Monthly Archives: March 2017

Pecan Irrigation & Early Insects

We are now seeing budbreak on our older trees. UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist notes that our budbreak timing is pretty close to last year – thanks to the cooler weather of a couple of weeks ago. Pecans across the state narrowly missed serious damage from the freeze. We won’t know about young trees until May or June. In Thomas County, it doesn’t look like the duration was long enough to have a major effect.

Dr. Wells points out though budbreak has begun, he is concerned that it may be somewhat uneven as a result of the warm winter. This could affect pollination. With the arrival of budbreak, there are other things to keep in mind.


It has been abnormally dry in south Georgia for weeks, and the trees will need water as they wake up. Mature trees should be irrigated at 17-18% of full capacity at this time. Young trees in the 1-3 year old range need about 4 hrs every other day throughout the season beginning now. Rain is in the forecast for Friday so if you receive a 1″ rain or more, turn the irrigation off for 3 days.

Pecan Budmoth Damage- Photo by Dr. Lenny Wells


Be on the lookout for budmoths in young trees. They begin feeding soon after budbreak and can destroy the buds making it difficult to establish a good central leader. Treat with chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid, Intrepid, or Dimilin as needed.


Phylloxerra damage was particularly severe last year. If you plan to treat for Phylloxerra, do so now for those varieties that have started to break bud. These treatments must be made when budbreak begins or you will miss the window for treating them. Chlorpyrifos or imidacloprid are the materials of choice.

You can read more about Pecan Leaf Phylloxera on this blog post from last year.

Galls from Pecan Leaf Phylloxera

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Filed under Entomology, Pecans

Warm Weather & Prescribed Burning

Lots of woods are on fire across Thomas County. The sap is rising in the hardwood trees, and it’s time to get these under control. At the same time, it has been getting warmer and drier. We’ve been about 4 weeks without rain now. The temperature in the 80s has essentially put us ahead of our growing schedule. This can get hot on some of our pine trees. I talked with UGA Extension Forester Dr. David Moorhead yesterday, and he went over some good points to consider when burning at this time:

  • Fuel on the Ground – We really need to consider how dry we are, especially if you haven’t burned in a few years. If your managing timber alone and haven’t burned in a few years, you may have lots of rough build up on site. This can burn hot and scorcth trees. For these sites, it’ll be better to wait for a rain. Dr. Moorhead looked at a stand in one county where 100% of the trees were scorched. If you’re managing for quail, and burn every year, you won’t have as much litter on the ground. We’re safer in this scenario.
  • Natural Firebreaks – Check your natural firebreaks, like wetlands. Even these could be dry. I was with a farmer yesterday looking at corn, and he mentioned how many fields they’ve planted this year that normally would be too wet to plant right now.
  • Ips Beetles – Our beetle attacks have been worse this season because of the drought last year. These trees are under stress already. If you have a CURRENT beetle attack, Dr. Moorhead recommends to not burn. This will further stress those trees. This can affect our larger stands on plantations where thousands of acres are involved. How do you know if the beetle attack is current? If you see a group of dead tress (3-10) with pitch tubes on the bark, you need to think hard about burning. It is true that once symptoms of the attack show up, the Ips beetles are gone. But, if you are on a large track of land, the beetles maybe right around the corner. For more on Ips Engraver Beetles, look at this former blog post.
  • Worker Safety – When it is this hot and dry, worker safety is very important. Be careful not to get dehydrated. Working  conditions will be hotter, and fires too may move fast.
  • Burn Permits – Mostly certainly get your burn permit. Also, talk with the Georgia Forestry Commission. They can help with analyzing current conditions and determining if burning is safe now.

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Treat Pond Weeds

We are getting closer to water temperatures being 70 degrees which is when we start treating for pond weeds. We had a huge turnout at this year’s pond meeting in which UGA Aquatic Specialist Dr. Burtle provided us an update on fertilizing, liming, and treating weeds. A big thanks to Alan Dennard and Ken McKinnis sponsoring the meal for us as well.

Last week, I looked at my first pond of the season. This pond is completely covered with naiad, which is a submerged weed. There is not much algae and some alligator weed. We have to get weed control started soon before it becomes impossible. Diquat is commonly used for submerged weeds and is a contact herbicide. Dr. Burtle talked about different herbicides and how they behave different in the water. Sonar, which is more expensive, provides longer weed control since it stays active through the year. So there are benefits to using different compounds.

In either case, we have to ID the weed and select the correct herbicide for control. Here is a slide Dr. Burtle shared of relative cost of aquatic herbicides that may be helpful as we begin our season.

UGA Extension Scientist Dr. Gary Burtle talks about water sampling

Allen and Andrea Poppell cooked a great catfish dinner. Loved seeing the fish in the boat.


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Filed under Aquatic Environments

4-H Tomato Plant Sale

Come by our new Extension office at 442 Smith Avenue, and pick up some Amelia tomatoes that 4-H has in already.

$1 / plant. We got plenty. The new office is directly across from Henderson’s, located where Hawaiian Snow used to be.

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Corn Coming Up

We looked at a good bit of corn this week that is now coming up in a few different stages. This field was actually planted before our freeze two week back. It slowed germination but would not have any injury. Any corn with just a few leaves – in the V1 growth stage – still has the groing point below the soil surface, which protects the plants from freeze.

We’re just now getting our first herbicide shot, so we’re able to mix Prowl in for grass control. Buffalo grass is all througought this field. Since some grass has already emerged, UGA Weed Scientist Dr. Eric Prostko says it’s okay to add Round Up in with Atrazine + Prowl. It’s one of the best one-shots we have in corn. We had just enough rain last night to help activiate some pre-emergent herbicides.

V1 Growth Stage – The collar (white line) is present on the 1st leaf.

V2 Growth Stage – The collar is present on 1st and 2nd leaf.











At the V1 growth stage, the growing point is still below the surface of the soil. At this stage, three leaves are visible. The leaf collar is only on the lowest leaf. At V2, four leaves are visible, but the collar is only on the 1st and 2nd leaf. At this growth stage, corn water demand is close to 1/10″ a day.


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Cotton Efficiency Survey

Professor Jeff Dorfman has helped develop a cotton survey from a research project funded by the Georgia Cotton Commission designed to help Georgia cotton farmers improve their production efficiency. Producer involvement in this research project only involves filling out a questionnaire on various cotton inputs, farm qualities, and personal experience.

You can find the survey at

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Sprayer Clean Out

Thanks to UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Eric Prostko for this update on sprayer cleanout. There is obvious concern about sprayer cleanout after application of Enlist Duo, Engenia, Fexapan, and Xtendimax. Dr. Prostko encourages all applicators to read and follow the specific sprayer clean-out instructions listed on the herbicide labels. Here are some useful links: 

2017 Enlist Duo Product Use Guide (automatic download of document – sprayer clean-out procedures listed on pages 20-21)

Engenia Clean-Out Recomendations:

Fexapan Sprayer Cleanout

Xtendimax Cleanout (video presentation)

I called a few local chemical dealers and the following are some commercial tank-cleaners that are currently being sold in Georgia (listed in no particular order):

1) WipeOut XS

2) Valent Tank Cleaner

3) Nutra-Sol Tank-Cleaner

4) All Clear

5) ProTank Cleaner

6) Neutralize

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Filed under Cotton, Soybeans, Weed Science

Pecan Budbreak & Cold Weather

It’s been about two weeks since we observes some budbreak in young pecan trees. We had a day of rain across much of the county this week, and it then dropped to 31 degrees Thursday morning. The picture above is an orchard with frost on the ground. What will happen to our trees now? UGA Extension Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells has this to say:

Those areas with forecasts for 30 degrees or more should be ok. Other areas (North GA) that reach temperatures of 28 degrees or less could see damage to any foliage that may already be out. Fortunately, there is very little of this. I have seen and heard of a little sporadic budbreak here and there—mostly on newly planted or very young trees. Those on which the outer scale has split – and you only see a little green peeking through or the buds are just swollen – should be ok. But, any new growth that has started to lengthen and expand will be most susceptible if temperatures stay at 28 degrees or less for a few hours.

Most mature trees still have buds closed or are barely showing some green (most of this is deep into south Georgia). Those trees on which the buds are still closed should be fine. The level of damage a tree receives in this type of situation is completely dependent upon its level of dormancy.

March 3rd, 2017 – Photo by Mat Thompson

Developing foliage exposed to 28 degrees or less for several hours (usually 3 hours or more) will be burnt off by the freeze. The trees will bud out again, but that will probably wipe out any crop on a mature tree for the year. Since there are not many trees out this far yet, we should be ok. Even those on which we see budbreak only have a small percentage of the shoots breaking bud, so this will help.

The biggest danger will come in the form of cold injury, mostly to younger trees. This damage is usually expressed as longitudinal bark splitting, separation of bark from wood, and sunken areas on trunks, browning of the cambium (the normally bright green tissue normally observed just under the surface of the bark when scraping with a pocket knife), and sparse canopy development. Much of this may not be readily obvious until temperatures heat up in May/June and the water demand increases. The freezing temperatures destroy the cambium cells and the tree then can’t get the water and nutrients it needs. Sometimes the trees may have enough healthy tissue to keep it going for a year or more before it collapses. The more dormant the tree is, the less susceptible it will be. If the sap is rising, there is a risk for cold injury. Trees in low elevation areas will be most susceptible. Any damaged trees will then become more attractive and susceptible to ambrosia beetles, so be vigilant for these as well.

Young Elliot – Photo by Mat Thompson

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UGA Cotton Market Update

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Filed under Cotton, Weed Science

Forage Update

Bermuda pasture in late February

Except for this week, pastures are beginning to show some green. With February’s soil temperature high and air conditioning running in the trucks and tractors, everyone wants to get busy doing something. But, doing some things now may not be economical. UGA Extension Forage Agronomist Dr. Dennis Hancock has some answers to the most common questions as of right now:

I’m out of hay. Should I start grazing my permanent pastures now? Care needs to be taken to avoid turning out too early. Grazing fescue before it has at least a good amount of growth (8”) will cost you 25-50% or more of your spring yield potential. Hammering bermudagrass just as it is waking up will also cost you 20-40%+ of its yield potential. Given the duration of last year’s drought and the mild winter, my guess is that we will be on the higher end of that range. At a certain level, feeding hay now (if you can find it… I KNOW) may save grazing days/stocking rate later or even feeding a lot more hay later (especially if the dry spring that is forecast comes true). Just preaching caution.

[More info on this and some of the subjects below are included in “Late Winter Considerations.” This file was a handout from a meeting last week in the “Grazing for Profit” conference in TN. It was prepared by Dr. Jim Green, retired Extension Forage Specialist from NC State Univ. ]

Should I plant ryegrass to try to get some grass? It is very unlikely to be economical. If one counts what they have in it and considers they are probably won’t even get 1 ton/acre out of it (likely to get less than 0.5 tons/acre). More details in the attached article from Jim Green.

Should I fertilize bermudagrass now? It is still VERY early. Bermudagrass’s response to N right now is likely to be less than 10-15 lbs of DM/acre per lb of N applied, which is below or barely breakeven from an economics perspective.  Plus, too much N now could induce more rapid dormancy break and make the plant less hardy if we get a late freeze. Does anybody remember the 2007 Easter freeze? We lost significant acreage of bermudagrass stands due to putting out N too early, and getting 2-3 nights in mid-April below 20 F. This weather then was very similar to this year.

Should I plant pearl millet now? No. Soil temps at a 2” depth have to be above 65 F and stay above 65 F. Yes, soil temps hit 65 F at 2” in some areas this week. BUT, about 6 weeks ago in January they hit that same threshold in Tifton, too! It was crazy risky to plant pearl millet then and it is risky to plant it now. Keep in mind, pearl millet seeds monitor the weather AND the calendar (or, as they know it, daylength). Don’t plant before there are 12 hrs and 20 minutes of day length (Mar. 25). April 1st is a good rule of thumb for earliest plantings. By the way, this applies to sorghum x sudan and sudangrass, too.

What Can I Do? Scout and spray for weeds or stick a soil probe in the ground. After the drought and this wacky winter weather, weeds are gonna eat our lunch this spring if we aren’t careful. A LOT of hay was imported this winter. I’m not saying that hay was completely full of weed seeds, but one can only imagine the problems that were brought in via those bales. Plus, good soil fertility this spring will be crucial to getting the pastures and hayfields off to a good competitive start.

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