Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mosquito Control Training

The Spalding County Extension Office and the Center for Urban Agriculture have planned a training and recertification opportunity for mosquito control and public health pest managers. Mosquito Control 2015 is planned for Friday, April 17 in Griffin, GA. This credit goes to category 31 and 41. Find registration information or register online at and look under “Upcoming Events” in the top left corner or call (770) 229-3477 or e-mail


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Filed under Entomology

Pasture Renovation

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We’ll get calls about pastures that have been taken over by centipedegrass which is not suited as a forage for animals to graze. These pastures need to undergo renovation and re-establish a good forage variety. Centipedegrass can withstand a lower pH than bermudagrass – usually in the low 5’s. When we see pastures taken over by centipede, it usually means the pasture has not been limed in some time.

The first step in renovation is killing out the current grass species. This is better accomplished in the late summer/early fall with glyphosate. It can then be followed up by another spray, followed by planting a winter grass, like ryegrass. The next spring, that site needs to be cut or grazed real close and then sprig/seed your desired grass. UGA Extension Forage Agronomist Dr. Dennis Hancock has information on the UGA Forages website on specific grass species. (Click on Establishment Guidelines on the left and scroll down.) Here is what he says about centipede:

“Renovating an old common bermudagrass stand is very difficult. Even with repeated glyphosate sprays, there will be some survival of old rhizomes. Some tillage in combination with glyphosate sprays with help expose rhizomes and increase percent control. Common bermudagrass can be more completely controlled if the land can be rotated for one to three years to crops where intensive grass control measures can be employed, in addition to using the glyphosate sprays.”

I took a soil sample of this pasture above, and you can see how low the pH has dropped.



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Rush In Centipede

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Slender Rush

This is from a few weeks ago. Our turf and pastures are really starting to green up now. Here is a clumping, grass-like weed that sometimes pops up in our lawns this time of year. We looked at this on a sod farm south of Thomasville. It looks a lot like wild onion, but doesn’t smell at all like onion. The stems are round and hollow. It grows more in fields that are more wet. It turns out to be a rush. UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Patrick McCullough believes it is slender rush (Juncus tenuis). It generally doesn’t cause any trouble, and it dies out in the summer. If it needs to be treated, Dr. McCullough says the mixture products which contain 2,4-D control rush species fairly well. This would be something like Trimec or Triplet. Cultural control is really our best method – mowing, or pulling it.

Below is a picture of the roots and seedhead. We were able to find a seedhead from a plant last season. The seedhead has separated flowers.

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Slender Rush Seedhead

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Root system

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Filed under Turf, Weed Science

Forage Conference

ForageConferenceWhen we have slow grazing winters, we rely heavily upon hay during the winter. If you are looking at increases hay production on your farm, here is a good meeting to find some good forage and hay production information. Go to the UGA Forages website and click on UPCOMING EVENTS on the right hand side.

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Longleaf Issues

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Here are some longleaf pines being cut down on a plantation that are having some issues. The needles at the tops of the trees have turned brown and died back. It is a classic sign of Ips Engraver beetles. When a tree is struck by lightening, more often than not, Ips beetles will fly in and attack the tree. Ips will usually hit a few trees and then leave the area. Ips along with Southern Pine beetles induce blue-stain fungus which quickly kills the tree. The initial problem was that we were not seeing signs of Ips beetles.

Sawdust at the base of shortleaf pine is from Ambrosia Beetle

Sawdust at the base of shortleaf pine is from Ambrosia Beetle

Signs of beetle attack are pitch tubes on the bark/branches, sawdust at the bottom of the trees, or galleries (beetle tunnels) inside the bark. We inspected the few trees that had not been cut down and trees that had just been cut down. (SPB enter the middle and top of the trees. Ips will enter the tree at any spot. Only Black Turpentine beetles enter the bottom of the tree.) Photo to the left is sawdust left from secondary Ambrosia beetles.

Decay on shortleaf pine from Red Heart

Decay on shortleaf pine from Red Heart

Without the signs of any primary beetles, we considered disease. These trees had actually showed this decline since November. Since Ips beetles do induce blue-stain fungi, this would kill a tree very fast as fungi clog the vascular system stopping water movement up the tree. We are in a hot spot for Annosum root rot in our area since we have well-0drained sandy soils. However, annosum rarely causes trouble longleaf. It is devastating on slash and loblolly. The last thinning here was done 15 years ago, and annosum generally infects following a thinning.

UGA Extension Forestry Specialist Dr. David Moorhead pointed out that the tops of these trees are flattened out (top photo). This means these longleafs have ceased terminal growth and only growing laterally. They are at the age were they naturally will develop Red Heart. Red heart is normally confirmed when the tree is cut down and we see large decay inside the trunk. Sapwood here still looks good. The best management is to salvage declining trees without damaging other trees, and maintain overall forest health.

Sign of Red Heart is resin-soaked bark

Sign of Red Heart is resin-soaked bark

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Wheat Rust In Mitchell County

Today, Mitchell County Ag Agent Andy Shirley discovered wheat rust in Mitchell County.Wheat leaf rust is caused by the fungus Puccinia triticina. Wheat rust has the greatest effect on yield of any disease because of its ability to develop quickly in the right environment. Rust pathogens must be re-introduced each year; they do not overwinter. The detection is by scouting. We have both leaf rust and stripe rust. Leaf rust has reddish postures on the leaves that you can rub off on your finger. Stripe rust postures coalesce to form stripes between the veins of the leaf blade.

Photo by Andy Shirley

Rust postules – Photo by Andy Shirley

We will have to treat with fungicides to manage rust disease. The most important thing is to protect our flag leaves. However, wheat is only in the jointing phase now. It is best to wait as close to flag leaf to spray – if rust is not in the field. At this time, we need to be scouting our fields for rust. If rust is found, then a spray is needed – regardless of crop maturity.

A good option is to mix our chemistries for a curative and protective effect and help manage for resistance. We have triazole and strobilurin fungicides available. UGA Extension Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez says, “When leaf rust has become established in a field, triazole fungicides tend to be most effective. Strobilurins have a more preventive activity and tend to be weaker if rust is already in the field. Remember that protection of the flag leaf is of essential importance for yield preservation.” A complete list of wheat fungicides, rates and specific remarks and precautions can be found on page 60 of the 2014-15 Wheat Production Guide. More information on ID and control can be found at Identification and Control of Leaf Rust in Wheat in Georgia.

Rust spores - Photo by Andy Shirley

Rust spores – Photo by Andy Shirley

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Filed under Disease, Grain

Peanut Disease Update

Disease and nematode management will be a critical component for profitability and success in the 2015 season.  Below are points from UGA Extension Pathologist Dr. Bob Kemerait wants to pass along with regards to disease and nematode management in 2015:

  •  It is expected that there will be a significant increase in acreage planted to peanut in 2015.  Planting more peanuts at the expense of good crop rotation will surely lead to a reduction in yield over time.
  • The 2015 Peanut Rx app is available FREE for iPhones at the App store (search “Peanut Rx”) and on Android phones at Google Play (search “UGA Peanut Rx”).

Some growers are interested in using Proline fungicide either in-furrow or as an early-season treatment for management of white mold:

Question:  When would you consider a proline application early?

Answer: I would certainly consider an in-furrow use of Proline for fields where risk to CBR is high or where it has been a problem in the past.  An in-furrow use is an effective treatment for CBR.

I would also consider use of in-furrow Proline where additional efforts to manage white mold are desired, e.g. where white mold has been a problem, where fields are planted peanut to peanut, and perhaps in years where excessively high summer temperatures are expected.

NOTE:  An in-furrow use of Proline for control of white mold is NOT the BEST use of the product (banded early emergence applications are generally more consistent in protecting yield).  However, for growers who do not want, or are unable, to put out the banded application, an in-furrow application can have some efficacy.

From the data, the most effective way to use Proline is as a post-emergent, banded application likely between 3 and 5 weeks after emergence. This treatment is most appropriate for fields at increased risk to white mold. Factors that increase risk to white mold include:

A.  Short rotations with peanut.

B.  Fields with a history of losses to white mold

C.  Seasons that begin very much warmer than normal.  (Growers will have several weeks after planting to decide if such is the case.

  •  VELUM Total is now labeled for use in peanut as a management tool for nematodes and thrips. The rate for peanut will be 18 fl oz/A.  VELUM Total can be mixed with liquid inoculants and in-furrow fungicides.
  •  Registration for ELATUS fungicide (a combination of Abound and the SDHI fungicide “solatenol”) is expected to occur in time for use this growing season, but has not occurred yet.  When it is labeled, ELATUS will be an effective fungicide for management of leaf spot and soilborne diseases.

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Filed under Disease, Peanuts

Tomato Plant Fundraiser 2015

TomatoPlantFundraiserThe Thomas County 4-H office is having its annual Tomato Plant Fundraiser to raise money for scholarships for kids to attend summer camp. Plants are available for sale on Friday, March 20th. There will be 8 flats (800 plants) available. The tomatoes are the Amelia Variety and are sold at $1 per plant. Discounts are available if purchasing an entire flat (100 plants).

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Filed under Uncategorized

Burning Cogongrass

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Early last week, Mark Coram and I were looking at cogongrass on their plantation. Some parts of the leaf were turning green, and we were easily able to make an ID by the off centered midrib. We also pulled up some rhizomes. The rhizomes of cogongrass are sharp from the ground. This is a very small spot – actually an average size spot. My photo does not show it all, but it is textbook shape- a small circle and moving in a line away from the circle. It was likely brought in from a harrow. They are getting close to burning and we discussed the threat of cogongrass burning hot and injuring trees.

Off-center midrib

Off-center midrib

This is true and we want to be cautious about burning cogongrass since it can burns around 850 degrees F. Georgia Forestry Commision Forest Health Specilist Mark McClure says most trees on our plantations are widely spaced and damage from burning cogongrass is not a high risk. Mark says this is actually a good time to burn cogongrass and is a good idea to burn it if we see it. This is because fresh growth of cogongrass helps when treated. Mark McClure coordinates the Task Force of the Georgia Forestry Commission which treats reported cogongrass.

If you see what looks like cogongrass, call the Georgia Forestry Commission or the Extension Office (225-4130) to get a positive ID so it can be treated at no charge to the landowner.

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Filed under Forestry, Weed Science

Wheat Update

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I was able to get back into some wheat today and can see the crop is starting to look better. We had lots of nutrient deficiency with cold and rain over January and February. We planted also later because of being too wet at planting. We want to be on the look out for powdery mildew now. Berrien County Extension Agent Eddie Beasley has seen powdery mildew show up. This disease is not one we worry much about unless it reaches 2 leaves below flag leaf. Here is Eddie on video talking about Powdery Mildew Spotted In Wheat. I am also seeing aphids, but they are under threshold. Our aphid threshold at stem elongation before flag leaf is 2 aphids per stem.

Leaf Sheaths Strongly Erect

Leaf Sheaths Elongate

Wheat in this field is now approaching the stem elongation stage, Feekes Growth Stage 5. This stage is characterized by wheat standing erect and all tiller development discontinues. The growing point is still below the ground. According to Growth Stages of Wheat by Texas A&M, “The vertical growth habit is caused by a pseudo or flase stem formed from sheaths (part below blade) of leaves.” Below are more characteristics of this growth stage outlined in the publication:

After the appropriate amount of chilling, followed by resumption of growth, the growing point differentiates. This means that all leaves have been formed and the growing point…will begin to develop an embryo head. At this growth stage, the size of heads, or number of spikelets per spke, is determined. No effect on yield is expected from tillers developed after Feekes 5.0.

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Filed under Grain