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IPM Chronicle

Genetically engineered crops – are they safe?

A pigweed (Amaranthus palmeri) prevalent in genetically engineered cropping systems that has evolved resistance to the commonly used herbicide glyphosate. (Photo credit: R. Chandran)

Major row crops, such as corn, soybeans and cotton, are genetically engineered to tolerate pests, such as weeds and insects. These crops are able to tolerate herbicides but will kill weeds and/or are able to kill insects upon feeding on crop parts. Undoubtedly, these modern technologies are essential to keep up with the increasing demand for food and fiber; however, the safety of GE foods to human health, the environment and socio-economic implications are vital for their long-term adoption.

Plum curculio: a troublesome pest of tree fruits

The plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst), is an important early-season pest of tree fruits. They can cause considerable damage to apple, pear, apricot, peach, plum, nectarine, cherry and other fruits.

plum curculio adult

Landscape spring cleanup

The best thing to do at this point is to clean up. Grassy areas would greatly benefit from vigorous raking that would stimulate and invigorate grass growth. Spreading some fertilizer will account for early luscious grass growth. The other focus of our attention should be on ornamentals, which may require some pruning.

There are several reasons for pruning. Nicely trimmed shrubs and trees not only look better, but they are healthier too. Start by removing all dead, diseased and damaged shoots and limbs. Next, remove all the limbs that are crossing and rubbing, serving as a source of injury that will result in increased disease and insect injury potential.

An ounce of prevention is worth a lot in high tunnels

Weeds are a constant problem inside and outside of growing structures, because they compete with your crop for light, nutrients and water. (Photo credit: B.E. Liedl)

You have heard the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and in high tunnel production that is sound advice. Pest management inside a high tunnel is particularly difficult, because there are few chemicals registered for use on crops grown in them. Also, the structure is vented to the outside, which allows the possible influx of pests on a regularly basis.