New online book joins the IPM series

IPM bookMatthew Chappell, Associate Professor UGA & Statewide Extension Specialist (Nursery Crops)

The book IPM for Shrubs in Southeastern US Nursery Production Volume 1 is now available via iBooks for viewing on an iPad at the link below and as pdf files for viewing on a laptop, desktop, and most mobile devices at the link below that.

IPM Select Shrubs: Vol. I


Also, our previous book, IPM for Select Deciduous Trees in Southeastern US Nursery Production, is also available in iBooks for viewing on an iPad at the link below and as pdf files for viewing on a laptop, desktop, and most mobile devices at the link below that.

IPM Select Trees

We will be publishing 4 more volumes of the shrub book over the next few years, with each book covering 4-7 genera of woody ornamentals.

What is killing branches on this Leyland Cypress?

Bot canker - Dark, rust-colored dieback symptoms of Botryosphaeria (Bot) canker. G. Moody
Dark, rust-colored dieback symptoms of Botryosphaeria (Bot) canker. G. Moody

This disease is Bot canker. Bright, rust-colored branches and yellowing or browning of shoots or branches are the first observed symptoms. Closer inspection reveals the presence of sunken, girdling cankers at the base of the dead shoot or branch. Sometimes, the main trunk shows cankers that might extend for a foot or more in length. These cankers rarely girdle the trunk, but they will kill branches that may be encompassed by the canker as it grows. Read more info in the following publication including disease management.

Diseases of Leyland Cypress in the Landscape

See Entire Publication

Authors – Alfredo Martinez, UGA Plant Pathologist, Jean Williams-Woodward, UGA Plant Pathologist and Mila Pearce, Former UGA IPM Homeowner Specialist

Leyland cypress has become one of the most widely used plants in commercial and residential landscapes across Georgia as a formal hedge, screen, buffer strip, or wind barrier. The tree is best suited for fertile, well-drained soils. However, when young, the tree will grow up to 3-4 feet per year, even in poor soils. The tree will ultimately attain a majestic height of up to 40 feet.

Leyland cypress is considered relatively pest-free. However, because of its relatively shallow root system, and because they are often planted too close together and in poorly drained soils, Leyland cypress is prone to root rot and several damaging canker diseases, especially during periods of prolonged drought. Disease management is, therefore, a consideration for Leyland cypress.

This UGA Publication discusses several Leyland Cypress diseases and their management.

Goats and Sheep Battle Invasive Plants

The Athens-Clarke County Commission approved on June 3, 2014 a new law that will allow people inside the city limits to rent goats and sheep to help get rid of invasive plants on their property (info taken from the Center for Invasive Species blogspot). Read the following story to find out why.

The following article is by Merritt Melancon, news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Goats and sheep have a reputation for eating vegetation that most other grazing animals would not touch.

This trait makes them invaluable to people who need to raise livestock in tough climates, but it’s also made them popular for landowners who need to clear brush or invasive plants from overgrown parcels.

The nimble grazers can get into overgrown areas that even the most dedicated groundskeeper or gardener won’t chance. They’ve proven to be a low-impact, low-cost way to control invasive plants like privet, kudzu, honeysuckle and English ivy.

The practice of using sheep and goats to clear out unwanted brush is called targeted grazing, and many government agencies, municipalities and private landowners are using it to keep vacant lots, steep back yards, parks and right-of-ways clear of brush.

When is it time to bring in a herd?

Targeted grazing is a suitable option, whether a landowner is dealing with acres of stream bank, a detention pond or a small back yard, but it’s not meant to replace basic maintenance, said Brian Cash, owner of EWE-niversally Green sheep rental service in Dunwoody.

“We’re not a lawn mowing service,” Cash said. “We’ll do that, but we like to focus on overgrown yards and lots.”

Cash often works with new homeowners in and around downtown Atlanta who have purchased foreclosed homes with overgrown lawns and local government agencies needing to clear brush from public lands.

Sheep and goats are most useful when an area is so overgrown that no one else wants to clear it out. Even if its just a small yard, most homeowners, and many landscapers, don’t want to work in an area that’s choked with poison ivy, poison oak and briars, he said.

Sheep and goats are also useful in areas that are too steep or too wooded to use a tractor to clear out brush.

“If you can do it with a bush hog on a tractor, then that would be cheaper, but if you need a guy with a weed whacker out there, then I’m cheaper,” said herdswoman Jennif Chandler, of Shady Brook Farm in Colbert.

Chandler and her sheep have worked with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the Athens campus to clear invasive plants including privet, kudzu and honeysuckle from along the bank of the Oconee River.

She also works with homeowners in the Athens area to clear Kudzu covered hills and backyards.

While goats and sheep are a surefire and efficient way to clear out a choked backyard or lot, there are a few things that homeowners should consider before buying a half-dozen goats or even hiring a service like Cash or Chandler’s.

They’ll eat everything

While herdsmen and women out on the West Coast are training goats and sheep to nibble around delicate plants like grape vines and other crops, targeted grazing isn’t a technique homeowners would want to try around their prize hydrangeas or a heirloom rose bush.

In fact, some ornamental plants are seriously toxic to sheep or goats. Examples include azaleas and Japanese yew.

“They’re not very discriminant,” said Sarah Workman, an Extension Agroforestry Specialist with the CAES. “If there’s something you don’t want them to eat, you need to protect it.”

While goats and sheep eat pretty much the same thing, sheep prefer broad-leaf weeds like ivy or kudzu, and goats seem to prefer woodier plants, Cash said.

Sheep usually can clear an area up to about a five-foot height, but goats can climb and take care of plants up to seven feet off the ground.

Because of their climbing ability, goats can take care of larger plants. However, that skill and natural curiosity, makes them more likely to escape and antagonize neighborhood dogs.

Cash usually sends a few goats along with his sheep herd to get the best of both worlds, but he’s careful to select his best-behaved goats.

Graze, wait and repeat

If a homeowner’s goal is to eradicate a specific invasive species, it may take repeated grazing to accomplish that goal, Workman said.

She and Chandler organized the first targeted grazing demonstration at UGA last year. The project, an effort to remove privet from a portion of the River Road area, is ongoing.”

These invasive plants are invasive because they are so persistent,” Workman said. “The idea is that the repeated introduction of the animals will deplete the root reserve of the (invasive) shrub.”

The shrubby stuff and woody vines are things that need repeated browsing,” Workman said. “And hopefully the more they’re eaten and knocked back, the less strength they have to regrow.”

Chandler’s sheep are scheduled to be back in action this summer to continue the eradication effort.

Managing the herd takes expertise

Herdsmen and women, like Cash and Chandler, have worked with their animals long enough to know how they’ll graze a specific area and how to meet homeowners’ goals for targeted grazing. Their customers get the benefit of that expertise when they rent their herds.

Another option is for a homeowner to purchase a few sheep or goats, but they need to be ready for the responsibility, said Will Getz, professor of animal science at Fort Valley State University’s Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center.

Zoning laws prohibit many suburban and urban homeowners from keeping any goats or sheep in their backyard. Additionally, suburban, urban and even rural landowners will face the challenge of keeping their herds contained and safe from neighborhood dogs or coyotes.

Moreover, there is the matter of food.

An acre of grass and brush can support about a half-dozen goats or sheep over the long-term, Getz said. If a landowner wants to load their land with more than six sheep or goats per acre, they’ll clear it out quickly.

“If you exceed that stocking intensity, then the animals are going to clear the area out more quickly,” Getz said. “But then you need to be prepared to sell them or otherwise get them off of your land when they’ve finished, either that or start buying feed.”

Homeowners interested it either renting or buying goats or sheep to clear their land should contact their local UGA or FVSU Cooperative Extension agent and the zoning or public development office in their county or city.

Landscape Pop Quiz

Azalea lacebug Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide SeriesThis is caused by Azalea Lace Bugs!

This information came from the publication Control of Common Pests of Landscape Plants 

Lace bugs get their name from the appearance of the area behind their head and wing covers. The area forms a lace like covering over the body of the insect. They are 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length and are partially transparent. Lace bug damage appears on the upper leaf surface as white to yellow chlorotic spots. The lower leaf surfaces will be cluttered with black spots and the old cast skins of immature lace bugs. Initiating control in the spring between March and May will reduce problems later in the season.

To find more id and control information on this or other landscape insects read the UGA publication Control of Common Pests of Landscape Plants 

To find pesticide recommendations and use information visit the Georgia Pest Management Handbook.

Spring & fall are good times to control fire ants!

Original story by Sarah Lewis, student writer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

“April and September are good times to apply baits, once at the start of the season and toward the end to help control before they come back in the spring,” said Will Hudson, a professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Fire ants are most active in warm weather. Fire ant season can last 10 to 11 months out of the year in the most southern areas of Georgia. Controlling ant colonies before they produce a mound is important. However, Hudson says that once a treatment program is in effect, timing is not all that important.

Baits and sprays

The general rule of thumb is if the area is one acre or less, don’t use baits. Re-infestation is more likely from colonies outside of the yard when baits are used.

One important thing to remember is the difference between ‘no mounds’ and ‘no ants.’ “There is a difference between eliminating ants and controlling them,” he said. “Baits do not eliminate ants because there is no residual control. A new colony can still come in and be unaffected by the bait laid down prior to their arrival.”

To eliminate mounds completely, apply baits every six months, Hudson said. “There will be invasion in the meantime, and you will still have fire ants, just not enough to create a new mound,” he said.

Hudson recommends treating lawns smaller than an acre with a registered insecticide in a liquid solution. This should rid the lawn of fire ants for one to three months. If you choose a granular product, measure carefully to be sure you apply the correct amount of material and get good, even coverage, he said.

The least effective treatment option for most people is individual mound treatments, according to Hudson. Treating mounds in general is going to be an exercise of frustration, and killing an entire colony by treating just the mound is a challenge, he said.

Minimal impact

Baits are considered to have minimal environmental effects for those who chose not to use hazardous chemicals. Once the bait is out, there is hardly anytime for anything to come in contact with it before the ants get to it.

Nonchemical options include using steam or boiling water. “We recommend using boiling water to treat a mound near an area such as a well where you do not want any chemicals,” Hudson said. “Using hot water is very effective, but the problem is you are not always able to boil the water right next to the area you want treated.” Carrying the boiling water can inflict serious burns, so extreme caution should be used when treating with this method.

There are products on the market that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and labeled as organic. Hudson says organic designation is a “slippery” definition. There is an official USDA certification and many states have their own set of regulations when labeling a product as organic. This labeling can mean the product is either a natural product or derived from a natural product. “While there are a few products that qualify as organic, with most baits the actual amount of pesticide applied is minimal,” he said.

Realistic expectations

Hudson says to be careful when choosing a product because the labels can be confusing, even deceptive, and it is difficult to make the right choice. For assistance in selecting a product, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent.

“The most important thing to remember is that you need to be realistic in your expectations,” Hudson said. “If you are treating mounds, you need to be prepared. You are going to chase the mounds around the yard.”

For more information on selecting a control measure:

UGA Pest Management Handbook

Fire Ant Control Materials

Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas

Videos: Sustainable and integrated pest management practices for nurseries

IPM videos
Sustainable nursery and IPM practices videos are now available online!

University of Georgia and University of Florida have partnered to produce a series of short videos to help nursery producers to better understand and to more effectively use sustainable practices.

You can find the list of videos and view them here.

For more information on this project visit this site.

One of the latest videos covers Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The video includes an overview of IPM including sanitation, irrigation and sustainable pest management. See the IPM video here.

Other topics are listed below. Visit the home site to view these videos.

  • General Sustainability / Introduction
  • Container Production
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Fertilization
  • General Irrigation
  • General Production
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Runoff Management & Reclaimed Water Use
  • Recycling and Re-purposing
  • Substrates

Information taken from the Southeast Ornamental Horticulture Production and IPM blog.

Apps help identify invasive pests

Clint Thompson, news editor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Is there an unwanted invasive insect or plant on your farm or in your garden that you don’t recognize? The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has an app for that.

Invasive species trackers at the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have developed a suite of apps to help farmers, forestry personnel and home gardeners identify strange unwanted invasive pests. They can now identify their problem invasive pests in the field, rather than breaking away to sit down at a computer and look it up.

Apps developed by the center’s technology director Chuck Bargeron and his co-workers provide direct links to different databases specializing in informing and educating the public about invasive species, those not native to an area that has been introduced and causing damage to agriculture and forestry. Such species include the kudzu bug that munches on soybeans and the spotted wing drosophila which affects blueberry crops.

“For the IOS platform, we’ve had more than 25,000 downloads of apps. The most successful one was the first one we did which was for Florida, which was focused primarily on pythons in south Florida. It’s probably been the most successful because it had the most press coverage when it first came out,” Bargeron said.

The app is one of 17 the center has developed. It provides different apps for different parts of the country because, for example, farmers in the Western United States aren’t concerned with the same species that growers in the Southeast are concerned with. Working a regional perspective allows users to focus on species in their geographic area.

Bargeron and members of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have had great success with database web-based resources of information, especially after the pictures image archive were added to the website in 2001. When Keith Douce and David Moorhead, — co-directors of the center formally known as Bugwood Network, — launched the website in 2001 they added pictures from 35mm slides. Approximately 3,500 pictures were available. As more and more people began using the website and recognizing its value, they started sharing their own pictures. The database of pictures increased greatly in the 12 years since the website was started. Now, more than 200,000 pictures from more than 2,000 photographers are in the systems database.

These resources have also changed the way forestry and agriculture classes are taught. An entomology professor at Texas A&M told Douce the resources caused him to completely restructure how he teaches his classes.

According to Douce, the center website generated 9.3 million users last year and 260 million hits.

For more information, visit the website at

Get the most from your pansies!

By now, most pansies are in the ground. Now it is time for winter care to improve their performance! UGA Extension has an excellent publication on growing pansies – Success with Pansies in the Winter Landscape: A Guide for Landscape Professionals. It provides info and the practices that help us get the most from our pansies.

Pansy Jolly JokerHere are some examples of info from this publication. Did you know?

  • Once the weather cools and soil temperatures drop below 60° F, pansies grow better when fed a liquid feed program using a fertilizer containing at least 50 percent of its nitrogen in the nitrate form.
  • Fertilizers containing more ammonia can be used more once soils warm in the spring – starting about March 15.
  • Reduce fertilization during warm weather to control plant growth.
  • Pansies grow best in soils with a pH of 5.4 – 5.8. Higher pH encourages boron and iron deficiencies while making plants more susceptible to black root rot.
  • Removing frost-damaged and old and faded flowers improves the looks of the bed, encourages more flowering and can reduce disease incidence.
  • You can trim lanky branches to produce stocky plants with more branches and flowers.

Several insects and diseases affect pansies. For help identifying these problems, contact your local Extension Office.

For more information, see the entire publication here.

New fungicides for ornamental disease control

Jean Williams-Woodward, UGA Extension Plant Pathologist

Several fungicides for ornamental production have come on the market within the past couple of years. Below is a summary of some of the products.

Many of the products control Oomycete diseases including downy mildews and Pythium and Phytophthora root rot and blights. This is great news since there were few good Oomycete fungicide options available previously other than Subdue MAXX, Aliette and the numerous phosphonates/phosphites. Oomycete pathogens develop fungicide resistance readily.

Current research on Phytophthora and Pythium populations within GA nurseries and greenhouses has shown that approximately 5-25% of the isolates from individual production facilities are resistance to mefenoxam (Subdue MAXX). To reduce fungicide resistance development, always use products according to label rates and restrictions and rotate applications with products with a different mode of action (i.e. different FRAC numerical code).

Brand Name Active Ingredient FRAC # Sites1 Diseases Controlled
Adorn Fluopicolide 43 G, L, N Downy mildew, Phytophthora, Pythium: Must be tank mixed with a product with a different mode of action (different FRAC #) for fungicide resistance management
Disarm O Fluoxastrobin 11 G, N Broad spectrum – Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora, downy mildew, powdery mildew, anthracnose, leaf rusts, various fungal leaf spots and blights
Micora Mandipropamid 40 G, N Downy mildew and Phytophthora foliar blight and root rot: Provides a good rotation partner to Subdue MAXX, Segway and Adorn.
Orvego Ametoctradin + dimethomorph 45 + 40 G, N Downy mildew and Phytophthora: Contains the same active ingredient as Stature fungicide. Use in rotation with products with different mode of action.
Pageant Boscalid + Pyraclostrobin 7 + 11 G, L, N Broad spectrum – Anthracnose, powdery mildew, various fungal leaf spots, Botrytis, downy mildew, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, Cylindrocladium
Palladium Cyprodinil + Fludioxonil 9 + 12 G,L, N Provides good Botrytis control, plus other diseases including Rhizoctonia, powdery mildew, Cylindrocladium, Sclerotinia, Sclerotium rolfsii, Fusarium, certain fungal leaf spots
Segway Cyazofamid 21 G, L, N Downy mildew, Phytophthora, Pythium.
Torque Tebuconazole 3 G, L, N DMI fungicide with same mode of action as Strike, Banner MAXX, and Systhane. Controls powdery mildew, rusts, Sclerotium rolfsii, black spot, and various other fungal leaf spot diseases.
Tourney Metconazole 3 L, N For use on woody ornamentals (not floriculture). DMI fungicide. Controls anthracnose, powdery mildew, rusts.
Trinity TR Triticonazole 3 G, L, N Supplemental labeling for use on ornamentals. DMI fungicide. Controls anthracnose, powdery mildew, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotium rolfsii, Sclerotinia, certain fungal leaf spots
Veranda O, Affirm Polyoxin D 19 G, N Botrytis, Colletotrichum, Alternaria, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia

1  Location where product is registered for use: Greenhouse (G), Landscape (L), Nursery (N)

Fall Turfgrass Disease Control

Severe leaf and crown rot, caused by Bipolaris sp. can occur in bermudagrass lawns, sport fields, or golf fairways. Initial symptoms of this disease include brown to tan lesions on leaves. The lesions usually develop in late September or early October. Older leaves are most seriously affected.

Under wet, overcast conditions, the fungus will begin to attack leaf sheaths, stolons and roots resulting in a dramatic loss of turf. Shade, poor drainage, reduced air circulation; high nitrogen fertility and low potassium levels favor the disease.

To achieve acceptable control of leaf and crown rot, early detection (during the leaf spot stage) is a crucial.

Large Patch

Large patch disease of turfgrass is most common in the fall and in the spring as warm season grasses are entering or leaving dormancy. Large patch is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. It can affect zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass and occasionally bermudagrass.

Large patch disease is favored by:

  • Thick thatch.
  • Excess soil moisture and poor drainage.
  • Too much shade, which stresses turfgrass and increases moisture on turfgrass leaves and soil.
  • Early spring and late fall fertilization.

If large patch was diagnosed earlier, fall is the time to control it. There are a myriad of fungicides that can help to control the disease. Preventative or curative rates of fungicides (depending on the particular situation) in late September or early October and repeating the application 28 days later are effective for control of large patch during fall. Fall applications may make treating in the spring unnecessary. Always follow label instructions, recommendations, restrictions and proper handling.

Cultural practices are very important in control. Without improving cultural practices, you may not achieve long term control.

  • Use low to moderate amounts of nitrogen, moderate amounts of phosphorous and moderate to high amounts of potash. Avoid applying nitrogen when the disease is active.
  • Avoid applying N fertilizer before May in Georgia. Early nitrogen applications (March-April) can encourage large patch.
  • Water timely and deeply (after midnight and before 10 AM). Avoid frequent light irrigation. Allow time during the day for the turf to dry before watering again.
  • Prune, thin or remove shrub and tree barriers that contribute to shade and poor air circulation. These can contribute to disease.
  • Reduce thatch if it is more than 1 inch thick.
  • Increase the height of cut.
  • Improve the soil drainage of the turf.

See the current Georgia Pest Management Handbook for more information. Check fungicide labels for specific instructions, restrictions, special rates, recommendations and proper follow up and handling.

Spring Dead Spot of Bermudagrass

The causal agents of Spring Dead Spot (SDS) are most active during cool and moist conditions in autumn and spring. Appearance of symptoms is correlated to freezing temperatures and periods of pathogen activity. Additionally, grass mortality can occur quickly after entering dormancy or may increase gradually during the course of the winter. Spring dead spot is typically more damaging on intensively managed turfgrass swards (such as bermudagrass greens) compared to low maintenance areas.

Management of Spring Dead Spot

Practices that increase the cold hardiness of bermudagrass generally reduce the incidence of spring dead spot. Severity of the disease is increased by late-season applications of nitrogen during the previous fall.

Management strategies that increase bermudagrass cold tolerance such as applications of potassium in the fall prior to dormancy are thought to aid in the management of the disease. However, researchers have found that fall applications of potassium at high rates actually increased spring dead spot incidence. Therefore, application of excessive amounts of potassium or other nutrients, beyond what is required for optimal bermudagrass growth, is not recommended.

Excessive thatch favors the development of the disease. Therefore thatch management is important for disease control,

  • Implement regular dethatching and aerification activities.
  • There are several fungicide labeled for spring dead spot control.
  • Fall application of fungicides is essential for an effective control.

Publication on Identification and Control of Spring Dead Spot

Additional information can be found at:

Turfgrass Diseases in Georgia

Georgia Turf

Pest Management Handbook (Follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide)