UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Pennsylvania farmers and homeowners should remain aware of possible armyworm infestations that could continue to appear within the next week in hay pastures, grain fields and lawns near agricultural fields.
June 25, 2012. Brown rot is a major disease of stone fruits and warm, humid weather favors brown rot infection. Two species of fungi are responsible for brown rots: Monilinia fructicola and Monilinia laxa which can infect blossoms and cause brown rot on fruit. M. fructicola is the specie that is known and widespread in Pennsylvania orchards. M. laxa is suspected of causing blossom blight early in the season but has not yet been identified in PA orchards.
Poison hemlock has exploded over the last several years, particularly along roadsides but it can also be found in pastures and along field edges. Much of it is now blooming, so everyone is noticing the large plants with white blossoms. Poison hemlock is native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia and was introduced to North America as an ornamental garden plant. It is infamous as a poisonous plant and hemlock tea reportedly killed the Greek philosopher Socrates in 399 BC. The plant contains a number of closely related pyridine alkaloids with the main one being coniine, a colorless, volatile and strongly alkaline oil. All parts of the plant are poisonous and some studies have shown toxicosis at 0.25% fresh wt (of the animal’s weight) for horses and 0.5% for cattle. That would be 2.5 to 5 lb of material per 1000 lb animal. Mature seeds are the most poisonous. The alkaloids are reportedly lost by slow drying or boiling, but we would not count on dry hay being OK. Poison hemlock is biennial, so those flowering plants will finish their lifecycle when they set seed. Biennials are more susceptible to control with herbicides in the first year of growth when they are rosettes, rather than now, near the end of their lifecycle. Mowing the plant in late flower should set it back and may even control it and prevent seed production in areas where mowing is possible.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board protected 2,389 additional acres on 28 farms from development through the state’s nationally recognized farmland preservation program.
Penn State Extension’s Nursery IPM Field Day will be held July 19, 2012 at Rockleman’s Nursery, 5134 Bentz Road, Spring Grove, PA 17362 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Join Tim Abbey, York County Commercial Horticulture Educator, to discuss problems encountered on ornamental plants in production nurseries and garden centers.
Poor maintenance can reduce efficiency of ventilation systems by as much as 40 percent The ventilation system of your dairy consumes about 21% to 24% of the energy used on the dairy. This does not mean that you should shut off the fans for the summer, but it does mean you should be looking at the efficiency of those fans.
The recent tragic death of three Pennsylvanians at a Maryland manure storage should act as a reminder of the risks associated with all manure storages. Injuries and fatalities are commonly associated with confined space manure storages that are enclosed, such as beneath animal quarters, or belowground reception and pump out pits. However, these deaths occurred at a non-enclosed earthen dairy manure storage that was open to the atmosphere. For many of us these open-air storages are not thought of as confined spaces. It is important to realize that these storages still meet the definition of a confined space in terms of occupational safety and health. This is because the areas are not designed for normal worker/human occupation and often do not have means of egress. In a common storage situation, once you cross beyond the fence you are entering a confined space.
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Heteroptera-Pentatomidae) continues to dominate the list of potentially most damaging insect pests in Pennsylvania fruit orchards. Since the pest explosion during the 2010 season, this invasive exotic pest dictates most insect pest management activities in Pennsylvania orchards.
Today late blight was confirmed in a commercial tomato field Blair County, PA and on both tomatoes and potatoes on the same commercial farm in Franklin County, PA. These are the first confirmed reports of late blight in Pennsylvania and on tomato in the region. There have also been several unconfirmed reports of late blight in commercial potato fields in central PA. We are in the process of confirming these reports.
Every year Americans look forward to summer vacations, camping, family reunions, picnics, and the Fourth of July. Summertime, however, also brings fires and injuries due to outdoor cooking and recreational fires. Annually, there are almost 3,800 Americans injured by gas or charcoal grill fires. (Source: CPSC) Summertime should be a time of fun and making happy memories. Knowing a few fire safety tips and following safety instructions will help everyone have a safe summer.
Penn State Extension’s Summer Turf and Ornamental School will be held July 12, 2012 at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
This time of year, farmers often know the hay they are baling is wetter than they’d like, but they are taking a chance, hoping to save a better-quality product versus letting the rain cause the crop to deteriorate in the field. Unfortunately, moist hay can quickly become hot hay which can ignite through spontaneous combustion.
If you are like me, I start gardening at the dinner table. Today I’m thinking of homemade Italian spaghetti sauce, gourmet herbal vinegar, fresh garden salad, and Italian pesto. Why, you may be asking, because I’m getting ready to sow the basil seeds, one of the world’s most delightful herbs.
National Pollinator Week is June 18 to 24, 2012. To mark the occasion, join Penn State Master Gardeners in Cumberland County for a Pollinator Celebration Program and Butterfly Container Workshop on Saturday, June 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Cumberland County Extension office, 310 Allen Road, Carlisle.
On Saturday, June 9, 2012, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, the Cumberland Woodland Owners’ Association is sponsoring an “Invasive Plants and Pests Tour” at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
The Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Game Commission today invited students across the state to watch the annual Peregrine falcon banding event during a live webcast on Wednesday, May 9. The event was held from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Rachel Carson State Office Building auditorium in Harrisburg.
What perennial grows well in shade, offers beautiful variegated foliage, and is deer resistant? It is the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year, ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera. Grown primarily for its exquisite silver and green variegated foliage, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ enjoys moist, but well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.
Everyone loves flowers, but most trees only bloom for a few weeks out of the year. Those that have attractive summer foliage, fall color and interesting bark offer more than one season of beauty and really earn their keep in the garden.
Several of you may have already noticed some farming equipment on the roads in the last month or so. If you did happen to see farm equipment traveling the roads, you were most likely seeing manure spreaders, agricultural sprayers, tractors with tillage equipment, and planters. Due to the mild winter weather, some farmers were working the ground in February, making field applications of fertilizer or manure, and planting field corn and alfalfa in late March.
Penn State Master Gardeners are offering a Summer Garden Camp for youth ages 8 to 11 or in grades 3 to 5 at the Penn State Extension office on Allen Road in Carlisle. There will be five sessions of growing, learning, hands-on fun on Tuesday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the following dates: June 12, June 26, July 10, July 24, and August 7, 2012.