Ramapo Tomato Seed an Option With Flavor

This article was written by Mona Bawgus, a certified master gardener and consumer horticulturist with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County.. With a goal to find the tomato that best represented what people remember as the old Jersey tomato, in 2007 Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) began conducting tomato trials. They began with several varieties that gardeners and farmers associated with that old Jersey taste. NJAES grew each variety and then evaluated them not only for flavor, but also on performance. The public was also invited to participate in several taste tests to collect their opinions… Not only did gardeners love them for their flavor, but also for their resistance to cracking and other common tomato diseases. Commercial seed companies had previously sold this seed to farmers and gardeners, but over the years, had stopped supplying them. Frustrated gardeners contacted Rutgers and a small amount of seed was produced and made available for a short time. Rutgers eventually found a company willing to mass produce the seed and the Ramapo tomato was re-released in 2008.

Read the entire article at www.pressofatlanticcity.com »

WeevilTrak Updates Make Monitoring, Control Easier

A research blog, additional research sites and new control strategies are among a host of upgrades to Syngenta’s WeevilTrak site designed to help golf course superintendents maximize efforts to control annual bluegrass weevil… Once registering for WeevilTrak updates, golf course superintendents will have access to blog posts and receive emails from select researchers throughout the spring and summer. The WeevilTrak Blog will provide live updates from the field to improve ABW tracking and recommended solutions all season long… Now WeevilTrak also delivers a more comprehensive, geographical look at ABW pressure throughout the Northeast and in areas where ABW populations are spreading such as Ohio and North Carolina. Several new golf courses have been added to the existing program for improved tracking accuracy. Two new researchers, Rick Brandenburg, Ph.D., from North Carolina State University and Albert Koppenhofer, Ph.D., from Rutgers University, have joined the program.

Read the entire article at www.turfnet.com »

Newark’s Cherry Blossoms Thrive with Rutgers’ Help

Paul Cowie demonstrates proper pruning protocol during the Master Gardener training.

Paul Cowie demonstrates proper pruning protocol while training Rutgers Master Gardeners.

Arborist Paul Cowie (CC ’85) and Jan Zientek (CC’82), senior program coordinator of Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Essex County, play key roles in maintaining the nation’s largest collection of flowering cherry trees in Essex County’s Branch Brook Park, leading a group of dedicated Rutgers Master Gardeners from Essex County. Branch Brook was the first county park in the nation, conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for his work on Central Park, and was designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm after he retired. The current collection of 4,300 trees, an expansion of the original 2,000 planted in the 1920s, is a testament to the efforts to restore the park to its former glory.  Read more at Rutgers Today.

Bed Bugs: Chemical Cover Caveats

Bed bug infestations exploded over the past 15 years or so, opening a relatively new market for all kinds of products. There are bed bug traps, so-called all-natural sprays, mattress encasements- thousands of options of varying worth. There are also chemical insecticides, including both over-the-counter and professional grade products. The most common class of insecticides used on bed bugs are pyrethtroids, a synthetic version of an ancient remedy made from crushed chrysanthemums… The bugs that were on the treated fabric for 10 minutes were significantly less likely to feed compared to those that sat on it for one minute, and when they did feed it was a significantly smaller amount of blood (there was no difference in the control set). And out of the females that sat for 10 minutes on the ActiveGuard, only one out of 52 laid any eggs… But here’s the caveat. Exposing a population of insects to sublethal amounts of insecticide may be akin to stopping an antibiotic treatment too early, which leads to drug-resistant bacteria. "Exposing bed bugs regularly to sublethal concentrations could promote greater levels of resistance," says Rick Cooper, an entomologist at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at www.msn.com »

Newark’s Cherry Blossoms Thrive with Rutgers’ Help

New Jersey is known for the industrial landscape along the turnpike and the landmarks of the Jersey Shore. But one of the state’s greatest treasures may be its least well known- the nation’s largest collection of flowering cherry trees in Essex County’s Branch Brook Park… For the last decade, Rutgers alumnus Paul Cowie has been part of an effort to restore and expand the collection that erupts with striking pink blossoms each spring… Rutgers’ connection to the state’s hidden treasure runs deep. A crew of volunteers trained through the Rutgers Master Gardeners Program works with Cowie throughout the year to prune, maintain and monitor the health of the cherry trees… The master gardeners started volunteering in the park after they took a pruning class with Cowie. The volunteers receive training through the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station as part of a national program to increase environmental awareness and share university research with the public. Their work in Branch Brook Park helps fulfill their mission of public outreach and education, said Jan Zientek, a department head for the experiment station who advises the master gardeners in Essex County.

Read the entire article at www.thejerseytomatopress.com »