Weald Bethel Lane, Cherryfield, ME 04622
Afternoon session 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Salty Dog Farm, 269 Back Bay Road, Milbridge, ME 04658

Preregistration is strongly encouraged. Please preregister by June 2, 2014.

Register online or contact Mark Hutton at mark.hutton@maine.edu or 207.933-2100 to preregister.

This workshop is designed to help people who are interested in using high tunnels for vegetable and fruit production as part of a commercial enterprise. Interest in growing crops in high tunnels is expanding as demand for locally grown produce expands and people seek to extend their growing season. Types of tunnels, construction, irrigation, fertility and crop requirements will be discussed with University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Dr. Mark Hutton, Vegetable Specialist and Alan Majka, Extension Educator. Cheeney and Sasha Alsop, who run a full-time vegetable market garden on Salty Dog Farm in Milbridge will host the afternoon session.

The morning session of the workshop will be held at the Maine Sea Coast Mission’s chapel, the Weald Bethel Center, in Cherryfield (telephone 207.546.4466 and website http://www.seacoastmission.org/downeast_campus.html). The afternoon session will be held at the Salty Dog Farm in Milbridge (telephone 207.546.2676).

For more information about this workshop, contact Regina Grabrovac at 207.255.3741 or regina@healthyacadia.org.

AGENDA

8:00 AM      Registration at the Maine Sea Coast Mission’s chapel in Cherryfield

8:15 AM      High Tunnel Site Location and Preparation, Structures, Building Tips

9:00 AM      Soil and Fertility Management, Irrigation Practices

10:00 AM    Break

10:15 AM    Basics of High Tunnel Vegetable and Flower Production

11:45 AM    Bag Lunch at the Chapel

12:45 PM     Travel to Salty Dog Farm

1:00 PM       Salty Dog Farm in Milbridge: On-site Discussion of Grower Practices and Tools

Any person with a disability who needs accommodations to participate in this program should contact Alan Majka at 207.255.3345 to discuss any needed arrangements at least seven days in advance.

Highbush Blueberry, Asparagus and Strawberry Plant Sale

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener Volunteers are offering a “Grow it Right!” plant sale to raise funds for its Master Gardener Volunteers program.

Blueberry Plants: pack of 3 young plants, two varieties per pack (Blueray, Patriot, Northland or Jersey) $35.95 per pack.

Asparagus Crowns: 10 crowns (Jersey Supreme) $15.00 per pack.

Strawberry Plants: pack of 25 young dormant plants (Brunswick, Sparkle, or Wendy) $15.00 per pack.

Plants will be available for pickup at the locations listed below on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

  •  Cumberland County at the Barron Center in Portland
  •  Hancock County in Ellsworth
  •  Highmoor Farm in Monmouth
  •  Knox-Lincoln Counties in Waldoboro
  •  Oxford County in South Paris
  •  Penobscot County in Bangor
  •  Piscataquis County in Dover-Foxcroft
  •  Somerset County in Skowhegan
  •  Washington County in Machias
  •  York County in Springvale

Order online at:  http://umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners/benefit/.

To request special accommodations or for more information contact Richard Brzozowski, 207.781.6099, toll-free in Maine at 800.287.1471 or email richard.brzozowski@maine.edu; or Marjorie Peronto, 207.667.8212 or toll-free in Maine at 800.287.1479 or email marjorie.peronto@maine.edu.

Deadline to order May 1, 2014.

2014 Maine Pollination Workshops

Friday, April 11th, 2014

2014 Maine Pollination Workshops

During the spring and summer of 2014, researchers from the University of Maine are hosting a series of free pollination workshops for fruit and vegetable growers. These workshops are supported by a grant from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. The workshops will provide instruction on assessing bees’ impact on fruit set and identifying wild bees. They will also include information on strategies to improve habitat for wild bees. For more information, contact Kourtney Collum at kourtney.collum@maine.edu. In case of inclement weather, visit the following website for more information:  http://mainepollinationworkshops.weebly.com/. No preregistration is required for these workshops.

 

Pollination Workshop for Apple Growers

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM - NEW DATE!
Rain date:  Thursday, May 22, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Highmoor Farm, UMaine Experiment Station, 52 U.S. Route 202, Monmouth, Maine 04259

This workshop is designed specifically for apple growers.

 

Pollination Workshop for Lowbush Blueberry Growers

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Rain date:  Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Seven Tree Farm, Route 235, 2740 Western Road, Warren, Maine 04864

This workshop is designed specifically for lowbush blueberry growers.

 

Pollination Workshop II for Lowbush Blueberry Growers

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Rain date:  Wednesday, June 4, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Blueberry Hill Farm, UMaine Experiment Station, 1643 Route 1, Jonesboro, Maine 04648

This workshop is designed specifically for lowbush blueberry growers.

 

Pollination Workshop for Squash and Pumpkin Growers

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM - NEW DATE!
Highmoor Farm, UMaine Experiment Station, 52 U.S. Route 202, Monmouth, Maine 04259

This workshop is designed specifically for squash and pumpkin growers.

2013 Spotted Wing Drosophila Summary for Maine Berry Growers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

2013 Spotted Wing Drosophila Summary for Maine Berry Growers

David Handley, Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist
James Dill, Pest Management Specialist

The spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is an insect invasive to Maine that was first captured here in the fall of 2011.  Based on crop damage in other parts of the country and our own experience in 2012, we know that this insect poses a serious threat to most of the soft fruit crops we grow here, including raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry. During the summer of 2013 the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Program set up drosophila traps in berry fields around the southern, central and coastal regions of the state to monitor the presence and activity of this insect.

drosophila trap

Drosophila Trap, photo by David Handley

The traps were 16 oz. red plastic cups with 30, 1/8” holes punched under the rim to allow the flies access.  A 1/2” wide band of black was painted just under the rim of the cup to increase its visual attractiveness.  The cups were topped with a tight fitting plastic lid and mounted on 4’ tomato stakes fitted with 4” hose clamps to act as a cup holder.  Four to six ounces of bait/killing solution (a mixture of cider vinegar and alcohol) was poured into each trap. A 60 ml plastic specimen cup containing a second bait consisting of water, sugar, flour and yeast was then placed within the trap to further increase its attractiveness.    We placed traps either within the crops or in a wooded area near the crops, knowing the insect prefers humid, shaded areas.   We emptied the traps weekly and restocked them with fresh bait.  The insects captured in the traps were brought back to our lab at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth to be identified.  Many different species are attracted to these traps and proper identification, while time consuming, is essential.  As populations increased we informed growers through our IPM newsletter, blog and webpage, hoping to keep the pest as well managed as possible throughout the summer.

In 2013, the first spotted wing drosophila were caught in Warren and Wells on July 19. With the exception of trapping sites in Warren and Bowdoinham, captures were very low, just a few flies per trap, and scattered, most sites having no flies, until the third week of August.   At that point we began catching low numbers of flies at nearly all locations, including Wells, Limington, Limerick, Springvale, Cape Elizabeth, New Gloucester, Poland Spring, Mechanic Falls, Wales, Livermore, Bowdoinham, and Dresden. Traps in wild blueberry fields in Hancock and Washington counties were also catching flies at this point, but also in low numbers.  By the end of August, our Monmouth, Farmington and Oxford sites had also captured flies.  Trap captures generally remained low (0 to 20 flies/trap) with occasional small flare ups (20 to 100 flies/trap) until the first week of September.  At that point numbers rose fairly consistently in nearly all locations, with weekly trap counts ranging from just a few flies to nearly 1,000. Raspberry and blueberry fruit infested with the small white larvae were being reported.  The highest numbers of flies continued to be found in the most southern and coastal sites.  By the end of October many sites were catching flies well into the thousands (14,000 during one week in Limerick) while some caught only a few flies. At this point flies were readily visible around ripe fruit in many fields and larvae were found infesting most of the fruit in any plantings that had not been sprayed.   At the end of the season we found that a trap maintained for us by a grower in Caribou had caught three flies.

Similar to the 2012 season, growers using insecticides to control spotted wing drosophila found that weekly sprays appeared to provide adequate control when populations remained relatively low (0-10 flies/per week). However, as fly populations expanded, growers found that twice weekly sprays were needed to keep larvae out of the fruit.  Growers used Entrust®, Delegate®, Brigade®, Bifenthrin®, Hero®, Mustang Max®, and/or malathion insecticides, and most found that these products usually offered adequate control if applied on a frequent basis.  Growers who did not apply pesticides saw near total crop loss, following the arrival of spotted wing drosophila in their fields.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap Captures 2013

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap Captures 2013 (Excel)

Spotted wing drosophila trap catches remained relatively high throughout the remainder of the season, with dips in late September and early November, which may correlate with dry periods. As in 2012, the highest trap catches occurred late in the season, well after most of the crops had been harvested or lost to frost.  The lack of food likely make the traps more attractive, at least partially accounting for the increased catch, but this reiterates that high numbers of flies survive long after killing frosts have occurred.   By the end of November, populations finally dropped significantly, suggesting that the flies were now entering the over-wintering stage.

Spotted wing drosophila overwinter as adults (flies).  Any time the air temperatures exceed 45ºF for more than a few hours, it is likely that some adults will start becoming active.  The winter of 2013-14 has been one of the coldest in recent memory, and it will be interesting to see how well the flies come through it.  However, it would be unwise to assume that we will not be seeing many flies this summer because of the cold winter.  In its native Asia, it survives cold winters well.  Additionally, any storm fronts moving into Maine from the south could carry with it flies from southern states where the winter has not been so harsh.   Thus, berry growers should anticipate needing to manage drosophila for the 2014 season.  Based on our 2012 and 2013 experience, we believe it will be unlikely to significantly infest crops until relatively late in the season when populations reach damaging levels (late August in 2013 at some sites). Therefore, earlier ripening crops such as June-bearing strawberries should not be significantly impacted; but later ripening crops such as fall fruiting raspberries, late ripening varieties of blueberries and fall strawberries will need to be protected as soon as fruit begin to ripen.  We plan to monitor drosophila populations in Maine again in 2014, and carry out research on improving our trapping strategies to provide an early warning system in the future.

Based on what we know so far about this pest, here are six rules for managing spotted wing drosophila.

  1. Monitor for the flies with traps, and for the larvae in fruit.
  2. Spray regularly and often once flies have been found in the field (1-2/week).
  3. Harvest fruit regularly and often; do not leave any ripe/rotten fruit in the field.
  4. Sort fruit at harvest; do not leave any soft fruit in the container to be sold.
  5. Chill all fruit immediately after harvest to 38ºF (or as close as you can) for at least 12 hours to slow development of any eggs or larvae.
  6. Prune the planting to open up the canopy and create dry, light conditions.

Please follow our blog providing regular updates of spotted wing drosophila trapping data and management strategies during the growing season, where you can sign up for notifications of updates.

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME  04259        Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

 

IPM Web Pages:

http://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/
http://www.pestwatch.psu.edu/
http://www.umass.edu/umext/ipm/

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information.  No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients.  Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions.  Users of these products assume all associated risks.

Tree Fruit Preseason Meeting on March 5, 2014

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Apples

Tree Fruit Preseason Meeting

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
USM Lewiston-Auburn College, Room 170
51 Westminster Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240
Registration fee:  $20.00 per person, or $25 per person on the day of the meeting.

To register, contact Glen Koehler  at glen.koehler@maine.edu or call 207.581.3882.

Everyone is welcome to attend.  This meeting will provide pest and horticultural management updates for commercial, hobbyist, large and small-scale orchardists. Three pesticide applicator recertification credits will be offered for attending from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration cost includes lunch and is $20 per person for those who preregister, or $25 per person on the day of the event. Preregistration is requested to ensure an accurate lunch count and to minimize registration time on the day of the meeting.

AGENDA

OPTIONAL PRE-MEETING PRESENTATION

8:00 AM   How Climate Change Works and Observed Changes in Maine Weather
- Glen Koehler, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Pest Management Office

9:00 AM   Coffee and donuts, meet and greet — Provided by Milton Sinclair, Paris Farmers Union

REGULAR MEETING

9:30 AM   Groundcover Management
- William Lord, University of New Hampshire

10:30 AM   Break — Provided by Randy Drown, Crop Protection Services

10:45 AM   Changing Weather in Maine
- Glen Koehler

11:15 AM   Calcium Nutrition and Physiology
- Renae Moran, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Highmoor Farm Agricultural Experiment Station

11:45 AM   Understanding Nutrient Recommendations
- Bruce Hoskins, University of Maine Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service

12:15 PM   Lunch

1:00 PM   Maine State Pomological Society Update
- Andy Ricker, Ricker Hill Orchards, Turner, Maine

1:15 PM   Climate Risk Reduction and Opportunities for Maine Tree Fruit Growers
- Glen Koehler

2:15 PM   Growing them is Easy… What Makes for Grower Success?
- William Lord

2:45 PM   Break — Provided by Paul Peters, Northeast Agricultural Sales, Inc.

3:00 PM   Insect and Disease Pest Management Update
- Glen Koehler

3:30 PM   Maine Board of Pesticides Control Update
- Gary Fish, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

4:00 PM   Adjourn

Sponsors

  • Crop Protections Services
  • Northeast Agricultural Sales, Inc.
  • Paris Farmers Union
  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension
  • University of Maine Highmoor Farm Agricultural Experiment Station

Any person with a disability who needs accommodations for this program should contact Glen Koehler at 207.581.3882 to discuss their needs at least seven days in advance, or at 1.800.287.8957 (voice and TDD).

Directions

Travelling North on I-95:
Take Exit 80. Turn left at the light at the end of the exit, and then take your first right onto Lisbon Street (Rt. 196) headed for Lisbon Falls. Turn left at the second stop light (Maine Public Broadcasting will be on your left) onto Westminster Street. The campus is towards the top of the hill on the right, after Ryder Truck.

Travelling South on I-95:
Take Exit 80. Bear right coming off the exit to get onto Lisbon Street (Rt. 196) headed for Lisbon Falls. About 100 meters after you get onto Lisbon Street, you will cross Pleasant Street. After another 100 meters, turn left onto Westminster Street. (Maine Public Broadcasting will be on your left.) Travel about 0.3 miles and the campus is towards the top of the hill on the right, after Ryder Truck.

Fruit Tree Class at Highmoor Farm – April 12, 2014

Monday, February 10th, 2014

THIS CLASS IS FILLED.

What:
This class on growing fruit trees in Maine will focus on pruning, and dealing with diseases and insect pests. The workshop is free of charge, but please preregister by calling Renae Moran at 207.933.2100 or email rmoran@maine.edu.

Who:
This class is for those from the general public who would like to learn more about the cultural requirements of fruit trees, in particular pruning, insect pests and diseases. The class will be taught by Renae Moran, Tree Fruit Specialist for the University of Maine.

When: Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Please dress for an outdoor class. If the day turns out to be rainy, the class will be held indoors.

Apple tree at Highmoor Farm; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Where:
Highmoor Farm, UMaine Agricultural Experiment Station
52 US Route
202, Monmouth, Maine 04259
Tel. 207.933.2100

The class will begin in the meeting room behind the barn. If weather permits, we will have a pruning demonstration in the orchard and a tour of our fruit tree research orchards.

Directions

Traveling North on I-95:  Take Exit 75 off the Maine Turnpike in Auburn (left turn off the exit ramp).  Go through Lewiston and travel east 17.9 miles on Route 202.  Highmoor Farm is on your right.

Traveling South on I-95:  Take Exit 109B off I-95 in Augusta and travel west on Route 202 for 15.7 miles.  Highmoor Farm is on your left.

For more information, contact Renae Moran at 207.933.2100 or email rmoran@maine.edu.

If you are a person with a disability and will need any accommodations to participate in this class, please call Pam St. Peter at 207.933.2100 to discuss your needs, TDD 1-800-287-8957 (in Maine).   Please contact us at least one week prior to this event to assure fullest possible attention to your needs.