Cooperative Extension

Irrigation benefits both newly planted and established peach trees in UGA study

Posted on
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

While peach orchards are a common sight throughout middle and south Georgia — helping the Peach State live up to its name — peach producers need more than just the title to ensure that both long-established groves and newly planted fields are successful.

Dario Chavez and his research team in the Department of Horticulture on the University of Georgia Griffin campus are working to answer that question. Beginning in 2014, Chavez, along with then-graduate student Bruno Casamali, began working on improving Irrigation and fertilization management practices for young peach trees in the Southeastern U.S. after finding there was no up-to-date information available. Traditionally, irrigation management relied solely on rainfall, which is not always predictable.

“People always think the Southeast gets a lot of rain, but the rain we do get is very variable,” said Chavez. “Sometimes you have a lot of rain and other times you go for long periods without it.”

Your lawn could help save the bees

Posted on
Monday, April 12, 2021

Over the past few decades, pollinators have been in decline worldwide, which is concerning because 70% of crops used for human food depend on pollinators. Turfgrasses – used for most residential lawns – often take some of the blame for pollinator decline as they are known to be wind-pollinated and were thought not to serve as a pollinator food source, until now.

University of Georgia and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers identified bees that were collecting pollen from the flowers of a turfgrass called centipedegrass. The researchers have been looking for ways to reverse the decline of pollinator populations by examining centipedegrass as a food source for pollinators, with hopes of normalizing low-maintenance, bee-friendly lawns. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Entomological Science and Insects.

The study was led by College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty Shimat Joseph and David Jespersen on the UGA Griffin campus alongside USDA researcher Karen Harris-Shultz in Tifton.

Pruning tips for ornamental plants

Posted on
Friday, November 6, 2020

To prune or not to prune, that is the question. Pruning is an important part of maintaining plant health and maximizing plant productivity. This is often a topic that brings fear and confusion, but pruning is, in fact, a beneficial and routine task.

Ornamental plants in the home landscape are pruned for several reasons, including maintaining a desired size or shape; promoting healthy, vigorous growth, flowering or fruiting; and removing sections damaged by insects, disease or weather. Each plant in the landscape has its own growth habit and different requirements for pruning. Some shrubs have dwarf growth habits and may never require pruning, while vigorous, large-growing shrubs may require frequent pruning. Anyone can prune, but not everyone prunes properly.

Improper pruning, or pruning at the wrong time of the year, can result in misshapen plants, reduced flowering or plants that are more likely to be damaged by insects, diseases or winter cold. Because flowering ornamentals form their flower buds at different times of year, pruning times must be adjusted accordingly.

Many spring-flowering plants such as azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud and rhododendron set flower buds in the fall, so pruning during the fall or winter months eliminates or decreases their spring flower display.

UGA’s Ellen Bauske receives national horticulture outreach honor

Posted on
Friday, August 14, 2020

Ellen Bauske is a boundary spanner — she’s known as a person who brings people and organizations together on national, regional and local levels.

It’s one of the many reasons she received the American Society of Horticultural Science’s 2020 Extension Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes an educator who has made an outstanding contribution to extension education in horticulture for more than 10 years.

Bauske serves as a program coordinator for the University of Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She has helped develop innovative programming in a variety of disciplines, including integrated pest management, water, consumer horticulture, Master Gardener Extension Volunteer training, community gardens, landscape and tree care worker safety.

"Ellen Bauske is a doer,” said Dan Suiter, who is chair of the center’s faculty advisory committee. “Her formal training is in plant pathology, but she has been very adaptable in the many years she's been with the Center for Urban Agriculture. She, like no one I've known, can get people to move as a group in the direction of accomplishment. It's a rare skill."

Harald Scherm, head of the Department of Plant Pathology, agrees. “Ellen has consistently reinvented herself and her Extension programming during the past 15 years,” he said. “She has been remarkably responsive to emerging needs and opportunities.”

Great Georgia Pollinator Census returns this August

Posted on
Friday, July 10, 2020

Students and families are encouraged to participate in the second annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census on August 21-22 coordinated by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

About 4,500 participants documented more than 131,000 insect sightings as part of the inaugural census in 2019, and more than 100 events related to the project took place around the state.   

This year's count may look a bit different with social distancing recommendations in place, but organizers are encouraging participants to plan on counting pollinators at home, whether solo or with their families.

Census takers are asked to count pollinators on a favorite pollinator plant with abundant insect activity for 15 minutes each day using the provided observation sheet.

“The goals of the project are to gather data on pollinator insect populations, foster pollinator habitats and increase entomological literacy about these insects,” said Becky Griffin, UGA Extension school garden and pollinator census coordinator. She modeled the program on the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science program run by Cornell University that asks people to count the birds they see in their backyard.

Suiter to be featured on Georgia Farm Monitor TV show July 18

Posted on
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

If you’ve ever wondered how to protect your home from termites, tune in to your local Georgia Public Broadcasting station this weekend when two University of Georgia professors will join forces to show viewers the proper steps to help keep their homes pest-free.

University of Georgia entomologist Dan Suiter, a professor on the UGA Griffin campus, and Nick Fuhrman, a professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) on the Athens campus — better known as “Ranger Nick” to viewers of the monthly Georgia Farm Monitor television show — will appear together on the July episode of the show with tips to stop termites.

Free online school garden workshop for educators

Posted on
Friday, June 5, 2020

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will be offering a free, online school garden symposium for educators starting at 10 a.m. June 16.

Four one-hour presentations will be presented on the following topics:

  • Fruit in the school garden — Ashley Hoppers, Gilmer and Fannin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent
  • Seed saving — Rosann Kent, lecturer, Department of Education, University of North Georgia
  • Vermiculture — Josh Fuder, Cherokee County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent
  • Using the Great Georgia Pollinator Census with school gardens — Becky Griffin, Extension school and community garden coordinator

Participating teachers will learn four presentation-related activities that they can take back to the classroom with them, according to Griffin, who is organizing the workshop. There will be time during the webinar for questions and networking.

UGA agriculture faculty produce COVID-19 video, materials for farm workers

Posted on
Friday, May 29, 2020

As the spring harvest approached, members of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association knew they would need assistance to provide important information about COVID-19 safety measures and food handling protocols to workers who make up the majority of the seasonal agricultural workforce, many of whom are native Spanish speakers.

University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Cooperative Extension faculty responded quickly by producing a COVID-19 safety video in Spanish that could be incorporated into farm employee trainings. 

UGA Extension Southwest District Director Andrea Scarrow, Tift County Extension Agent Justin Hand, and Assistant Professor Laurel Dunn in the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology were a part of the group that spearheaded the effort to quickly produce and distribute the video resources to producers throughout the state.

Bill Brim, CEO of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tift County, previously worked with UGA Extension to develop financial education materials in Spanish for temporary workers at the farm, so he knew who to ask when the need for COVID-19 educational materials arose, Scarrow said.

Cooperative Extension Faculty named PSO Fellow

Posted on
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Svoboda “Bodie” Vladimirova Pennisi, a full professor and UGA Cooperative Extension Specialist at the UGA Griffin campus, will work with the Small Business Development Center to implement online learning opportunities. Pennisi’s online business training module will be designed to help entrepreneurs and managers run a successful landscape management business by covering critical topics such as financials, marketing, cost estimating, employee retention and customer service, all catered to the landscape management field. In the future, the module will be used across UGA Extension and adopted for a new online class for undergraduate students. An experienced online educator, Pennisi will apply her horticulture and landscape expertise to help small businesses across Georgia.

2018 Agro-Forestry & Wildlife Field Day

Posted on
Thursday, October 4, 2018

The 2018 Agro-Forestry & Wildlife Field Day was held Thursday, Sept. 20 at University of Georgia Griffin Campus Westbrook Research Farm on Ellis Road.

The event, which began in 1987 and is currently held every three years, is an opportunity for property owners and students to learn from and ask questions of experts in a variety of topics related to forestry and wildlife.

George Granade, Research Station Superintendent at UGA-Griffin, helped organize the event.