Beneficial drought?

first_imgShe says Leyland cypress trees are being hit harder by the drought-related diseases than most other trees and landscape plants. “Seiridium canker disease is the main cause of tree decline,” Woodward said. “Drought stress causes the cankers to enlarge about three times faster than they would on non-stressed trees.” Cankers form on the branches when the fungus enters through wounds or natural openings on the tree. Collectively the cankers interfere with water flow, and, as a result, the branches die. Roots stressed “Other trees and shrubs may be dying as a result of root stress and injury in combination with drought,” she said. “A 40-foot tall oak tree died in my neighborhood two weeks ago due to what I believe to be construction injury to the roots combined with the drought.” The drought has driven disease pressure in the landscape down, but there are always diseases that can persevere. “We aren’t seeing a lot of diseases, except for powdery mildew,” she said. “It’s inhibited by wet leaves, but it can also thrive without much water.” Gardeners and landscapers are pleased with the drought for at least one reason. It has diminished the Japanese beetle population. However, University of Georgia researcher Kris Braman isn’t happy the beetles are missing. She needs them for her research. Traveling north“I’m used to having a big supply, but lately I’ve had to collect them from our Blairsville research station in north Georgia,” said Braman, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “I consider Japanese beetles super bugs, but they just can’t take it when it’s dry.” In the United States alone, controlling the beetles’ larval (grub) and adult stages cost more than $460 million a year. Adult Japanese beetles feed on the leaves of some 300 different landscape plants from roses to crape myrtles. As grubs, they burrow underground and feed on plant roots. Turfgrass roots are among their favorites, Braman said. In her Griffin, Ga., laboratory, she searches for ways to control the beetles when they aren’t being reduced by drought conditions. Too dry to developThe tiny destroyers’ numbers are down because their life cycle relies on moisture. If it’s too dry, the larvae can’t complete their development. “Young Japanese beetle larvae need moisture to tunnel and search for food,” Braman said. “If they survive in the drought to adulthood, they need wet areas to lay their eggs in, and there weren’t many wet areas to be found this summer.” The drought also has reduced the population of another turfgrass pest, the two-lined spittlebug. “They like it hot, but they need moisture, too,” Braman said. “So there aren’t as many around this year to harm centipede grasses and holly bushes.” Less and different diseasesThe drought has reduced the typical diseases found on turfgrass and landscape plants during high humidity conditions, but it has also opened the door for other diseases, said Alfredo Martinez, a plant pathologist with UGA Cooperative Extension. In a drought, turfgrass is stressed, “and we have a good amount of stressed turf areas in Georgia,” he said. “We are seeing more cases of anthracnose and dollar spot, which are caused by organisms that take advantage of the turf’s stressed state.” Martinez says homeowners actually help give these diseases a foothold by the adjustments they make in reaction to the drought. “When there’s not sufficient water, people tend to reduce or avoid fertilization all together,” Martinez said. “They think it will burn the turf if they do. But low fertility promotes disease like dollar spot.” Jean Williams-Woodward, a UGA Extension plant pathologist who specializes in ornamentals, agrees. “Generally with less water there is less disease, but any plant that is being irrigated can still become diseased,” she said. “During drought conditions, plants become weak and are more susceptible to infection.” Leylands hit hardestlast_img read more

Concrete jungle

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaEach day, more of Georgia gets covered in concrete. This development affects traffic and eats up agricultural land. Now, in North Georgia especially, it’s affecting the water system, says a University of Georgia expert.“It’s the 800-pound gorilla in North Georgia,” said Liz Kramer, who works jointly with the departments of agriculture and applied economics and engineering in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We really have to be thinking of that in issues of water quality and quantity. North Georgia is getting gobbled away by those housing density numbers.”Between 2001 and 2005, approximately 13,410 acres of impervious surfaces were put down in Gwinnett County. The metro Atlanta area averaged 55 acres a day, the equivalent of about 41 football fields. Georgia in total covered 38 million acres.When an area is covered in pavement, sidewalks, rooftops or buildings, rainwater can’t get into the ground. Instead, it rushes across the solid surfaces, picks up pollutants and washes into streams. This can cause an artificial spike in water levels, which quickly returns to the levels before the rain. Streams don’t stay as full as they did before housing growth.“We’re no longer recharging our groundwater, and we’re reducing the amount of available water we can use to dilute the pollutants going into the streams,” Kramer said.And it’s all because less and less water flows through the dirt, cleaning itself as it seeps through the ground and back into aquifers and streams. Urban pollution sourcesTen years ago, streams in metro Atlanta had much more pesticides than those in agricultural areas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This was due to solid surfaces and improper pesticide use.“Farmers understand pesticides and use them properly,” Kramer said. “If someone in an urban area is working on their two-acre lot and using pesticides, they’re going to go to a home-improvement store and pick up the first thing off the shelf. And we’re Americans. If a little is good, a lot is better.”Farmers are often blamed for pollution, particularly North Georgia poultry farmers. But in urban areas, people pollution is a bigger problem. “Tires produce a lot of zinc,” Kramer said. “Parking lots have a lot of heavy metals, a lot of oils, anything that drips out of your car.” Changing landscapeThe population boom in North Georgia has sent many farmers looking for cheaper land or out of the industry altogether. “As we develop, we’re pushing these guys out of the watershed,” Kramer said. By raising chickens, poultry farmers also produce chicken litter, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other minerals important for crop growth. Farmers sometimes spread it for fertilizer. Near urban areas where less water is absorbed before it hits a stream, farmers have to be careful where they put chicken litter and how much they spread, she said.“If someone’s applying chicken litter, even the same amount as they have in the past, any runoff would be magnified,” Kramer said.Pollution is a problem, she said, but losing farmland and forests is a bigger problem because agricultural land helps maintain air and water quality and ecosystems, she said. The challenge, she said, is to keep agriculture in North Georgia. “(It) provides so much value, and that value is not being accounted for because we just look at houses.”last_img read more

Propus announces industry veteran Marc Thomas as partner

first_img Related Articles Propus Partners LLP, the premier betting and gaming operational consultancy, has announced Marc Thomas has joined the firm as a partner. Thomas has over 20 years of experience in the gambling sector, and has worked within the online gambling sphere since the year 2000. His specialities lie in all areas of product development and general management including sports betting, casino and poker, as well as specific expertise in mobile gambling and gaming. He started his career at William Hill and spent over 13 years there within a number of divisions and roles. Thomas said: “I’m really excited to be joining Propus and looking forward to working with Mark [Israney] again. “The gambling market, as always, is a hugely innovative and exciting space and think the company is in prime position to provide advice and services to existing operators, new entrants to the market and the supplier community.”Mark Israney, founding partner of Propus, added: “Marc brings a huge level of expertise to the partnership. His wealth of experience in product management and marketing among others, will expand the professional services that Propus can offer to new and existing clients.” Propus Partners was launched in August 2017 as an operational consultancy in the worldwide gambling industry. Key services includes support for new businesses, supply chain analysis and sportsbook marketing. Submit StumbleUpon Share William Hill accelerates transformation agenda to overcome COVID realities August 5, 2020 SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Share Gamesys tops list for GambleAware Q1 donations July 10, 2020last_img read more