A survey, focusing on the use of irrigation and fertilization best management practices (BMPs), was designed and released to Virginia nursery and greenhouse growers. The objectives of the survey were to determine the most widely used BMPs, assess the reasons for their use, and identify barriers to BMP adoption. The survey was distributed in person, via e-mail attachment, or link to 357 Virginia growers in 2016 with 60 respondents. Survey results demonstrate that the most widely used BMPs in Virginia included irrigation scheduling, integrated pest management (IPM) implementation, altering irrigation practices to optimize irrigation efficiency, controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) use, and plant need–based watering. Respondents selected environmental/resource savings as one of the most cited reasons behind BMP use for water, fertilizer, and runoff management. Cost was the most cited barrier to BMP adoption for all BMPs. Fertilizer management BMP implementation was primarily an economic decision. The value of determining the most widely used BMPs and impediments to BMP adoption is that we can 1) communicate this information to growers who currently do not employ BMPs to encourage BMP adoption and 2) subsequently inform the regulatory community of BMP use. Increased BMP use can boost the potential for mitigation of agricultural nutrient and sediment runoff into impaired waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, and help growers increase efficiency of operation inputs, such as water and fertilizer resources, while potentially saving money.
A mail survey was distributed to school turfgrass managers throughout Connecticut focusing on the differences between turfgrass management practices for kindergarten through eighth-grade (K-8) school grounds before, during, and after a 2010 ban on pesticide use at these facilities. The results indicate that as turf care protocol transitioned from an integrated pest management (IPM) program to new pesticide-free regulatory requirements, school grounds/athletic field managers did not significantly adjust their management programs. The percentage of managers applying pesticides on K-8 grounds decreased, as expected, with the implementation of the new pesticide ban; however, pesticide applications on high school grounds/athletic fields also decreased. Furthermore, it was observed that there had been minimal adoption of minimum risk 25(b) products, the suggested alternative to traditional synthetic pesticides. With respect to other cultural practices, we found that few changes have been made to other cultural practices that would improve turf quality. Budgetary issues facing school grounds/athletic field managers may have limited their ability to implement potentially costly management practices necessary to offset the loss of pesticides. Educational efforts to promote new management practices have the potential to inform school grounds/athletic field managers about new methods, thereby, potentially increasing adoption.
Research was conducted on the fungus-like organism Pythium to observe its sensitivity to the fungicide Subdue MAXX, active ingredient mefanoxam. Pythium is a plant pathogen that causes root and crown rot in plants that are exposed to extensive soil moisture and poor drainage. This study, conducted on Pythium isolated from Colorado greenhouse crops, began in Apr. 2004. Symptomatic tissues from bedding plants and perennials were placed on selective media (P10VP). Resulting isolations of Pythium were transferred to cornmeal agar amended with the recommended low and high label rates of mefanoxam. Mycelia growth was monitored for 72 hours. Pythium sp. showing 20% growth on amended mefanoxam agars, compared to the control growth, were considered resistant to mefanoxam. Results from this study showed that about 64% of the Pythium sp. isolated from greenhouse crops in Colorado are resistant to mefanoxam. Data compiled from greenhouse integrated pest management surveys in Colorado show a high dependence on the use of mefanoxam. Research and screening for mefanoxam-resistant Pythium sp. will continue to provide Colorado growers with effective control solutions for this pathogen.
An assessment was conducted for our departmental internship class (HORT 2010) for 1999–2003. With rare exceptions, all students majoring in Horticulture must complete 3 credits of HORT 2010, based on 480 hours of approved work, reports, a seminar, and evaluations. The course is graded pass/fail. An internship requirement was added to the Landscape Contracting major in 2000–01. Enrollment in HORT 2010 was greatest among students in the Turf Management option (TURF) in 3 of 5 years. Over the 5-year period, females averaged 27% of the enrollment in HORT 2010, in part because there was only one female TURF student. The mode for earned hours completed just before the semester of enrollment in HORT 2010 was 97, thus classing the typical intern as a rising Senior. Only 8% of the interns failed to graduate. A total of 126 students interned at 109 different sites, with 70% interning within Oklahoma. Four Oklahoma employers accounted for 23% of all internship employment. Feedback has led to documented program improvements, e.g., `Bilingual Horticultural Communications' was made available on campus via distance education in Spring, 2001; `Turfgrass Integrated Pest Management' was created and added to the TURF option sheet for 2001-2002; and `Personnel and Financial Management for Horticulture' was created and approved in 2005. In a 2000 alumni survey, 100% of responding, employed Horticulture alumni (19 of 19) rated their internship as helpful. The program has worked well and has contributed to student success.
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program encourages the registration of pesticides that represent reduced risk to human health and the environment. A “reduced risk” designation for a pesticide depends on how its use will affect human health and the environment, pesticide resistance, and pesticide management. Prohexadione-Ca is a bioregulator being developed by BASF Corporation to control vegetative growth in apples with the effect of improving fruit production. BASF will petition the EPA to register prohexadione-Ca as a reduced risk pesticide in 1997 based on the following properties associated with its use: Prohexadione-Ca exhibits a very low mammalian toxicity and a low propensity for crop residues. Prohexadione-Ca rapidly dissipates in soil as a result of microbial metabolism and causes no detrimental ecological effects. There is no other hazard associated with the compound and no health risk for user or consumer is indicated. The use of prohexadione-Ca reduces the incidence of fireblight (and helps control this disease). The use of prohexadione-Ca reduces tree row spray volumes of other pesticides up to 25%. With these beneficial characteristics, prohexadione-Ca will fit exceptionally well into an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, providing another “reduced risk” justification for the registration of prohexadione-Ca. The current situation of accepting prohexadione-Ca as a reduced risk pesticide and its registration status will be discussed.
Consumer concerns about pesticide residues and environmental degradation are having a significant impact on the California grape industry. Growers are using a variety of practices, from integrated pest management to certified organic production, to reduce the amount of pesticides and other synthetic inputs used in vineyards. This experiment was established to test selected sustainable cultural practices in a mature `Thompson Seedless' vineyard. Treatments included in the experiment were row middle management (cultivated vs. perennial legume cover crop) and nitrogen fertilization (compost vs. synthetic). Vine nutritional status, yield, fruit composition, pruning weight, and population levels of the variegated leafhopper were monitored each season (1992–1994). In addition, efforts were expanded during the 1994 season to include assessment of spider, herbivorous mite, and beneficial arthropod densities. Conventional cultural practices (cultivation and synthetic fertilizer) produced the highest yields during the 1992 and 1993 seasons. This result may have been due to the nutritional status of vines, which was generally better for the cultivation and synthetic fertilizer treatment, especially in 1992. In 1994, significant treatment effects on yield were not observed, indicating that legume cover crop plots had become fully established. Sustainable cultural practices had little impact on growth, fruit composition, or insect pest pressure. `Thompson Seedless' grapes were grown for three seasons without the use of insecticides or herbicides. Vine diseases were managed by cultural practices and application of sulfur.
In recent years, several studies have demonstrated the potential of proteinase inhibitors (PIs) for the control of various pests and pathogens. Used as a component of an integrated pest management program, such an approach must, however, be carefully considered, given the possible risks of interference with other control methods. For example, we are analyzing the effect of oryzacystatins (OCI and OCII), two cysteine PIs naturally occurring in rice grains, against digestive proteinases of Amblyseius californicus (AC), a native predator of the two-spotted spider mite (SM; Tetranychus urticae). Electrophoretic analyses have shown the existence in SM extracts of a major cysteine proteinase form strongly inhibited by OCI, indicating the potential of this inhibitor for SM control. However, similar analyses revealed a strong affinity between proteinases from AC extracts and OCs. Thus, despite their potential for SM control, plant cystatins may represent growth-suppressing compounds for AC. Work is currently underway to determine the usefulness of OCI-expressing transgenic plants for SM control, and to assess the compatibility of this control with an AC-based biological control strategy.
The dramatic reduction in available greenhouse insecticides and the potential for increased insect resistance has necessitated a change in insect control techniques. Because of the large acreage of greenhouse production in Pennsylvania and the need for a more environmentally effective method of controlling insects in greenhouses, an aggressive Integrated Pest Management research program was initiated and has been on-going since 1989. Our objectives were to develop a bibliography of major insect pests; to determine effectiveness of parasitoids on greenhouse and silverleaf whitefly, western flower thrip, and aphids; to reduce pesticide usage; and to comply with worker protection standards. The program was implemented by a joint venture among the Pennsylvania State Univ. faculty and technical staff, grower cooperators, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association. The IPM program was started with an active scouting and monitoring program in commercial houses to determine threshold levels. Control measures were implemented with biological controls, cultural management, and lastly chemical. In addition, the implementation of the results of this research to commercial growers has resulted in the formation of a Greenhouse Crop Management Association. Results of the 5-year research program are discussed.
The largest agricultural industry in New Jersey is the commercial landscape/nursery/turfgrass industry; it is also one of the highest users of pesticides. In the lawn care industry alone, >906,000 lb of pesticides (active ingredients) were used in 1990. A proven way to commercially reduce pesticide usage while maintaining landscape quality is through Landscape Integrated Pest Management (LIPM) tactics; however, adoption of LIPM nationally has been slow. In 1994–95, a survey of 525 landscape contractors, arborists, groundskeepers, and turfgrass professionals was conducted to determine attitudes towards adoption of LIPM tactics. Customer perceptions, products utilized, educational needs, and attitudes toward alternative control tactics were assessed. Results show the majority of landscapers do not wish to spray pesticides, and do utilize good horticultural methods. However, purchasing traditional pesticide products that are cost-effective and proven are favored relative to environmentally “safe” and new. Concerns constraining LIPM adoption include potential for customer dissatisfaction, recovering monitoring costs, increased knowledge requirement for LIPM tactics, and fear of inadequate control.
The landscape/nursery/turfgrass industry is the largest agricultural industry in New Jersey, as well as one of the highest users of pesticides. In the lawn-care industry alone, more than 906,000 lbs of active ingredient of pesticides was used in 1990. Landscape Integrated Pest Management (LIPM) tactics have been commercially proven to reduce pesticide usage; however, adoption of LIPM has been slow. In 1993-94, a survey of 425 landscape contractors, arborists, groundskeepers, nurserymen, and turfgrass professionals was taken to determine attitudes toward adoption of LIPM tactics. Business changes, marketing, customer perceptions, educational needs, and attitudes toward alternative control tactics were assessed. Results show that the majority of landscapers are interested in LIPM for personal reasons, to reduce their own contact with pesticides. Contractors favor pesticide products that are cost effective and proven as opposed to environmentally “safe.” Concerns inhibiting LIPM adoption include potential customer dissatisfaction, recovering monitoring costs, and inadequate control. Challenges lie ahead in pest identification and control education, marketing programs, delays in profits, and writing bids.