Author: Stacey Stearns

2021 IPM Annual Report is Available

IPM annual report cover

The 2021 IPM Annual Report is available. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is a collaboration between UConn Extension and the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. Since its inception in 1980, the UConn IPM Program has made great strides in developing and implementing sustainable methods for pest control throughout Connecticut. Integrated Pest Management applies multiple tactics in a variety of settings through the selection of appropriate tools and the education of agricultural industry members and Connecticut citizens to provide sustainable, science-based approaches for the management of plant pests (insects, mites, diseases, wildlife, and weeds, including invasive plants). The UConn IPM Program incorporates all possible crop management and pest management strategies through knowledgeable decision-making, utilizing the most efficient landscape and on-farm resources, and integrating cultural and biological controls. Program objectives include maintaining the economic viability of agricultural and green industry businesses, enhancing and conserving environmental quality and natural resources, educating participants on the effective use of cultural practices to mitigate pest problems, of biological control agents, and educating pesticide users about bee and other pollinator safe materials, least toxic options, and the safe use and handling of organic and synthetic pesticide products. The 2021 IPM Program Team included Mary Concklin (fruit and IPM Coordinator), Leanne Pundt (greenhouse), Victoria Wallace (school, invasive, pollinators, turf and landscape), Ana Legrand (vegetables), Shuresh Ghimire (vegetables and hemp), and Nick Goltz (diagnostician, hired August 2021). 

The goal of IPM is to reduce the dependence of agricultural producers and green industry professionals, Connecticut citizens, and schools on pesticides while maintaining or improving productivity, crop quality, and quality of life. The IPM Program has educated growers statewide about the judicious and safe use of organic and synthetic pesticides and alternative pest control methods. 

Broader adoption of IPM practices enhances responsible pest management and reduced management and production costs; minimizes adverse environmental and economic effects from pests and pest management; results in improved ecosystem quality and plant performance; and improves plant health, quality, yields, and aesthetics. The use of IPM includes cultural controls; biological control agents; biological fungicides; physical and mechanical controls; the use of resistant cultivars; regulatory controls; behavioral modification; and, only when necessary, chemical controls, with the selection of least toxic products. IPM partners and collaborators include State and Federal agricultural and environmental/non-governmental agencies and organizations; State, New England, and Northeastern fruit, greenhouse, grounds keepers, nursery, turf, landscape, and vegetable associations; industry suppliers/dealers; regional universities; educators; schools and municipalities; individual growers, farmers, and producers; Master Gardeners; and the general public. 

COVID-19 impacted many outreach programs usually conducted face-to-face beginning in 2020, with continuing restrictions due to the Delta variant in 2021. However, our team members continued to adapt and offered many programs virtually, with a few in-person as well as in-person site visits with safety protocols in place and adhered to. In pre-Covid years, IPM Program team members conduct intensive on-site educational training for fruit and vegetable producers, garden center owners, greenhouse growers, nursery producers and retailers, and turf and landscape professionals. Growers and green industry professionals receive information on the current status of and recommendations for important plant pests and training via pest messages, email alerts, webinars, newsletters, articles in national trade journals, management guides, websites, social media, consultations and counseling via phone and text, site visits to their operations, workshops, field demonstrations and research projects, conferences, exhibits, and short courses. IPM programs are evaluated through pre- and/or post-program surveys and evaluations, needs assessment surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews, testimonials, and unsolicited comments. Read the full report.

Online Ornamental & Turf Short Course Available

grass
Registration for the 2021 Fall ONLINE Ornamental & Turf Short Course is open. This eight week course starts on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Live virtual meetings and reviews will be held on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:00pm. Each week a new learning module will be presented along with a review of the past week.
Please read the attached Course Description for more important details and information before registering.
The registration fee is $375 and can only be done online, at this link, with a credit card.
s.uconn.edu/extensionstoreScroll down to Ornamental & Turf Short Course. Please register as a guest. Please note, the last day to register is October 10, 2021.

Disinfecting Used Tomato Stakes

Wooden stakes are a place where the bacterial pathogens that plague tomatoes can survive between crops. In fact, stakes from a tomato planting where research was conducted on bacterial diseases have been used as a source of the pathogen for subsequent experiments! Therefore, it is prudent for growers to disinfect stakes that were in a field where a bacterial disease occurred last year. This step is worthwhile even if there is uncertainty about occurrence considering how difficult bacterial diseases are to manage. There are three bacterial diseases of concern on tomato: speck, spot and canker. Bacterial canker is sufficiently destructive that discarding stakes is recommended after an outbreak. Before the field season is in full swing often presents an opportunity to find time for disinfecting stakes.

Step one in disinfecting anything is removing as much dirt and debris as possible because this can protect pathogens and de-activate disinfectant. Therefore start by hosing down used tomato stakes.

Clorox or other household chlorine bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) is commonly used as an agricultural disinfectant, although quarternary ammonium chloride, detailed below, is a better choice. Use bleach at a rate of 0.5% (=1 part bleach + 9 parts water). And use in a well-ventilated area. Soak stakes for 30 minutes.

While bleach is highly effective, it is short-lived after mixing in water, with a half-life of only 2 hours, and it is especially prone to being inactivated by organic matter, thus pre-cleaning is critical. A disinfectant containing quarternary ammonium chloride salts like Green-Shield is more stable than bleach after diluting with water. Use at 1 tablespoon (=0.5 fl oz) of Green-Shield in 1 gallon water. While this disinfecting solution will be more stable than bleach, it should not be used more than 24 hours after preparation.

Organic growers typically use a disinfecting solution with hydrogen dioxide or peroxide as the active ingredient, such as an OxiDate or SaniDate mixture. Check the labeled rate on the formulation you choose, as initial strengths will vary.

Regardless of the sanitizer, you need to soak stakes for at least 10 minutes to allow sanitizer to penetrate into the porous wood surface.      

 -CDB, edits by CLS

Originally published by Cornell Cooperative Extension Weekly Vegetable Update, April 4, 2013.