Tag Archives: AREC

Avoid spreading boxwood disease when decorating for the holidays

Dr. Hong inspecting a boxwood bush.

Chuanxue Hong, Extension specialist in ornamental horticulture, reminds people to be cautious when decorating with boxwoods this holiday season so they don’t spread the boxwood blight.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is cautioning the public to take measures to avoid spreading the devastating boxwood blight when decorating for the holidays this year.

Clippings in wreaths and garlands have the capacity to spread the disease, which could decimate English and American boxwood populations along the East Coast.

Researchers say that boxwood blight could threaten the plants in the same way that the chestnut blight destroyed trees in the 1930s.

“The boxwood is not just a plant. It’s part of Virginia’s cultural heritage,” said Chuanxue Hong, Extension specialist in ornamental horticulture at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

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Evaluation pays off for producers

Sheep producers are finding new ways to put dollars in their pockets with some help from Virginia Tech’s Southwest Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Mandy and Chris Fletcher, of Abingdon, Virginia, have purchased rams from the ram test sale for the past four years and have improved their flock’s genetics by selecting for growth and parasite resistance. As their flock’s genetics have improved, the Fletchers have seen a decrease in health care costs and flock mortality.

Mandy and Chris Fletcher, of Abingdon, Virginia, have purchased rams from the ram test sale for the past four years and have improved their flock’s genetics by selecting for growth and parasite resistance. As their flock’s genetics have improved, the Fletchers have seen a decrease in health care costs and flock mortality.

The center, located in Glade Spring, is home to the Southwest Virginia Forage-Based Ram Test. The ram test, now in its fifth year, is the only program in the U.S. that evaluates rams through a forage-based performance test designed specifically to quantify growth and parasite resistance. The test provides a mechanism for ram lambs to be evaluated and compared to rams from other flocks in a standardized environment. At the conclusion of the test, the ram lambs that are offered for sale come with a vast body of production data.

“Internal parasites are among the leading health concerns for sheep,” said Scott Greiner, Virginia Cooperative Extension sheep specialist and professor of animal and poultry sciences. “They can pose dramatic economic losses for many producers, especially those in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the U.S. where forage-based production is an ideal management system for livestock.”

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How to select and care for your Virginia-grown Christmas tree

man looking at pine tree

There are several things to consider when selecting your natural-grown Christmas tree.

Shopping for the perfect Christmas tree can be one of the highlights of the holiday season. There are several things to remember about buying a cut tree that will ensure that it stays fresh throughout the holidays.

“Size is the consideration when selecting a tree,” says Kyle Peer, superintendent, Virginia Tech Reynolds Homestead Forest Research Center. Before shopping, measure the floor area and the ceiling height of the spot where the tree will be. Peer reminds tree shoppers that about an inch will be cut off the tree’s bottom, but a stand can add several inches to the tree’s height.

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International experience inspires student to focus on household water quality issues in Virginia

Jacob Cantor (right) presents a poster to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands (left), Provost Mark McNamee (center), and Erin Ling (background), coordinator of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, illustrating the results of his outreach on the Eastern Shore.

Jacob Cantor (right) presents a poster to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands (left), Provost Mark McNamee (center), and Erin Ling (background), coordinator of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, illustrating the results of his outreach on the Eastern Shore.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 10, 2015 – Jacob Cantor’s path to educating residents on Virginia’s Eastern Shore about household water quality started in faraway Oaxaca, Mexico.

A senior from Fairfax, Virginia, majoring in biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cantor became interested in how his academic training could benefit international development projects. So he volunteered south of the border at the Hunger Project working with clean cookstoves and water quality issues in a small village.

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Wine industry workforce center could boost economic development, Virginia Tech study shows

Research vineyard at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Virginia.

Research vineyard at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Virginia.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 2, 2015 – A workforce education center would give a needed boost to the wine industry in Loudoun County, near Washington, D.C., a Virginia Tech study confirms.

The Virginia Tech team surveyed owners and managers of more than 100 wineries and vineyards in Northern Virginia who identified a need for better marketing acumen to promote the industry. The industry representatives also wanted to see improved quality of grapes to boost Virginia wines’ appeal to aficionados beyond the commonwealth.

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