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Control for fire blight and apple scab is critical during bloom. (Photo: K. Peter)
April 17, 2017

Bloom is well underway in parts of PA and MD. Fire blight and scab disease conditions are in full force now. Growers are encouraged to protect trees.

Isoxaben may be very useful to newly planted orchards. Photo: Rob Crassweller
March 10, 2017

We just finished winter tree fruit meetings during which I talked about some new herbicide registrations.

March 7, 2017

The updated Penn State Extension Spray Record-Keeping Spreadsheet for apples, pears, peaches, and cherries is now available from Penn State Extension.

September 30, 2016

The purpose of safety data sheets (SDS) is to provide detailed information about all chemicals and pesticides including the chemical properties, various hazards (e.g., physical, health, environmental, etc.), protective measures, and safety precautions (e.g., handling, storing, and transporting).

July 28, 2016

In late 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency issued the long awaited revision to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Although it is now technically active it will not be enforced until 2017 but the original WPS will still be enforced until the end of 2016. Please keep in mind that the WPS covers both restricted use AND general use pesticides. This article will deal with the highlights to the revision but also some areas of the current WPS that need emphasized.

July 27, 2016

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) have been renamed and are now referred to as Safety Data Sheets (SDS). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Hazard Communication Standard requires the new format starting on June 1, 2016. One of the primary reasons for the change is that OSHA requires all SDSs to use a standard format.

June 28, 2016

Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. The researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.

April 25, 2016

The Orchard Spray Record-Keeping Spreadsheet for 2016 has been updated and is available online.

October 29, 2015

The Penn State Extension Horticulture, Start Farming, and Pesticide Education Teams have produced three new videos on integrated pest management practices for sustainable establishment and management of apple orchards.

Brown rot can cause shoot blight. (Photo: K. Peter)
July 31, 2015

With peach season in full swing, a review of management strategies for controlling brown rot is discussed.

Once the daylight hours lengthen, flowers develop on nutsedge.
July 31, 2015

Nutsedge is a weed being seen in a number of orchards that seems to be a bigger problem this year than in previous years.

Oriental fruit moth larva(e) (Grapholita molesta) on peach. Photo: Clemson University, USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org
July 31, 2015

The 2015 season appears to be one of the unique years when the degree-days accumulation are quite close to the average heat accumulation over the last ten years.

Bacterial spot on peach fruit. Photo by S. Bardsley.
July 30, 2015

There has been much confusion this season being able to tell the difference between bacterial spot disease and copper injury. This article will describe symptoms in detail, as well as offer guidance to avoid the pitfalls of using copper for disease control.

SWD oviposition damage on blackberry fruit. Photo: Kathleen Demchak, Penn State Extension
July 13, 2015

The fact that spotted wing drosophila is being found in Maryland means that SWD is also likely to be present in warmer areas of Pennsylvania, and in the remainder of Pennsylvania shortly.

Anthracnose is diagnosed by the sunken black lesions on the fruit, with little black dots
July 12, 2015

Anthracnose (also called ripe rot) in blueberry, has been quite severe this year, especially in highly susceptible varieties such as Bluecrop, Bluetta, and Blueray.

June 26, 2015

Thanks to one of our growers we have been advised of a formula error in our spreadsheet.

June 12, 2015

The rainfall events experienced this season have prompted questions about the relative “rainfastness” of the insecticides used in fruit production. Precipitation can impact the performance of insecticides, but some compounds resist wash-off.

Penn State's sprayer calibration unit.
February 16, 2015

Proper calibration is a must to make sure pesticide applications get to the target at the proper rate. The Penn State Pesticide Education Program uses calibration units that enable us to collect the output from each nozzle.

January 12, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention is upon us and as part of the new year we have updated our Orchard Spray Record-Keeping Spreadsheet for 2015.

November 17, 2014

Agricultural businesses and pesticide applicators in 18 counties can dispose of unwanted pesticides safely and easily in 2015 through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s CHEMSWEEP program.

Left: Rosy apple aphid and damage.  Right:  White apple leafhopper and damage.
June 18, 2014

Pesticides can have benefits, but they can also have undesirable side effects. Our job in integrated pest management (IPM) is to make sure that if a pesticide is to be used, its benefits outweigh the undesirable side effects.

Photo by M. Seetin.
April 30, 2014

Recently, there has been a lot of press related to pollinator health, and some troubling information indicates that certain fungicides, when used during bloom, can negatively affect the health of honey bees. This is a complicated problem with the solutions relying on understanding the detailed relationships among chemicals, pollinators and pest management needs. It is not prudent to treat this topic with a broad brush with statements such as "All neonicotinoid insecticides are bad for all pollinator species," or "No fungicides should be sprayed during bloom." Research is on-going, and we do not know all of the details yet.

March 28, 2014

In the March 19, 2014 Federal Register the Environmental Protection Agency issued proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The intent of these changes is increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families.