Tag Archive: Panhandle

New UF/IFAS Entomologist is Surveying Insect Pests in Panhandle Row Crops

New UF/IFAS Entomologist is Surveying Insect Pests in Panhandle Row Crops

Dr. Silvana Paula-Moraes (right) and her field technician Latisa Ledbetter-Kish (left).

Silvana Paula-Moraes began working in the fall of 2016 at the  UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center (WFREC) based in Jay, Florida. Originally from Brazil, Dr. Moraes completed her PhD in Nebraska.  Her research has been dedicated to address several aspects of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Insect Resistance Management (IRM) for corn, cotton, and soybean.

Her appointment at WFREC is 70% research and 30% teaching, and will address several components of IPM, including the ecology of insect pests associated with field crops in Florida, insect movement, host utilization, and differential exposure to Bt toxins in Bt crops. This year, Dr. Moraes and Latisa Ledbetter-Kish, her field technician, have been working with Extension agents to monitor insect populations across three Panhandle counties (Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Jackson) in corn, peanuts, and cotton. UF/IFAS Extension Agent Libbie Johnson is coordinating the effort with growers in the western counties, and Ethan Carter with growers in Jackson County. Starting out, her first objective is to document the pests prevalent in the Florida Panhandle.

Her work includes the use of pheromone traps in both irrigated and dryland peanut and cotton fields. Pheromone traps consist of a plastic popup A-frame structure, with a sticky trap bottom liner placed inside. On the liner a small lure infused with pheromones is used to attract adult moths to the trap from a distance spanning roughly 60 meters.

Sticky sheet known as a liner on the bottom of trap with a lure placed in the middle (left), complete trap showing a liner and lure inside (right).

There are roughly eight fields across each county where pheromone traps are used to collect the adult moths of fall armyworms, soybean loopers, and corn earworms. Each field has a total of six traps, which are spaced equidistant and grouped in sets of three on two sides of a field.

Example of pheromone traps grouped in a peanut field (left), along with a close up of a trap (right).

Every two weeks, the liners are removed from the traps, dated and bagged, so that the number of moths from the two week span can be recorded in the lab for each trap location. The lure itself is replaced every four weeks.

Dr. Moraes holding a newly collected liner (left), example of a bagged liner which is taken to her lab for processing, so that the number of moths can be recorded.

Aside from pheromone traps, she is also collecting insects from the fields through the use of active sampling using a sweep net, beat cloth, and plant inspection. Samples are collected several times throughout the growing season, while the crops are at various physiological stages.

Ethan and Latisa sampled a peanut field during the the 2017 growing season using a beat cloth and plant inspection.

Overtime, this work will provide Florida-specific data regarding the frequency of moth flights, insect life cycle, threshold levels, and will help determine any pest resistance issues- whether it be from insecticide sprays or Bt crops.

 

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Author: Ethan Carter – ethancarter@ufl.edu

Ethan Carter is the Regional Row Crop IPM Agent in Jackson County. He earned his BS in Food and Resource Economics, and his MS in Agronomy, both from the University of Florida.

Ethan Carter

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/11/new-ufifas-entomologist-is-surveying-insect-pests-in-panhandle-row-crops/

Panhandle Outdoors Water School – St. Joseph Bay

Panhandle Outdoors Water School – St. Joseph Bay

Our first POL program will happen this week – August 17 – at the Navarre Beach snorkel reef, and is sold out!  We are glad you all are interested in these programs.

 

Well!  We have another one for you.  The Natural Resource Extension Agents from UF IFAS Extension will be holding a two-day water school at St. Joseph Bay.  Participants will learn all about the coastal ecosystems surrounding St. Joe Bay in the classroom, snorkeling, and kayaking.  Kayaks and overnight accommodations are available for those interested.  This water school will be September 19-20.  For more information contact Extension Agent Ray Bodrey in Gulf County or Erik Lovestrand in Franklin.  Information and registration can be found at https://stjosephbay-waterschool.eventbrite.com.


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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/11/panhandle-outdoors-water-school-st-joseph-bay/

The Mobile Irrigation Lab Team: Helping Panhandle Farmers Lower Costs and Conserve Water

The Mobile Irrigation Lab Team: Helping Panhandle Farmers Lower Costs and Conserve Water

The Northwest Florida Mobile Irrigation Lab Team, from left to right: Mark Miles, Rex Patterson, and Robert Patterson

The Northwest Florida Mobile Irrigation Lab

Northwest Florida’s Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL), run by Mark Miles, Rex Patterson, and Robert Patterson, is working hard to help farmers increase crop yields and lower costs through improved irrigation efficiency. By increasing efficiency, farmers can reduce operating costs and increase yields. The MIL has been providing free irrigation evaluations in row crop systems since 2005, and has completed more than 1,000 evaluations across the panhandle, from Escambia to Jefferson County.

Not only are these irrigation assessments good for a farmer’s bottom line, but they are a highly effective way to help conserve Florida’s water resources. The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) estimates that the MIL evaluations have resulted in more than 9.25 million gallons of water saved per day across the district, totaling more than 2.5 billion gallons saved to date. The MIL is funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the NWFWMD.

The team places a water collection bucket every 20 meters in a straight line along the path of the center pivot to capture irrigated water. Once the buckets are in place, the pivot is turned on and starts moving across the field.

Why are these evaluations important and how are they done?

The MIL wants to make sure that a farmer’s irrigation system is running at maximum efficiency, and a major part of this is making sure that the center pivot distributes water evenly across the field. If not, some plants receive less water than others, and farmers have to increase the amount of water applied to make sure all plants get enough. In areas that are over-watered, fertilizers can move past the crop’s root zone into the aquifer system. These nutrients are no longer available for plants to use, and they contaminate our water resources. By fixing distribution problems, farmers reduce the amount of water used and operating costs are lowered – less fertilizer is wasted and pumping costs (electricity or fuel costs) are reduced.

When the pivot has moved past the buckets, Rex Patterson measures the content of each one while Robert Patterson records the data. This will let the team know how evenly the pivot system is distributing water in the field.

During an MIL evaluation, the team will go through the entire irrigation system to evaluate how effectively it is running. This includes testing the center pivot’s distribution uniformity (how evenly water is applied to plants in the field), the application rate, pivot speed, water pressure, water flow rate and checking for leaks. The MIL analyzes this information and prepares a confidential report for the farmer. Recommendations to improve efficiency can include replacing sprinklers, fixing leaks and end gun adjustments, among others. Farmers can have an evaluation done every three years.

Mark Miles (left) places the flow meter on the center pivot’s pipe stand and Rex Patterson (right) waits for the system to pressurize before checking the water’s flow rate on the meter’s console.

How do you schedule an irrigation evaluation for your farm?

To schedule an appointment with the Northwest Florida Mobile Irrigation Lab, call: (850) 482-0388; Fax: (850) 463-8618. Their offices are located on 4155 Hollis Drive, Marianna, FL 32448.

If your farm is outside the Panhandle, us the following FDACS website to contact the MIL that serves your area:   MILs in Florida.  There are currently 14 MILs providing services in 62 counties across the state.

Cost-share funds for irrigation management

FDACS, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the water management districts offer cost-share funds for irrigation management, which includes irrigation system enhancements and conversions, end gun control and pump bowl upgrades among others. Contact your local FDACS field staff, NRCS office and water management district for more information on available cost-shares and funding deadlines. This information can be found on the following websites:

 

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Author: Andrea Albertin – albertin@ufl.edu

Dr. Andrea Albertin is the Northwest Regional Specialized Agent in Water Resources.

Andrea Albertin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/11/the-mobile-irrigation-lab-team-helping-panhandle-farmers-lower-costs-and-conserve-water/

Beekeeping in the Panhandle Summer Series – Starts August 17th

Beekeeping in the Panhandle Summer Series – Starts August 17th

European Honey Bees
Photo: Ashley N. Mortensen; University of Florida

The UF/IFAS Extension Panhandle Agriculture Team is pleased to offer three intermediate level beekeeping classes.  These classes will be offered via interactive web-conferencing at a number of Extension Offices across North Florida and will be taught by state and nationally recognized specialists.  This summer series will be Thursday evenings from 6-7:30 pm Central Time, 7-8:30 pm Eastern Time.  Each presentation will be followed by a question / answer period with the speaker.  Registration for all three classes is $ 15 per person, or $ 25 for a family up to four, and covers course materials and refreshments. 

Here is the lineup:

Thursday August 17th, Fall Pest and Disease Management -Varroa Mites and Nosema presented by Cameron Jack, UF/IFAS Bee Lab Apiarist

Thursday August 24th, Working With Pollination Contracts, presented by Jeanette Klopchin, FDACS Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection

Thursday September 7th, Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides, presented by Jeanette Klopchin, FDACS Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection.

Here is a link to a printable flyer and further details: Beekeeping in Panhandle Summer Series 2017. 

Please call your local UF/IFAS Extension Office to register.

Call and register today!

 

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Author: Judy Biss – judy.biss@ufl.edu

Judy Biss is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Biss

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/11/beekeeping-in-the-panhandle-summer-series-starts-august-17th-2/

Summer Rain in the Florida Panhandle

Summer Rain in the Florida Panhandle

ARTICLE BY DR. MATT DEITCH; water quality specialist – University of Florida Milton

Summer is a great time for weather-watching in the Florida panhandle. Powerful thunderstorms appear out of nowhere, and can pour inches of rain in an area in a single afternoon. Our bridges, bluffs, and coastline allow us to watch them develop from a distance. Yet as they come closer, it is important to recognize the potential danger they pose—lightning from these storms can strike anywhere nearby, and can cause fatality for a person who is struck. Nine people were killed by lightning strike in Florida in 2016 alone, more than in any other state. Because of the risk posed by lightning, my family and I enjoy these storms up-close from indoors.

Carpenter’s Creek in Pensacola
Photo: Dr. Matt Deitch

A fraction of the rain that falls during these storms is delivered to our bays, bayous, and estuaries through a drainage network of creeks and rivers. This streamflow serves several important ecological functions, including preventing vegetation encroachment and maintaining habitat features for fish and amphibians through scouring the streambed. High flows also deposit fine sediment on the floodplain, helping to replenish nutrients to floodplain soil. On average, only about one-third of the water that falls as rain (on average, more than 60 inches per year!) turns into streamflow. The rest may either infiltrate soil and percolate into groundwater; or be consumed and transpired by plants; or evaporate off vegetation, from the soil, or the ground surface before reaching the soil. Evaporation and transpiration play an especially large role in the water cycle during summer: on average, most of the rain that falls in the Panhandle occurs during summer, but most stream discharge occurs during winter.

The water that flows in streams carries with it many substances that accumulate in the landscape. These substances—which include pollutants we commonly think of, such as excessive nutrients comprised of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as silt, oil, grease, bacteria, and trash—are especially abundant when streamflow is high, typically during and following storm events. Oil, grease, bacteria, and trash are especially common in urban areas. The United States EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have listed parts of the Choctawhatchee, St. Andrew, Perdido, and Pensacola Bays as impaired for nutrients and coliform bacteria. Pollution issues are not exclusive to the Panhandle: some states (such as Maryland and California) have even developed regulatory guidelines in streams (TMDLs) for trash!

Many local and grassroots organizations are taking the lead on efforts to reduce pollution. Some municipalities have recently publicized efforts to enforce laws on picking up pet waste, which is considered a potential source of coliform bacteria in some places. Some conservation groups in the panhandle organize stream debris pick-up days from local streams, and others organize volunteer citizens to monitor water quality in streams and the bays where they discharge. Together, these efforts can help to keep track of pollution levels, demonstrate whether restoration efforts have improved water quality, and maintain healthy beaches and waterways we rely on and value in the Florida Panhandle.

Santa Rosa Sound
Photo: Dr. Matt Deitch

 

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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/29/summer-rain-in-the-florida-panhandle/

Beekeeping in the Panhandle Summer Series – Starts August 17th

Beekeeping in the Panhandle Summer Series – Starts August 17th

Bees and Brood. Photo by Judy Biss

The UF/IFAS Extension Panhandle Agriculture Team is pleased to offer three intermediate level beekeeping classes.  These classes will be offered via interactive web-conferencing at a number of Extension Offices across North Florida and will be taught by state and nationally recognized specialists.  This summer series will be Thursday evenings from 6-7:30 pm Central Time, 7-8:30 pm Eastern Time.  Each presentation will be followed by a question / answer period with the speaker.  Registration for all three classes is $ 15 per person, or $ 25 for a family up to four, and covers course materials and refreshments. 

Here is the lineup:

Thursday August 17th, Fall Pest and Disease Management -Varroa Mites and Nosema presented by Cameron Jack, UF/IFAS Bee Lab Apiarist

Thursday August 24th, Working With Pollination Contracts, presented by Jeanette Klopchin, FDACS Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection

Thursday September 7th, Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides, presented by Jeanette Klopchin, FDACS Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection.

Here is a link to a printable flyer and further details: Beekeeping in Panhandle Summer Series 2017. 

Please call your local UF/IFAS Extension Office to register.

Call and register today!

 

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Author: Judy Biss – judy.biss@ufl.edu

Judy Biss is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Biss

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/29/beekeeping-in-the-panhandle-summer-series-starts-august-17th/

Snails have Invaded the Western Panhandle

Snails have Invaded the Western Panhandle

Snails on cotton. Photo credit Sam Lincoln

Snails on corn.

Snails have invaded some local areas throughout northern Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties this summer. The snails are tan colored, high and conical, with mature snails about ¾ to 1-inch long. They have been found in extremely high numbers in some crop fields, including corn, cotton, and peanuts, in home gardens, and around farm buildings adjacent to fields. We first started seeing large numbers of these snails two years ago and they were identified as Bulimulus sporadicus, an introduced species from the West Indies. These snails were first reported in Florida in the Jacksonville area in 2009, mainly around railroad tracks. Since then populations have been reported in other parts of the state including Hillsborough, Nassau, Putnam, Clay, Bay, Polk, and Seminole Counties. Other southeastern states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi have reported similar snail infestations in recent years. Pictures from a soybean field last year posted on the Lowndes County, Georgia, Extension blog appear to show the same species.

As far as we can tell, they are not chewing plant parts or causing damage like slugs. However, a heavy infestation found recently on volunteer corn appears to be sucking plant juices causing the plants to decline. In many cases it appears they are feeding on decaying vegetation, especially in minimum tillage situations.

Bulimulus spp.

To our knowledge there is not an economical chemical control for use in row crops. In 2005, Extension specialists in Mississippi conducted several studies looking at control options for snails and slugs with limited success. Insecticides simply did not work.

Snails and slugs are favored by high humidity and wet conditions, which we have certainly had this year. In a home landscape situation, the elimination of mulch, ground cover, or other areas that hold moisture may provide cultural control. Specially formulated molluscicide baits are available, but we do not know of research showing their effectiveness on this species. Metaldehyde-containing baits have long been available. However, they are quite toxic to pets and wildlife, so care must be exercised if this toxicant is applied. Alternatives to metaldehyde include products containing iron phosphate or boric acid. Iron phosphate is much safer than metaldehyde for use around pets and vertebrate wildlife. Boric acid, while also safer than metaldehyde, seems to be much less effective than iron phosphate.

Snails on a picnic table.

References:

Snails on fence post

 

Snails on a farm building,

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Author: Michael Donahoe – mcd@ufl.edu

Michael Donahoe is the County Extension Director in Santa Rosa County. His educational program focuses on agronomic crop production with primarly responsibilities in integrated pest management and cotton production.

Michael Donahoe

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/14/snails-have-invaded-the-western-panhandle/

Cogongrass Spreading in the Panhandle

Cogongrass Spreading in the Panhandle

A recent increase in the spread of cogongrass has landowners scrambling to find ways to stop this invasive plant. There are ways to combat cogongrass, with positive identification and persistent treatment being paramount.

Figure 1: From left to right, Cogongrass Infestation, Uneven Mid-Rib, and “Toothpick” Root. Credit: Ray Bodrey, UF/IFAS Gulf County Extension

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is found all over the world. In the U.S, it is primarily found in the southeast. Cogongrass was purposely introduced as a soil stabilizer for pasture lands in Florida during the 1930’s and 1940’s. It wasn’t long before ranchers and agricultural scientists realized that cogongrass was an invasive species. Once established, cogongrass has the ability to overrun a pasture to the point that it will become the dominant plant species. It’s a perennial grass with a vast, ever expanding root system. This grass can grow in any soil type and is drought tolerant. Therefore, it thrives no matter how poor the soil environment. The major concern with cogongrass is its ability to alter and eliminate native plant habitat.

Cogongrass can be confused with other grasses, like switchgrass. This is especially possible early in the year before the bloom. To identify cogongrass, first investigate the growing pattern. Cogongrass usually infiltrates an area in patches. As shown in figure 1, the grass blades are flat and have a defining white mid-rib. Blade edges are finely serrated, yellow to green in color and are uneven in width on each side of the mid-rib. The root system has a distinct “toothpick” root shoot that points upwards. As shown in figure 2, the seed head is fluffy, white, and feather shaped. The seed head can alarmingly yield 3,000 seeds per head.

Figure 2: Cogongrass Spreading / Seed heads. Credit: Mark Mauldin, UF/IFAS, Washington County.

The pest management strategy that has been most successful for cogongrass eradication consists of multiple types of herbicides sprayed over multiple year applications, with follow-up spot treatments. Prescribe burning can also be used in concert as an integrated approach.  The following table provides treatment recommendations for cogongrass in grazing lands.

Please note the following precautions, however, when using Imazapyr (Arsenal/Stalker):

  • Imazapyr will severely injure or kill non-target species such as Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass and hard wood trees.
  • It has a long soil half-life and will remain in the soil months after application.
  • Because of its soil persistence, Imazapyr can also move down slope during rainfall events, killing or injuring other non-target plants.
  • Oaks and other hardwood trees are especially sensitive to Imazapyr.
  • Imazapyr can only be used as a “spot-treatment” with no more than 10% of the pasture area treated per year.

Herbicide suggestions for small infestations of cogongrass in grazing areas. This includes both improved and native rangeland. These concentrations are good for mixing in small (3–30 gallon) sprayers. Source: Cogongrass Biology, Ecology, and Management in Florida Grazing Lands

The total expense for control efforts can be daunting to the landowner. Fortunately, the Florida Forest Service will soon be implementing a Cogongrass Treatment Cost-Share Program. This program will be administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service, which is funded through a USDA Forest Service grant. The program offers up to a 50% reimbursement towards the cost of approved herbicide treatments on non-industrial private land over a 2-year period.  The Florida Forest Service will soon be accepting applications.  For more information, please contact your County Forester, or contact your local county extension office.

Supporting information for this article can be found in the UF/IFAS EDIS publication:

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) Biology, Ecology, and Management in Florida Grazing Lands by B. A. Sellers, J. A. Ferrell, G. E. MacDonald, K. A. Langeland, and S. L. Flory

 

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Author: Ray Bodrey – rbodrey@ufl.edu

Gulf County Extension Director, Agent II Agriculture & Natural Resource, Horticulture, Sea Grant

Ray Bodrey

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/cogongrass-spreading-in-the-panhandle/

Our Panhandle Springs Provide a Magical Experience

Our Panhandle Springs Provide a Magical Experience

Imagine yourself as an early settler, migrating with your family into the area known as La Florida, with the hope of staking a claim and building a new life. You’ve heard stories of horrendous mosquitos, fierce native peoples, deadly snakes, and giant alligators. Regardless, the promise of abundant fish and wildlife, a year-round growing climate and a chance to start anew, override any doubts you might have and you pack your wagon, hitch up your mules and head south with great anticipation.

Florida’s springs are world famous. They attracted native Americans and settlers; as well as tourists and locals today.
Photo: Erik Lovestrand

Well, the mosquitos have been horrendous, one of your mules was bitten by a rattlesnake but survived, and one of your hounds was taken by an alligator at a river crossing. You are in your second month of travel and you’ve come into a strange area of forest that stretches for miles in all directions. Deep, white sands clutch at your wagon wheels and make tough going for the mules. The land is forested by tall majestic pines and the terrain is gently rolling with an open view across a landscape dominated by wiry grasses and other low growing herbaceous plants. The buzzing sound of insects in the trees makes it seem even hotter for some reason and everyone is tired and thirsty as you spy a dark line of hardwood trees just down-slope. You decide to take refuge in the shade to rest the lathered mules and hope for a water source to refill your dangerously low water cask.

As you walk back under the shady canopy you find an obvious trail that has been used by other humans for generations as evidenced by a deep rut worn into the ground between exposed limestone boulders. As luck would have it, you see the glint of water through the trees ahead. When you clear the trees near the water’s edge you stop abruptly in stunned amazement. The image of a deep blue pool of crystal clear water with a small stream exiting into the woods causes you to shake your head in disbelief. You must be dreaming, as you’ve never witnessed such a magical setting; water boiling out of a gaping hole in the earth, surrounded by white sand and long flat blades of grass waving in the current.

Just about everyone who has visited one of our sparkling North Florida springs probably has a similar, magical recollection of their first encounter. As surface water percolates downward through soil layers and the porous karst (limestone) bedrock, it is filtered and cleaned to incredible clarity. The clear water gushing forth in these artesian-spring flows remains 69-70 degrees year-round in our Panhandle springs. This is due to their open aquifer connection, from which many homes draw their drinking water directly.

However, there are some serious vulnerabilities that our springs are facing regarding the quality of the water that they provide for residents and visitors alike. One issue relates to the numerous sink holes throughout our landscape that also connect directly to this same Floridan aquifer. In the past, many of these holes have served as dumping grounds for items ranging from household garbage, to junk cars, old washing machines and refrigerators, and even the occasional murder victim. Imagine all of the pollutants that end up in our drinking water supply as a result of this. Another concern relates to pollution that goes onto the ground surface and ends up in the aquifer. This happens via runoff from paved surfaces, sediments and excess fertilizers or pesticides from the landscape, or even the intentional application of treated wastewater in spray fields located in a “spring-shed.” Water clarity and quality at many of our well-known springs has suffered from excess nutrients that cause algal growth and other unwanted, nuisance plant proliferation.

As we gain a better understanding of how water moves through our landscape and ends up flowing from these natural springs, we should become better stewards by minimizing our human impacts that degrade spring water quality. Let’s keep the magic alive for all of our future generations of nature explorers.

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Author: Erik Lovestrand – elovestrand@ufl.edu

Erik Lovestrand

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/30/our-panhandle-springs-provide-a-magical-experience/

Frequent Rains Induce Slime Mold in Panhandle Lawns

Frequent Rains Induce Slime Mold in Panhandle Lawns

Slime Mold Sporangia. Image Courtesy Matthew Orwat

Although black or white streaks are shocking when they appear on an otherwise healthy lawn,  slime molds are rarely harmful.

Slime mold is actually caused by the small round fruiting bodies of a special type of fungal-like organisms called Myxomycetes. While regularly present in the soil, they usually make a visual appearance on warm humid days in late spring or early summer after extended periods of rain. This extended period of heat and humidity, currently being experienced in the Florida Panhandle, initiates the perfect climate for slime mold development.

As depicted in the picture, slime mold makes the lawn look like it was just spray-painted with black or grey paint.  They can sometimes be pink, white, yellow or brown as well. The round fruiting bodies, called sporangia, carry the spores which will give rise to the next generation of the mold. After a few days the sporangia will shrivel up, release the spores and leave no noticeable trace on the lawn.

Closeup: Slime Mold in Centipedegrass. Image courtesy Matthew Orwat

Currently, no fungicide exists to control slime mold because chemical control is not necessary. An excellent method to speed up the dissipation of slime mold is to mow or rake the lawn lightly. This will disturb the spores and hasten their departure. Another effective removal method is to spray the lawn with a forceful stream of water.  This process washes off the slime mold sporangia and restores the lawn to its former dark green beauty.

Excessive thatch accumulation also increases the probability of slime mold occurrence.

For more information consult your local county extension agent consult the UF / IFAS Slime Mold Fact Sheet, or read the Alabama Cooperative Extension publication Slime Mold on Home Lawns.

Slime Mold in Centipedegrass. Image Courtesy Matthew Orwat

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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.
http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu/lng/about/

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/16/frequent-rains-induce-slime-mold-in-panhandle-lawns/

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