Tag Archive: Fall

Protecting Fall Vegetable Crops after the Hurricane

Protecting Fall Vegetable Crops after the Hurricane

Figure 1: Rain and leaf wetness exacerbate bacterial spot and can lead to complete blighting or defoliation of the plant. Credit: Josh Freeman

As if the fall season wasn’t challenging enough from a pest and disease perspective, throw in a hurricane and it gets much worse. Luckily, the storm missed most of the Panhandle. Tomato and cucurbit producing areas in Gadsden and Jackson counties likely saw the greatest impacts from Hurricane Irma. The biggest problem was the wind and wind driven rain. It doesn’t take much rain when you’ve got 40-60 mph winds to drive that water into leaves. This factor combined with the plants getting beaten around can create quite a bit of leaf damage. These damaged areas can be just the foothold that some plant diseases need to get started in a big way. The first thing we noticed was bacterial spot of tomato moved into most fields, and in fields where it was already established, it moved up the plant. This is a pretty common progression with this disease; yellowing begins in the lowest leaves near the ground, and it progressively marches up through the canopy. Rain and leaf wetness exacerbate bacterial spot and can lead to complete blighting or defoliation of the plant (Figure 1).

The other major pathogen of concern for the fall is target spot, a fungal disease that typically shows up later in the season when the weather cools off some. Target spot also has the potential to get started in leaf tissue damaged by the wind and rain from Hurricane Irma. Producers should stay on a tight spray schedule, especially in fields that have more damaged foliage from the storm. A link to UF/IFAS tomato production recommendations is provided at the end of this article.

If you haven’t noticed the whiteflies yet, then you haven’t been outside since about July. And it’s not just in and around vegetable crops, they’re everywhere. I had a psychic moment and was concerned about them in April (seeStart Preparing Now for Whiteflies this Fall in Vegetable Crops) and my premonitions have certainly played out. Whitefly populations have been exceptionally high since producers started setting fall plants. Most tomato and cucurbit seedlings had whiteflies on them within hours of planting (Figures 2&3) which means they will need to be managed for 90 days or so.

Figure 2. Tomato seedling plagued by whiteflies shortly after planting. Photo by Josh Freeman.

Figure 3. Cucurbit seedling plagued by whiteflies shortly after planting. Photo by Josh Freeman.

For tomato producers the two major concerns are Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV) (Figure 4) which is transmitted by whiteflies, and irregular fruit ripening (Figure 5) which is caused by whitefly feeding. TYLCV is already bad and it is still a long way to harvest. Unfortunately when plants are infected with TYCLV early they essentially stop growing and likely won’t produce any fruit. We have fields locally that have 40% infection with another 30 days before harvest.

Figure 4. Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV). Photo by Josh Freeman

Figure 5. Irregular fruit ripening caused by the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV). Photo by Josh Freeman.

There are several links below to information about whitefly management. It is very important to rotate pesticide modes of action. It is tempting to rely heavily on neonicotinoids, but if we want to maintain these chemistries for the future, alternative modes of action should be used. We have wondered for the last several years whether TYLCV will become established and be a consistent problem in North Florida and South Georgia, and as of now it appears that during the fall it will be. If we continue to have mild winters it is likely that high whitefly populations may become normal during the fall, and it will be recommended that tomato growers rely heavily on TYLCV resistant varieties. These varieties are listed in the tomato production guide below.

Whiteflies also pose a serious problem for cucurbit and bean producers. Much like tomato, they transmit viruses, Cucurbit Leaf Crumple Virus and Bean Golden Yellow Mosaic Virus.  Whiteflies cause fruit quality issues such as light colored beans or squash from feeding damage. The other major pathogen to be on the lookout for is Downy Mildew. This generally comes on when conditions cool off, enabling the fungus to rapidly move through fields, especially when we get persistent foggy mornings that keep leaves wet for multiple hours. A link to the cucurbit production guide is also below.

In summary, take action, now. These pests and pathogens were likely already present in most fields, and their progression may have been hastened by Hurricane Irma. It is critical when using chemical control options for all the pests and pathogens listed above that  modes of action are rotated. These codes are listed in their respective production guides as well as on the pesticide labels. Chemical control options are generally limited, so it is important that we are good stewards of the tools that we do have.

UF/IFAS Publications and Resources referenced in this article:




Author: Josh Freeman – joshuafr@ufl.edu

Dr. Freeman’s program focuses on vegetable and melon cropping systems important to the state and region. Much of his research and extension efforts are focused in the area of soil fumigants and fumigant alternatives for soil-borne pest and weed management. Many of the vegetable crops in Florida are produced using the plasticulture production system. For decades growers have relied on the soil fumigant methyl bromide for pest management. This chemistry is no longer available and Dr. Freeman’s program is addressing this issue.

Josh Freeman

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/15/protecting-fall-vegetable-crops-after-the-hurricane/

Fall Vegetable Production Workshop – Combating Insect Pests September 12, 2017

Fall Vegetable Production Workshop – Combating Insect Pests September 12, 2017

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017 UF / IFAS Extension Washington County will be providing a insect pest identification and management workshop for vegetable producers and home gardeners throughout Northwest Florida.

Entomology specialists from the University of Florida and Extension agents will be leading hands on sessions focusing on insect pest management in vegetable production. This workshop is relevant to anyone growing vegetable crops in any season, but will have a special focus on fall vegetable pests. 

Lunch will be provided and  CEUs for pesticide license holders will also be available.

Cost: $ 15.00

Address: Washington County Ag Center East Wing, 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley FL 32428.

Time: 8:30am-3:00pm

Pre Registration required for count: Contact Nikki or Cynthia at 850-638-6180 or email Matthew Orwat at mjorwat@ufl.edu

or register online at eventbrite HERE !


  • Welcome and Introduction  8:30am-8:35 Matthew Orwat, Washington County Cooperative Extension,  Amanda Hodges, University of Florida

  • True bugs in Fall Vegetables-Identification and Management                      9:00am-10:15am

  • Cowpea Curculio                                                                                           10:15am-10:30pm

  • Break                                                                                                             10:30am-10:45am

  • Whitefly Management                                                                                    10:45am-11:10am

  • Invasive Species problems in North Florida Vegetable Production        11:10am-11:30am

  • Invasive Stink Bugs and Related True Bugs                                                  11:30am-11:50pm

  • Lunch    11:50pm-12:30pm

  • Tomato leafminer Tuta absoltua                                                                     12:30m-12:45pm

  • Old World bollworm and Exotic Spodoptera Pests                                         12:45pm-1:05pm

  • Common Vegetable Plant Diseases in the Florida Panhandle                       1:05pm-1:35pm

  • Pest and Pathogen Walk                                                                                 1:35pm-2:05pm

  • CAPS Exotic Corn Diseases of Concern                                                         2:05pm-2:35pm

  • Sample Submission, Arthropod and Disease samples                                    2:35pm-2:50p







Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/26/fall-vegetable-production-workshop-combating-insect-pests-september-12-2017/

Reduce 100 Bags of Fall Leaves to Ten

Reduce 100 Bags of Fall Leaves to Ten

Image Credit: Matthew Orwat, UF / IFAS ExtensionBillions of leaves blanket the fall landscape and are bagged by hundreds of homeowners to be placed curbside for local trash pick-up.

Many of these leaves could be easily turned into valuable mulch or compost.

Why do all those fall leaves end up in bags to be discarded?

It’s probably because the homeowner is overwhelmed by the volume. For instance, one resident reported raking more than 100 large bags of leaves from his half-acre property. One large oak tree can contain over 250,000 leaves!

Bagged and discarded leaves could become a quality mulch or could be composted.

Homeowners have tools for reducing 100 bags of leaves to 10 in their own backyards.

Shredding and composting can reduce leaf volume by 90 percent and provides a manageable quantity of valuable mulch and an excellent organic source for composting and converting into rich humus to improve garden soil.

Shredded leaves stay seated better on the landscape than whole leaves. They also do a better job of holding moisture in the soil and don’t mat down like whole leaves.

But how do you shred leaves if you don’t have a costly leaf shredder?

All you need is a lawn mower, a little extra time and a concern for the environment. Just put the leaves on the lawn in rows around three feet wide and two feet deep.

Then, with the lawn mower at the highest wheel setting, run over the pile. If the mower has a bag attachment, collecting shredded leaves is a neat and easy task.

Without a bag, the easiest way to collect them is to put a 9-by-12-foot drop cloth parallel to the row of leaves. Then, by running the mower in one direction so the leaves are discharged onto the cloth, cleanup is easier.

Throw the shredded leaves in the compost pile to cut the volume by another 50 percent.

Shredded leaves will shrink within a week and compost faster than whole leaves.


To compost dry leaves, add water, a little garden soil and a cup of garden fertilizer.


For more information on gardening and landscaping, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office in your County.


Author: Larry Williams – llw5479@ufl.edu

Larry Williams is the County Extension Director and Residential Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Okaloosa County.

Larry Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/12/02/reduce-100-bags-of-fall-leaves-to-ten/

Want Fall Color? Plant These Trees !

Want Fall Color? Plant These Trees !




Florida has so much to offer!  It is home to the world’s most beautiful beaches. It has one of the largest agricultural economies nationwide.  

But among all these things, Florida is lacking in one area that is very noticeable come fall:  all the beautiful red, yellow, and orange leaf colors that paint the autumn landscape just a few hours to the north!

As frustrating as the lack of fall color in Florida’s native forests may be, this situation is easily amended in yards throughout the state by planting some autumn color standouts!  Here are three of the very best for Northwest Florida:


  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

This holdover from the Jurassic Period (Literally! Fossil records indicate Ginkgo has existed virtually unchanged for well over 100 million years!) has much to offer as an ornamental tree, including spectacular golden-yellow fan-shaped leaves in fall!  Somewhat ungainly in youth, a mature Ginkgo is truly a sight to behold, an 80-100’ tall, imposing specimen.   Ginkgos are very tolerant of all soil conditions except waterlogged, have few insect and disease pests, and are remarkably drought-tolerant once established. Be sure to select a male cultivar however, as female trees produce extremely odiferous seeds that remarkably resemble rancid butter!

  • Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)
Chinese Pistache

Chinese Pistache

A little-known, much underused tree in the Deep South, Chinese Pistache will light your landscape aflame with brilliant, orange-red fall foliage.  One of the last trees to turn color in the fall, Chinese Pistache can help extend the show deep into November!  It is a small to medium sized tree that will not overwhelm any but the smallest landscapes.  As with Ginkgo, the habit of the tree in youth is awkward at best and the tree’s full potential is not realized until maturity when it becomes a dense, oval-round specimen.  Chinese Pistache is close to bulletproof, tolerant of drought and poor soil conditions.

  • Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

One of Northwest Florida’s best native trees for fall color is Black Gum.  Black Gum is a standout tree, pretty in all seasons, possessing dark, almost-black bark, a tall pyramidal habit and vivid fall foliage in the deepest shades of red and purple.  As a bonus, Black Gum usually begins its color change very early, occasionally in September.  The addition of this tree to a lawn dominated landscape can deliver at least an extra month of color!  Black Gum prefers moist, deep soils but is found in dry flatwoods and swamps alike, betraying its adaptability.

Young Black Gum Tree

Young Black Gum Tree

Including the above trees in new or existing landscapes is an easy, smart way to extend the fall color show from September through November and make home gardeners long a little less for the colorful northern autumns!  Happy Gardening!




Author: dleonard – d.leonard@ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/18/want-fall-color-plant-these-trees/

Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food

Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food

firespike-15Looking to add something to brighten your landscape this autumn?   Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a prolific fall bloomer with red tubular flowers that are very popular with hummingbirds and butterflies.  It’s glossy dark green leaves make an attractive large plant that will grow quite well in dense shade to partial sunlight.  In frost-free areas firespike grows as an evergreen semi-woody shrub, spreads by underground sprouts and enlarging to form a thicket.  In zones 8 and 9 it usually dies back to the ground in winter and resprouts in spring, producing strikingly beautiful 9-12 inch panicles of crimson flowers beginning at the end of summer and lasting into the winter each year.  Firespike is native to open, semi-forested areas of Central America.  It has escaped cultivation and become established in disturbed hammocks throughout peninsular Florida, but hasn’t presented an invasive problem.  Here in the panhandle, firespike will remain a tender perennial for most locations. It can be grown on a wide range of moderately fertile, sandy soils and is quite drought tolerant. Firespike may be best utilized in the

Image Credit UF / IFAS Gsrdening Solutions

Image Credit UF / IFAS Gsrdening Solutions

landscape in a mass planting. Plants can be spaced about 2 feet apart to fill in the area quickly. It is one of only a few flowering plants that give good, red color in a partially shaded site. The lovely flowers make firespike an excellent candidate for the cutting garden and is a “must-have” for southern butterfly and hummingbird gardens.  Additional plants can be propagated from firespike by division or cuttings.  However, white-tailed deer love firespike too, and will eat the leaves, so be prepared to fence it off from “Bambi”.


Author: Sheila Dunning – sdunning@ufl.edu


Sheila Dunning

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/08/firespikes-for-fall-color-and-hummingbird-food/

Fall: An Ideal Time for Shrub Installation

Fall: An Ideal Time for Shrub Installation

It was a hot summer that has continued into Fall.  We hope cooler temperatures are on their way to the panhandle of Florida.  Fall can be a great time to spruce up your landscape with some new shrubs.

Image Credit UF / IFAS

Image Credit UF / IFAS

It may be time for your landscape to receive a mini-makeover and to get a new look.  Perhaps some strategically placed shrubs  will be what makes an outdoor living space pop.  Proper selection and installation is key to future health of new shrubs.


There are several factors that need to be considered before installing new shrubs to the landscape.  Selecting plants carefully, based on the following points, will help with long-term success of the plant:

  • Climate – Be sure that the species are climate appropriate.
  • Environment  – Study the light level, acidity, and drainage of the planting site.
  • Space – Account for the mature size of the plant before planting. This will eliminate the possible need for plant removal if space is not adequate.
  • Inspect the plant – Check for mechanical injury (scars and open wounds), cold injury, condition and shape of the canopy, and examine the root system.


Now that essential considerations have been made, it is time to give the shrub the best chance for survival with proper installation techniques.  Fall and winter is an ideal time for planting shrubs.  The roots can develop before the tops begin to grow in spring.  The following are keys to proper establishment of container shrubs.

  • Root ball preparation – Remove the container from the root ball and inspect for circling roots.  If there are circling roots than make three or four cuts vertically to cut the roots.  Pull some of the roots away so they will take on a new growth direction (massage the roots).  Also find the top most roots, as sometimes they are covered by extra potting media.  Remove the extra potting media so the top most roots are exposed and become the top of the root ball.
Planting Diagram

Image Credits: UF/IFAS, Edward F. Gilman

  • Wider is better – Dig the hole two or three times the diameter of the root ball.
  • Proper depth – Make sure to dig the hole 10% less than the height of the root ball.  In poorly drained soils dig the hole 25% less than the height of the root ball.  The top most roots should be slightly above the native soils.
  • Backfill – Fill the hole with existing soil half way and tamp the soil to settle.  Again fill the rest of the hole with the existing soil and tamp again to settle the soil.  Do not place any backfill soil or mulch over the root ball as it is crucial that water and air are able to be in contact with the roots.
  • Aftercare – Irrigate daily for the first two weeks, followed by every other day for the next two months, and weekly until the shrub is established (For <2 inch caliper shrubs).

If these key points are followed regarding selection and installation, the shrubs will be well on their way to becoming established in the landscape.  If you would like  read more in detail about installation please read the following:

Specifications for Planting Trees and Shrubs in the Southeastern U.S.


Gilman, E.F., (2011, August) Specifications for Planting Trees and Shrubs in the Southeastern U.S.. Retrieved from: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep112

Black, R.J. and Ruppert, K.C., (1998) Your Florida Landscape, A complete guide to planting & maintenance. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.


Author: Blake Thaxton – bthaxton@ufl.edu

Santa Rosa County Extension Agent I, Commercial Horticulture

Blake Thaxton

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/03/fall-an-ideal-time-for-shrub-installation-2/

Persimmon Problems this Fall

Persimmon Problems this Fall



Japanese persimmons are a real treat in the Fall, and for those who enjoy growing fruit, they are a relatively problem free option.  The tree can reach 30 feet tall, if planted in full sun and well drained soils that receive ample moisture.  The orange-yellow fruit really makes a great show in the Fall.  This year, many trees have an ample fruit load, but we have had submissions from growers of fruit that is wrinkled and the skin is discolored.  After contacting Bryan Wilkins at the Auburn Research Station in Fairhope, AL, he diagnosed the problem as being environmental factors.  The very warm nighttime temperatures are not ideal for a persimmon to properly develop, but he blamed the very dry weather of late for the wrinkling.  The discoloration of the fruit is due to sunscald.  The lesson in this is to remember to continue to water your crop when fruit is maturing.  The fruit is still edible.


For more information about growing persimmons, please see this UF/IFAS publication: Oriental Persimmon


Author: Libbie Johnson – libbiej@ufl.edu

Agriculture agent at UF IFAS Escambia County Extension.

Libbie Johnson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/29/persimmon-problems-this-fall/

September Weather Summary and Fall Planting Forecast

national Weather Service rainfall estimates for September 2016.

National Weather Service rainfall estimates for September 2016.

September rainfall was greatly influenced by Hurricane Hermine.  The eastern Panhandle Counties had significantly more rainfall in the month of September. September totals ranged from over 10″ (pink) in portions of Franklin, Leon, and Jefferson County to a low of less than 4″ (tan, yellow, and green) for large portions of Jackson, Holmes, Walton and Okaloosa.

16-jan-sept-panhandle-fawn-summaryThe Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) stations also showed the wide variation for the month of September.  The highest rainfall totals came from the Monticello Station that received 9.3″, and Carrabelle with 7″ with the added rain from the Hurricane.  The driest locations were DeFuniak with only 2″, and Mariana 4.2″, and Quincy with 4.7″.  For the year, Monticello has taken over the lead with a total of 55.2″ through nine months, while Marianna is lagging behind with only 40.9″ for the year thus far.  For the year, only the Marianna, DeFuniak, and Carrabelle stations were below historic average, while Monticello has recorded 7.5″ above historic average for this location.

marianna-fawn-summary-jan-sept-16-revTemperatures did cool off slightly in September.  The average air temperature dropped three degrees to 77° as compared to August, but the average soil temperature only dropped one degree from 87° in August to 86° in September.

La Niña Watch Canceled

Several months ago the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) was predicting a 55-60% chance of a La Niña this fall and winter.  La  Niña winters are typical drier and warmer than average in the Florida Panhandle.  Recently the CPC has changed their forecast and are now predicting a Neutral winter.  While a Nuetral ENSO phase typically has more normal temperate and precipitation in this region over the winter, these are also historically the winters with the more severe freezes.

The CPC ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active. ENSO-neutral conditions are present. Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SST) are near or below average in the east-central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
ENSO-neutral conditions are slightly favored (between 55-60%) during the upcoming Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2016-17. Climate Predication Center

Fall Planting Forecast

2016-17-cpc-cool-season-precip-outlookOctober and November are the primary months for planting winter annual pastures and small grains.  The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released their long range precipitation forecast for the fall and winter months in mid-September.  Even though the La Niña watch has been canceled, they are still forecasting a drier than normal winter.  Livestock producers and small grain farmers should take their current forecast under consideration when deciding which fields should be planted with cool-season forage or grain crops.  This may indeed be a year when the lower, less-well drained fields are more productive.  It would also be advisable to plant only when adequate moisture is present in the soil, even if that means waiting a week or longer than normal, as many areas in the Panhandle are already dry.  Crops like rye that are more drought tolerant may perform better than ryegrass that is highly moisture dependent for optimal performance.  For cools season pastures, blends of forages would be preferred to reduce the risk of below average moisture.  These long range forecasts are updated each month.  The long range forecast is always less accurate, so it is advisable to pay more attention to the shorter range forecasts.  This CPC outlook site offers a variety of graphic short and longer ranged forecasts:  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/index.php



Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/08/september-weather-summary-and-fall-planting-forecast/

Fall Sampling for Nematodes in Agronomic Crops

Fall Sampling for Nematodes in Agronomic Crops

Fall is the best time to take samples for nematodes, since populations often peak near harvest, and while crop roots are still viable.  These samples can be used to help determine if nematodes caused damage in the current crop and help predict the likelihood of damage to an upcoming crop.

While all agronomic crops in Florida can be damaged by nematodes, the specific nematode that causes damage often varies by crop.  Peanut root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne arenaria) is the major nematode problem on peanuts.  On cotton, a different species of root-knot nematode, the southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita), and reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis) are the major concerns.  On corn and other grasses, sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus), lance nematodes (Hoplolaimus species), lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus species), and multiple root-knot nematode species are problematic.  Many other plant-parasitic nematodes are also present in Florida that are known to damage agronomic crops.

Patches of stunted and chlorotic (yellowed) peanut plants due to nematode infection. Photo by Jim Rich

Figure 1.  Patches of stunted and chlorotic (yellowed) peanut plants due to nematode infection. Photo by Jim Rich

Disease symptoms in the plant roots or shoots may accompany nematode infection and can vary based on the nematode present.  Above-ground symptoms of nematode damage include stunted, yellowed, or dead plants often in patchy patterns (Figure 1).  Because plant-parasitic nematodes feed on plant roots, below-ground symptoms can be more distinct and may be present without obvious above-ground damage.  Below-ground symptoms include stunted roots; decaying, brown roots; and a proliferation of lateral roots resulting in a bushy root system.  Enlarged or swollen portions of the root system (Figure 2) as the root tissue around the female root-knot nematode proliferates.


Crop yield loss from nematodes can occur without distinct symptoms, and symptoms may be similar for multiple diseases, so identification and quantification of nematodes at a site is necessary to accurately diagnose or predict nematode problems.

Peanut roots with galls caused by root-knot nematode. Galls are difficult to distinguish on peanut roots because N-fixing nodules cover the roots. Galls are thickenings of the roots while nodules are round attachments to the side of the roots.

Figure 2. Peanut roots with galls caused by root-knot nematode. Galls are difficult to distinguish on peanut roots because N-fixing nodules cover the roots. Galls are thickenings of the roots while nodules are round attachments to the side of the roots.

Peanut pods from Jackson County damaged by root-knot nematodes (left) compared to healthy pods (right).

Figure 3.  Peanut pods from Jackson County damaged by root-knot nematodes (left) compared to healthy pods (right).

Cotton roots with galls caused by root-knot nematodes marked by arrows. Photo by Tom Allen

Figure 4.  Cotton roots with galls caused by root-knot nematodes marked by arrows. Photo by Tom Allen

Soil sampling is the primary method for nematode detection, since one or more stage of all plant-parasitic nematodes can be soil-borne.  To collect samples for nematode analysis, collect soil samples to about 8 inches deep, from about 20 locations near plant roots in an area no larger than a few acres.  Any tool that can dig a core or slice of soil to 8” can be used, but tools that yield a 4” or less diameter soil core are ideal (soil probe, trowel, soil auger, etc.).  All soil samples collected from the area should be mixed well in a container to form a composite sample.  At least a pint of soil is needed, and if a large amount of soil is collected, a portion of the well-mixed sample can be submitted.  If a certain area of the field has symptoms of nematode damage, it is useful to take a composite sample from only this area.  A separate composite sample from an area where the crop looks healthy can then be taken for comparison.  To sample for nematodes in an area larger than a few acres, divide the area in smaller portions and take multiple sets of separate samples.  After collection, samples should be kept around room temperature or cooler and not allowed to dry out.  A closed, clearly labelled plastic bag is an ideal storage container.   Submit samples to a reputable nematode-testing lab such as the University of Florida nematode assay lab.

Because some nematodes fully enter roots when infecting plants, collecting and submitting plant roots for analysis can also be useful for diagnosis of a problem in a current crop.  In particular, if root-knot nematode infection is suspected and diagnosis of the species present is desired, root samples should be submitted as well.  To collect samples, dig plants suspected of nematode infection and keep the root system intact as much as possible.  It may be useful to submit nearby healthy plants as a comparison.  For assistance with sampling for nematodes in agronomic crops or more information, contact your local extension agent.


For more information on sampling for nematodes, use the link to the following publication or visit the UF Nematode Lab website:

Sampling Instructions for Nematode Assays

UF/IFAS Nematode Assay Lab



Author: Zane Grabau – zgrabau@ufl.edu

Zane Grabau is a field crop nematology Assistant Professor at the University of Florida.

Zane Grabau

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/07/fall-sampling-for-nematodes-in-agronomic-crops/

The Color of Fall in the Panhandle

The Color of Fall in the Panhandle

Monarch butterfly on dense blazing star (Liatris spicata var. spicata). Beverly Turner, Jackson Minnesota, Bugwood.org

Monarch butterfly on dense blazing star (Liatris spicata var. spicata).
Beverly Turner, Jackson Minnesota, Bugwood.org

Each fall, nature puts on a brilliant show of color throughout the United States. As the temperatures drop, autumn encourages the “leaf peepers” to hit the road in search of the red-, yellow- and orange-colored leaves of the northern deciduous trees.  In Northwest Florida the color of autumn isn’t just from trees. The reds, purples, yellow and white blooms and berries that appear on many native plants add spectacular color to the landscape. American Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, is loaded with royal-colored fruit that will persist all winter long. Whispy pinkish-cream colored seedheads look like mist atop Purple Lovegrass, Eragrostis spectabilis and Muhlygrass, Muhlenbergia capillaris. The Monarchs and other butterfly species flock to the creamy white “fluff” that covers Saltbrush, Baccharis halimifolia. But, yellow is by far the dominant fall flower color. With all the Goldenrod, Solidago spp., Narrowleaf Sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius and Tickseed, Coreopsis spp., the roadsides are golden.  When driving the roads it’s nearly impossible to not see the bright yellows in the ditches and along the wood’s edge. Golden Asters (Chrysopsis spp.), Tickseeds (Coreopsis spp.), Silkgrasses (Pityopsis spp.), Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) and Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) are displaying their petals of gold at every turn.  These wildflowers are all members of the Aster family, one of the largest plant families in the world.  For most, envisioning an Aster means a flower that looks like a daisy.  While many are daisy-like in structure, others lack the petals and appear more like cascading sprays.  So if you are one of the many “hitting the road in search of fall color”, head to open areas.  For wildflowers, that means rural locations with limited homes and businesses.  Forested areas and non-grazed pastures typically have showy displays, especially when a spring burn was performed earlier in the year. Peeking out from the woods edge are the small red trumpet-shaped blooms of Red Basil, Calamintha coccinea and tall purple spikes of Gayfeather, Liatris spp.  Visit the Florida Wildflower Foundation website, www.flawildflowers.org/bloom.php, to see both what’s in bloom and the locations of the state’s prime viewing areas. These are all native wildflowers that can be obtained through seed companies. Many are also available as potted plants at the local nurseries. Read the name carefully though. There are cultivated varieties that may appear or perform differently than those that naturally occur in Northwest Florida. For more information on Common Native Wildflowers of North Florida go to http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep061.


Author: Sheila Dunning – sdunning@ufl.edu


Sheila Dunning

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/07/the-color-of-fall-in-the-panhandle/

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