Latest News

Penn State Extension news for vegetable and small fruit producers.
Blackleg symptoms on potato. (Photo credit: Tianna DuPont)
June 29, 2016

In May 2016, an aggressive form of black leg caused by the bacterial pathogen Dickeya dianthicola was confirmed in a potato seed lot being grown in New Jersey. This is the same pathogen that caused widespread yield losses across the region in 2015 when it was first confirmed in the U.S. It subsequently has been detected and confirmed in DE, PA, MD and VA this season. Pectobacterium atrosepticum which has long been associated with blackleg has also been detected.

Bacterial fruit and foliar lesions caused by the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria.
June 29, 2016

Over the past several years, bacterial diseases have become an increasing problem in tomato and pepper fields across Pennsylvania. Last year it was tomato while this year is seems to be more on pepper depending on where you are in Pennsylvania.

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.

June 8, 2016

Bees and bee health are still making headlines, and sorely needed research results are finally starting to emerge. In early May, Horticultural Research Institute participated in a research symposium at Penn State University where early results from several research projects relevant to pollinator health were shared.

MyIPM-NED app: disease management for apples, pears, cherries, and cranberries at your fingertips.
June 3, 2016

A new smartphone application, called MyIPM-NED, was developed to promote integrated disease management for apples, pears, cherries, and cranberries and is available for free for Android and iOS devices. These apps are also able to be used on tablets, as well.

Cyclamen mite leaf damage. Photo: Kathleen Demchak
June 3, 2016

We’ve received a number of calls from growers who are concerned about various types of leaf distortion on their strawberry plants this year. Here is a review of some of the more common causes.

June 1, 2016

In May, 2016 we had the opportunity to visit with Scott Hoffman, Field Manager with Furmano’s. Furmano’s is a tomato grower and packer that was started by JM and Emma Furman in 1921.

Characteristic symptoms of late blight on the upper surface of a tomato leaf.
May 18, 2016

On May 17, 2016, late blight was confirmed on tomato transplants in a greenhouse in western Maryland.

Botrytis cinerea sporulation on a ripe strawberry.  Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,
April 29, 2016

Strawberries are blooming, the rain is falling and it’s warming into the 60’s and 70’s—and as a plant pathologist, all I see is Botrytis spores dancing about the farm. We have already started to see Botrytis popping up on stem tissue and flower petals. Scouting for the pathogen in your fields will help inform you whether you need to spray.

Seedcorn maggot life cycle Photo: Art Cushman, USDA Systematics Entomology Laboratory,
April 28, 2016

We’re seeing root maggot problems this year, and some from infestations that probably started in when growing the transplants.

Exposed, chewed or missing seeds in greenhouse trays are signs of mouse activity. Snap traps are an effective control measure for mice and voles if populations aren't too large.
April 28, 2016

Insects, diseases and weeds aren't the only pests we encounter in greenhouses. Sometimes the damage we see to seeds, seedling and overwintering stock plants is caused by four-footed furry pests - rodents! This article discusses the two most common rodent pests of greenhouses, mice and voles, and how to control them.

Spotted wing drosophila male (upper right on berry) and female (lower left). Photo by Kathy Demchak
April 19, 2016

Spotted wing drosophila, or Drosophila suzukii, lays eggs in such valuable soft-skinned fruit as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and cherries. The eggs develop into larvae, leaving the fruit unmarketable.

April 12, 2016

In a previous article, I had mentioned Closer (sulfoxaflor) insecticide as being registered for use on strawberries. It had been for a while, but last fall EPA issued a cancellation order for the product, after the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that EPA improperly approved the registration.

A tarnished plant bug on a strawberry flower. Photo: Kathleen Demchak
April 11, 2016

Last month, we discussed new herbicides that have become available for use on berry crops in the last few years. In this article, we’ll cover changes with insecticides and miticides.

April 11, 2016

The allium leafminer (also known as the onion leafminer) has recently been detected and confirmed from infested leeks and onions in Lancaster County. This is the first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere. Your assistance is needed for monitoring and controlling this new invasive species.

April 7, 2016

Agriculture Handbook 66 (AH-66) represents a complete revision and major expansion of the 1986 edition. It has been reorganized and now includes 17 Chapters and 138 Commodity Summaries written by nearly a hundred experts in 792 pages.

April 4, 2016

Powdery mildew can be a problem, especially for pumpkins. Resistant varieties are available, but it’s important to note that none are immune. It’s also critical to make a correct diagnosis when the disease shows up and to know which crop protectants to use. Beth Gugino, Associate Professor in the Vegetable Pathology Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Micro-biology College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State was featured in an American Vegetable Grower article posted April 1st on managing powdery mildew in pumpkin.

April 4, 2016

It’s March and we’re on the road to visit Yarnick’s Farm in Indiana, PA. The farm includes 250 acres of outdoor production and 20 greenhouses of varying sizes and shapes.

Selection #3 from the Rutgers breeding program showing elongated fruit shape. Photo: Tim Elkner
March 31, 2016

This planting was established in August 2014 and included 11 named cultivars with ‘Chandler’ and ‘Sweet Charlie’ as the standards for comparison. In addition, there were 3 advanced selections from the breeding program at Cornell and 3 advanced selections from the breeding program at Rutgers.

March 31, 2016

A top-three “warm episode” (El Niño) brought some widely expected winter weather impacts to the U.S., but also provided some surprises. For example, atmospheric warmth in part supplied by the balmy central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean contributed to the nation’s warmest Decembe to -February period on record.