Famous Farmer speaks in Fort Worth

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The Organic Garden Club of Fort Worth is delighted to announce that
Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm will be speaking to the club on Tuesday, August
24, 2010. Brad has excellent experience and credentials in organics.  He and his
wife Jenny operate a successful Community Supported Agriculture farm in Brenham Texas west of Houston.

As former TOFGA President, he understands the needs and benefits of organic
practices.  His knowledge of food production and marketing is vast and this
is an incredible opportunity to learn from him.

The club will meet at 7:00 pm at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden in the Lecture Hall.  The FWBG is located at 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth, 76107.  The auditorium is at the north end of the Garden Center. Everyone is welcome!

Lunch and Learn about Tree Pests

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Carrie Smith with the Texas Forest Service invites interested professionals to attend the next meeting of the Dallas At-Large Chapter of the Society of American Foresters on August 20th, 2010 from 11 AM – 1 PM at Spring Creek BBQ in Irving (3514 West Airport Freeway, Irving, TX 75062).  The guest speaker will be Ron Billings, Texas Forest Service  Forest Pest Management Manager.  He will be discussing new & some old insect/disease problems in Texas. 

For more information about the meeting, contact Carrie at
817-579-1847 (o)
936-546-3123 (c)

IR-4 Survey

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The mission of IR-4, more formally know as Interregional Research Project #4, is to facilitate the registration of sustainable pest management technology for specialty crops and minor uses.  Since all horticultural uses are minor in the big picture of pest management, IR-4 is instrumental in expanding labels to include ornamentals, fruits and vegetables.

The IR-4 team recently opened  a Grower & Extension survey to help them focus their
research efforts on diseases, insects, and weeds. They will target those
diseases, insects, and weeds that impact crop production but do not have
enough, or any, good tools. The information garnered between now and
next August will be used at a workshop next fall to set research
priorities for 2012 & 2013.

You can complete the survey on line at

The survey only takes a few minutes–about 7 for me–and could help you solve your most difficult pest management problems.

Pesticide Collection Day in October

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What’s in Your
Pesticide Storage Facility?

If your valuable storage space is even partially occupied by
products that you no longer can use, mark your calendar now for the last week
in September. The Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality and Texas AgriLife Extension are sponsoring a nearby pesticide collection day.

October 14

8:00 am-1:00 pm

Parker County Sheriff’s Posses Grounds

2251 Mineral Wells Highway

Weatherford, TX 76088

Contact Jon Green, Parker County Extension Agent

817-598-6168 or jon-green@tamu.edu for more information

Why Should You

Stored pesticides that are out-of-date, suspended, or
unusable for any other reason are an environmental and public health
hazard. Proper disposal of these
products prevents unintended disposal in our surface and ground water and could
even prevent accidental human or animal poisoning. If the reduction in potential liability isn’t
enough to motivate you, consider the cost.
These collection events are FREE
to Texas residents, with the exception of chemical dealers, distributors, or
manufacturers, school chemistry and biology labs, and applicators regulated by
the Texas Structural Pest Control Service.

What Can You Bring?

All types of pesticides will be accepted including
insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, nematicides, rodenticides, and those
products used to control pests on livestock.
Plant growth regulators and harvest aid chemicals will also be accepted.
Fertilizers that contain pesticide admixtures also qualify. In addition, empty, properly rinsed pesticide
containers will be collected for recycling.
If that isn’t enough to entice you, you can also bring in used motor
oil, oil filters, grease, transmission fluid, brake fluid and anti-freeze, as
long as you do not run a business that changes oil for a fee. Paint and lead acid batteries will also be
accepted. For information on how to
safely handle and transport your waste materials, visit the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality website at http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/assistance/AgWaste/safety.html.

What Are You Waiting

The dog days of summer are a great time to get organized, so
head out to your chemical storage area and take a look around. Getting rid of your old and unusable products
will protect you from liability and the environment from potential damage.

Late Blight

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You can say tomato or tomahto, potato or potahto, but can you say Phytophora infestans?  More commonly known as Late Blight, this highly contagious disease of potato and tomato has been making news since back in 1844 when it kicked off the Irish Potato Famine.

2009 was an especially busy year for late blight in the United States, though Texas didn’t make the Late Blight Late Show.  We don’t know what 2010 will bring, but Late Blight has already been detected in four parishes (we would call them counties) in Louisiana.  All the confirmed cases were in home vegetable gardens, and there is always concern about bringing this pathogen into a new area on vegetable transplants. You can read more about the Louisiana Late Blight in this article from Garden Center magazine.

If you are a vegetable farmer, eXtension has a late blight management webinar for you.  On Thursday, July 1 at 7PM Central, Dr. Sally Miller of the Ohio State University and Dr. Meg McGrath of Cornell University will give you an update on what is happening with late blight in 2010, teach you about it’s disease cycle (pathologists just love cycles), tell you how to scout for and diagnose the disease and even how to manage it organically.

To register, click here , or paste this into your browser: http://www.extension.org/article/28346

Nursery and Greenhouse Field Day in Overton

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A free Nursery and Greenhouse Professional Field Day will be held Thursday, June 24, 2010 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton.

Here’s the schedule of events:

Pre-Field Day Seminars (2 TNLA CEUs)
1:00-1:30 2010 CA Spring Trials – Brent Pemberton
1:30-2:00 2010 CA Spring Trials – Jimmy Turner
2:00-2:20 Summary of Texas Field Trial Evaluations – Brent Pemberton
2:20-2:50 Use of Traps to Manage Feral Hogs – Billy Higginbotham

Nursery and Greenhouse Professional Field Day (2 TDA CEUs, 4 TNLA CEUs)
2:50-3:00 Registration (Auditorium)
3:00-4:00 Overview of Applied Horticulture, Entomology, and Pathology Research
4:00-4:15 Travel to North Farm (3 miles north of the Center)
4:15-4:45 East Texas Bedding Plant Trials
4:45-5:00 Travel back to Overton Center
5:00-6:00 Tour of Entomology, Pathology, and Horticulture Research Projects
6:00-7:00 Dinner (Kevin Ong will provide an entertaining and educational program)

The center is one mile north of Overton on FM 3053
Directions can be found at: http://overton.tamu.edu/maps.htm
If you plan on attending please RSVP to 903-834-6191 by June 22

Vineyard Irrigation Workshop/ Drip Injection Systems

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Grape growers in all regions of the state have expressed an interest in enhancing their knowledge in soil moisture monitoring, especially after the droughty 2008 and 2009 growing seasons.  Dr. Guy Fipps, Extension Agricultural Engineer and Director of the Texas A&M Irrigation Technology Center is launching a series of vineyard irrigation workshops in collaboration with regional Extension viticulture advisors.  The focus of these workshops will be on drip irrigation injector technology and soil moisture monitoring.  Drip injection systems are becoming an industry standard for delivering fertilizers and pesticides in Texas vineyards.  Those wishing to better their understanding of drip injector technology and science-based irrigation water management through soil moisture monitoring and ET will benefit. The Vineyard Irrigation Workshops will include presentations by Dr. Fipps and his team of irrigation specialists, followed by hands-on demonstrations of calibration and installation in the field.

Workshop Topics:
•Demonstration on calibration of the three primary types of drip injection systems (positive displacement, diaphram, venturi) in the field
•Laws and regulations of drip injection systems
•Guidelines on how to inject fertilizers and chemicals into drip systems
•Drip Irrigation system maintenance (cleaning ,clog control)
•Installation and monitoring of soil moisture with Watermark sensors
•Interpreting data from Watermark soil moisture sensors & evapotranspiration (ET) data
•Demonstration of water holding capacity in various soil textures (sand, silt, clay)

North Texas Region Workshop
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Delaney Vineyards, Grapevine, TX
Contact: Fran Pontasch fmpontasch@ag.tamu.edu

Registration & Cost:
Registration is required for the Vineyard Irrigation Workshops.  The cost of the workshop is $35.  Payment and registration can be completed on-line using the Texas AgriLife Extension Conference Services Website:  https://agrilifevents.tamu.edu/index.cfm (Keyword:  “Vineyard Irrigation Workshop”).  Be sure to check that you are registering for the location and date that you wish to attend.  Light refreshments will be provided at the workshops.  Please dress according to local weather conditions.

The Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act of 2010

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The National Small Business Tree Planting Program was authorized from 1991 to 1997 and was administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA provided grants to state forestry agencies to contract with local nurseries, arborists and landscapers to plant trees along neighborhood streets, courthouse squares, city parks, and school playgrounds. 

More than 18,000 small landscaping businesses with fewer than 100 employees were employed to plant over 23 million trees across the country as a result of the program. These trees have encouraged consumers to spend more time and money in retail and business locations, decreased heating and cooling costs, and improved the overall livability of communities.

Here in Texas, the Texas Forest Service granted over $5 million dollars and nearly 50,000 trees were planted on public land by contractors in 475 projects.

The economic conditions we are facing today with unemployment hovering around 10% in most parts of the country reminded a few lawmakers of those faced back in the early 90’s and they decided to resurrect the old bill, literally changing the dates from 1191-1997 to 2011-2015 and adding some money for state forestry agencies to administer the program. 

HR 4509 reauthorizes the SBA program at $50MM for each of FY2011 to FY2015 and will provide green-collar jobs and support increases in urban tree canopy that:
• Reduce energy demand,
• Clean the air of harmful pollutants including carbon and other greenhouse gasses,
• Increase aesthetic value,
• Reduce ultraviolet radiation,
• Enhance storm water treatment practices, and
• Reduce the urban heat island effect.

This is a great bill for the green industry, as it provides an opportunity to publicize the many benefits of trees and landscapes and funds jobs in both tree production and landscape installation. Let your congressional representative know how you feel about this proposal.  He or she is probably ready to talk about something other that healthcare.

Vegetable Production Program in McKinney

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On March 5th, 2010, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Collin County will conduct a Vegetable Production Program at Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney Texas.  The educational program will include the following topics and speakers:

Basics of Commercial Vegetable Production – Steve Upson, Horticulturalist, Noble Foundation

Pest Management for Vegetables – Allen Knutson, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Entomologist

Vegetable Disease Management – Greg Church, Ph.D., County Extension Agent -Horticulture

The program starts at 8:30 AM and ends with a lunch at 12:00 PM. Registration is $10. RSVP is requested. Please see the program flyer for more information at:

Grape Pruning Workshops

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Fran Pontasch sent this e-mail with all of the hands-on pruning workshops she’ll be conducting this season.  I went to one of these last year and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn to prune grapevines and network with other growers.  Scroll down for Fran’s contact information.

Below are the scheduled pruning workshops for 2010. There is no fee, however, RSVPs are appreciated. Participants should bring pruning shears and dress for the weather.

Jan. 28, Thursday, 12-3pm
Advanced Pruning
Topic – Pruning & training hybrid vines to a changed trellis system. Pruning to promote balance.
Tara Vineyard & Winery
When:  January 28, Thursday 12:00noon to 3pm
8603 CR 3914
Athens, Henderson County
Instructors: Fran Pontasch, Fritz Westover

Feb. 1, Monday 12- 3pm
Basic Pruning
Oak Creek Vineyard / Arche Winery
228 Wagner Road
Saint Jo, Texas
Instructors: Fran Pontasch, Howard Davies

Basic Pruning for Workers
Feb. 3, Wednesday 12-3pm
Post Oak Vineyard / Lone Oak Winery
2116 FM 731
Burleson , Texas
Instructor: Fran Pontasch

Basic Pruning
Feb 9, Tuesday 12-3pm
Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard & Winery
658 CR 1334
Pittsburg, TX 75686
Instructor: Fran Pontasch

Basic Pruning, Fannin County Master Gardeners
March 9, Tuesday, time TBA
Homestead Vineyard
Ivanhoe, TX
Instructor: Fran Pontasch

TBA – Preseason Disease & Pest Management Workshop



Fran Pontasch
North Texas Viticulture Advisor
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
TX AgriLife Research & Extension Cntr
1229 US Hwy 281 North
Stephenville, TX 76401
(254) 968-4144, ext. 225
(254) 977-3641