Healthy soil is essential for life and is the heart of our food system.
In Ontario, as elsewhere around the world, soil is at risk from many threats.
Ontario’s proposed Soil Health strategy builds on the Sustaining Ontario’s Agricultural Soils.
And we need your feedback. Continue reading
EAB decimates ash trees (invasiveinsects.ca)
In 2016, approximately 4,688 hectares of ash trees were found to be in decline or mortality due to Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis, EAB) in the province of Ontario. That’s down from just over 41,000 ha in 2015. This data is collected by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Although no aerial survey was completed by OMNRF in 2017, the numbers are on the decline since this pest has been chewing its way through our ash trees for at least a couple of decades now. Continue reading
2016 is the year we remember as being unusually dry across much of Niagara Region. The dry conditions highlighted the need for access to irrigation water and consequences of inadequate irrigation. A number of grower organizations, working together with Niagara Region, coordinated by Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, were approved for a Growing Forward 2 grant to develop an Irrigation Strategy Action Plan for Niagara. The focus of this work is on farmland used for horticultural production, including grapes, tender fruit, nursery and greenhouse, below the escarpment. The work is important to the future of your farm and your neighbours’.
The strategy depends on grower input – your input. You will help define and assess the need for irrigation water and build the business case for the benefits that better access will bring. Your input is vital in order to develop a series of prioritized short term and long term actions to address the supply and utilization of irrigation water for your crops.
Many horticultural professionals are gearing up for fall applications of horticultural oil. But the warm weather is causing trees to retain foliage later than they usually would, delaying dormant applications of horticultural oil. The full, dormant rate of horticultural oil is excellent for smothering juvenile stages of insects this time of year. Magnolia scale (photo above, overwintering nymphs) populations were Continue reading
Bright, orange-red lesions of Pear Trellis rust (Gymnosporangium sabinae) are still quite visible on ornamental pear trees right now. Take a look at the undersides of those rust lesions to find sporulating structures, called “aecia” (pronounced “ay-see-a”). These stringy, trellis-like structures release the aeciospores that will infect new shoots of juniper hosts (e.g. Juniperus sabina). Pear leaves require annual infection each spring from infected juniper hosts. Extended leaf wetness periods during leaf emergence, like the ones we had this spring, result in much greater levels of this rust disease on our beloved pear trees. The best course of action is to keep pear and juniper hosts as far away from each other as possible (e.g. a city block if possible). Continue reading
Warm, sunny days and cold nights give rise to the most spectacular fall colours. Unfortunately, that long stretch of unseasonable warm, cloudy days and warm nights in September certainly stalled out leaf colour development this year.
Close up of colonies of beech scale (Chris Malumphy, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Bugwood.org)
Introduced Beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisugae) is easier to see this time of year on our native American beech (Fagus grandifolia). That’s because of the white waxy coverings the females produce to protect their eggs. Look for Continue reading