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


December 16, 2002

The cold front that arrived over the weekend bought some of the coolest temperatures of the season with lows in some of the normally cooler areas dropping into the mid 30’s and patchy light frost reported in some areas.  No crop damage is anticipated.  Although the month started off cool and dry, a series of cold fronts and disturbances has bought several periods of rainy weather to south Florida every couple of days since then.   Most localities have received some rain from these systems. Rainfall totals have been variable with Homestead reporting 2.35 inches and some areas around Immokalee receiving as much as 5 inches.  Temperatures have been variable with some highs in the 80’s and few nights in the 30’s and 40’s, although for the most part daytime highs have been in the mid to upper 70’s and night time lows mostly in the 50’s.

Field work and planting has been proceeding normally in most places although rainy weather has delayed planting and harvesting operations in some areas.

Vegetables coming to market include beans, cucumbers, eggplants, endive, escarole, lettuce, okra, peppers, radishes squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and specialty crops.   Light supplies of strawberries and watermelons are also available.  Quality is mostly good although some higher than normal grade-out and some post–harvest disorders are still being reported.

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
Ft L'rdale                    
11/15/- 11/26
Fort Pierce                      
11/15/- 11/26
11/15/- 11/26
11/15/- 11/26

The short term forecast from the National Weather Service in Miami calls for cool dry conditions over the next few days with gradual moderation that will bring us back closer to seasonal norms by Wednesday and a chance of showers as we approach the weekend.

For additional information, visit the National Weather Service in Miami website at



Respondents in southwest Florida report that worm pressure has fallen off in recent days and is mostly low with the exception of the Naples area where some growers continue to report moderate southern armyworm and fruit worm pressure. In general growers indicate that overall worm pressure this fall seems to be lower compared to the past few years.

Around Palm Beach County, growers and scouts in indicate that worm pressure is mostly low with a few southern and beet armyworms and loopers being reported

Reports from Homestead indicate that worm populations remain high across a wide range of crops.  Depending on the crop, growers are seeing fall, southern, and beet armyworms, tomato fruit worms, loopers, melon and pickle worms.


Reports out of Homestead indicate leafminer pressure remains constant on tomato, potato, beans, and eggplant.

Scouts in Palm Beach report generally moderate leafminer pressure although some have noted movement into young tomato fields.  They note that growers are applying Spintor with good results.

In Southwest Florida, respondents indicate that leafminer pressure is increasing, mostly in tomato and potatoes.  Adult leafminer populations are very high in some locations and adults are moving into new plantings.  Scouts have noted high levels of parasitism in some older fields where spraying has been reduced at harvest.

For more information on leafminers, visit UF/IFAS Featured Creatures website at and


Growers and scouts around Homestead note that aphids have increased substantially over the past two weeks on several crops including cucurbits, tomato, potato, and strawberry.

Respondents in Palm Beach indicate that the number of winged aphids seems to be on the rise but overall populations remain fairly low.  Some colony formation has been noted.

Around southwest Florida, winged aphids have been detected in several locations.  Populations are mostly low but a few severe infestations have been noted in pepper.

Pepper Weevil

Respondents from Homestead report that pepper weevils are well established and pressure remains strong.

Around southwest Florida, reports indicate that pepper weevil numbers have dropped off in recent weeks.  Weevils are still being detected in several pepper fields but infestations remain low.  Some respondents indicate that they are finding weevils in traps but fields remain clean.

On the east coast, growers and scouts indicate that pepper weevil pressure has dropped off around Palm Beach County but report that pressure has been moderate to high further north in St Lucie and Martin Counties.

The UF/IFAS Featured Creatures website has recently added a profile on the pepper weevil which can be found at


Respondents in Palm Beach report broadmite pressure is declining with some scattered occurrence at low levels continuing to be seen in basil, eggplant and pepper.

Around Immokalee indicate that broadmites populations remain low in pepper and eggplant. Some growers note success using weekly applications of sulfur for control.

Growers and scouts in Homestead report that two spotted and red spider mites are around at low levels on eggplant and strawberry.


Around southwest Florida, whiteflies are increasing especially in older tomato where the presence of nymphs has been noted in several locations.  Some farms have experienced sudden influxes of adult whiteflies, appearing to have migrated from outside of the farm.  Whiteflies are also starting to build in some pepper fields.

Respondents from Palm Beach note increasing whitefly populations in older tomato fields. Scouts have also noted the apparent migration of whiteflies from older fields to new plantings with significantly higher whitefly counts being recorded on borders and edges of fields.

Scouts in Homestead report sporadic whitefly pressure with a gradual buildup being noted in fields that are being harvested.

Growers are advised to monitor whitefly populations and maintain control of in-field populations as soil applied nicotinoids wear off, preferably with IGR such as Courier and Knacks, in order to reduce carryover to the next crop.


Melon thrips (Thrips palmi) are widely present in Homestead and continue to be a problem on pepper, eggplant, beans, and are now showing up in potato. Scouts are reporting heavy Thrips palmi infestations in some bean fields.

Growers and scouts in Palm Beach are reporting finding a few Florida flower thrips (Frankliniella bispinosa) in pepper and tomato.  Scouts are also beginning to note the occasional widely scattered appearance of symptoms consistent with Thrips palmi on pepper foliage.

Respondents around southwest Florida report scattered occurrence of low numbers of Florida flower thrips (Frankliniella bispinosa) in pepper and tomato. No problems have been reported.

Melon thrips cause severe injury to infested plants.  Feeding usually occurs on foliage.  Leaves become yellow, white or brown, and then crinkle and die.  Heavily infested fields sometimes acquire a bronze color.   Damaged terminal growth may be discolored, stunted, and deformed.  Densities from one to 10 per cucumber leaf have been considered to be the threshold for economic damage in some studies.

For a further discussion of this pest, check out the UF/IFAS Featured Creatures profile at

Silk fly

Respondents in Homestead report that silk fly is now widely present in the area, however very few maggots are being found so far.


Bacterial Spot

Around southwest Florida, bacterial spot continues to be a major problem in both tomato and pepper.  Following the last bout of rainy weather new lesions are common in upper foliage. Occurrence is widespread and incidence and severity ranges widely but is high in some fields.   Fortunately in most locations infections are mostly on the foliage with relatively few fruit lesions being observed. In severe cases, defoliation, exposing fruit to the elements and causing sunscald could be a factor.

On the east Coast, reports indicate that bacterial leaf spot is widespread in both pepper and tomato.  Incidence and severity varies from remain low to high depending on the location and age of the crop.

Reports from Homestead indicate that bacteria increasing on several crops including tomato, pepper, and beans.   Severity varies from low to moderate with some hot spots.

Early blight

Respondents in Homestead report increased incidence of alternaria on tomato, eggplant, squash, cucumber and potato.

Growers and scouts on both coasts report mostly low levels of early blight in tomato and eggplant, although some movement higher into the canopy has been associated with recent rains.

Target spot

Scouts around Immokalee note that target spot is becoming a significant problem in some tomato fields.  Lesions are starting on inner leaves and consuming the inner foliage. Target spot has also been detected in the canopy of younger plantings. There have also been reports of target spot appearing on harvested fruit.

Reports from Palm Beach and Homestead indicate widely scattered occurrence of target spot in tomato.  Incidence and severity is low to moderate.

Foliar symptoms of this disease are often difficult to distinguish from bacterial spot with out laboratory diagnosis.  Initially small water soaked lesions appear on the upper leaf surface.  The lesions develop gradually increasing in size becoming round and pale brown with conspicuous yellow halos.  Petiole and stem lesions are brown and oblong and may girdle and kill individual leaflets.

The fruit lesions are quite distinct.  They first appear as dark pinpoint brown spots, which may enlarge and develop into sunken lesions with pale brown centers that often crack open.  Fruit lesions may be found anywhere on tomato fruit but are most often concentrated on the shoulders.

Target spot is a polycyclic disease that develops rapidly under cool damp conditions. Optimum conditions for disease development include temperatures of 68o to 82o F and long periods of high moisture. The heavy night dews and foggy mornings often experienced in the fall in conjunction with tomato canopy closure are optimal for the development of this disease.  Spray programs based on copper and manzate aimed at bacterial spot are ineffective in controlling target spot, chlorothalanil based compounds are recommended for control and should be rotated into a tomato disease control.

Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus

Growers and scouts on both coasts continue to report low incidence of Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl infected tomatoes.  In most instances infected plants are still few and far between although several reports are beginning to note the occurrence of secondary spread from initial infections.  The incidence of infection remains mostly below 1 % although there have been a few scattered reports of fields in the 2-3 % range.  A few recent reports indicate that new infections are being observed in conjunction with incoming migrations of infected whiteflies.

Scouts operating around southwest Florida report that tomato yellow leaf curl virus is creeping up in several older tomato fields and has been detected in some younger plantings at 1st tie.  A few older fields have reached 1-2% infection and a few young fields are close to 1%.


Scouts in Palm Beach continue to report isolated widely scattered cases of Phytophthora capsici on pepper.

Reports of phytophthora on eggplant have been received from Homestead.

Southern Blight

Reports of southern blight continue to come in from scattered areas around southwest Florida as well as Palm Beach County.   Incidence is mostly low with higher levels being reported from fields with a history of the disease.

Tomato plants with southern blight (Sclerotium rolfsii) display lesions on the stem at or near the soil line. These lesions develop rapidly during warm wet weather, girdling the stem and resulting in a sudden and permanent wilting of the plant. White mats of mycelia are produced on the stem and in the adjacent soil.  In a few days, tiny tan to brown spherical sclerotia about 0.06 inches in diameter appears on the mycelial mat. The presence of abundant sclerotia is a good diagnostic feature.

There is no chemical control for this disease.  Growers should use a preplant fumigant and practice long rotations between susceptible crops such as tomato, eggplant, beans, celery and lettuce.  Sanitation including the removal and destruction of infected plants and deep plowing of crop debris are also recommended.

Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is present on cucurbits including squash and cantaloupe from widely scattered locations across south Florida.  The downy mildew fungus, Psuedoperonospora cubensis, can complete its life cycle in three to four days.  Because downy mildew increases over time at a rapid rate, spraying twice per week may necessary if the grower intends to hold the crop for later harvests.   Since temperature and humidity in south Florida are nearly always right for the development of this disease, growers should apply protectant fungicides prior to the appearance of symptoms.  Fungicides that are effective include, chlorothalonil (Bravo types), mancozeb (Dithane, Manex II, Manzate, Penncozeb), Ridomil Bravo, Ridomil MZ 68, or Quadris.  Do not use Quadris in repeated sprays.  It should be rotated with other fungicides for resistance management purposes.

Powdery Mildew

Respondents across south Florida note that powdery mildew is active on a range of cucurbits including squash and cucumbers.   Strobulurin fungicides like Quadris and Nova are said to be providing good control.

Gummy Stem Blight

Gummy stem blight is widely present on cucurbits around southwest Florida.  Incidence and severity ranges from moderate to high.  Some watermelons fields have been devastated over the past few weeks with serious defoliation occurring and outright death of mature plants being noted.

In Florida, gummy stem blight (black rot) is a serious disease that occurs annually on watermelons. Cucumbers, muskmelons, cantaloupes, squash, and other members of the cucurbit family may also be infected with gummy stem blight.  Cucurbits may be infected at any time from seedlings to mature vines with fruit.  Butternut and other winter squash are likely to exhibit symptoms only on the fruit or older leaves.

Infection and symptoms may occur on all plant parts except roots.  Symptoms appear as light to dark brown circular spots on leaves or as a light to dark brown to black, often gummy, lesions on stems.  Prior to the occurrence of chlorosis or necrosis, tissues may appear watersoaked.  Wilting, followed by death of young plants may occur.  Stem lesions enlarge and slowly girdle the main stem resulting in a red-brown-black canker that cracks and may exude a red to amber gummy substance. Vine wilting is usually a late symptom. Use of a hand lens will reveal small, clear white (when young) to black (when old), pimple-like pycnidia embedded in older diseased tissue.

Gummy stem blight typically progresses from the central stem of the plant to growing tips.  Leaf spots are variable in shape, red-brown in color and initial infections are generally seen on leaf margins and veinal areas.

The fungus (Didymella bryioniae) that causes gummy stem blight produces two spore stages, a sexually produced spore (ascospore) and an asexually produced spore (pycnidiospore).  The ascospore is windborne and can be disseminated from field to field serving as a primary source of inoculum.  The pycnidiospore functions mainly in secondary spread of the disease.  Pycnidiospores are released in a gummy substance that makes them more adaptable for spread by splashing water.

Growers often comment on this disease occurring “overnight.”  What they are actually seeing are the results of secondary spread, which is more difficult to control than primary spread simply because of increased spore numbers with increased diseased tissue.

Nighttime temperatures and moisture conditions are ideal during much of the growing season in Florida. Gummy stem blight is most severe in wet years since moisture from dew, rain or irrigation is necessary for spore germination.  The optimum temperature for infection is 61 to 75°F.  After a spore germinates on a susceptible host, the fungus penetrates the plant tissue and symptoms can appear in 7 to 12 days. Wounds assist in promoting infection.

Gummy stem blight can be successfully managed if the grower utilizes a combination of control strategies.  Control of primary sources of inoculum is important.  Growers should purchase clean seed from reputable companies produced in arid western locations and avoid transplants that have gummy stem blight or other diseases.

In addition to seed, the most important source of primary inoculum is organic debris from previous cucurbit crops. After harvest, crop debris from should be plowed under to reduce inoculum. Volunteers and wild cucurbits provide an additional source of inoculum. Crop rotation and destruction of weed hosts are important for gummy stem blight control.

Multiple applications of fungicides are necessary to control gummy stem blight. It is important to begin a fungicide program prior to the first sign of gummy stem blight. In south Florida, the spray program should be initiated soon after emergence. Manzate, Bravo, Benlate and Quadris have given good results locally.

Dr Tom Kucharek UF/IFAS Plant Pathologist has passed on the following caution to growers. Cabrio 2.08 FL, Headline 2.08 FL, Quadris 2.08 FL, Nova and Abound 2.08 FL are in the strobilurin group of fungicides and they all have the same specific mode of action.

Resistance to this chemistry is present in some pathogens including gummy stem blight. Many isolates from Florida of Didymella bryioniae, the causal agent of gummy stem blight, are no longer sensitive to Quadris 2.08 FL.  Thus, rotation of Quadris with Cabrio in a spray program should not be relied on for resistance management.  Syngenta, the manufacturer of Quadris and Abound, and BASF, the manufacturer of Cabrio and Headline, will clearly state this situation on their future labels and are in the throws of informing users of these products about the close relatedness of these products.


Growers and scouts are beginning to report finding low levels of virus in squash in scattered locations across south Florida.  Some locally heavy hotspots with a higher incidence of the disease have been reported.

Reports from Homestead indicate that mosaic viruses are beginning to increase in cucurbits and tomato.


Respondents in Palm Beach report that fusarium wilt is to increase on older tomato.

Growers and scouts around southwest Florida are also noting an increase in the incidence of fusarium wilt and fusarium crown rot in tomato.

Symptoms of Fusarium crown rot are distinctly different from those of Fusarium wilt of tomato. The brilliant yellowing of the foliage typical of Fusarium wilt does not occur with crown rot. Crown rot generally first appears as marginal chlorosis or necrosis of the oldest leaves of scattered individuals plants as the crop nears first fruit maturity.  These symptoms may be followed by a rapid wilt?to?death or more typically a slow wilt with upward progression of leaf chlorosis.  Infected plants will often wilt during the day and recover during the night.  Unlike the vascular symptoms associated with Fusarium wilt; the vascular discoloration evident in stem and/or roots is limited to the lower 12" of the stem.  In addition with crown rot, definite root and crown rots occur. The pith of the stem at soil line may be necrotic, and will often display external cankers or lesions on the stem from soil line upward.

Control of crown rot is similar to that of Fusarium wilt, e.g., crop rotation, sanitation, increased soil pH, minimize use of ammoniacal nitrogen, and soil fumigation.

Tomato little leaf

Little leaf is still present at widely scattered locations around Immokalee although there have been no new reports of occurrence in recent days.

Tomato little leaf is a non-parasitic disease of tomatoes that causes virus-like symptoms in tomato.  The disorder also affects other crops and has been referred to as frenching in tobacco.  Symptoms of this condition are characterized by unusual growth consisting of interveinal chlorosis in young leaves.  Subsequent growth becomes severely distorted with leaflets along the mid-rib failing to expand properly resulting in a “little leaf” appearance.  Leaflets are twisted and distorted.  In addition, failure of blooms to set fruit and fruit distortion consisting of radial cracks extending from the calyx to the blossom scar is often seen. Overall the appearance is reminiscent of viral or phenoxy herbicide symptoms.

The problem typically occurs on wet soils and is apparently caused by the release of amino acid analogs by soil microorganisms under wet conditions.  It is important to note that symptoms often begin to appear as waterlogged soils begin to dry out.  These compounds are taken up by plant causing the expression of virus-like symptoms.


TALLAHASSEE – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and the state Department of Revenue are teaming up to ask Florida farmers to send in important property tax forms that will allow them to retain their agricultural classification in 2003.

Because of a change in state law, farmers, ranchers and growers in most Florida counties will be required to fill out and send in postcard-size green renewal cards (Form DR-499C) for their agricultural classifications by March 1, 2003.  Farmers will receive the agricultural classification renewal cards in the mail in early to mid-January from their property appraiser. By having their property classified as agricultural for property tax purposes, farmers receive substantial reductions in their property tax bills.

Under a previous state law, the agricultural classification application operated by “automatic renewal” in most Florida counties, just as the popular Florida homestead exemption currently does.  That is, farmers sent in cards only if they were no longer entitled to receive the agricultural classification.  Farmers have become used to not sending in the green cards.

However, under a 2002 law, farmers who don’t fill out and send in their green agricultural-classification cards in early 2003 could be throwing away their tax benefit.  Under the new law, farmers must actively certify to property appraisers that they are entitled to the agricultural classification in the 2003 tax year.  If they fail to fill out and send in the DR-499C application or an application provided to them by their local property appraiser, the applicant may lose the tax benefit they receive from their agricultural classification.

To help inform farmers about this important requirement, Commissioner Bronson and the Revenue Department are reaching out to Florida farm organizations, national and state agricultural agencies, local government officials, the Florida news media, and business associations that serve the farming community.

The agencies are sending out news releases, posters, flyers, and direct-mail appeals asking farmers, ranchers and growers to be sure to fill out the DR-499C form and send it to their property appraiser.

State officials also asked leaders of farming communities to reach out to those eligible for the agricultural classification to help them understand the importance of complying with the change in law.

“Our goal is to ensure that every Florida farmer, rancher or grower who is legally entitled to receive an agricultural classification knows how to apply for it,” said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue.  “We would appreciate any help in reaching that goal.”

About 250,000 Florida farm properties receive agricultural classifications in a typical year.  Overall, the agricultural classifications reduced Florida farmers’ property tax bills by an estimated $500 million in 2001, the Department of Revenue said.

"It is extremely important that all agricultural landowners return the postcards as soon as possible," said Sam Ard, Chairman of the Florida Agricultural Coalition. "The difference in assessments could be astronomical, and could force many of our farms to sell or change land uses just to pay taxes.  This classification has been growth management's best friend in Florida, and it is important for our entire state that we follow up with this request."

For more information, contact
Dave Bruns, 850-487-2747 or go to

BRANCH MANAGER POSITION - Sakata Seed America, Inc. seeks a Branch Manager for its Fort Myers, Florida Research Station.  Position responsible for overall administrative management and general operation of the research station.  May also be responsible for product management of one or more crops and/or breeder supervision.  BS in related discipline and min. 10 years agriculture related experience required.  Advanced degree desirable.  Excellent wage and benefits package commensurate with experience. Submit CV to any of the following:  Fax: 408-779-4398, E-Mail: or mail to 18095 Serene Drive, Morgan Hill, CA  95037. Sakata is an equal opportunity employer committed to a culturally diverse workforce.


Entocon, Inc. has specialized in commercial contract research and development, confidential producer driven research, production problem solving, and scouting in vegetables, citrus, sugarcane, turf and ornamentals in various production formats, for over 20 years.  We would like to announce the addition of Jonathan Bevil to our team, with his 20 years of experience in scouting, production, crop management and agricultural research and development.  For more information about how we can be our service to you and your company please contact Dean Remick at (239) 860-2507 (mobile)/ 159*135478*1 (Nextel)/ or Jonathan Bevil at 863-441-0274 (mobile)/ 159*135478*2 (Nextel)/

Dr. Henry Yonce would like to announce the opening of his new company – KAC Agricultural Research, INC.  KAC Agricultural Research will conduct contract research for companies and growers and will also be available for scouting and consulting with citrus and vegetable producers.  For more information, call Henry at 386-736-0098 (office), 386-527-1124 (cell) or 158*17*45805 (Nextel).

OPPORTUNITY – Exhibitors wanted for the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting to be held in Orlando in July 2004.  This is a great opportunity to present your products to the more than 2500 County Extension Agents from all over the United States that are expected to attend this meeting.

To reserve a place contact Ed Jennings at 352-793-6376.


The UF/IFAS Plant Disease Management Guide for Vegetables – 2003 can be found on the Plant Pathology web site, along with all the fact sheets and circulars with color pictures and plant protection pointers.

Cal’s Gallery – Cal has put together an wonderful set of inspiring slide shows featuring fantastic colors and images of natural phenomena that will touch you and provide a boost to your day, check it out at

Up Coming Meetings

Southwest Florida

January 17, 2003           Southwest Florida Agricultural Forum
                                        A half–day marketing alternatives workshop.

                                        Florida Gulf Coast University
                                        Call 239-225-4210 for details

January 22, 2003         Understanding and Dealing with “Problem Areas” on Florida’s Sandy Soils
                                      A Workshop Geared toward Sugarcane, Citrus and Vegetables

                                     Hendry County Extension Office 8:30 AM - Noon
                                     1085 Pratt Boulevard
                                     LaBelle, Florida

                                     Contact 863-674-4092 for details.

Palm Beach County

January 15, 2003         General Standards/Core Test Review   8 AM - 10 AM
                                     Private Applicator Test Review    1 PM - 3 PM
                                     Testing - Any Category   8 AM - 4 PM

                                    Belle Glade Extension Office
                                    2976 State Road 15
                                    Belle Glade, Florida

                                    Contact 561-996-1655.

Other Meetings

March 10 –13, 2003   Florida Post-Harvest Horticulture Industry Tour
                                     Contact Steve Sargent at 352-392-1928

April 29-30, 2003       FACTs - Florida Agricultural Conference and Trade Show
                                    Lakeland Center, Lakeland, Florida

Quotable Quotes

Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth. -- Will Rogers

The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts. -- John Locke

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. -- Abraham Lincoln

Be a fountain, not a drain. -- Rex Hudler

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. -- William Blake

On the Lighter Side

Thought Of The Day:

Think about this:

a. The number of physicians in the US is 700,000.
b. Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year is 120,000.
c. Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. (US Dept. of Health & Human Services)

Then think about this:

a. The number of gun owners in the US is 80,000,000.
b. The number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) is 1,500.
c. The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .0000188.

Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has at least one doctor.  Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We act before this gets out of hand. As a public health measure I have withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear that the shock could cause people to seek medical attention.

Media Release from the North Pole

I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer serve the States of Georgia, Florida, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas on Christmas Eve.

Due to the overwhelming current population of the earth, the North American Fairies and Elves - Local 209, renegotiated my contract. As part of the new and better contract I also get longer breaks for milk and
cookies so keep that in mind.

However, I'm certain that your children will be in good hands with your local replacement, who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls; however, there are a few differences between us.

Differences such as:

1. There is no danger of the Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: "These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."

2. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave an RC cola and pork rinds [or a moon pie] on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn't smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an
empty spit can handy.

3. Bubba Claus' sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin' coon dogs instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my reindeer one time, and Blitzen's head now overlooks Bubba's fireplace.

4.  You won't hear "On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen.." when Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you'll hear, "On Earnhardt, on Andretti, on Elliott and Petty."

5. "Ho, Ho, Ho!" has been replaced by "Yee Haw!"

6. As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus' sleigh does have a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words "Back Off."

7. The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and  "It's a Wonderful Life" will not be shown in your negotiated viewing area. Instead, you'll see "Boss Hogg Saves Christmas" and "Smokey and the Bandit IV" featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.

And finally,

8. Bubba Claus doesn't wear a belt. If I were you, I'd make sure you; the wife, and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.

Sincerely yours, Santa Claus

George and the Dragon

A poor vagabond, traveling a country road in England, tired and hungry, came to a roadside inn with a sign reading:  "George and the Dragon." He knocked.

The innkeeper's wife stuck her head out a window. "Could ye spare some victuals?" he asked. The woman glanced at his shabby clothes and obviously poor condition. "No!" she said rather sternly.

"Could I have a pint of ale?"  "No!" she said again.

"Could I at least sleep in your stable?"  "No!"  By this time, she was fairly shouting.

The vagabond said, "Might I please...?"  "What now?" the woman interrupted impatiently.

"D'ye suppose," he asked, "I might have a word with George?"

Cheap Skate

After being away from home on business the week before Christmas, Tom thought it would be nice to take his wife a small gift.

"How about some perfume?”  he thought.

A cosmetics clerk showed him a bottle that cost about $50. "That's a bit out of my price range," Tom said.

The clerk returned a moment later with a smaller bottle costing $30.  "That's still quite a bit," he groused.

The clerk brought out a tiny $15 bottle.  Tom grew agitated.

"What I mean," he said, "is I'd like to see something really cheap".

The clerk handed him a mirror.

Wishing all of you a Blessed and Merry Christmas 
and the very best for the New Year

Contributors include: Joel Allingham/AgriCare, Inc, Karen Armbrester/SWFREC, Kathy Carbiener /Agricultural Pest Management, Jim Connor/SWFREC, Bruce Corbitt/West Coast Tomato Growers, Fred Heald/Farmers Supply, Sarah Hornsby/AgCropCon, Cecil Howell/H&R Farm, Loren Horsman/Glades Crop Care, Bruce Johnson/General Crop Management, Dr Mary Lamberts/Miami-Dade County Extension, 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, Teresa Olczyk/ Miami-Dade County Extension, Dr Ken Pernezny/EREC, Dr. Pam Roberts/SWFREC, Dr Nancy Roe/Farming Systems Research, Wes Roan/6 L's, Kevin Seitzinger/Gargiulo, Jay Shivler/ F& F Farm, Ken Shuler/Stephen’s Produce, Ed Skvarch/St Lucie County Extension, John Stanford/LNA Farm, Mike Stanford/MED Farms, Dr. Phil Stansly/SWFREC, Eugene Tolar/Red Star Farms, Dr Charlie Vavrina/SWFREC, Mark Verbeck and Donna Verbeck/GulfCoast Ag.

The SW 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                863-860-8811 mobile  Nextel agnet 28950
PO Box 68                                                863-674-4097 fax
LaBelle, FL 33975                         

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.

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