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Penn State Extension news for vegetable and small fruit producers.
Blossom end rot in peppers. Photo: Tom Ford
July 29, 2016

As our drought continues expect to see an increase in Blossom End Rot (BER) on peppers, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, and cantaloupes.

July 29, 2016

In July we visited with Micah and Bethany Spicher Schonberg and Gabby Bedeian at Plowshare Produce, a certified organic farm located in McAlevys Fort in Huntingdon County. Micah and Bethany rent the 2.5 acres they farm from Bethany’s parents who own 50-60 acres.

July 29, 2016

Grassy weeds often infest fields. Management practices for grassy weeds vary depending on which grassy weed you are trying to control.

Spotted wing drosophila male. Photo: Alex Surcica
July 29, 2016

It’s official—we have our first SWD capture at the Horticulture Research Farm at Rock Springs.

Leaf distortion and cupping of blackberry leaves infested by broad mites. Photo credit: Donn Johnson, Univ. of Arkansas
July 29, 2016

Broad mites have potential to be a problem on blackberries once again this year, with damage already being noted in some other states. Generally symptoms show up on just a few plants first, so it is important to recognize them before the problem becomes widespread.

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.

2015 Pumpkin powdery mildew fungicide trial on a susceptible cultivar at the Penn State Rock Springs research farm. The “white” areas have not received any fungicide applications during the season or the program was less effective at managing the disease.
July 27, 2016

There are an increasing number of reports of powdery mildew on a wide range of cucurbit crops across Pennsylvania.

July 27, 2016

Reports of downy mildew on cucumber continue to increase and now include Lancaster, Chester and Delaware Counties in PA as well as new reports on cucumber in NJ, NY, MI and Ontario, Canada. Earlier this week was the first report on cantaloupe in northeastern OH in Medina County. Disease spread is most likely in the northeastern and southeastern portions of PA in the upcoming days.

To achieve customer satisfaction, growers need to be able to communicate effectively.
July 27, 2016

A growing percentage of consumers are very interested in understanding how and where food comes from. This trend is a cue to farm and other agricultural producers to prepare to answer questions from customer about production practices.

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.

Highlighted counties are where CDM outbreaks have been reported as of 20 July 2016. Red indicates the reports were made within the past 7 days. Map source: Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE website.
July 20, 2016

These reports of downy mildew are not surprising given the confirmed reports on cucumber in many of the surrounding states including multiple counties just south east of these reports in New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. The infections likely occurred last week when the conditions were more favorable and symptoms are just now becoming visible. It is important to be scouting your cucumber fields frequently for symptoms.

Foliar symptoms of late blight on tomato.
July 13, 2016

Although late blight has not been yet confirmed in Pennsylvania this season, this past week it was confirmed on tomato in four additional counties, in Garrett County, Maryland just south of Somerset County, PA as well as in southern MD and two counties on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Highlighted counties are where CDM outbreaks have been reported as of 13 July 2016. Red indicates the reports were made within the past 7 days. Map source: Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE website.
July 13, 2016

Downy mildew has most recently been confirmed on cucumber in Michigan, Delaware and New Jersey in addition to the reports last week from Ohio and North Carolina.

Downy mildew on basil. The purplish gray sporulation of the pathogen is visible on the lower leaf surface. These spores are how the pathogen travels long distances.
July 6, 2016

Basil downy mildew continues to be a constant challenge for growers especially as the growing season progresses and the number of confirmed reports across the region increases.

Downy mildew lesions on the upper and lower surface of a cucumber leaf.
July 6, 2016

In the past few days downy mildew has been confirmed on cucumber in Kent County, Ontario and Wayne County, OH as well as numerous locations in North Carolina.

Potato leafhopper damage. Note the yellow discolored areas along the leaf edges. Photo: Kathy Demchak
July 1, 2016

Damage from potato leafhoppers is showing up in strawberry and raspberry fields, and by some accounts, seemingly came out of nowhere. This pest moves up from the South in the spring, and by early summer is established in a wide range of crops in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The PSU Tree Fruit Path Lab is in need of 2016 fire blight samples. (Photo: K. Peter)
July 1, 2016

The Tree Fruit Pathology Lab at FREC is seeking fire blight samples again this season from around the state of Pennsylvania in commercial orchards and home landscapes for evaluation for antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria and other projects. If you have fire blight present in your orchard/yard, please contact Dr. Kari Peter for instructions for sampling.

Spotted wing drosophila male. Photo: Alex Surcica
July 1, 2016

Spotted wing drosophila has been found in very low numbers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, so it’s time to be watching for spotted wing drosophila presence in raspberries, blueberries, and other thin-skinned fruit. A few Pennsylvania growers reported finding larvae in late-season strawberries.

Orange rust stunting black raspberry plant. Note the “spindly” elongated shoots. Photo credit: Mike Ellis
July 1, 2016

We all get a little rusty as we get older, but one thing that we don’t want to see getting rusty is our brambles. There are several rust diseases that affect brambles. I’m just going to focus on orange rust, which is the most important rust disease in the northeast. We are definitely seeing a bit of orange rust this year, with the cool wet springs. You’ll see this disease on blackberries, black raspberries and purple raspberries. Orange rust does not affect red raspberries.

Downy mildew lesions on the upper surface of a cucumber leaf and water soaking on the underside early in the morning.
June 29, 2016

Yesterday downy mildew was confirmed in Caroline County, MD in a commercial cucumber field.