OSU Extension Hires ACRE Intern

You’ll be seeing a new face this summer as Isaiah Purves from Troy, Ohio, will be working with Miami and Champaign County OSU Extension as their Agronomic Crop Research Experience (ACRE) Intern.

Started in 2015, the ACRE Internship is designed for undergraduate students to provide rich training experience and work with county educators on-farm trials. The primary responsibilities of the ACRE intern are to assist with crop scouting, sample collection, field data collection, laboratory analysis, data entry, and field plot maintenance, crop reporting and other activities related to research, extension and outreach.

Isaiah is a 2015 graduate from Troy High School. He decided to further his education at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana studying Environmental Management. Isaiah is a member of the Ball State University Soil Judging Team, where he helped the program bring home its first trophy ever receiving third place in the group judging tournament at the American Society of Agronomy contest hosted in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

In prior years, Isaiah has worked for a lawn care company in Miami County. He plans on graduating in May of 2019. After his graduation he intends on pursuing a career in Soil testing for agriculture and in the construction field, he is also thinking of continuing his education to a Master’s Degree.

For more information about OSU Extension, Miami County, visit the Miami County OSU Extension web site at www.miami.osu.edu or the OSU Extension Miami County Facebook page.

Fruit Growers: New Disease Resource

Most Ohio fruit growers, whether they have thousands of trees or just a few in their backyard, are well acquainted with the woes of growing fruit in Ohio. We have the perfect conditions for a slew of fruit diseases from fireblight and apple scab to peach borers and a variety of fungus.

But, great news! There is hope. Check out the resurrection of the Ohio Fruit News, a monthly newsletter put together by experts from Ohio State University to give disease updates and recommendations for treatments. Check out the newsletter at: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/b/28945/files/2017/04/Edition5_04302018_RM_VF-1d60e9x.pdf. You can subscribe to receive the newsletter by email by visiting https://u.osu.edu/fruitpathology/ and clicking on the “Subscribe Now” pop up in the bottom right-hand corner.

Happy growing season!

Gardeners Getting Itchy Fingers

I thought we were set for a bit of warm weather with the teaser at the end of last week. But, alas, with the snow yesterday and the frigid, soggy weather today it looks like warm weather has once again escaped us… for a bit anyway. Farmers and gardeners alike are anxious to put this very cold winter behind us and enjoy some warm sunshine.

And, those perennial plants might have some trouble early on with the yo-yoing temperatures. Remember May 2017 with the frost that came well after many had planted those precious tomatoes? While we might not experience a frost, we are definitely behind in terms of growing degree days when compared to the last six years.

What are growing degree days?   Growing Degree Days are a measurement of the growth and development of plants and insects during the growing season. Development does not occur at this time unless the temperature is above a minimum threshold value (base temperature). The base temperature varies for different organisms and is determined through research and experimentation. Due to placement variation (location of plants – shade/sun, etc) and some other scientific considerations, a base temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit is considered acceptable for all plants and insects. Learn what the growing degree days for your location here. On April 17, 2018, Troy, Ohio was at 121 growing degree days, which is the lowest it has been in six years. In 2017, the same day was 294 days and in 2016 it was 210 days. This means insects and plants are not maturing as fast as they previously have.

In other words, “we are behind.” But, no fear. It will eventually warm up. Plants will bloom and leaf out. And, the bugs will mature. In the meantime, utilize the website https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/gdd/default.asp to learn to predict and identify when insects will emerge and when to think about controlling them.


Summer Agronomy Intern applications now accepted through 1/26/18

The ACRE program seeks to provide a rich training experience to undergraduate students in a wide diversity of disciplines related to agronomic crop research. Interns will support on-farm research by being placed in strategic hubs throughout the state. Students will gain real-world experience in scouting, sampling and evaluating agronomic crops in Ohio. Undergraduates, graduating seniors and incoming OSU graduate students are welcome to apply.

The internships are paid, full-time summer positions lasting 12-14 weeks. Applications are due January 26th, 2018. 

For more information: go.osu.edu/acre
To apply: go.osu.edu/apply-acre

Tree Talk: Spruce, Pine or Fir?

photo credit: OSU Extension

According to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’s Clark W. Griswold, the tree is the “most important of Christmas symbols.” Now, whether or not you share his enthusiasm or sentiment for the holidays, it is good to know the difference between trees as some of you make that annual trek to the tree farm to pick out that one, perfect tree to adorn with those treasured ornaments and brightly colored lights. Learning to identify them even in your landscape is helpful as they have differences in pruning time, as well as providing the first step in diagnostics if ailments arise.

There are three popular types of trees grown for Christmas trees in Ohio. One is the pine. Although there are many different types of pines, they share one characteristic. Their “leaves” aka needles are attached to the stem in bundles or clusters of two, three or five needles depending on the species. These include White pine (5 needles) and Scotch pine (two needles).

Another type is spruce. The needles of the spruce are attached individually to the stem; are sharp and pointy; and are square which makes them easy to roll between your fingers. Making them even more distinguishable from other species is that spruce needles are attached to the stem by small, wooden structures, which remain on the stem when the needles are shed making the branches very rough.

The final, arguably the most popular type of tree, is the fir. Like spruce, fir needles are attached singularly to the stem, but lack the wooden structures making a needleless branch feel smooth. In contrast to spruce needles, fir needles are flat and cannot be rolled easily in your fingers.

Another distinguishing feature of these conifers are the cones. Now, all conifers produce cones but the true pinecones are woody, rigid and sturdier, while the cones of the spruce are more delicate with thinner scales. Fir trees also have cones, but they often fall apart on the tree making finding one on the ground a rarity.

No matter which species you choose to be the centerpiece to your holiday décor, care for a live tree is the same. 1) If you bought an already cut tree, trim ¼” off the base of the trunk before you put it in the stand so that it can readily absorb the water. 2) One clean cut is all that is needed as the xylem which conducts water to the tree is located on the outside wood. Any complicated cuts, drilled holes or tubing does not improve absorbency. 3) Nothing but cold, clean water.  There are many home recipes online for using additives to keep your tree “fresh” such as vodka, 7-Up, bleach, aspirin, sugar and others, but they are not needed. 4) A stand that holds a quart of water for each inch of stem diameter is ideal.

For questions about tree care or other horticulture related topics, please call Ohio State Extension in Miami County at 937-440-3945 or email bennett.709@osu.edu. May your tree look great! Be a little full and have a lotta sap.