New Publications from Extension

Amaryllis Lesion Nematode, Pratylenchus hippeastri Inserra (EENY546/IN975)
Amaryllis lesion nematode is an important nematode pest of amaryllis in Florida. It reduces plant vigor, flower yield, and bulb size. As the nematodes tunnel through the root, the damaged cells die and collapse, forming lesions on the exterior and the interior of the root tissue. This 4-page fact sheet was written by William T. Crow, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, January 2013.

Management of Insect and Mite Resistance in Ornamental Crops (ENY843/IN715)
Resistance of arthropods to crop management chemicals has been problematic since the early era of synthetic organic pesticides. During the 1970s and early 1980s leafminer outbreaks heavily damaged herbaceous ornamental crops such as chrysanthemum, gypsophila, aster, and marigold in fields, shade houses and greenhouses. Several effective insecticides including organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, and a triazine were identified for leafminer control during the outbreak; however, control was short-lived as the leafminer developed resistance to each insecticide. This 11-page fact sheet was written by James F. Price, Elzie McCord, Jr., and Curtis Nagle, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, November 2012.

Posted in News, Pests

Laurel Wilt Disease Found in Manatee County

Distribution of Laural Wilt Disease as of 2011

Distribution of Laural Wilt Disease as of 2011

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently confirmed the detection of laurel wilt disease in a Persea sp. from Manatee County. The location was approximately 3 miles west of Myakka City on SR 70 (27.36756, -82.21082).

Laurel wilt is an exotic, lethal disease of trees in laurel family including the natives redbay, swamp bay and silk bay, as well as avocado.

In another post I’ll go into detail on this disease.

Additional information is available at:

Posted in News, Pests

2 New Classes Offered To Growers

train_9Core and Private Applicator Training and Exams
To be offered at: Manatee County Extension Service
Time/Date: Core 10am-12pm March 19, Private 10am-12pm March 20

Two separate exam prep classes will be held to help you prepare for the Core and Private Applicator RUP license exams. Exams will be offered immediately following the classes. However, you do not have to take the exams the same day.  You may schedule a time to take the exams at your convenience.  You may take one class without the other, if needed.

If you are already a license holder, 2 CEUs in Core and 2 in Private are offered for both classes, respectively. Light snacks will be offered.

For details and registration visit:

April 25: WPS Train-The-Trainer
To be offered at: Manatee County Extension Service

Need CEU’s?
The WPS TTT workshop provides CEUs in several categories. Even if you don’t need to be WPS certified, don’t miss this opportunity for CEUs. CEUs available: 2 in the following categories: Aerial, Ag. Row, Ag. Tree, O&T, Private, Forest Pest Control, and Soil and Greenhouse Fumigation.

Need to become a WPS certified Trainer?
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a federal program designed to protect agricultural farm workers in the production of agricultural plants. A person is qualified to teach WPS to farm workers if he/she holds a restricted use pesticide license or if he/she has completed the WPS Train the trainer course. Once a person has completed the course he/she is certified for life.

For details and registration visit:

Posted in Events

UF/IFAS Finds Water Supplies Not as Threatened as Believed

droughtGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Although reports of drought conditions, water wars and restrictions have often painted a bleak picture of the nation’s water availability, a new University of Florida study ( finds that conditions aren’t quite so bad as believed.

Jim Jawitz, a UF soil and water science professor, and Julie Padowski, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, looked at the problem from a fresh perspective.

Past assessments of urban water supplies typically used what is known as a “runoff-based approach,” which takes into account factors such as river flows and rainfall amounts. These assessments do not consider the infrastructure used to maintain urban water supplies, such as water stored in aquifers, lakes, reservoirs or water that’s pumped into an area and stored.

So Jawitz and Padowski looked at 225 U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of more than 100,000 from an ‘infrastructure’ point of view.

The difference was dramatic. The older runoff-based studies found 47% of the U.S, population was vulnerable to water scarcity. The new infrastructure-based study found that only 17% of the population was vulnerable.

The researchers expected Atlanta – where legal battles over water rights with neighboring states initially prompted the researchers to tackle the survey – to be fairly vulnerable to water scarcity. But in fact Atlanta falls near the middle of the range – not nearly as vulnerable as they thought.

Another unusual finding: Miami, with its lush, tropical landscape, landing in the top 10 most vulnerable cities. Jawitz, a South Florida native, said although the Miami area generally enjoys an abundance of rain, it’s not stored anywhere. That means during periods of drought, the area becomes quite vulnerable.

Here’s a website that ranks the 225 largest U.S. urban areas based on water availability and vulnerability:

Posted in News, Research

SWFWMD Offers Mini-FARMS Cost-Share Program – 2 of 2

MiniFarmsThe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has established a cost-share program to help producers enrolled in FDACS BMPs purchase on-site weather stations and temperature sensors.  Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Producers who own operations with less than 300 acres of production land may apply for one station and up to five temperature sensors for each operation.  Producers who own larger operations may apply for one station and up to five temperature sensors for each 300 acres of production land on the operation(s).  FDACS will provide 75 percent of the cost up to a $25,000 maximum per producer, with a $5,000 cap per station/sensors set (see table below).

300 acres or less production land

1 weather station and up to 5 temperature sensors

75% with $5,000 cap for each operation

$25,000 total maximum per producer

More than 300 acres of production land

1 weather station and up to 5 temperature sensors per 300 acres

75% with $5,000 cap for each 300 acres

The stations will be installed by a company that agrees to meet the approved specifications, at the on-site location(s) the farmer designates.

These weather stations will collect real-time information throughout the year on rainfall, air temperature, relative humidity, dew point, wind speed, and wind direction.  The information will be accessible to producers on their smartphones and computers, through a University of Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) website.

Why purchase a weather station?
The use of weather stations helps producers:

  • Better determine when to delay irrigation after rainfall and when to irrigate during frost/freeze events, which can reduce water use and save costs on pump operation.
  • Better determine when to use fungicide or pesticide sprays or foliar fertilizer applications, which can avoid waste and save related costs.
  • Enhance the potential for reducing the pumping of surface and ground water and the runoff and leaching of fertilizers and other farm chemicals into water resources.

For more information on this cost-share program, and assistance with applying, please contact:
Jessica McCoy Stempien, FDACS/OAWP, field staff in the SWFWMD
813-985-7481 x 2125

Posted in News

Extension is Looking to Hire

IPMScoutDo you know someone looking for a part-time job supporting the? Extension is looking for  part-time worker to replace Kathy Oliver as Ornamental Production IPM Scout / Program Assistant. Kathy is now assisting the Master Gardener program full-time.

Here’s the official job description:
This position performs programmatic and public service duties related to the area of assignment. Work involves assisting the Extension Agent in the implementation of the Ornamental Production Horticulture Program.

Job Duties
This position performs scouting for insects, mites and diseases at cooperating nurseries. Maintains records of scouting activities; informs Ornamental Production Agent and helps solve problems. Performs soil testing and/or other duties to assist agricultural agents with their duties.

Additional Duties
Performs other related work (including weather or extreme emergency duties) as required.

Minimum Qualifications
High school graduate/equivalent. Associates degree highly desired. Minimum of 2 years experience related to skills above.

While some of that may be understandable, let me add some information.

We’d like to find someone with experience in the Ornamental Production industry.  Local experience in Manatee or Sarasota Counties is a plus. Knowledge of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) is required. Experience scouting in ornamental production nurseries and working with growers to solve problems is highly desired. We prefer a self-starter who can work independently. Knowledge of standard office technology – MS office, Word, Excel, etc. is required.

This position will be responsible for testing soil and water pH and EC for growers and other commercial horticulture professionals. Training will be provided.

This position will also coordinate the annual Manatee County Youth Plant Project & Auction. Responsibilities involve working with many groups and individuals; youth, FFA and 4-H leaders, Extension personnel, volunteers, etc.  to plan and carry out the annual Plant Show & Auction. Training will be provided. Required skills include effective communication and team building.

Pay is $12.18 – $18.59/ hour. The position is part-time, 20 hours/ week.

Posted in News

SWFWMD Offers Mini-FARMS Cost-Share Program – 1 of 2

MiniFarmsFor Farms 100 acres or less
Available for all Counties within the Southwest Florida Water Management District
75% Reimbursement up to a Maximum of $5,000

Items Eligible for Cost Share
Soil Moisture Probes/Tensiometers
Soil/Tissue Testing to Determine Fertilizer Recommendations
Water Table Observation Wells
Weather Station w/ET measurement
Data Logger/Telemetry Unit/Power Sources/Software
Culverts w/Riser Board Structures
EC/Salinity Measuring Devices or Equivalent Technologies
Surface Water Irrigation Pumps, Controls, Filtration, Infrastructure
Groundwater Irrigation Controls, Filtration, Infrastructure
Totalizing Flow Meters for Systems Not Required to Meter by WMD
Closed-Pipeline Water Delivery/Tailwater Recovery
Water Quality Test Kit
Petiole Sap Test
Soil pH Testing Kit
Permanent Fertigation Facility
Wetland Exclusion Fencing/Temporary Fencing for Denuded Areas
Other Approved Water Quality Improvement Projects
Other Approved Water Conservation Projects

Includes portion of Levy, Marion, Lake, Highlands, and Charlotte Counties
Includes all of Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee, Manatee, Sarasota, and Desoto

Contact Info
Jessica McCoy Stempien
Environmental Specialist III
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Office of Agricultural Water Policy
7601 Hwy 301 North, Tampa, FL 33637
Phone: 813-985-7481 x2125

Posted in News