Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2018

Tracking Down the Causes of Bunch Stem Necrosis in Grapes

Late bunch stem necrosis, indicated by shriveling of the stem, followed by shriveling of the berries, in that order. Photo: Annie Klodd. Author: Annie Klodd.  Late bunch stem necrosis (LBSN) is a physiological disorder of grapevines, where the grape clusters shrivel and die during ripening. It is not a disease, so fungicides are not effective on it. However, a large part of what makes this disorder so frustrating is that the causes are not well understood. In collaboration with grape growers and the UMN Grape Breeding lab, we are working to identify potential causes so that we can develop recommendations to control LBSN. Late bunch stem necrosis is a complex physiological disorder of grapevines, where the bunch stems (rachises) shrivel during ripening, followed closely by berry shrivel. This sudden change is frustrating for growers, when seemingly healthy vines produce unusable clusters. LBSN affects vineyards worldwide, but may be caused by a number of environmental stresses. Th

Apple Rootstock Choices Explained

Photo: Emily Hoover The rootstock of an apple tree has a lot of impact on how an apple tree will grow and produce over its lifetime. While the scion dictates the variety of apple that the tree will produce, among other things, the rootstock influences many other factors such as the size of the tree, productivity, stress tolerance, and precocity (ability to produce fruit earlier in the tree's lifespan). Rootstocks are constantly being evaluated for performance under different environmental conditions and with different varieties. Emily Hoover recently wrote an article that breaks down differences in rootstocks, and discusses how her fruit research lab is continually working to evaluate rootstock performance in Minnesota. Click here to read the full article on the UMN Horticulture Fruit Research website.

How to Disinfect Tools and Equipment

As the season wraps up and tools and equipment are stored away for the season be sure to clean tools properly to prevent plant pathogens from surviving from one season to the next. Soil covered tools, ready to be cleaned and disinfected M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Plant pathogens have multiple strategies for survival. Many common plant pathogens survive in infected plant debris and soil. As a result, crop rotation and proper disposal of crop residue play an important role in reducing disease problems from year to year. But what about the large equipment, hand tools, wires, stakes, high tunnel plastic, clips, and other day to day objects that are used throughout the production season? Can plant pathogens survive on tools and equipment?  Some viruses like Tomato Mosaic Virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, and Pepper Mild Mottle Virus are very durable and can survive on the surface of tools, greenhouse plastic, pots, and other equipment that comes in contact with infected plants. Fusari

Battling Thistles Organically at Cornercopia Student Organic Farm

Courtney Tchida at the Cornercopia organic farm describes how she and her students combated Canada thistle this season.

Berries and Bees

Author: Nathan Hecht.  What if farmers could plant strawberry fields that produced more strawberries while supporting the local ecology? UMN researchers are finding ways to get more berry for our buzz.

What's Killing my Kale? Episode 15 - Late Season Weed Management

For our September series of "What's Killing My Kale?", we caught up with some of our Extension IPM experts to discuss the main 2018 growing season pest pressures and how to prepare for 2019.  In this episode, we discuss weeds with Annie Klodd. You can listen to the podcast  here  or on  iTunes .

What's Killing my Kale? Episode 14 - 2018 Disease Overview

For our September series of "What's Killing My Kale?", we caught up with some of our Extension IPM experts to discuss the main 2018 growing season pest pressures and how to prepare for 2019.  In this episode, we discuss diseases with Michelle Grabowski. You can listen to the episode  here  or on  iTunes .

What's Killing my Kale? Ep 13 - 2018 Insect Review

For our September series of "What's Killing My Kale?", we caught up with some of our Extension IPM experts to discuss the main 2018 growing season pest pressures and how to prepare for 2019.  In this episode, we discussed insects with Bill Hutchison.  You can listen to the episode  here , or on  iTunes .

Farm Information Line FAQ for October

Author: Robin Trott.  With the summer closing down and the season coming to an end, many fruit and vegetable farmers are beginning to make plans for next year. Many of the questions that come through the farm information line this time of year relate to weed control, soil testing and preparation and land rent. 

Fall Manure Application Basics for Vegetable and Fruit Growers

Author: Chryseis Modderman.  October means crisp autumn days, pumpkin carving, and finishing up harvest. But between cider sips and hay rides, it’s also a good time to consider soil fertility for next season’s crops! Manure is a great option for fertilizer because it supplies the major macronutrients needed for crop production (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), as well as micronutrients (zinc, iron, manganese, etc.). In addition, manure increases soil organic matter which leads to better soil structure and water holding capacity while giving a boost to beneficial soil microbes and earthworms.

2018 Pest Update: IPM Podcast Episodes for October

"What's Killing My Kale?" is the pest management podcast for fruit and vegetable growers in Minnesota and beyond. October's episodes give a re-cap of 2018 pest issues in fruit and veg crops. Hosted by Extension Educators Natalie Hoidal and Annie Klodd, each episode of "What's Killing My Kale?" features an interview with a researcher, farmer, or Extension educator where we discuss timely issues and innovative ideas related to managing pests on fruits and vegetables. This month's episodes include: Episode 13: Late Season Weed Control with Annie Klodd (9/20/2018) Episode 14: Disease Overview for 2018 with Michelle Grabowski (9/25/2018) Episode 15: Insect Overview with Bill Hutchison (9/30/2018) How to Listen It is so easy to listen to our podcast. Just click on the links above to listen to the audio file. It works on your phone, in your car, on the tractor, or on your computer. You can listen to the podcast episodes from May through Sept

Trading Rulers for Computers: High-Throughput Phenotyping in Grapes

Author: Anna Underhill . We all know that breeding new fruit varieties takes a long time. Read on to hear how graduate students at UMN are making it go a little faster.

Comparing 330 Unique Pumpkins at the Horticulture Research Center

John Thull touches up a pumpkin display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Photo: MN Landscape Arboretum. John and Jenny Thull grow over 300 varieties of pumpkins every year. They share their recommendations for growers on stand-out varieties, customer preferences, and problem solving.

Unique Grapes and Kiwiberries Sampled at Annual UMN Tour

Author: Matt Clark.  Attendees to the UMN Grape Breeding tour get a taste of potential new fruit varieties in the pipeline. John and Jenny Thull explain an array of grape varieties they grow at the UMN Horticultural Research Center. Photo: Matthew Clark The Grape Breeding and Enology program hosted its annual fall tour on September 8 at the Horticultural Research Center, where new varieties are developed and tested. This decades-old event draws in the public to hear about current research projects, taste a wide assortment of grapes, and explore the vineyards to learn about trellis systems and grapevine pests. Vineyard managers John Thull and Jennifer Thull led nearly 50 commercial grape growers, hobbyists, and wine enthusiasts in a guided grape tasting tour at this year's event. The research center is home to a wide array of species and cultivars not found in other regional vineyards due to our cold temperatures and short growing season. The tasting included European vari

Upcoming Food Safety Trainings Around the State for Fruit and Vegetable Farmers

Fall and winter is the time to think about your farm system, including your practices to reduce potential unintentional contamination of your fresh produce. This fall and winter the University of Minnesota Extension is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and other partners to host 14 FSMA Produce Safety Rule trainings around the state for produce farmers. The Produce Safety Rule, which is a part of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is new federal food safety regulation that applies to the entire food system, including some produce growers. As a part of this new Rule, fruit and vegetable farms that grow, pack, harvest and/or hold produce and that do not qualify for an exemption or exclusion need to attend this training that uses the FDA-approved curriculum. (To learn more about if your farm is covered by the rule view the FDA's Coverage and Exemptions/Exclusions Chart or see this factsheet by UMN ). Farms selling less than $25,000 in produce