Latest News

Penn State Extension news for vegetable and small fruit producers.
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.

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.