Desirable Foliage & Bark Issues

I am seeing nuts forming on trees in Thomas County and dry weather has helped lessen scab severity. All orchards have sprayed two or three times by now – some more. Here are some notes from UGA Extension Horticulturalists Dr. Lenny Wells on some issues he has had calls about in Desirables. We may observe leaf drop and bark flaking, but this is not much concern.

Bark Flaking Off

Bark Flaking-Photo by Dr. Lenny Wells

Bark Flaking-Photo by Dr. Lenny Wells

I get calls every year about ‘Desirable’ pecan trees on which the bark is peeling off or sloughing off in large chunks. While it occurs on other cultivars, this is a common occurrence and yet another quirk of ‘Desirable’. When trees grow in diameter the older, outside bark can’t stretch. This is why, on younger trees, the outer bark cracks as they grow. The shape and pattern of these cracks are genetic traits of the tree and varies by cultivar. Older trees with scaly bark simply slough off bark. This process is helped along at times by woodpeckers searching for a meal of insects under the bark.

When large chunks of the bark slough off, it can be alarming to see, but it is nothing to worry about. This is simply a natural part of the tree’s growth process. Its just the outer layer of bark coming off, revealing a cinnamon-colored younger bark below, which will eventually take on a normal appearance as the tree continues to grow. This is often confused with lightning damage. As long as the bark doesn’t come completely off, revealing the wood (which will have a smooth, white appearance) underneath, the tree is fine.

Leaf Drop

I’ve also had a few calls in the last day or so regarding the dropping of leaves from ‘Desirable’ trees. This is an annual occurrence and is a physiological condition we see more pronounced when there is a fast change in environmental conditions as we’ve seen recently with a shift from cool and wet to hot and dry weather. ‘Desirable’ is more sensitive than many other cultivars to this and many other problems. Last year, this occurred in early June but the tree’s foliage/crop development as well as the shift in weather conditions has occurred earlier this year. This is something that seems to happen every year. Much of this minor leaf shed is simply the dropping of shaded leaves in the interior of the tree. A good, look at ‘Desirable’ trees often reveals a fair amount of bare limbs on the interior of the tree that the tree simply self-prunes.

At any rate, this early summer green leaf drop by ‘Desirable’ is largely inconsequential and doesn’t really pose a problem. It is simply a physiological response of the tree and is not related to a nutritional problem. It occurs each year and if you do not notice the defoliation when looking at the tree from a distance, but only see it when you look under the tree, there’s no worry. Growers with ‘Desirable’ in 2014, have more to worry about in the form of scab than they have in a minor leaf drop.

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Egg Candling Class – June 30th

I’ve had a few questions this season about backyard poultry and selling eggs. Selling eggs does require an egg candling license. Brooks County is holding an annual egg candling class with the GA Dept. of Ag on June 30th. See flyer below for details:

EggCandlingClass

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Leaf Spots On Corn

I was asked to look at some corn with leaf spots yesterday. The corn is tasseling now and actually silks are coming on the ears. I’ve been seeing these spots on all corn all across the county for some time as I check for disease. The spots I am finding are from herbicide drift and nitrogen burn – mostly herbicide. These are small, yellow spots on leaves from top of the plant down in the canopy some.

I have yet to find disease but Northern Corn Leaf Blight has been seen at low levels by Seminole County Agent Rome Ethredge and Terrell County Agent Nick McGhee. NCLB will have a cigar shaped lesion usually on lower leaves and is generally found in corn with tight rotations – especially corn behind corn. There are other leaf spots I am seeing but are of no concern also.

Northern Corn Leaf Blight-Photo by Nick McGhee

Northern Corn Leaf Blight-Photo by Nick McGhee

Herbicide Drift

Herbicide Drift

The photo below resembles Northern Corn Leaf Spot, not blight, and is not an issue or anything to be concerned.

Possible-NorthernCornLeafSpot

 

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Blue-Green Algae

Blue-GreenAlgae

Here is a spring fed pond where blue-green algae is showing up. There are many different types of pond scums and blue-green algaes. Based upon samples  microscope samples, this genera of blue-green algae that are capable of producing toxins. This can be harful to livestock and wildlife and is something we need to be careful about if you see this in the pond.

Blue-Green Algae

Blue-Green Algae

There must be a source of phosphorus and nitrogen that is allowing the growth of this algae. UGA Extension Aquaculture Specialist Dr. Gary Burtle says this is probably from water runoff in the winter and early spring brought nutrients into the pond. Without a volume of rainfall adequate to flush the pond, the algae continues to accumulate until scums form. Watershed ponds are more likely to flush, due to rainfall, than levee ponds used for aquaculture. We have long seen algal scum development as we feed catfish in ponds where water outflow is minimized and pumped water is used only to maintain water level. Some treatments Dr. Burtle has suggested can reduce the blue-green algae and destroy the scum.

I have information on pond scums I can send to anyone who would like to read about it. E-mail me at agsawyer@uga.edu. UGA also has a website called CyanoTracker dedicated to tracking toxic algal blooms anyone can report. If anyone wants to test water, The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and Dr. Burtle have also teamed developing a new test protocol that includes toxic algal identification.

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Picking Squash

BrandonBarnes-Squash

We sure have quite a bit more vegetable crops planted this season. I’ve been looking a lots of different vegetable set ups. Here is Brandon Barnes who has squash, egg plants and peppers planted this year. He has done a very good job. They picked Yellow Straightneck and Zucchini squash last week.

BrandonBarnes-Squash-2

Downy mildew has not been as much of a concern with the dry weather the past 2 weeks, but with rain and increase humidity we need to be aware of it moving again. Downy mildew was found in Echols County a few weeks ago when it was still raining and had cooler temperatures. New UGA Extension Vegetable Pathologist Dr. Bhabesh Dutta has this information on downy mildew of cucurbit.

“Downy mildew of squash has been detected in Georgia. These observations indicate that inoculum of downy mildew is currently in GA and under favorable conditions (cool and wet conditions) can be a potential problem in cucurbits. I would suggest our cucurbit growers to look for the downy mildew symptoms in their fields and start applying protective spray of stated fungicides.”

Downy Mildew on Cucumber

Downy Mildew on Cucumber

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UGA Cotton Market Update

Here is the most recent update from UGA Extension Economist Dr. Don Shurley:

CMN-5-12-15

 

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Pond Weeds – Fragrant Water Lilly

WaterLilly

This is a familiar weed seen in ponds. When folks see water lilly, they know what it is. Fragrant water lilly a perennial plant with leaves that come off stalks from rhizomes. The leaves of water lilly are more round than heart-shaped and 6 to 12 inches in diameter. Leaves usually float on the water’s surface. The flowers are very fragrant and have white petals with yellow centers. The flowers may float or stick above the water and each opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon. White water lily can spread from seeds or the rhizomes.

Water Lilly Flower

Water Lilly Flower

Products containing 2,4-D, glyphosate, fluridone, triclopy, and imazamox work well in controlling this weed. White water lily can be cut and the rhizomes be dug up; however physical control is difficult since it can reestablish from seeds or remaining rhizomes. Click this link for more information on Fragrant Water Lilly.

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