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Emily E. Hoover, Frank Forcella, Neil Hansen, Steve Poppe, and Faye Propsom

Lack of effective weed control is the major limiting factor in strawberry production. With few herbicides labeled for use in this perennial crop, weeds are controlled using manual labor, cultivation, and one or two herbicide applications. However, these practices do not provide long-term, effective weed control, and weeds continue to be the number one reason why strawberry fields are removed from production due to a reduction in yield. The objective of this study was to evaluate weed control during strawberry plant establishment using woven woolen mats and spring-sown canola. The effects of these mulches on weed control and strawberry plant production were studied independently and in tandem. Weed and daughter plant counts were compared among treatments to test for differences. Wool mulch, both single- and two-ply, was an effective barrier to weeds within the strawberry rows. Planting canola between rows or broadcasting in combination with the wool mulch decreased the number of weeds when compared to other treatments. The four treatments that included wool had the highest number of rooted daughter plants when compared to all the other treatments except the weed-free plot. The canola treatments without wool mulch did not produce as many rooted daughter plants and were not statistically different from the weedy-check.

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Amy Fulcher, Anthony LeBude, Sarah A. White, Matthew R. Chappell, S. Christopher Marble, J.-H (J.C.) Chong, Winston Dunwell, Frank Hale, William Klingeman, Gary Knox, Jeffrey Derr, S. Kris Braman, Nicole Ward Gauthier, Adam Dale, Francesca Peduto Hand, Jean Williams-Woodward, and Steve Frank

Extension and research professionals in the southeastern United States formed the Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management working group (SNIPM) to foster collaboration and leverage resources, thereby enhancing extension programming, increasing opportunity, and expanding the delivery of specialized expertise to nursery crop growers across a region. Building a productive and lasting working group requires attracting a group of research and extension faculty with complementary expertise, listening to stakeholders, and translating stakeholder needs into grant priorities to help solve problems, all hallmarks of effective teamwork principles. SNIPM has now grown to include 10 U.S. states and 11 institutions and has been awarded seven grants totaling $190,994 since 2009. A striking benefit of working group membership was observed over time: synergy. Greater awareness of individual expertise among SNIPM members, each of whom were focused on different aspects of the nursery production system stimulated multistate extension publications, electronic books (eBooks), mobile device applications (apps), popular press articles, and spin-off research projects when separate foci were combined and directed toward complex challenges. Deliverables achieved from this faculty collaboration include nine peer-reviewed publications, four manuals and books and 23 book chapters, and a combined total of 11 abstracts, conference proceedings and extension publications. To date, the return on investment for SNIPM is one deliverable produced to every $2265.89 in grant funding. SNIPM has also been honored with multiple American Society for Horticultural Science publication awards as well as the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center Bright Idea Award for the quality and originality of their project outputs. Continuing to work together toward common goals that bridge technology and serve the nursery industry while supporting each individual member’s program will be crucial to the long-term success of this working group.