Enduring Effects

A study was recently undertaken in Massachusetts, conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of New Hampshire to determine the effects winter moth caterpillar populations are having on subsequent growth in oak trees. This recently published study revealed that damage from the winter moth caterpillar is severely affecting the…

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Compaction Qualms

Causes and Concerns Soil compaction is caused when an external force applies pressure to soil which reduces porosity, destroys structure, limits water infiltration, reduces air circulation and increases resistance to penetration of roots. This condition can diminish crop yield and plant vigor. While many people are aware of the negative effects soil compaction can have,…

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Heralding Hogweed

Factor in Forewarning Giant hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, is federally listed as a noxious weed, it is invasive and potentially very harmful to humans; contact with this plant is highly discouraged. The sap of this plant, when combined with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering and possibly blindness and/or permanent scarring. While attempts…

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Mayfly Mess

It is that time of year in the  midwest when mayflies emerge en masse from the depths of the Mississippi River, traveling in swarms that have been known to cause car wrecks, coat roads and leave a slimy mess in their wake. The swarms are so large that they can be seen on weather radar…

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Late Blight Blues

Disease Distinction Late blight was first identified in the United States in 1842, but is most famous for its role in the Irish potato famine of the mid 19th century. Since that time it has been considered the most destructive disease to affect agricultural non-cereal crops. Late blight is caused by Phytophthora infestans, an organism…

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Thousand Cankers Condition

Infection Imposition Over the last decade the mortality of black walnut trees has increased in many states. Thousand Canker Disease (TCD) is the result of a tiny bark beetle which burrows in the bark and creates large and multitudinous galleries, making these trees susceptible to fungal disease and canker formation by creating an entry point…

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Deposition Dynamics

We are always talking of what plants uptake from the soil; nutrients, minerals, water, but what about the things plants deposit in the soil? Plants actually secrete compounds into the soil through their roots, this process is call rhizodeposition. Proteins; sloughed off plant cells and sugars secreted into the rhizosphere (narrow region of soil affected…

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