Monthly Archives: April 2014

Wheat Heading

Wheat-Heading 001

Wheat is flowering and kernels are starting to develop pushing into the milk stage. Most of the crop has been sprayed with a fungicide to protect from rust. April sprays should hold us out until harvest.

A few things to watch for:

Decatur County Agent, Justin Ballew, located wheat stem maggot in a field there. I have not seen or heard reports here. The maggot apparently bores into the stem at the bottom of the top internode and the grain head dies and turns white. UGA Extension Entomologist, Dr. David Buntin, says he has seen it before and usually at low levels in the field such as these. Below are two pictures from Seminole County Agent, Rome Ethredge.



For now we can still check for ahpids. Our threshold from heading to early dough stage is 10 aphids per head. Once the plant has lost its green color and we hit the hard dough stage, insect and disease management is ended. Aphids were not a problem in this field here, but I did see a hatch out. Something I’ve seen all season is good beneficial population. Here is a picture of a lady bug larvae (left) and some adult, baby, and mummy aphid on leaf (right).

Lady Bug Larvae 004Ahpids Wheat 006

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Filed under Entomology, Grain

Black Flies

I am getting reports of some flies pestering livestock, particularly horses and ponies. I took a picture of these flies on the microscope and sent them to UGA Extension Entomologist, Dr. Nancy Hinkle. She identified them as black flies (Simulium spp), also called “Buffalo Gnats.” Complains were these flies were biting in horses’ ears and causing them to bleed. The flies stay outside and did not move into the barn. Below is from Dr. Hinkle:


“These are black flies. They are native to Georgia and we have several different species.  This one will die out when the weather warms, but we’ll have another resurgence of a different species in the fall. They love to feed in horses’ ears and will leave them bloody and scabby.  They’re being produced in flowing streams, probably half a mile away from where the horses are (or more).  Area control is possible with Bti, but that’s a governmental decision, not something the individual horse owner can undertake.

During the times of year when they were worst, you can slather the inside of our horses’ ears with petroleum jelly – a physical barrier.  Otherwise, you have to spray the animal almost daily.  As she observed, these flies will not enter structures, so keeping animals stabled during the day really helps.”

Folks have complained about flies bothering people, which they can also.  Here is some information on black flies by University of Florida with some management options:

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Hedging Pecans

There is some interest in pruning pecans with a large hedging machine (hedging). The goal of hedging is to control tree size and make it easier to control scab increasing spray coverage and light in the orchard while maintaining a high tree density. UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist, Dr. Lenny Wells, has this to say:

HedgingThis is normally done in the winter and removes all the growth on one or both sides of a tree within a certain distance from the trunk and also usually tops the tree to control tree size. This is a common practice in the U.S. West and is beginning to be used here in Georgia.

  • One method of hedging is to hedge one side of both rows on every other middle in two successive years (alternating rows), skip year 3 and begin again in year 4.
  • Another method is to hedge every 5th row and over the course of 5 years, you hedge the whole orchard without taking too much growth at one time.

Preliminary research results here in Georgia indicate an  increasing advantage to hedging as more of the fruit are within reach of more efficacious fungicide coverage, along with no negative effect on yield and usually a positive effect.


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Scab Fungicide Programs

SprayingPecans 006

Here is Joseph Matthews putting out fungicide. Before the trees bud out, they can spray every other row since mist will travel through limbs. Everything has come out pretty good except for Stuarts and Sumners, so they will have to go down each row. So much rain in the past few weeks is forcing everyone to get off to a good start with fungicides.

UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist, Dr. Lenny Wells, has an update on deciding fungicide programs:

We’re fortunate to have a wide variety of fungicide options for pecan scab management. But getting the best use out of them and doing so in a manner that prevents resistance development can be confusing. We commonly get requests for a single fungicide program, but with so many options available, there are many different fungicide programs that could be put together. Below is an example of a fungicide program that would work. Bear in mind that we are not saying this is the best fungicide schedule possible. There are other fungicides that could be substituted here, but this does provide an example of an effective fungicide program for pecan scab:


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Filed under Disease, Pecans

Turf Disease Showing Up


With warm days and cool nights, we are beginning to see turfgrass diseases like this I found yesterday. I was able to look at some centipede turfgrass under the microscope and confirmed it to be Large/Brown Patch (below).

Rhizoctonia Solani

Rhizoctonia Solani

Rhizoctonia produces distinct mycelia with three characteristics for diagnostics: 1) septate hyphae that branch at 90 degree angles, 2) constrictions at the base of the branching, and is 3) tan to light brown color. Large/Brown Patch will infect in the Fall and Spring when temperatures reach over 80 degrees during the day and stay above 60 degrees at night. During the summer, I commonly find Take-All Patch which can really cause problems.

If this disease persists, UGA Extension Pathologist, Dr. Alfredo Martinez, recommends a fungicide application in the Fall followed by one in the Spring. As with most turf diseases, long-term cultural management is best. Here are some management  for Brown Patch:

  • Use low to moderate amounts of nitrogen, moderate amounts of phosphorous and moderate to high amounts of potash.
  • Avoid nitrogen applications when the disease is active.
  • Increase the height of cut.
  • Increase the air circulation.
  • Minimize the amount of shade.
  • Irrigate turf early in the day.
  • Improve the drainage of the turf.
  • Reduce thatch.
  • Apply lime if soil pH is less than 6.5
  • Remove dew from turf early in the day.
  • Fungicides are available to control the disease. Consult the 2014 UGA Georgia Pest Management Handbook.

Centipedegrass also succumbs to an environmental disordered termed “Centipede Decline.” Dead patches can be caused by this where centipede has been stressed and over-fertilized/managed. It is good to avoid weed control during green up. Make sure not to fertilize too early – generally late April/Early May is good fertilizing timing. Centipede does not like more than 1 lb of nitrogen/1000 sq ft in a season, so do not over-fertilize.

Here is a link to the Turfgrass Diseases in Georgia: Identification and Control.




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Preplant Burndown Options For Peanuts

UGA Extension Peanut Weed Scientist, Dr. Eric Prostko has a few thoughts to consider about preplant burndown options for peanuts:

A) Primary burndown herbicides will either be glyphosate or paraquat.  As we get closer to planting, paraquat might be preferred if a quicker burndown is needed.

B) Potential tank-mix partners with either of the above herbicides include the following:

  1. 2,4-D (16 oz/A) – will help improve the control of wild radish and primrose.  Plant-back restriction for peanut based upon UGA research is 7 days.
  2. FirstShot (0.5-0.8 oz/A) – will also help improve the control of radish and primrose.  May also be useful in fields were off-target movement of 2,4-D is a concern.  Peanut plant-back restriction for FirstShot is 30 days.
  3. Aim or ET (1-2 oz/A) – either one of these herbicides can be useful in preplant burndown situations where annual morningglory plants (except smallflower) have already emerged. Aim can be applied anytime preplant up until 24 hours after planting. ET can be applied anytime preplant but before peanut emergence.

C) Growers who want to get early residual control of pigweed, especially when there is a potential long delay between application and planting, may want to include Dual Magnum (16 oz/A), Warrant (48 oz/A) or Valor (2 oz/A) in the burndown.  If Valor is used in the preplant burndown at least 30 DBP, an additional 2 oz/A can be used PRE after planting.  Valor will also help improve the POST control of radish and primrose (+10-15%).   I must admit that I would prefer either Dual or Warrant for residual control in this situation to help protect Valor from potential resistance issues.  There are no peanut plant-back restrictions for Dual or Warrant.

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Filed under Peanuts, Weed Science

Pecan Budbreak

Budbreak-CatkinsComingOut 010

Many pecan orchards have received their first fungicide spray of the season. Many are starting with a spray of Absolute and sometimes mixing that with another. Weed control and some fertilizing is still going on. Mowing has also started up, although the rain has slowed it all down. I looked at this orchard today before the storm came in. Most Desirables here are popping out. They will be a few days ahead of the Stuarts. Above is a picture of catkins coming out. They bear the male flowers.

UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist, Dr. Lenny Wells says the catkins coming out is a good sign. “Although catkins don’t guarantee a good crop of female flowers, a good catkin crop is usually associated with a good female flower crop.” We should see our Female flowers in another couple of weeks. Dr. Wells says female flowers (pistillate flowers) are actually induced in August but not detectable until the next spring. This means the current year’s crops was largely determined during the previous growing season. Female flowers will form on the spikes at the tips of new branches.

This orchard did pretty well last year managing scab disease. Still, the disease hurt Thomas County and the rest of the state last season with the rain. Here is a link to the 2014 UGA Pecan Spray Guide.



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Peanut Inoculant Considerations

It’s been a cool and wet winter, and we’re coming out of what was the wettest year on record in many locations.  Here is a refresh on peanut inoculant applications from UGA Agronomist, Dr. Scott Tubbs:

Because of the conditions mentioned above, the rate of survivability of native Bradyrhizobia present in the soil is likely to be much lower than in most years (regardless of how many years it has been since the last time peanut or a cross-inoculating species was grown in a field).  Therefore, I would highly recommend growers to strongly consider the investment in a peanut inoculant at-planting this year, especially in poor draining fields that had standing water for more than a couple days.  When soils are saturated, oxygen is depleted and several things can occur with respect to these bacteria.  First, if heavy rainfall occurred shortly after a liquid inoculant was applied the last time peanuts were grown in a field, it is possible that the concentration of the Bradyrhizobia bacteria was drawn away from seed furrow from dilution or leaching.  Saturated conditions can also kill the bacteria leaving lower native populations for infecting future peanut plantings.  When saturated conditions occur while peanuts are growing in a field, N-fixation is halted since oxygen is needed in this process, but is not readily available in the soil pore space since water occupies all of that volume.

Also keep in mind that the product is listed on the label to be delivered at around 1.0 fl oz per 1,000 linear row feet (may differ slightly depending on which product is selected).  This is developed for single row application.  Inoculant application is not like adjusting seeding rate, where you are pulling half of the amount out and moving it over to the adjacent twin furrow.  With an inoculant, the applied amount needs to be per furrow, therefore a twin row planting inoculant application will double the amount of inoculant applied compared to a single row planting.  I have no data to support using a half-rate of inoculant per furrow to keep the total application rate per acre the same as a single row planting.

Some additional reminders regarding inoculant formulation decisions:

  • When applied at labeled recommendations, the amount of viable cells delivered on a per acre basis does vary by formulation, with the liquid inoculants supplying the most (8.3 x 1011 cells/A), followed by sterile peat products (5.8 x 1011 cells/A), and granular supplying the least (2.4 x 1011 cells/A).  However, this should not be the primary deciding factor on which formulation to select.
  • Sterile peat/powder formulations are only recommended if there is no way of applying the other formulations.  To get good coverage/sticking of the product to the seed, the seed need to be moistened.  This requires drying time to prevent messy planter problems.  When applied dry, there will be inadequate seed coverage.  I have data showing reduced nodulation and yields using this formulation compared to the other formulations.
  • Do not confuse the granular inoculant formulation with the sterile peat/powder formulation, they are not the same.  The granular formulation, while also a dry product, is not applied to the seed prior to planting, it is metered through a dry metering box such as an insecticide/herbicide hopper and placed in-furrow.
  • Regardless of formulation, these are living organisms.  If you want them to remain alive/viable, then don’t leave them sitting in the cab of a hot pickup truck or tractor, nor exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Likewise, since this is a living medium, exposure to certain pesticides designed to kill living organisms (insecticides, fungicides, etc.) may adversely affect the product.  Minimize exposure to such products, and consult the labels/websites/representatives for more information about mixing of products.  There should be minimal concerns of exposure to typical peanut seed treatments, and short-term exposure to common in-furrow fungicides in the case of tank-mixes.  But a chlorine-free water source must be used as the carrier for liquid inoculants.
  • When soil conditions are relatively dry, liquid inoculants will disperse away from the intended target, thus the concentration of Bradyrhizobia near the seedling upon emergence and early season growth when infection should be occurring may be hindered.  The granular formulation will remain at the bottom of the seed furrow, where intended.  Therefore, in non-irrigated conditions with only marginal soil moisture, granular products should be considered.

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Nutsedge At Transplanting

BellPepper-Transplanted 002

Folks were able to get some things done last week before rain Friday. Here are some bell peppers transplanted into plastic with drip irrigation. We’ve already had some nutsedge come up through the plastic. One way to distinguish yellow and purple nutsedge is by the tip of the leaf blade. Yellow nutsedge will taper off at the tip where purple will be more rounded. Also, the yellow nutsedge tubers are more sweet to the taste compared to purple (not that I eat them regularly, but that taste is still in my mouth after Seminole Agent, Rome Ethredge made me eat some one day while he was teaching me the difference). In the situation here, a good control option would be a directed spray application of Sandea (halosulfuron). Check the Sandea label for specific instructions about timing and rate.

Yellow Nutsedge

Yellow Nutsedge

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