Winter Injury to Forages, Wheat and Rye

Ohio is no stranger to a wide range of fluctuating winter conditions. After the recent spell of cold and snow in Ohio, we are now looking ahead to rain and warmer temperatures. While this relief from the winter elements may be appreciated by many, this flip of conditions can result in some challenges with our over wintering grain and forage crops.

Dennis Pennington, a wheat system specialist from Michigan State University shares some of the details on why crops such as wheat need the cold weather and why the break in cold temperatures can cause problems.

Pennington, on wheat states, “Winter wheat goes through a vernalization period where the plant hardens and adjusts to the colder winter temperatures. The hardening off period begins in the fall once temperatures at the crown (growing point, generally placed about 1-2 inches below ground surface level) drop below 48 F and continues as the temperature decreases. The hardening process causes a reduction in moisture content in the cells of the crown which slows growth processes and the accumulation of soluble carbohydrates, all of which help the plant to resist frost damage.”

Dennis goes on to discuss the hardening process, as he states, “The hardening process takes place over four to eight weeks and the level of hardiness is directly related to the soil temperature at the crown depth. Daylength also impacts hardiness, as shortening days in the fall induce wheat winter hardiness. Conversely, longer days in spring bring wheat out of hardiness. Cold tolerance is dynamic and can be lost if soil temperatures rise above the previous temperature that the plant hardened to. According to a study by D.B. Fowler from the University of Saskatchewan in 1982, if the crowns of the plants are exposed to warmer temperatures for as little as 50 hours, the cold hardiness can be decreased substantially. The loss of cold tolerance has several major implications.”

Winter wheat greening up in the spring. Some tip die-back is visible in this photo.

The two major implications that Pennington describes in his article are the following: First, if soil temperature decreases below the current level of winter hardiness, injury will occur. Secondly, once a crop loses winter hardiness, it will never reach the original level of hardiness and it will de-harden more quickly each time the soil temperature rises above the minimum survival temperature.

As pointed out by Pennington in his article, what you want to see is a steady line in the temperature, without large spikes in either direction. Whenever the temperature spikes up followed by a spike down below the original temperature, injury can occur.

Generally speaking, when looking at the crops that are over-wintering in the fields, snow melt can be a concern. Obviously, warm weather causes the snow to melt. Snow, however, serves as an insulator and can protect the crowns of plants against major swings in air temperature. Snow melting can also result in ponding in the fields. In cases where drainage is adequate, there should be little to no concerns, but where water persists, evident by ponding or high levels of field saturation, waterlogging may occur. Additionally, if the water persists, the crowns may absorb more water, which could be problematic should conditions become cold again as it would result in cell rupture when the water in the plant freezes and expands. Ice damage can also occur in areas where standing water freezes over dormant plants for an extended period of time, essentially suffocating them. There is really a wide range of problems that can occur when we have a significant amount of snow the melts off before we are safely out of reach of winters grasp.

An example of how far an alfalfa plant can be heaved out of the ground via several rounds of freeze/thaw cycles.

Another concern, especially in forages, is heaving. Now that the ground is exposed, should we get back into a freeze/thaw pattern, heaving could occur. Heaving occurrence can increase significantly in areas of fields where there is a lot of moisture, and with the recent snow melt, there are a lot of fields with excess moisture.

Getting closer to spring, these issues may not be anything to worry about, but certainly something to be aware of. Worrying about temperatures will do nothing to change them, and this area of crop production is unfortunately out of our hands but being aware of these concerns can help you assess damages should any occur. Getting out to scout alfalfa, wheat and rye fields in the spring is recommended, not only this year, but every year. Evaluating your fields as early as you can in the spring can help you make efficient and impactful management decisions and consequently, take action if warranted.

Snow and Freezing Temperatures Bring Harvest Challenges in Agronomic Crops

Although it is not necessarily a common issue that we tend to worry about in this area, it does happen; that issue being snow accumulation occurring before crops are harvested. Obviously, this is not a new issue for those who may be dealing with snow covered crops but let this serve as a reminder of some considerations for harvesting crops this time of year.

One of the most important drawbacks of harvesting a crop this far past prime harvest season is that there will be a yield reduction. A study was done by the University of Wisconsin on the average yield loss in corn, when left in the field through winter. The study was reported on a monthly basis and showed that corn that was left in the field until January or February averaged a yield loss of 35%, per month. Now there are a few factors to consider for yield loss. One of the major factors is lodging. Lodging, or breakage of the stalk below the ear or pod, results in harvesting difficulties, pest, and disease problems, as well as grain loss due to ear or pod drop. Another factor resulting in yield reduction is the grain getting wet and then freezing. Repeated freezing and thawing can be problematic, especially in soybeans. Soybeans are prone to pod split and seed shatter. In corn, the wet husks can stick to the ear, leading to mold concerns and difficulty cleaning the grain properly. Additionally, leaving the grain out in the field leaves it open to wildlife feeding. Wildlife feeding, along with the other mentioned yield reducing factors compounded together can lead to significant yield losses.

Asides from yield loss, another issue that comes up when harvesting grain this time of year is the stress it can put on the equipment. It is important to get the combine settings right when harvesting frozen grain. It is also important to take care of preventative maintenance, as well as fixing appropriate repairs before running the combine through a frozen field. Combines can run in those conditions but running through a frozen and snowy field is not the easiest on them when looking at wear and tear.

Another important factor to consider is the soil. When you run a combine and a grain cart over wet, cold soil, compaction and rutting will happen. It is best to be patient and wait for a time when either the soil is frozen enough to be on, or the soil is dry enough to reduce compaction chances. The more likely of those situations is the soil freezing, as rarely do we have dry soils in the winter. Compacting and rutting the soil will result in problems for many years down the road. Out of all of the other impacts of winter grain harvest, the impact on the soil should be the one that you give the most consideration to. Severe compaction of your soil, as a result of attempts to harvest a corn or soybean field, likely with large yield losses already, can really hurt the productivity of the soil.

There is a choice to be made: try to salvage what yield you can this year by getting out in rough field conditions or wait for the ground to freeze and then harvest the crop, with minimal impact on the soil. Be patient and be willing to wait for the right conditions to get grain harvested and be willing to accept the hit on yield. Yes, a hit on yield is never easy to take, but a hit on long term field productivity is an even harder hit. Obviously, the situation calls for you to choose between the lesser of the evils, so while it may be something you have to deal with this year, have it in mind to do what you need to do to avoid the situation in the future.

Dormant Fruit Tree Management

Fruit tree care, and management, does not simply stop when the leaves fall off the tree late in the year. Fruit tree care is a year-round job and in order to get the best performance out of your fruit trees, its important that certain tasks are done at the right times.

With the trees dormant now, it is a good time to look at some disease management options. When we talk about dormancy, we are looking at the time frame between when the tree drops the leaves in the fall and when buds begin to swell in the spring. With diseases such as peach leaf curl, applying a fungicide while the tree is dormant is recommended. Thorough and complete coverage of the tree is needed to ensure complete control. Typically, the top 3-5 feet of a tree are hardest to reach and this is the area in which we see the fungicide lose efficacy, either due to low coverage or just simply not being reached by the application. Although applications are most effective when applied in the late autumn after leaf fall, its important to apply the fungicide before the buds on the trees start to swell, which will start to happen before too long.

There are other dormant sprays to help control diseases such as Phytophthora crown/root/collar rot or bacterial spot/canker, and these are typically applied before growth starts in the spring. There are also sprays, for example, copper products for fire blight, that are applied right before growth starts in the spring, and when temperatures are above 45° F.

Dormant oil is regularly used on apple, pear, and plum trees to aid in control of scale and aphid pests, at a rate of 2%, which means 2 gallons of horticultural oil per 100 gallons of water. This should be made as a dilute application, with plenty of water so that all bark is treated. As the word “dormant” implies, this spray should be applied before the buds swell or before new growth (green tip stage) starts in the spring. If applied after growth starts, the new tissue can be damaged by oil at this rate. Application should be done when temperatures have been above freezing (above 35 degrees F) the day before the application and when the weather forecast calls for non-freezing temperatures for at least 24 hours after application. For this area, usually late February to early March is a good target period. Oil can also be used for control of mites, but for best control of mites, it is more effective if application is delayed until late in the “delayed dormant” stage. When oil is applied at the half-inch green bud stage or no later than the tight cluster bud stage, the rate can be dropped to 1%, meaning 1 gallon of horticultural oil per 100 gallons of water. Oil at this time should still be applied in dilute form so that all of the bark surface is treated. An important note: for all fruit crops, if liquid lime-sulfur is used, it should not be sprayed with, or in close timing (~1 week) with an oil spray as tissue damage can result.

Regardless of your level of involvement with chemical application or the scale of the operation, the most important thing for you to do is to read the product label. The label is the law. More information on products and recommendations can be found in the “Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide”.

Chemical control options are not the only disease management tool that you should use. Cultural control and sanitation around the fruit trees is also important. When referencing “cultural” controls, this refers to the management techniques that are implemented when working with a crop and the associated diseases and pests. A lot of diseases over winter on leaf litter and dropped fruit on the ground. As a disease management strategy, implementing a cultural control practice of cleaning up and disposing of leaf litter or fruit residue can reduce the amount of inoculum around the tree, in turn reducing the disease pressure from those diseases. Pruning is also an important part of winter management and likewise, as you prune, it is important to burn or dispose of the pruned branches. During winter pruning you can target diseased branches and help reduce the impact of diseases, such as fire blight or black knot, in your trees.

Another opportunity to stay busy with fruit trees is right around the corner. Now is the time to get your fruit tree orders together and be preparing to get the trees in the ground in March or April. Allowing the roots to get established in soil that isn’t frozen, while temperatures are still cool, and while the ground still has adequate moisture, will help avoid stress on the tree when the top growth is initiated by longer days and warmer temperatures.

Fruit trees typically need to be fertilized once a year in early spring before growth starts. It is very important to do a soil test to determine accurate fertilizer recommendations. Generally speaking, a common fertilizer recommended for fruit trees is one with an analysis of 12‑12‑12 or 10‑10‑10. However, fertilizers of other analyses can also be used. The rate of application needs to be adjusted based on soil test analysis and recommendations. More information on specific requirements, recommendations and guidelines can be found in the “Midwest home Fruit Production Guide” publication by The Ohio State University.

Branching off of fertilizing, competition of nutrients and moisture is one of the main reasons to control and limit the amount of vegetation under fruit trees. Reducing this vegetation also limits the favorable conditions and habitat available for diseases, insects, and rodents. Weeding is not a fun job, but nonetheless, a year-round one.

Hopefully, this is enough to keep you busy until the warm days arrive. The trees will be budding and blooming before we know it. If you are interested in purchasing any of the publications mentioned in this article, give your county OSU Extension Office a call, or visit to find a full listing of all of the OSU Extension publications.

Storage of Fall Fruit and Vegetable Crops After Harvest

As the growing season comes to a close and crops are harvested this fall, many growers may look at storing some crops to sell throughout the winter and early spring. Some commonly stored vegetables include potatoes, onions, and garlic. Most of the stored fruit crops, in terms of long-term storage, is focused on apples and pears. Proper care and storage of these products can provide additional income throughout the winter months when other crops are unable to be locally grown and sold. These storage practices may be useful for those just simply looking to store crops for home use as well.

Delving into the practice of storing vegetable crops, to start out, you want to make sure that you are only attempting to store what would be considered “firsts” or products of the highest quality grade. Products that have blemishes or defects are not suitable for long term storage. Attempting to work some of the “seconds” into your stored products can be risky and may result in a higher loss of product during the storage process. Some other pointers before putting away crops over winter include finding varieties that are better suited for winter storage, planting the crops so that at the end of the season you are harvesting the crops in their prime (which is when they will store best), and having an area where you can provide suitable conditions for storage of the desired crops. Another important step in the process is called curing. Curing is a process that allows the skin to become more durable which helps to extend shelf life. Potatoes cured at 60-70 degrees F for 4-5 days can be kept for 4-5 months. Onions need cured for approximately 2 weeks, where they need to be spread out and dried until the outer skin becomes papery and dry. Garlic is cured in a very similar manner as onions. Winter Squash and sweet potatoes that are cured for 10-14 days at 75-80 degrees F can be stored for several months.

Appropriate storage conditions are another major factor of being able to keep vegetables long term. Potatoes are best kept at between 40-50 degrees F with higher humidity and no light. Large temperature fluctuations or too much light can induce sprouting. Sweet potatoes also store best in higher humidity, and with temperatures between 45 and 60. Pumpkins and squash store better in low humidity environments. Garlic is stored best at temperatures near 35-40 degrees F and with low humidity and no light. Onions storage temperatures are recommended at around 35 degrees F with moderate humidity. These areas also need to be well ventilated to prevent excess moisture from building up and to provide the area with “clean”, fresh air. Storage areas should not only be set up to allow for good airflow, but they should also be set up in a way to allow you to inspect the crops at various times throughout the winter. It is important to watch the stored crops closely and remove any decaying products as soon as possible. The longer a decaying fruit or vegetable is allowed to be there, the higher the risk of others being affected.

Apple and pear storage is not too different from vegetable storage. They too need to be harvested at the correct time to prevent them from becoming over ripe in storage. Too, they need to be in a cool and well-ventilated space with no light. The ventilation also prevents the buildup of ethylene, which helps to slow down the ripening process. Ethylene increases the speed at which the fruit ripens.  It is important to note that these storage spaces should not drop below freezing. Freezing temperatures followed by above freezing temperatures will damage fruit and vegetables and make long term storage nearly impossible. Apples and pears also need checked to make sure that there is no fruit going bad. The saying goes “one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel” and that is true for both fruits and vegetables. When fruits and vegetables are harvested at the correct time and given good storage conditions, they can be enjoyed many months after the growing season has wrapped up.

Soil Management in Specialty Crops

Specialty crops, such as fruits and vegetables, require special considerations in terms of soil management and fertility. As the growing season winds down and more crops are harvested, you may feel as though you have nothing left to do except wait to start it all over again in the spring. Soil that is continuously cropped with fruit and vegetable crops can become depleted of key nutrients rather quickly and, now is the best time to work on addressing issues that you may have with your soil. Additionally, addressing issues with your soil may even resolve other issues such as disease and weed pressure.

An important aspect of determining whether you have areas that need addressed or even how to address them is to take soil samples. Soil sampling is the most direct way to understand what is going on in your soil. Most soil test will give you the results for the macro nutrients phosphorus and potash, which are used in the highest amounts by the plants. They will also usually include the secondary nutrients calcium and magnesium, that are used to a lesser degree. Soil test results may also show you your soil pH, organic matter percentage and the cation exchange capacity. All of these factors are important in making a decision on your soil fertility and soil management strategies.

Before diving into any of the topics surrounding soil management and soil fertility after a growing season, it is first important to understand the basics of nutrient uptake by the plant. The roots are the main pathway in which nutrients are transported into the plant. In order for this to occur, the nutrients must be in a form in which they are mobile. The nutrients are mobile in the soil when they are broken down or dissolved into the soil solution, at which point, the roots are able to take them in and move them throughout the plant.

The process of a nutrient breaking down or being dissolved in the soil solution takes time. That is one of the major reasons to address soil fertility concerns in the fall. Being able to apply certain nutrients, such as potassium, in the fall and allowing them all winter to break down and become available to the plant is optimal. Certain nutrients like nitrogen, you can apply right before planting, as nitrogen is available to the plant for uptake rather quickly after application. Regardless of whether you are addressing soil fertility issues in the fall or the spring, it is important that you do so with careful consideration for nutrient loss. Nitrogen is a very mobile nutrient and can be lost through several pathways fairly easily. It is also of your best interest to make soil amendments based on a recent soil test report. How else would you know what to apply or how much? Knowing what your soils already have and how to make them better will not only prevent over application that could lead to nutrient runoff, it will also save you money. Over buying and over applying nutrients is doing nothing but pouring money down the drain.

Another important factor of your soil management decisions should be based on your soil pH. Each crop type will have a more specific optimal pH, however, in general a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is recommended for most crops. Being able to maintain an appropriate pH level will also help to influence plant growth due to optimal nutrient uptake. At a pH of approximately 6.2-7.3, nutrient availability is at its highest. With a pH any lower or higher than this range, nutrient availability sharply declines. So even if you were applying the correct amount of nutrients or over applying because the plants weren’t responding to the fertilization, having a pH outside of the optimal range is likely preventing the nutrients from becoming available for plant uptake.

Soil fertility is one of the biggest factors that influence crop yield. Foliar feeding has its place with specialty crops; however, it should not be relied on to address issues with crops that are due to poor soil nutrient management. Excessive foliar feeding, especially with nutrients that are not mobile in the plant, is costing you money that you are not getting a return on. If you are having issues year after year that you are associating with soil fertility issues, address the issues in the soil. Remember that the roots are specifically there to take up water and nutrients. Not only will improved soil fertility help with crop yields, it will also improve overall plant health. A healthy plant is a strong plant, and a strong plant stands up better to disease and insect pressure.

Take the time this fall to take soil samples. Work with your local co-op or soil lab and address the nutrient concerns in your soil. Your soil is worth your time and investment. You should put in the effort to take care of the soil and consider even improving it and leaving it in a better condition for future generations. I heard it said once that despite all of our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains. Take care of your soil and it will take care of you.

Field Management Considerations Post-Harvest

As crops are being harvested, and fields are being prepped for the winter, there are several field management decisions that need to be considered. It is important to note that there is no singular correct management plan. Different approaches to field management will fit some farms better than others, it all depends on the goals you have set for your farm based on your management strategies.

Dealing with residue in the fall will help to avoid issues in the spring. Some issues that are encountered in spring while planting include attaining good seed-soil contact or disease issues due to a field not drying out. Another issue that can arise from improperly managed residue is large populations of slugs that can decimate young seedlings. Sanitation of the field and intensive management of residue can help to break up insect pest life cycles as well as disease cycles.

Residue management is a major aspect of post-harvest field treatment. The residue that we are concerned with is the chaff and stalks that are left after grain harvest. There are two ways to look at this residue. On one hand, the residue can act as a mulch that lessens the impact of rain falling on the soil, lessen the amount of erosion, help to retain soil moisture, and add organic matter and nutrients back into the soil. On the other hand, residue can help to over winter problematic insects, act as inoculum for diseases and slow soils from warming up and drying out in the spring.

The decision on how to manage residue comes out of your tillage and field management plans. In a no till or conservation tillage system, residue is considered more of a benefit to the field and left mostly as is. In a more intensive tillage system, residue is incorporated and broken up to influence a more rapid breakdown. There are benefits, as well as drawbacks, to both of these systems.

In an approach focused on conserving the residue, as previously stated, there are several benefits when looking at soil health and soil management. Conversely, the risk for insects to over winter and for diseases to carry over is also greatly increased. If there are fields on your farm with histories of diseases or insect problems, consider looking at how you have been managing the crop residue. If you would like to maintain your current conservation tillage systems, but reduce the risk of disease and insect infestations, using different tillage tools, such as vertical tillage, may be of interest to you. Using a vertical tillage tool serves several purposes. One is that it helps to chop up and spread out the crop residue. These tillage implements also often kick the soil up in a way that covers up a considerable percentage of the residue. This is important because covering the residue with soil will help to increase the rate at which decomposition occurs.

This approach, aimed more towards conservation tillage, may be of interest to those who have been involved with more intensive tillage. Intensive tillage and turning of the soil certainly results in a faster breakdown of crop residue. However, this tillage system leaves more soil exposed and can result in more wind and water erosion. Finding a system that can appropriately manage the crop residue while also maintaining some form of soil structure and improving soil health, will not only help the crops from year to year, but will also increase the sustainability and productivity of your soil.

Integrated Pest Management Considerations for Stored Grain Crops

Integrated pest management of a crop should not stop after it has left the field. The last thing that you want to have happen is for a crop, that you worked hard all summer to get to harvest, to be lost due to poor management while it is being stored in the bin. It is important to realize that storage of grains will not improve the quality of the grain. The quality of the grain will be at its best immediately after harvest. The goal of bin storage is to protect and maintain that quality.

Before putting grain in the bin, there are several steps that you should take to prepare the bin for new grain. One of the most important steps to take is to thoroughly clean the bin to remove any old, previously stored material from all components of the grain bin system. This includes the augers, fans, and the bins themselves. If you can tell what grain was last stored in the bin, it still is not clean enough.

While cleaning the bin, take time to make sure that the bin is sealed correctly and that the seals are not failing. A common area for a seal failure to cause damage is at the base of the bin where the bin rests on its cement base. This area is just one spot where moisture can enter the bin and cause significant spoilage. Also make sure to check the seals around doors and hatches. Screens should also be in place on roof vents to prevent larger animals from entering the bins. Aside from keeping a grain bin dry, keeping it sealed appropriately will also prevent the entry of insects, birds, and rodents.

Grain bin sanitation should also extend to the areas around the outside of the bin. At a minimum, at least 10-15 feet around the outside of the bin should be kept clean. This includes keeping it mowed and cleaning up spilled grain. Leaving favorable habitat and a food source intact that close to the bin is essentially creating a refuge for many of these pests. Not doing anything to prevent this is asking for trouble. Keeping this area cleaned up and maintained will prevent pest populations from building up within such a close proximity to your bin.

Some common insect pests that are found in grain bins include: flat grain beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, red flour beetles, and Indian meal moths, just to name a few. The challenge with these insects is that they, as well as their eggs and larva can be harbored in old debris and grain remnants, hence why bin sanitation is so important. There are several preventative insecticides that can be added to the grain while putting it in the bin, as well as preventative products that can be added as a top dress after the bin is full. Fumigation, although not used as frequently as it once was, is also an option for insect management. As with any pesticide, the label is the law. Make sure to read and follow the label and use as directed.

Management of the bin while there is grain being stored is also important when considering pest management and grain quality control. Aeration will help to keep grain dry as well as disturb insects that may have made their way into the bin. Temperature monitoring is another way to manage grain quality, both from moisture and insect management perspectives. Keeping the grain bin at the appropriate temperature will prevent moisture from being drawn into the bin. It can also slow down or altogether prevent insect life cycles from repeating. Insects typically require certain amounts of heat units to progress from one life stage to the next, and if that can be slowed down or prevented, this lessens the need for chemical treatments.

It is important to realize that relying only on chemical options for insect management can be ineffective and costly. Without implementation of other integrated pest management strategies, chemical treatments are going to hurt your bottom line. It is essential to work strongly on the prevention aspects of grain bin pest management, rather than focus all your time, money, and effort on the reactive treatments. An ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold by the time you are ready to move the grain out of the bin. Employing integrated pest management strategies into your grain storage systems can result in cost savings, from less reliance on chemical treatment, and better overall product quality.

Wayne County IPM Notes from September 20-26

Wayne County IPM Notes

(From the Week of September 20 – September 26)

Frank Becker, OSU Extension Wayne County

Vegetable Pests

Aphids feeding on pumpkin leaves. F. Becker photo.

Cucurbit growers need to check their crops for infestations of aphids. Large populations of aphids can be found feeding on the underside of leaves. While the feeding on the foliage is not of major concern at this point in the growing season, the exudate from the aphids is. Aphids secrete a sticky substance known as honeydew and when large amounts of the honeydew are being formed, it can drip down onto the pumpkins and result in black sooty mold growing on the fruit.

Continue to keep watch over late season cole crops as there are still a lot of imported cabbageworm adult butterflies in and around crops such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Additionally, other fall insect pests such as the cabbage looper and aphids can become problematic. Aphids can have rampant infestations during cooler and dry weather.  Therefore, routine scouting, especially at this time of year, is important to effective pest detection and management.

Imported cabbageworm larva feeding on cole crop leaves. F. Becker photo.

Fruit and Vegetable Diseases

Residue management of fruit and vegetable crops is an important component of integrated disease management. Typically, at the end of the season, plants are commonly being affected by a range of diseases. As management of these diseases dwindles towards the end of the season, there is an increased level of inoculum that may be able to over winter. Many of the pathogens affecting the plants now are able to over winter and result in disease challenges again next year. It is important to know what diseases you have in your fields. This knowledge can help you make crop management decisions such as how long to rotate out of a certain crop. Additionally, the residue that is left at the end of the season should either be composted or tilled into the soil as soon as possible. Composting or incorporating the crop residue allows for the plant to be broken down by soil microorganisms and prevents the spread of the pathogen to other plants that may be alternative hosts that could overwinter the pathogen. Doing this in association with crop rotation will help give time for the pathogens to die off. Typical crop rotations allow for 3-

A field that has been cleared of plant debris, run through with a disc and then planted with cover crops. F. Becker photo.

4 years between planting a crop in the same family.

Fruit Pests

Stink bugs are still active and can be found along wood-lines and field edges. Although, numbers do seem to be dropping as the summer comes to an end. I am still finding the occasional fruit that has been damaged by a stink bug. The damage is typically occurring in trees along the edges of orchard blocks, especially near wooded areas.

Wayne County IPM Notes from September 13 – September 19

Wayne County IPM Notes

(From the Week of September 13 – September 19)

Frank Becker, OSU Extension Wayne County

Vegetable Pests

Large masses of cucumber beetles on pumpkin plants late in the season. F. Becker photo.

Cucumber beetles continue to have high populations in pumpkin fields. The spotted cucumber beetle, which is also the southern corn rootworm adult, are migrating in masses out of corn fields as corn silks dry down and finding their way into pumpkin fields. So long as the beetles are not chewing on the skin of the pumpkin, they are not anything to be concerned about, however, once they start damaging the skin of the fall vine crops, an insecticide application may be warranted.

Scouting your latest plantings of cole crops is recommended to make sure that cabbageworms do not get out of hand. It can be easy to let your guard down as the season winds down, but if you want to have a marketable crop, you need to keep an eye out for the imported cabbageworms doing damage.

Vegetable Diseases

Peppers, at this point in the season should be winding down, however, disease pressure can force a premature end

Anthracnose lesions on a bell pepper. F. Becker photo.

to the season quite rapidly. One disease that can cause a rapid decline in peppers is anthracnose. At this point in the season, it is not worth the investment in any fungicide applications. For future planning, practice a three-year crop rotation with crops that are not in the Solanaceae family and consider doing seed disinfestation before planting. This disease can be managed with fungicides; however, it is important to address the issue of the origin of the diseases, rather than trying to fix the issue by applying a rescue fungicide every year.

At this point in the season, it is of your best interest to consider the cost of any fungicide application in respect to how much more you expect to get out of a crop. With pumpkins, for example, as the plants are beginning to die off at this point in the season, it is not likely that any fungicide application will be effective or result in any increase of yield or crop value. For a crop like cole crops that are just a few weeks in the ground, then you may have opportunity to apply fungicides, should the need arise. As always, follow the label and pay close attention to the pre-harvest interval when applying a fungicide.

Fruit Pests

Stink bugs are still active and can be found along wood-lines and field edges. I am still finding the occasional fruit that has been damaged by a stink bug. The damage is typically occurring in trees along the edges of orchard blocks, especially near wooded areas.

Fruit Diseases

Apples are now ripening and being harvested in orchards around Wayne County. F. Becker photo.

As fruit continues to ripen and be harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area. If you are doing any final treatments for fruit diseases, pay close attention to the PHI on the product label. The pre-harvest interval determines how long after you applied that product that you may harvest the crop. This is especially important to pay attention to as many varieties of orchard crops as well as grapes are maturing and nearing harvest.

Wayne County IPM Notes from September 6 – 12

Wayne County IPM Notes

(From the Week of September 6 – September 12)

Frank Becker, OSU Extension Wayne County

Vegetable Pests

After seeing the adult butterflies flying amongst cabbage, kale, and broccoli plantings for the past week or so, I am now finding imported cabbageworms feeding on these plants. Scouting your latest plantings of cole crops is recommended to make sure that these worms do not get out of hand. It can be easy to let your guard down as the season winds down, but if you want to have a marketable crop, you need to keep an eye out for the imported cabbageworms doing damage.

Corn earworm numbers continue to increase in our traps in Wayne County, as well as across the state. Since late planted sweet corn has green silks and is an attractive crop for the moths to lay their eggs on, we typically see an increase in moths this time of year in, or near, sweet corn plantings. This time of year, field corn may be responsible for the large increase in moths, as the lack of green silks leads them to find alternative sites to lay their eggs.

Vegetable Diseases

            At this point in the season, it is of your best interest to consider the cost of any fungicide application in respect to how much more you expect to get out of a crop. With pumpkins, for example, as the plants are beginning to die off at this point in the season, it is not likely that any fungicide application will be effective or result in any increase of yield or crop value. For a crop like cole crops that are just a few weeks in the ground, then you may have opportunity to apply fungicides, should the need arise. As always, follow the label and pay close attention to the pre-harvest interval when applying a fungicide.

Fruit Pests

All of the traps out for codling moth and oriental fruit moth continue to decline, and in some cases are dropping to no moths being found in the traps.

Stink bugs are still active and can be found along wood-lines and field edges. I am still finding the occasional fruit that has been damaged by a stink bug. The damage is typically occurring in trees along the edges of orchard blocks, especially near wooded areas.

Fruit Diseases

            As fruit continues to ripen and be harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area. If you are doing any final treatments for fruit diseases, pay close attention to the PHI on the product label. The pre-harvest interval determines how long after you applied that product that you may harvest the crop. This is especially important to pay attention to as many varieties of orchard crops as well as grapes are maturing and nearing harvest.