West Virginia IPM Report, 2020

NEERA meeting: May 12, 2020

The IPM team members in West Virginia have been carrying out Extension IPM programs primarily in the areas of Specialty Crops (Tree Fruit, Vegetables, and Urban Horticulture (Master Gardeners)).

Staff changes. Dr. Daniel Frank, Extension Entomologist, accepted a job at Virginia Tech during Fall 2019. Following a national search, an offer was accepted by Dr. Carlos Quesada, Post-Doc at Penn State who is expected to join late-summer 2020. Dr. Allison Nichols, Evaluation Specialist, retired in fall of 2019. Megan Kruger was hired by Extension Service as an Evaluation and Research Specialist in 2020.

Significant outputs of past 12 months:

  1. Continuation of EQIP cost-share program for one commercial orchard in the Potomac Valley Conservation District, and initiation of two additional programs in the Eastern Panhandle District.
  2. Continuation of Citizen Science Project with Master Gardeners to correlate pest emergence/phenology with site-specific weather monitoring activity.
  3. Continued publication of quarterly IPM Chronicle newsletter
  4. Ongoing statewide experiments to correlate growing degree-day and soil temperature on the germination of two invasive annual grasses, Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), and joint-head arthraxon (Arthraxon hispidus)
  5. Continued programming in Greenhouse and High Tunnel IPM.
  6. Display of IPM Booth for display at the State Fair and other, statewide and county events.

Success Stories


Insect monitoring in tree fruit. Major insect pests of tree fruit were monitored in three different locations of the state in 2019 (expanded two additional sites in the Eastern Panhandle in 2020 (Orr’s Orchards, and Kitchen’s orchard)) to use scouting data to carry out insecticide applications. Monitoring for insect pests was conducted in Jefferson and Hampshire counties, WV. Temperature data collected from weather stations located at these sites were used to calculate accumulated degree-days (DD) from biofix for codling moth, Oriental fruit moth, and tufted apple bud moth. Additional pest monitoring for redbanded leafroller, oblique banded leafroller, dogwood borer, peach tree borer, lesser peach tree borer, apple clearwing moth, San Jose scale, spotted tentiform leafminer, tarnished plant bug, and European apple sawfly was also conducted at the Monongalia and Hampshire county locations. Biofix dates and weekly trap captures for insect pests was emailed to growers and county Extension agents. Growers using this information were better able to time insecticide sprays on farms. Approximately 300 acres of apple is currently carrying out the Tree Fruit IPM program.

Plant Pathology

Disease alert and prediction to decrease antibiotic use. Spread of vegetable diseases, specifically cucurbit downy mildew (CDM) and late blight of tomato and potato was tracked through CDM-IPMPIPE and USAblight.org, respectively. Disease prediction was provided to the county agents and growers through AgAlert from disease occurrence reports in neighboring counties and analysis of disease conducive weather condition. Once disease was confirmed in the state, it was reported to the online map so that beneficiaries could follow the disease movement and spread. I also participated at the weekly CDM conference calls during the growing season and set sentinel plots to report disease outbreak to the online system and make growers aware of the disease spread with recommendation of measures should be taken. These AgAlerts helped growers taking preventative measures at the time when it was necessary.

Decision support system for apple fire blight management. We set weather stations at the major tree fruit growing counties and subscribed to the disease model data from Spectrum technologies and network of environment and weather applications (NEWA). Fire blight models (Maryblit and Cougar blight) were optimized to predict epiphytic infection period (EIP) and associated risk to relate need for streptomycin spray. Data were accessed remotely, and spray recommendations sent to growers by text messages. Feedback obtained from growers indicated that adoption of preventative measures against CDM and late blight of tomatoes and potatoes prolonged harvest season by two and three weeks, respectively. This would translate achieving higher yield and behavior change of growers. Decision support system for fire blight management helped growers cutting back unnecessary use of streptomycin without compromising level of disease control. This also reduced the risk of antibiotic resistance development in bacterial organism Erwinia amylovora.

Tomato disease management with resistant varieties. As late blight hits tomato and potato production in WV every year, we promoted late blight resistant “WV’63” tomato together with newly released cultivars “Mountaineer Pride” and “Mountaineer Delight”. These two cultivars possess higher tolerance to Septoria leaf spot (SLS) in addition with late blight resistance. We received overwhelming seed request from small growers all over the state and distributed 1500 seed packets. Each seed packet accompanied with an instruction sheet for seed saving, production technique and feedback. Most feedback came through email as opposed to paper mail. A total of 123 feedbacks were received, where growers rated these three cultivars on a 1–3 scale for total yield, taste and SLS tolerance. Data shown in Fig. 1 indicates highest yield was obtained from “Mountaineer Pride” but “Mountaineer Delight” has better taste and SLS tolerance. We also promoted tomato and pepper grafting as an IPM tool for managing soil- borne diseases. Five workshops on grafting tomatoes and peppers on resistant rootstocks were conducted with growers and plant propagators with an average participation of 15 people. In addition, a demonstration trial was also set at the WVU organic farm to show the benefit of using grafted tomatoes. Due to the involvement of technical component in grafting, not every participant wanted to do it by themselves, but it motivated them buying grafted transplants.

Monitoring strobilurin and streptomycin resistance. Fungal and bacterial isolates for apple scab and fire blight, respectively were collected from apple orchards where strobilurin fungicides and streptomycin antibiotic were used. Isolates were subjected to various concentrations of fungicides and antibiotic for assessing sensitivity to chemicals. No resistance in isolates were detected, which correlates with no apparent control failure.

IPM support for diagnostic facilities. Disease diagnosis and management recommendations were provided to all clienteles who contacted WVU plant diagnostic clinic with plant problem. Outcomes from such diagnostic measures are far reaching as it also educates clientele on management options for such disease outbreak and how to take preventative measures. Video clip from one of our greenhouse growers is the testimony of our service and need for continued support.

Weed Science

Weed ID Fact-Sheets. Apart from routine weed identification and management assistance in 2019, six fact-sheets related to identification and management of problem weeds as web-based publications were generated. They were disseminated through social media to WVU Extension clientele during the growing season (May–October). List-serves were generated to reach out to High-Tunnel and Greenhouse growers, and small farms/Master Gardeners and homeowners interested in pest management.

Management of Invasive Grasses. Methods to manage jointhead Arthraxon (Arthraxon hispidus) and Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) invasive annual weeds in pastures and hayfields, in addition to yellow foxtail (Setaria pumila) was disseminated through pesticide videos. A new invasive weed "Everbearing blackberry" (Rubus serissimus) was documented in 2019 in pastures. Management methods are being evaluated currently.

Weed ID Display. A collection of approximately 75 live weed specimen was developed and was displayed at the West Virginia State Fair, State Small Farm Conference, County Agents Training Meeting, etc.

Respectfully Submitted By

Rakesh Chandran, IPM Coordinator, Extension Weed Specialist

Team Members

Daniel Frank, Former Extension Entomologist
Mahfuz Rahman, Extension Plant Pathologist
Mirjana Danilovich, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist
Allison Nichols, Former Extension Evaluation Specialist
Barbara Liedl, Associate Professor (WVSU Collaborator)