Cooperative Extension Service 
________________________________________________
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
 
Hendry County Extension Office     P. O. Box 68 LaBelle, Florida 33975-0068    Phone (863) 674-4092

SOUTH FLORIDA
VEGETABLE PEST AND DISEASE
HOTLINE

October 12, 2001

A cool front, that lingered over the peninsula on September 27-30th, dropped significant rainfall over much of south Florida.  Rainfall totals reported at FAWN weather stations ranged from 1.46 inches in Fort Pierce, 4.33 inches in Homestead, 7.31 inches in Fort Lauderdale and 7.58 inches in Immokalee.  Some areas south and east of Immokalee report receiving in excess of 8 inches of rainfall during this event.  Although wet weather did cause some delays in land preparation and planting schedules, there were few reports of flooding and crop damage.
 
Drier weather, which moved in behind the front, has affected the area for much of the past two weeks.  This has helped most growers to make good progress and get back on schedule.  Temperatures at have been seasonable with daytime highs in the mid to upper 80’s and lows in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s.

Windy weather over the past few days has caused some crop damage and has increased the need to irrigate.  Growers report some wind related fruit scarring and bloom drop around Immokalee.  In Palm Beach, some small tomato plants (prior to first tie) have been damaged or had their stems broken off by recent heavy winds

FAWN Weather Summary
Date  Air Temp (°F)  Rainfall  Hours Below Certain Temperature          (hours)
 Min Max   (Inches)  40°F  45°F  50°F 55°F  60°F 65°F  70°F  75°F
Fort Lauderdale
9/1-9/30/01 68.2 93.1 15.34 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.2 128.9
9/28-10/11/01 68.2 90.6 6.34 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 11.5 128.9
Immokalee
9/1-9/30/01 66.4 92.4 14.50 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 29.4 306.4
9/28-10/11/01 59.3 90.9 6.18 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.8 13.1 61.1 154.8

Forecast from the National Weather Service in Miami calls for fair skies through tomorrow with a chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.  On Sunday, skies will be come increasingly cloudy and there will be a chance of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms each day through Thursday.   For additional information, visit the National Weather Service in Miami website at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mia/newpage/cgi-bin/master.pl?suite=home

Reports indicate that crops across the area are in fair to good condition.  Workers continue to prepare land and transplant eggplant, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Planting of snap beans and cucumbers has started and should increase over the next few weeks. Reports indicate that potato planting has started in the Immokalee area.  Cultural operations such as pruning, staking, tying and spraying are being conducted as needed.

Cooler dryer weather over the past two weeks has aided plant growth and development.  The oldest plantings are setting fruit with oldest fruit gaining size. A number of reports indicate a good crown set on tomato.  Picking of hot peppers, squash and specialty crops has started around Immokalee.  Growers in Palm Beach have begun to pick squash and cukes.

Growers on both coasts have identified worms as their primary insect problem on a wide range of crops.

On the east coast, growers are reporting variable worm pressure on pepper, eggplant, tomato, and beans. Growers are seeing mostly southern armyworm and loopers although fall armyworms as well as beet armyworms numbers are increasing. Sprays have been made and worms are generally under control.

In Palm Beach, respondents indicate that worm damage has largely been to foliage although there are some reports of tomato fruit worm (Heliothus) and fall armyworms feeding on pepper pods.

In southwest Florida, growers are seeing a mixed bag of worms including fruitworms, southern armyworms, beet armyworms, hornworms and loopers.  In some areas, respondents report seeing mainly fruitworms on tomato while in other locations southern armyworms are most common.  Several growers have indicated finding substantial numbers of armyworm egg masses in crops and spraying as necessary.  Several respondents report good worm control with Avaunt – the new lep material from Dupont.

The UF/IFAS research station in Immokalee and growers in the Devils garden area report heavy pressure from fall armyworm on sweet corn.

Growers in southwest Florida are seeing constant melonworm pressure on cucurbits.  Pressure is high on many farms.

The adult moths have velvety black wing margins with lighter, pearly-white areas.  The larval stages are green with two dorsal white stripes running the length of the body and can grow to 1¼ inch long, otherwise they resemble pickleworm larvae.

Unlike the pickleworm, the melonworm is primarily a foliage feeder that prefers the foliage of muskmelon, squash, cucumber, and pumpkin. It very rarely attacks watermelon.  The larvae are often abundant on squash and typically feed on foliage rather than blossoms before they tunnel into stems and fruits, similar to pickleworm.

Low levels of diamondbacks continue to be seen on cabbage and other brassicas.

Respondents in southwest Florida are seeing flights of winged aphids flying into tomato, pepper, eggplant and squash.   Incidence is spotty and populations are low but reports indicate that numbers seem to be increasing and some colony formation has been noted.  Where Admire/Platinum has been applied they have not become a problem but in other crops control has been necessary.

Spotty but widespread occurrence of broadmites and pepper and eggplant are being seen on both coasts. The incidence of broadmite continues to increase, especially as more pepper begins to flower but is still mostly restricted to spotty infestations.  Most growers have generally been able to keep broadmites under control with a couple of sprays although in other places they have proven more persistent.  In some locations, entire farms are being sprayed on a preventative basis to avoid having fruit/bud injury.   Some respondents indicate that infestations seem to have started near the ditch banks with weeds possibly serving as host plants.

Chemical control of broadmite is not difficult but sprays must be timely to be successful.  Kelthane or dicofol, micronized sulfur (i.e. Thiolux) and AgriMek have all given good results locally.  It should be noted that none of these materials kills eggs or seems to have enough residual to kill all hatching larvae.  Therefore, to achieve control it is necessary to make two applications about 5 days apart to allow time for eggs to hatch and target emerging larvae.  Growers are advised to use care when applying Kelthane to avoid crop damage.  From grower experience, Kelthane should be used alone and rates should not exceed 1 pint per 100 gallons, especially on hot days.  Some growers report good control using a combination of Agrimek and Trilogy.  Growers should scout frequently as current weather conditions are favorable for increased broadmite pressure.

Growers across south Florida indicate low numbers of silverleaf whiteflies on tomatoes and eggplant.  Several respondents report that numbers are variable from day to day indicating that there are some adults are moving around.  Although all reports agree that soil applied nicotinoids (Admire/Platinum) appear to be working well in controlling incoming whiteflies, growers are encouraged to begin watching populations more closely as these crops begin to mature and as the control from early season applications of Admire and Platinum begins to diminish with time.

To avoid resistance growers are advised to use nicotinoids at transplanting and rotate to other products of other chemical classes, such as Thiodan or the insect growth regulators Knack® or Applaud® as the control runs out.  (See previous issues for more on this topic.)

Whiteflies are also being widely detected in cucurbits although populations remain low.
 
Leafminers numbers appear to be increasing slowly according to all reports.  Numbers are still low and although no sprays have been targeted for them on tomato yet some respondents indicate spraying to control leafminer on cucurbits.  Scouts indicate that a few mines are being seen on lower tomato leaves but closer examination reveals that most have been parasitized.

In eastern Palm Beach, growers indicate finding some thrips in pepper blooms but at this time no Thrips palmi have been detected.   Low numbers of thrips are also showing up on sticky traps in southwest Florida, but scouts indicate that very few thrips are being detected on plants or flowers.

In Palm Beach, moderately low numbers of leaf-footed plant bugs have been found in squash flowers; however, no specific damage has been linked to the leaf-footed plant bug’s presence.

In southwest Florida, scouts report seeing the occasional stinkbug and significant numbers of leafhoppers in some places.

Scattered bacterial spot infection is being reported on tomato in all areas.  Incidence is low to moderate on older tomatoes with some infection being detected on younger plantings.  Occurrence varies widely with many growers indicate they remain clean.  Most growers indicate that spread has slowed and lesions are drying out with the onset of drier weather.

Around Immokalee, with the exception of some isolated occurrence of low levels of early blight on tomato, growers report no significant foliar disease problems other than bacterial spot.

In Palm Beach, the situation is similar although some traces of target spot have been detected on tomatoes and eggplant.  Growers should watch carefully for this disease, especially if rainfall and heavy dews accompany the cooler weather expected in the weeks ahead.

Dr Ken Pernezney; Plant Pathologist at the Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade reports that some growers in Palm Beach are having significant problems with phytophthora blight on pepper.  Growers also report seeing some instances of soil-borne phytophthora affecting eggplant, squash and tomato in Palm Beach. Most reports indicate that infection of new plants has slowed but some growers continue to report slow in-the-row spread to include a few new plants adjacent to earlier infestations.

There have been no recent reports of phytophthora from southwest Florida.

Losses from Phytophthora capsici have consistently affected pepper production areas on the east coast of Florida for many years.  The disease is also a sporadic problem in pepper, summer squash, and watermelon in most other vegetable production areas of the state, including most notably, southwest and west central Florida. Phytophthora capsici can also cause significant losses in eggplant and tomato.  The host range of P. capsici is wide and, additionally includes cantaloupe, chayote, cucumber, honeydew melon, marigold, macadamia nut, papaya, and pumpkin.  Diseases caused by P. capsici are often referred to as Phytophthora blight.

Phytophthora capsici causes seed rot and seedling blight in many solanaceous crops (pepper, eggplant, tomato) and cucurbits (cantaloupe, cucumber, summer squash, pumpkin, watermelon), similar to those seen with damping- off fungi. Rotting of seedlings prior to emergence  (preemergence damping-off) and blighting of recently emerged seedlings  (postemergence damping-off) can occur. The roots and plant base may be discolored and infected seedlings often fall over. White fungal growth may cover infected areas of blighted seedlings under moist conditions.

All parts of pepper are susceptible to the disease.  Infection can occur at any height on stems, but is most common at the soil line, and starts as a dark, water-soaked area.  Stem lesions are dark brown to black and result in girdling and plant death.   Infected roots are dark brown and mushy. Leaf spots are at first small, irregular to round, and water-soaked.  With age, the spots enlarge, turn a light tan, and may crack.  Infected areas may be bordered by white fungal growth during wet periods. Rapid blighting of new leaves and the entire emerging shoot may take place.  Pepper fruit is infected through the fruit stalk. Fruit rot appears as dark green, water soaked areas that become covered with a white to gray mold. Infected fruit dries, becomes shrunken, wrinkled, and brown, and remains attached to the stem.

In eggplant, fruit rot is the primary symptom caused by P. capsici. It begins as a round, dark brown area on any part of the fruit at any stage of maturity.  A rapidly expanding light tan region typically surrounds lesions. White to gray fungal growth may appear during wet, humid periods, starting on the oldest part of the fruit lesion. Phytophthora fruit rot in eggplant lacks the concentric patterns and dark fruiting structures present with Phomopsis rot.  Fruit rot in eggplant may also be caused by other Phytophthora spp.

Phytophthora capsici can cause crown infections, leaf spot, and foliar blight in tomato transplants.  Infections are generally most severe within the first four weeks after transplanting in the field. Diseased crowns are brown and soft and the plant may wilt and topple over. Another common symptom is fruit rot.  Fruit of any age may be infected.  Rot is most prevalent where fruit contacts the soil and begins as dark, water-soaked spots. The spot rapidly expands during warm weather and covers 50% or more of the fruit surface with a brown, watery discoloration that may assume the appearance of concentric rings. At first, infected fruit remains smooth and firm even though the discoloration extends to its center.  Over time and under humid conditions infected fruit may be covered with white fungal growth and rot entirely following invasion by secondary microorganisms.

The symptoms of fruit rot in tomato caused by two other Phytophthora spp., P. dreschlera and P. nicotianae, are essentially the same.  Fruit rots caused by P. infestans (late blight) however are characterized by wrinkling and a definite, sunken margin.

Summer squash is highly susceptible to Phytophthora foliar blight and fruit rot. Early foliar symptoms include rapidly expanding, irregular, water-soaked lesions in leaves.  Dieback of shoot tips, wilting, shoot rot, and plant death quickly follow.  Sunken, dark, water-soaked areas appear in infected fruit, and are rapidly covered by white fungal growth.  Under warm, wet conditions, P. capsici can devastate entire squash plantings in a matter of days.

Angular water-soaked lesions, as well as a rapid fruit rot, which is covered with white fungal growth, are produced in cucumber. Symptoms of Phytophthora blight in cantaloupe include leaf lesions and tip dieback of vines.

Phytophthora capsici may survive in and on seed and host plant debris in the soil by means of thick-walled, sexually produced spores (oospores).  Both mating types of the pathogen necessary for oospore production are present in Florida. The pathogen produces spores of another type called zoospores that are contained within sac-like structures called sporangia.

Zoospores are motile and swim to invade host tissue. Plentiful surface moisture is required for this activity. The sporangia are spread by wind and water through the air and are carried with water movement in soil. Phytophthora capsici is also moved as hyphae (microscopic fungal strands) in infected transplants and through contaminated soil and equipment. Since water is integral to the dispersal and infection of P. capsici, maximum disease occurs during wet weather and in low or waterlogged parts of fields. Excessive rainfall, coupled with standing water creates ideal conditions for epidemics caused by P. capsici. Growth of this pathogen can occur between 46 -99°F, but temperatures between 80-90°F are optimal for producing zoospores and infection. P. capsici can rapidly affect entire fields.  Under ideal conditions, the disease can progress very rapidly and symptoms can occur 3-4 days after infection.

Management practices in transplant production areas include the use of pathogen-free and fungicide-treated seed, and sterile potting media. Transplant trays, benches, seeding equipment and plant house benches and other structures should be disinfested using a sodium hypochlorite solution or other disinfestant.

Steam sterilization of transplant trays may be useful. Transplant trays with infected plants should be removed immediately from production sites. Workers should disinfest their hands after contact with infected plants before resuming their duties.

Planting sites should be well drained and free of low-lying areas. Optimal water management is essential to prevent the occurrence of flooded field conditions that favor Phytophthora blight. The drainage area of the field should be kept free of weeds and volunteer crop plants, particularly those in the solanaceous and cucurbitaceous groups. A preplant fumigant should be used. Equipment should be decontaminated before moving between infested and noninfested fields. Infected fruit should be culled to prevent spread in the packinghouse and during shipment.

Effective, labeled fungicides should be used preventively according to label instructions. Ridomil Gold and Ridomil Copper have given good results.  It is essential that fungicides with different modes of action be rotated to prevent the buildup of fungicide resistance in P. capsici.  Rotating or tank-mixing a systemic with a contact fungicide is recommended.  Resistance to this disease has not been identified in cultivars currently grown in Florida.

Excerpted from Plant Pathology Fact Sheet SP-159 - Vegetable Diseases Caused by Phytophthora capsici in Florida – the entire document with excellent color photographs can be seen at http://plantpath.ifas.ufl.edu/takextpub/Fact%20Sheets/sp159.pdf

Although whitefly populations remain low, respondents on both coasts continue to report finding tomato yellow leaf curl virus in a few widely scattered single tomato plants.  Incidence is rare and most indications are that fewer infected plants are being seen compared to previous years.  Growers and workers have become quite adept at identifying infected plants and are rouging them out on identification.

Around Immokalee, pythium has slowed down with the return of drier weather.  Respondents in Palm Beach, also indicate that significant reductions in Pythium damp-off are being noticed.

There have been isolated reports of southern blight on tomato across the area.  Occurrence is spotty and occasional.

Scouts around Immokalee report that they are beginning to see low levels of fusarium crown rot in tomato.  Occurrence is sporadic and largely in fields with a history of problems.

Dr Ken Pernezney reports finding white rust, caused by an Albugo species (probably Albugo ipomoeae-panduranae) on sweet potato.  The symptoms consist of raised blisters or galls on leaves.  When these are split open, a whitish fungus growth is evident.  This is an interesting disease as it is not traditional "rust", as we see in sweet corn or beans, but is a fungus more closely related to Pythium and Phytophthora.

Up Coming Meetings

Palm Beach County

October 30, 2001                          Vegetable Growers' Seminar on Sandea Herbicide Control
                                                        of Nutsedge and Certain Broadleaf Weeds in Florida Vegetables
                                                        Holiday Inn Catalina, 1601 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach
                                                        Lunch 11:45 - 12:30 PM, Program 12:30 - 1:30 PM
                                                        1.0 CEU's (Private, Aerial, Ag Row Crop, Demo/Res), 1.0 CCA credits
                                                        Contact Ken Shuler at 561-233-1718 or 1725

Southwest Florida
 
October 18, 2001                            Vegetable Growers Meeting
                                                        Association of fungi with tomato roots in the field, Recovery of Phythophthora
                                                        and other Pathogens in Irrigation Water and Nu Farm America - Agricultural
                                                        Product Update - Noon to 2:00 P.M.
                                                        UF/IFAS - SW Florida Research and Education Center
                                                        Hwy 29 N, Immokalee, FL

October 30, 2001                           Vegetable Growers Meeting
                                                        Mycorrhizae, What They Are, How They Function and the Potential for
                                                        Vegetable Production In Florida – 6:00 to  8:00 P.M.
                                                        UF/IFAS - SW Florida Research and Education Center
                                                        Hwy 29 N, Immokalee, FL

Other Meetings

November 8-9, 2001                      17th Annual Tomato Disease Workshop
                                                        West Palm Beach, Florida.
                                                        Presentations and discussions on the occurrence and management of tomato
                                                        diseases. Both processing and fresh market tomato problems will be addressed.
                                                        For additional information visit: http://erec.ifas.ufl.edu/TDW.htm

December 8-12, 2002                    Cucurbitaceae 2002
                                                        Naples Beach and Golf Club, Naples, Florida
                                                        Contact Don Maynard at 941-751-7636 ext 239 or dnma@mail.ifas.ufl.edu.
 
Agricultural Pest Management, Inc is a newly formed scouting service for growers in SW Florida.  APM is owned and operated by Kathy Carbiener.  Kathy has over 23 years experience scouting Florida vegetables including 10 years experience in SW Florida.  Growers interested in learning more about this service can call 941-628-4541 or 863-494-3112.
 
Career Opportunity

NUTRA PARK, a well-funded startup in Madison, WI with rights to a novel plant growth regulator (PGR) that enhances ripening and prolongs the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and flowers is seeking a Field Research Scientist to be located in Florida.  Salary Range - $45,000 to $50,000.   For complete information regarding qualifications and responsibilities go to their website - http://www.nutrapark.com/about_us/f_about_us.html or contact:

    Lori Moynihan
    608-662-9080 ext.101
    E-mail: lmoynihan@nutrapark.com

New unit to fight farm-equipment theft

The western Palm Beach County farmlands, ripe for picking by thieves looking for tractors, fuel and chemicals often sitting unprotected in open fields, are the target for a new squad of sheriff's detectives. Riding in unmarked off-road pickups, detectives soon will be on duty watching over the vast sugar cane and vegetable fields around Lake Okeechobee.

"The timing couldn't be better," said Col. Bill Tremer. The Farm Watch unit comes as residents worry about biochemicals and reports that suspected terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks came to Belle Glade to ask about crop-dusters.

Tremer expects to have five detectives and a supervisor assigned to the unit, which is patterned after a successful farm patrol unit in California's Tulare County, a citrus growing region.  So far, two detectives and Sgt. Mike Wingate are assigned to the unit, which recently took an inventory of crop-dusters and sent advisories to farmers and farm supply stores to be watchful of suspicious customers.

A lot of agricultural businesses had already increased security in wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Lt. David Carhart said.
The unit's primary target will be thefts, which during a recent 18-month period totaled $2 million in farm equipment, chemicals and fuel.  One of the latest thefts was of $100,000 worth of sod, Wingate said.

The unit also plans Farm Watch signs along the roadside, identifying farms so passersby can report suspicious activity and be able to give a location.

Detectives will carry hand-held global positioning system receivers to direct other deputies and the sheriff's helicopter to crime scenes.  "Unless you've grown up or worked that area a long time, it's impossible to know all the dirt roads," Carhart said. "With GPS, they can give coordinates and get a much quicker response."

Pahokee Police Chief Gary Frechette said he welcomes the Farm Watch team.  "They have the equipment and manpower to get it done," he said. "We just don't have the ability to patrol the farms."

Farmers in the area chipped in to pay for three of the unit's members to visit Tulare County to study its operation, Carhart said.
The Glades Community Development Corp. is also supporting the effort. "Our mission is to address whatever problems exist in the community," said the nonprofit's executive director, Autrie Moore-Williams. "Our board felt it was a worthwhile cause."

Tremer said reducing thefts benefits everyone. "When the costs for the farmers go up, the price of produce for the public also goes up."  Farm Watch can be reached by e-mail at agunit@PBSO.org.

Palm Beach Post
Friday, October 12, 2001

Agricultural Terrorism

Both the President and many experts outside his administration have indicated that should a second terrorist attack occur, it could be in the form of chemical or biological weapons. You can do your part by being diligent in establishing and maintaining appropriate security measures to ensure that all people, products and animals flowing into and out of your operation remain as safe as possible from contamination.

Conduct a security review of your farm or facility including your structures, parking areas, personnel who have access to your properties, alarm systems, emergency power systems, employee/visitor identifications, communications, perimeter security, and contingency plans.

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has suggested several strategies for protecting agricultural products from contamination as a result of terrorist-related activities.

These strategies include:


Should you suspect any problems, or discover evidence of tampering, trespassing, etc., immediately contact the state Agriculture Department at (800) 342-5869.

For more information on security, visit the Division of Emergency Management Web site, http://floridadisaster.org/bpr/emtools/severe/terrorism.htm

Websites

Florida Wetland Restoration Information Center - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has established a water resources website, it contains information on the implementation of proposed TMDL’s or total maximum daily loads as mandated by the Clean Water Act.  To learn more about TMDL’s and how they might affect you operation, go to http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/tmdl/index.htm.

“Labor Law Compliance, A Working Guide for Ag/Hort Employers.” - This new 100-plus-page guide from Gempler’s is offering offers ag/hort employers important info and compliance guidance on many key laws and regulations affecting their employees. The guide features checklists in both English and Spanish that employers can use to assist in educating supervisors. http://www.gemplersalert.com

Agricultural Research Magazine – follow this link to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's science magazine, published monthly by the Agricultural Research Service.  http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/index.html

PEST MANAGEMENT LITE

Pest management is serious business. Unrelenting discovery of new pests, reports of ravaged crops and economic loss, chemicals misused, products withdrawn, costs, and grim problems, however, can make IPM folks want to chuck it all.

That's not realistic, but a brief glance at the lighter side can provide temporary respite.  When work-a-day pressures become onerous, and the future turns bleak, shake off those nasty blues by merely pointing your Web browser to the inspired, heartwarming site of THE NEMATODE SONGBOOK and quickly shed your gloom http://mgd.nacse.org/hyperSQL/squiggles/songs.html.  Here, neatly packaged in one compact page, you'll find many of your old favorites, but now all enhanced with a new worm's eye view.

Who, for example, will be able to forget the stirring sentiments of the "Nematode Marching Song," or not be touched by the heartfelt emotions of "The Autumn Worms"? Just one verse of "The Happy Nematologist," or "Good King Nematode" is bound to be a thoroughly uplifting and nerve-tingling experience.

Sing these inspired lyrics to your astonished co-workers, or organize a sing-a-long with close friends and weird work mates. You'll enjoy, no matter the reaction of listeners or those devoid of nematological notes appreciation. THE NEMATODE SONGBOOK awaits your pleasure.

Crash Landing

An American astronaut has an emergency during his re-entry into earth's atmosphere and his spacecraft crash-lands in the Australian bush, way out in the middle of nowhere.

After what seems like an eternity, he wakes up in a very rustic, dirty, foul smelling bush clinic, and he is bandaged from head to foot. He sees a very large, somewhat gruff looking nurse approaching him as he lay in his cot.

"Did I come here to die?" he says with a deep sense of resignation and fear.

"No," the Aussie nurse replies, "You came here yesterdiaay.

Quotable Quotes

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -- Carl Jung

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. -- James A. Froude

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues. -- Abraham Lincoln

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. --- Will Rogers

An Ode to America

Why are Americans so united? They don't resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many they are.

Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, and the secret service that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty his bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a minister or the resident was passing. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: "God Bless America!"

Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on Saturday once, twice, three times, on different TV channels. There were Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stalone, James Wood, and many others whom no film or producers could ever bring together. The American's solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word.  What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul. What neither George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor Colin Powell could say without facing the risk of stumbling over words and sounds, was being heard in a great and unmistakable way in this charity concert. I don't know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of America didn't sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious!

It made you green with envy because you weren't able to sing for your country without running the risk of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or suspected of who-knows-what mean interests. I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that would have killed other hundreds or thousands of people. How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow human? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit that nothing can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases, which risk of sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion. Only freedom can work such miracles!

Editorial from a Romanian Newspaper

Southwest Florida Vegetable Pest and Disease Hotline is now the South Florida Vegetable Pest and Disease Hotline

You may have noticed that the name of the hotline has changed to the South Florida Vegetable Pest and Disease Hotline.  In response to numerous requests from readers and in an effort to better serve growers and the vegetable industry, we are expanding coverage of the hotline to include southwest Florida and eastern Palm Beach County.  We hope to further expand our coverage over the next few weeks to include all of South Florida. Comments and suggestions are appreciated.  Let us know what you think.

Contributors include: Joel Allingham/AgriCare, Inc, Karen Armbrester/SWFREC, Jim Connor/SWFREC, Bruce Corbitt/West Coast Tomato Growers, Fred Heald/Farmers Supply, Sarah Hornsby/AgCropCon, Cecil Howell/H&R Farm, Bruce Johnson/General Crop Management, Leon Lucas/Glades Crop Care, Gene McAvoy/Hendry County Extension, Alice McGhee/Thomas Produce, Jimmy Morales/Pro Source One, Tim Nychk/Nychk Bros. Farm, Chuck Obern/C+B Farm, Dr. Pam Roberts/SWFREC, Nancy Roe/Farming Systems Research, Wes Roan/6 L's, Kevin Seitzinger/Gargiulo, Jay Shivler/ F& F Farm, Ken Shuler/Palm Beach County Extension, Ben Stanaland/Pacific Tomato Growers, John Stanford/LNA Farm, Mike Stanford/MED Farms, Dr. Phil Stansly/SWFREC, Eugene Tolar/Red Star Farms, and Dr.Charlie Vavrina/SWFREC, Donna Verbeck/GulfCoast Ag.

The South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline is compiled by Gene McAvoy and is issued on a biweekly basis by the Hendry County Cooperative Extension Office as a service to the vegetable industry.

Gene McAvoy
Extension Agent II
Vegetable/Ornamental Horticulture  863-674-4092 phone
Hendry County Extension Office  941-860-8811 mobile  - Nextel Agnet 28950
PO Box 68     863-674-4097 fax
LaBelle, Florida 33975   gmcavoy@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu

http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/~gmcavoy/index.htm

Ken Shuler
Extension Agent IV
Vegetables
Palm Beach County Extension
559 N Military Trail    561-233-1718 phone
West Palm Beach, Florida 33415-1311 kds@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Employment Opportunity - Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE, FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES, SEA GRANT AND 4-H YOUTH, STATE OF FLORIDA, IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING

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