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JenREES 5-13-18

It was great to see so many fields of corn and even soybean emerging throughout the

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area this past week!  Also grateful for the rain we received in York and for those who received some in other areas.  There are still areas who continue to miss rains and I remain concerned about the soil moisture situation.  I have another soil moisture update this week at http://jenreesources.com if you’re interested in checking that out.

Thursday night/Friday morning’s high winds caused some damage with overturned pivots/corner systems and tree damage.  We also saw newly emerged corn and even soybean cut off or

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Corn plants were buried or cut off by blowing residue/soil.  A few remaining plants in this area of the field can be seen.

buried due to blowing debris/soil, particularly in soybean stubble.  It will be important to watch the plants in these fields the next several days.  By late Friday afternoon, I was already seeing new growth occur, which is good.  Typically, that has been the response in the past-new regrowth in corn as the growing point is still below ground.  However, it will be important to watch the corn plants for any bacterial issues that may kill seedlings.  One can also split open a few plants and look for a healthy growing point.  Regarding the soybean, I have seen soybean lose cotyledons due to hail, crusting, freeze, and wind damage, and still produce a plumule at the top of the soybean stem.  It’s just hard to know for sure what will happen so it’s best to watch the plants in the fields.

Wheat in Nuckolls, Thayer, and Webster counties ranges from elongation to near boot and is turning blue-gray from moisture stress.  Wheat is a crop that I’m always learning about-it can look really bad (or really good) and then end up surprising a person regarding yield either way.  Lower leaves

in fields are turning yellow-brown.  Some of this is due to moisture stress while there’s also powdery mildew pretty thick in lower canopies of wheat that had more tillers.  A few have talked with me about using the wheat for hay or silage and then potentially going in with short season corn, sorghum, or a forage crop.  Our forage specialists would recommend that if the wheat variety has awns, it’s best to either take for hay or silage at the boot stage so the awns don’t cause issues with livestock feeding.  Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Phelps/Gosper counties, had worked with a feedlot using an awnless wheat variety.  Because of the additional growth that occurs in wheat (and other small grains) from boot to full head elongation, they found biomass production may be increased 25% if the forage was harvested during the later pollination period.

Evergreen Trees:  There’s also been a lot of evergreen tree questions.  For those noticing spruce trees looking kind of yellow with early morning sunlight, spruce spidermites have been working hard with the cooler, dry weather.  They tend to build populations in spring and fall.  You can check for spidermites by taking a white piece of paper and banging the needles on it.  Then look for the presence of tiny dark green to nearly black spidermites crawling on it.  Rainfall is a great way to wash them off of trees as are strong streams of water (easier done with smaller trees).  There are also a number of miticides available that homeowners can purchase from lawn and garden stores (look for products that say they can be applied to trees for control of spidermites).  A great brochure on insect pests of evergreen trees can be found at: https://nfs.unl.edu/documents/foresthealth/insectevergreen.pdf.

Many of us also noticed our spruce trees turning red/brown/purple/yellow in color last fall.  This is most likely a disease called needle cast of spruce and can be prevented by spraying trees now (mid-May) with a product containing copper sulfate.  Regarding Ponderosa or Austrian pines, if you look closely at the needles and observe dark bands or rings on them followed by death of the needle either direction from the band, the tree problem is most likely due to a fungal needle blight like dothistroma or brown spot in Scotch pines.  They can all be prevented by spraying a fungicide containing copper sulfate now.  The following brochure on diseases of evergreen trees is really helpful:  https://nfs.unl.edu/documents/foresthealth/diseasesevergreen.pdf.  Sometimes the problem is finding the products listed on these brochures in our smaller towns as these brochures were developed in Lincoln.  If these specific products aren’t available from your local lawn/garden store, box store, or coop, I would recommend looking at the products available and look for a product that says it is effective against needle blights on trees.  Not all the products I’m seeing have copper as an active ingredient, but other fungicides are listed and the key would be the fact that the site (trees) and even better, the site with problem (trees with needle blights), is listed on the label.

We also continue to see pine wilt affecting our Scotch (short needles in groups of 2) and Austrian pines (long needles in groups of 2).  Pine wilt disease is caused by the pinewood nematode that is carried within the gut of a long-horned beetle.  The beetle is what creates the ‘shotholes’ often seen in bark of infected trees.  The nematode is native to Nebraska, as are Ponderosa pines (long needles in groups of 2 and 3).  This is why we don’t see the problem in Ponderosa pines but do in Scotch and Austrian, which are non-native to Nebraska.  A tip, if you’re trying to distinguish Ponderosa vs. Austrian pines, anytime you see needles with a group of 3 it’s a Ponderosa.  Pine wilt is caused by beetles carrying pinewood nematodes vomiting them into the water-carrying vessels of the tree (xylem).  The tree senses the nematodes and essentially blocks water to those branches.  Often you will observe a branch then perhaps a side of the tree and eventually complete death of the tree within 6-9 months.  While I have diagnosed many samples of pine wilt, more often when I visit homeowners the tree problems are due to fungal diseases which occur on the needles.

Lawns:  Please remember the importance of sweeping or blowing fertilizer and pesticide products back into the lawn instead of leaving them on sidewalks.  Leaving them on the sidewalks puts them in contact with people and pets walking on sidewalks and moves them into storm water systems via rain that can eventually end up in streams.  I’m also seeing a number of 2,4-D/dicamba products being sprayed around tree bases to kill weeds which is affecting the new growth emerging on trees.  Consider applying a wood mulch layer around the base of trees to help avoid this situation in the future and be sure to read and follow all pesticide labels.

Crop Update June 9

Corn that was hail-damaged on June 3rd is starting to regrow.  Leaves wrapped up in the whorl are beginning to slough off as wind and warm temperatures cause the damaged tissue to die and break off.  For more information on how stand loss impacts yield, please check http://cropwatch.unl.edu.

Corn that was hail-damaged on June 3rd is starting to regrow. Leaves wrapped up in the whorl are beginning to slough off as wind and warm temperatures cause the damaged tissue to die and break off. For more information on how stand loss impacts yield, please check http://cropwatch.unl.edu.

Some corn plants more severely affected were reduced to sticks.  Sometimes no new growth is appearing while in other plants new growth can be seen.  I split open the stem on this plant.

Some corn plants more severely affected were reduced to stems. Sometimes no new growth is appearing while in other plants new growth can be seen. I split open the stem on this plant since no new growth was apparent and the center looked discolored.

In this corn plant, a bacterial rot has set in as can be seen from the discoloration at the upper portion of this plant and the discoloration at crown area.  This plant may not survive.  This is typical of what we were seeing in Nuckolls/Thayer counties with the 8-10" of rain they received there.  A difference between this and damping off is to look at the roots.

In this corn plant, a bacterial rot has set in as can be seen from the discoloration at the upper portion of this plant and the discoloration at crown area. This plant may not survive. This is typical of what we were seeing in Nuckolls/Thayer counties with the 8-10″ of rain they received there.  My concerns for corn at this point are bacterial diseases such as this or Goss’ wilt that may continue to reduce stands through the season.  Some growers are considering a fungicide application but fungicides don’t target bacterial diseases.  We’d recommend anyone considering this to consider an on-farm research experiment and I’d be happy to help set this up for you.

These soybeans were reduced to stems yet are showing new growth 5 days later.  UNL research has shown that soybean stands can be greatly reduced without a significant yield effect.   The other thing we have looked for is bruising on stems.

These soybeans were reduced to stems yet are showing new growth 5 days later. UNL research has shown that soybean stands can be greatly reduced without a significant yield effect. Several growers are considering replanting; we’d recommend taking into account the research or conduct an on-farm research experiment to see any differences for yourself like this farmer did.  The other thing we have looked for is bruising on stems and some flooded areas truly did not have plants survive.  For more information, please check out http://cropwatch.unl.edu.  

Corn Progression After August 2013 Storm

On August 1, 2013, a severe wind and hail storm damaged 170,000 acres of corn and 86,000 acres of soybeans in Clay County, Nebraska. Corn at the time of the storm was from brown silk-blister. While the storms in the Gibbon/Blue Hill areas occurred a little earlier in the growing season, the following photos show the progression of damage in the event it can be of help to those affected by 2014 storms.

Field on August 2nd that was totaled out and planted to cover crops.

Field on August 2nd that was totaled out and planted to cover crops.  Where crop insurance allowed, producers considered various forage options.

Some producers chose to spray fungicides on fields with more foliar leaf tissue such as this one.

Some producers chose to spray fungicides on fields with more foliar leaf tissue such as this one.

Hail damage to stalks shown 4 days after the storm.

Hail damage to stalks shown 4 days after the storm.

Splitting the stalks open 4 days after the storm resulted in seeing stalk rot already beginning to set in.

Splitting the stalks open 4 days after the storm resulted in seeing stalk rot already beginning to set in.

Corn on August 2nd in blister stage in which hail stones made kernels all mushy on one side of the ears.

Corn on August 2nd in blister stage in which hail stones made kernels all mushy on one side of the ears.

Corn ear on August 6th.  Notice moldy kernels appearing on side where hail damaged ear.

Corn ear on August 6th. Notice moldy kernels appearing on side where hail damaged ear.

 

Six days after the storm, the good side of the ear that didn't receive hail damage.

Six days after the storm, the good side of the ear that didn’t receive hail damage.

Six days after the storm, the side of the ear that received hail damage.

Six days after the storm, the side of the ear that received hail damage.

33 days after the storm, kernels on the "good" side of ears were beginning to sprout.

33 days after the storm, kernels on the “good” side of ears were beginning to sprout.

33 days after the storm:  Diplodia set in creating light-weight ears and brittle kernels.  Sprouting occurring on damaged kernels on sides of ears.

33 days after the storm: Diplodia set in creating light-weight ears and brittle kernels. Sprouting occurring on damaged kernels on sides of ears.  The presence of mold does not automatically mean a mycotoxin is present. Producers also wondered about the safety of feeding moldy grain to livestock.

Storm Damage Resources

Flooded field

Field flooding occurred in newly planted and newly emerged fields throughout the area after recent rains.

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Large trees were uprooted falling on buildings, homes, and cars in Sutton after the May 11, 2014 tornadoes.

The Mother’s Day 2014 storms caused significant damage in Clay County and other areas of the State.  It never ceases to amaze me how people throughout the area respond to storm damage!  Clay County has had its share, and yet the attitude of those affected has been one of thankfulness-thankfulness that no one was injured and that so many still have their homes in spite of damage.  It’s also wonderful to see people from all over the County and area pull together with each storm-helping each other out bringing themselves and equipment to pick up debris or help however possible.  It’s a blessing to work with and serve the people of this County!

Resources

As clean-up continues, the following are a list of resources that may be helpful to those affected by the storms.  Thoughts and prayers go out to all who were affected!

 

Proper Tree Pruning

Special thanks to Dr. Scott Dewald for the wonderful evening of information he provided at our tree care workshop last week!

Scott Dewald explaining what to look for when considering pruning a tree.

Scott Dewald explaining what to look for when considering pruning a tree.  Scott shared that one should never prune more than 1/3 the height of a tree in one season.  Pruning should also be done to obtain a main leader and overall structure.  It’s also best not to prune limbs more than 2″ in diameter.  If the limb needs to be pruned but it encompasses more than 1/3 of the limit of what should be removed in a season, one could “head” the limb by removing a portion of it one year and then complete the cut the following year.  This will slow the growth of that limb.  

Scott Dewald showing workshop attendees where the bark collar ridge occurs on this branch.

Pruning cuts should always be made at the “bark collar ridge” which produces a round cut and allows the tree to naturally heal.  Scott shows attendees where the bark collar ridge is on this branch. 

Pruning Fact Sheet ENH847 from University of Florida Extension written by Edward Gilman.

Pruning Fact Sheet ENH847 from University of Florida Extension written by Edward Gilman with good visuals of where proper pruning cuts should occur.

Workshop attendee demonstrating "heading" of a branch.

We learned that on large branches, it’s good to make a cut farther out to remove the weight first, and then go back and make the proper cut at the bark collar ridge.  Improper pruning can result in further damage to the tree.  Here we were trying to correct this tree for not having a main leader.  Typically one would leave the southern-most branch according to Scott, but in this case, the northern-most branch was stronger.  Scott said there was no need to stake the tree or try to get the northern-most branch to straighten out as it would naturally do this in time on its own.

This attendee is now making the proper cut at the bark collar ridge.

After a large part of the branch weight has been removed, this attendee is now making the proper cut at the bark collar ridge.  

Additional Problem-Planting too shallow.

We also walked from tree to tree in the park looking at additional problems.  I noticed how high the mulch was piled on some of the trees.  Mulch should never be placed against the base of the tree as it can cause rot.  But in this case, it was observed that the person who planted the tree did not dig a deep enough hole.  What appeared to be a pile of mulch was the actual root ball and soil mounded up above ground.  

Additional problem with this tree.

This situation also most likely was a result of improper planting.  In this case, the tree roots began wrapping around the base of the tree girdling it (like choking it).  

Weed wacking

This is the most common problem I see with tree calls.  A huge enemy to trees are weed whackers!  In this case, you can see extensive damage to the bark  and the base of this tree.  Depending on the damage and how well the tree can seal the wound will depend on if the tree will survive or not.  Often, as in the case of this tree, the tree will be weakened with few leaves appearing on branches.  It’s best to place mulch around trees in order to avoid having to use weed whackers on them-but again, don’t place the mulch up against the base of the tree!

This was a fun workshop for me with the right size of group and great hands-on demonstration where we also learned from pruning mistakes and how best to correct them.  Thanks again Scott!

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