Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homeowner Fruit Growers' Calendar

Upcoming Fruit Workshops and Meetings that are "musts" for any backyard orchard hobbyist.  Some of the programs also target commercial producers.  If your group has a fruit-related program, please comment below, and I will be happy to add it to the calendar.  We look forward to seeing you at one of the events listed below.

Mar. 1 Beginning Grape Growers Workshop,

Wolfe County Extension Office, Campton, KY.

Topics include vineyard economics, site selection, soil

preparation, cultivar selection, planting and disease

control. Contact Daniel Wilson 606-668-3712.

Mar. 2 Organic Fruit and Vegetable Production

for Home Gardeners, Bell County Extension Offi

ce, 101 Courthouse Square, Pineville, KY 11:00 a.m.

ET. Contact Stacy White 606-337-2376

Mar. 2 Home Fruit Production, Harlan

County Extension Office, 519 South Main St., Harlan,

KY. 4:00 p.m. ET. Contact Jeremy Williams 606-573-


Mar. 5 Fruit Tree Sprays, Bullitt County

Extension Office, 384 Halls Lane, Shepherdsville, KY.

6:00 p.m. ET., This class will cover a multitude of fruit

tree problems, preventative care and chemical control

for these problems. Contact Lorilee George 502-543-


Mar. 6-7 Illinois Small Fruit and Strawberry

School, Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn, Mt. Vernon, IL.

March 6th will feature bramble and blueberry presentations.

March 7th will concentrate on matted row

and plasticulture strawberry production. Contact Jeff

Kindhart at 618-695-2770 or

Mar. 8 Beginning Grape Growers Workshop,

Wolfe County Extension Office, Campton, KY.

Field demonstrations will include pruning and training

new and established vines. The vineyard location is to

be determined. Contact Daniel Wilson 606-668-3712.

Mar. 13 Grafting Workshop, Boyle County

Extension Office, 99 Corporate Dr., Danville, KY.

10:00 a.m. ET. Contact Jerry Little 859-236-4484.

Mar. 16 Home Fruit Workshop:  Blueberries, What Did I Do

Wrong?, Managing Diseases in Backyard Fruit, and

Apple Grafting Workshop, Garrard County. Lancaster

Baptist Church Family Life Center on Richmond St.,

Lancaster, KY. 9:30a.m.-2:30 p.m. ET. Contact Jay

Hettmansperger 859-792-3026.

Mar. 19 Pruning Fruit Trees, Bullitt County

Extension Office, 384 Halls Lane, Shepherdsville, KY.

6:00 p.m. ET., This class will cover the basics of pruning

fruit trees and the challenges of pruning older trees.

Contact Lorilee George 502-543-2257.

Mar. 22 Apple Grafting Workshop, Jessamine

County Extension Office, 95 Park Dr., Nicholasville,

KY. 6:30 p.m. ET. Contact Rob Amburgy 859-


Mar. 27 Blackberry and Raspberry Production

and Home Strawberry Production, 2:00 p.m.

and 6:00 p.m. CT respectively, Barren County Extension

Office, 1463 West Main St., Glasgow, KY. Contact

Kristin Gooden 270-651-3818.

Apr. 13 KSHS Orchard Tour, Boyd’s Orchards,

1390 Pickard Pike, Versailles, KY. Terry and

Susie Boyd operators and Black Diamond Blackberry

Farm, Lexington, KY, Dr. John and Lucie Dvorak operators.

Apr. 16 Budding and Grafting Fruit Trees,

Bullitt County Extension Office, 384 Halls Lane, Shepherdsville,

KY. 6:00 p.m. ET. Contact Lorilee George


Apr. 21, Kentucky Nut Growers Association

Spring Meeting, Marion County Extension Offi ce, 415

Fairgrounds Rd., Lebanon, KY. 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Contact Danny Ganno phone: 270-860-8362 or email:

May 17, KSHS Orchard Tour, Ayres Family

Farm, 525 Wilson Lane, Owenton, KY. Contact John

Strang 859-257-5685; email:

Jun. 3 Kentucky Vineyard Society Field

Day, U.K. Horticultural Research Farm, 4321 Emmert

Farm Rd., Lexington, KY. Contact Alicia McGuire

phone: 502-777-8777; email:

July 22-25 Northern Nut Growers Association

Annual Meeting, University of Kentucky, Lexington,

KY and Kentucky State University Research Farm,

Frankfort, KY. Contact John Strang 859-257-5685 or


Jan. 7-8, 2013 Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable

Conference, Embassy Suites Hotel, Lexington, KY.

Contact John Strang phone: 859-257-5685 or email:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

April showers bring May… Disease?

An Introduction to Water Molds

Spring rains can create growing conditions that are devastating to most landscape plants.  For example, excess water is responsible for a disorder called “wet feet,” which results from the suffocation of plant roots as waterlogged soil loses oxygen.  However, suffocation is not the only injury to nursery or landscape plants during rainy spring weather.  Wet soils are favored by a group of pathogens called water molds, or oomycetes, which cause a range of root and stem diseases. 

Water molds are found in most soils, but plant stress and high pathogen numbers can lead to severe disease.  Common water molds such as Phytophthora and Pythium cause roots rots, stem rots, collar rots, and damping off diseases in both woody and herbaceous plants.  They are also responsible for downy mildews and some foliar blights in upper plant parts.



Symptoms differ according to plant type and infection site.  Root rot symptoms begin, not surprisingly, at the roots.  However, because roots are concealed, disease often goes undetected until plants begin to decline or upper plant parts wilt as a result root reduction.  Disease often begins during rainy spring weather, but it is typically not noticed until hot dry weather initiates wilting. 

Water molds can also cause above-ground infections.  These symptoms can range from yellow mottling of leaves to water-soaked lesions on leaves and succulent stems.  Woody stems and trunks may develop cankers just above the soil line, often at a wound site.  Cankers are usually dark-colored and may exude sap or “bleed.”


Uniqueness of water molds

Water mold pathogens are very different from true fungi; they require free water to complete their life cycles.  Initial infections often occur during rainy spring weather as temperatures begin to warm.  After infection, pathogens release large numbers of “swimming” spores that move on films of water.  This is the repeating stage that leads to disease epidemics if wet conditions continue.  Spores are spread by splashing water and movement of contaminated soil particles.

Once established, water molds can produce survival structures that allow them to lie dormant during hot dry seasons.  Available water can reinvigorate these structures and the disease cycle can begin again.  Many water molds occur naturally in soils, and proliferation under wet conditions can be devastating to plants.

Disease Prevention Using Cultural Practices

Most water mold diseases can be prevented or managed using cultural practices.  Consider the management tips below to prevent infections or to help manage infected nursery or landscape plants.

·         Improve drainage

o   Manage surface water

o   Plant in raised beds

o   Divert downspouts

o   Use organic matter to improve internal drainage

o   Limit irrigation

o   Manage nursery runoff from infested areas

·         Disinfest tools, containers, and greenhouses  to eliminate spread

o   Commercial sanitizers are available

o   10% Lysol® concentrate and 10% bleach are also effective.  Bleach is corrosive on metals, so rinse tools well before storage.

·         Dispose of infested potting media

o   Do not reuse contaminated soils

·         Destroy infected nursery and greenhouse plants as soon as possible

o   Do not compost infected plants

·         Remove plant debris and other sources of inoculum before spring

o   Rake and destroy leaves and debris

·         Reduce splash

o   Use drip irrigation

o   Mulch exposed soils

·         Use resistant cultivars whenever possible

Management using fungicides

Water molds are not true fungi, so not all fungicides will be effective against these pathogens.  Fungicides must be specifically labeled for oomycetes.  Select fungicides that contain one of the active ingredients listed below.  Efficacy of these fungicides is dependent on plant and pathogen type; read labels carefully. 

Fungicide active ingredients effective against water molds:

·         Azoxystrobin (Heritage)

·         Cyazofamid (Segway)

·         Etridiazole (Terrazole, Banrot)

·         Mefenoxam (Subdue)

·         Propamocarb (Banol*)

·         Phosphorus acid (Alude, Agri-Fos**)

* Not for use in residential landscapes, for commercial use only.
** Available to homeowners.

See our fungicide guides PPFS-OR-W-14 and PPFS-GH-3 at for more information concerning fungicide use or contact your local UK Extension agent for assistance.

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KLI presentation links

Dr. Win Dunwell posted links to several sessions presented at the
Kentucky Landscape Industries 2012 Winter Conference

Visit his website at

Bob Hill_- Fun and Whimsy in the Landscape
Carey Grable_- Product Trial RootTrapper®-In-Pot Insert
Elizabeth Peters - Oregon Nurseries are harnessing the POWER of LEAN
Jim Wallitsch - Lean Flow_at Wallitsch Nursery and Garden Center
Lori May - Raker Trial Gardens 2011 Top Landscape Items
Margie Hunter - WildlifeNativesHandout_KLI_2012.pdf
Mark Czarnota - Herbicides for the Nursery and Landscape Industry
Mark Czarnota - Some Troublesome Weeds of Ornamentals
Nicole Ward - Spring Landscape Disease Management
Rebecca Schnelle - PGRs: New Products and Uses
Sarah Vanek - What's happening in the pest community? Using an Events Calendar To Focus Insect Scouting Efforts

Friday, February 3, 2012

Why Topping Hurts Trees

Why Topping Hurts Trees from

Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. Yet, despite more than 25 years of literature and seminars explaining its harmful effects, topping remains a common practice.

What is Topping?
Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or to lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include "heading," "tipping," "hat-racking," and "rounding over."

Topping is often used to reduce the size of a tree. A homeowner may feel that a tree has become too large for his or her property, or that tall trees may pose an unacceptable risk. Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce future risk. In fact, topping will increase risk in the long term.

Topping Stresses Trees
Topping can remove 50 to 100 percent of a tree’s leaf-bearing crown. Leaves are the food factories of a tree. Removing them can temporarily starve a tree and trigger various survival mechanisms. Dormant buds are activated, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do so, it will be seriously weakened and may die.

A stressed tree with large, open pruning wounds is more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations. The tree may lack sufficient energy to chemically defend the wounds against invasion, and some insects are actually attracted to the chemical signals trees release.

Topping Leads to Decay
Correct pruning cuts are made just beyond the branch collar at the point of attachment. The tree is biologically equipped to close such a wound, provided the tree is healthy enough and the wound is not too large. Cuts made along a limb between lateral branches create stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. The exposed wood tissues begin to decay. Normally, a tree will "wall off," or compartmentalize, the decaying tissues, but few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds caused by topping. The decay organisms are given a free path to move down through the branches.

Topping Can Lead to Sunburn
Branches within a tree’s crown produce thousands of leaves to absorb sunlight. When the leaves are removed, the remaining branches and trunk are suddenly exposed to high levels of light and heat. The result may be sunburn of the tissues beneath the bark, which can lead to cankers, bark splitting, and death of some branches.

Topping Can Lead to Unacceptable Risk
The survival mechanism that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old branches. Unlike normal branches that develop in a socket of overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are anchored only in the outermost layers of the parent branches and are weakly attached.

The new shoots grow quickly, as much as 20 feet (6 m)in one year in some species. Unfortunately, the shoots are prone to breaking, especially during windy or icy conditions. While the original goal was to reduce risk by reducing height, risk of limb failure has now increased.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lean Makes Green Workshop

Lean Makes Green Workshop for nursery owners and managers
Feb 29 Lyndon, KY, $25 per person

Reduce operating costs, improve quality, free-up time, better manage inventory. 

Contact Sarah Vanek or 859-257-1273