Archive of ‘Delaware Cooperative Extension’ category

UD Extension & Researchers to hold Irrigation Field Day

The University of Delaware Irrigation Program invites farmers, industry and the general public to tour UD’s Warrington Irrigation Research Farm on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 9:00 a.m. UD Irrigation Engineer James Adkins along with Sussex County Agent Cory Whaley and Kent County Agent Phillip Sylvester will present the following:

  • First year experiences with Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI)
    Tour our newly installed 42 zone SDI research facility and discuss the potential of SDI to irrigate previously uneconomical fields.  Join in a candid discussion of the benefits and challenges of SDI in sandy soils and the nuances every farmer should consider before installation.


  • The Potential for Variable Rate Center Pivot Irrigation (VRI)
    Discuss the feasibility, practicality and affordability of VRI as a tool to improve irrigation management in highly variable fields.  View a demonstration of the UD 4 tower VRI system and the potential applications of VRI technology outside of irrigation research.


  • Soil Moisture Monitoring as a Tool to Refine Irrigation Management
    View many of the various options to monitor soil moisture levels with a discussion of the pros and cons of each option.


  • Irrigated Corn, Full Season and Double Soybean Irrigation Research Plots
    Discuss the preliminary results of multi-year irrigation research to improve the yields of irrigated agronomic crops.

Directions: University of Delaware Warrington Irrigation Research Farm is located at the corners of Route 5 and Delaware 290 (Cool Spring Road and Hurdle Ditch Road) just 4 miles south of Harbeson. Signs will be posted. Click map to enlarge.

Map to Warrington Farm – Harbeson, Delaware


Delaware Extension takes a close-up look at new noxious weeds for 2012

Palmer amaranth and Texas Panicum added to Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed List

In 2012. two noxious weeds were added to Delaware’s Noxious Weed list – Texas panicum and Palmer amaranth. In an effort to increase awareness of these troublesome and costly weeds, the Delaware Department of Agriculture arranged for a media opportunity to record, interview and photograph resource material at the Thurman G. Adams Research Farm located at the Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.

The following images were taken on August 31, 2012 by the University of Delaware and may be freely used in media articles or footage or for educational purposes. It is the expressed purpose of media attention to raise awareness and identification of these weeds to benefit Delaware agriculture. Please attribute photos when possible to University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

“Most growers aren’t aware they have these weeds” VanGessel said.

Because of their rapid growth and aggressive nature, these weeds can overtake fields and can result in a 25% reduction in yields by competing for sun, water and nutrients. If allowed to grow tall, their canopy can create sun blocks for crops.  In some cases, the weeds overtake a field to the level that they are abandoned by the farmer/grower.  Texas panicum and Palmer amaranth now join giant ragweed, Canada thistle, burcucumber, and johnson grass as members of Delaware’s noxious weed list. Weeds are added to the list after careful review of other regions,  evaluation observations by UD and DDA weed specialists and input from Delaware growers. Landscape weeds are not part of the criteria – the six noxious weeds are so named for their impact on production agriculture.

To download photos, double click on the images which will open up in Flickr online photo album. Click on the plus sign on top right of image. Image will open in slideshow or shadowbox mode. Top right click on “view all sizes.”  High resolution and other sizes will be available for download.  Please note, by opening up in full view, captions will be available.

For further information contact Michele Walfred at or (302) 856-7303 x 550.

Welcomed weather provides ideal outdoor Extension classroom for green industry professionals

2012 Summer Turf and Nursery Expo well attended at UD’s Carvel Center in Georgetown

For farmers and landscapers in the Delmarva region, 2012 has been a difficult and frustrating year. A dry winter, and sustained heat and drought during spring and summer – critical growth periods – have left challenging conditions for anyone working in the agriculture or horticulture industries.  Throughout Delaware, crops, ornamental trees, shrubs and lawns have shown signs of stress, leaving them vulnerable to pests, weather-induced damage, or stress-related death.

At the 344-acre Carvel Research and Education Center, the Sussex County agricultural research farm for University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, some of these conditions were purposely left in place to serve as specific teaching tools – an ideal educational backdrop for the 2012 Summer Nursery and Turf Expo organized by the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association (DNLA) and Delaware Cooperative Extension. The Expo is a day-long program that provided  a variety of informative workshop sessions for horticulture industry professionals.

A picture perfect day welcomed more than 140 exhibitors, presenters, DNLA and Extension experts and industry professionals who appreciated seeing real-time examples in actual field and landscape settings.

“This is a great refresher course on common insects and problems we all have,” says Aaron Jackson, nursery supervisor at Tunnell Companies. “We get to see it in person and have professionals tell us what we are looking at.”

Local landscapers agreed. “The University of Delaware provides a lot of resource materials, but it is good to see working or field information” said Sue Manlove, who with her husband Larry, own and operate Manlove Lawn and Landscape Company in Seaford. “It adds a whole different dimension seeing it in person,” offered Larry Manlove.

Chip Hudiburg, of Sussex Tree, Inc. safely hangs from a large tree scheduled for removal and timed for the Expo.

A variety of sessions were available to landscapers, horticulturists, and related industry professionals.  A crew from EP Henry provided a demonstration on using pavers in the landscape and for raised beds. A take down of an overgrown Chinese Paulownia tree provided an opportunity for Sussex Tree, Inc., to explain when tree removal should be handed over to an experienced pro. Techniques in chain saw operation and best safety practices were emphasized.

Outdoor classroom venues included the Sussex County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden, a new Integrated Pest Management (IPM) educational ornamental section, and trees and shrubs planted around the Carvel Center – each providing diverse examples of common landscape situations that Extension educators other presenters used at the Expo as teaching tools.

At a stop along his insect tour, Brian Kunkel pointed to bagworm cases that appeared on Crape Myrtles, Junipers and inanimate objects such as a brick wall and steel and PVC piping. Kunkel said timing was critical for bagworm control, adding that by the time cases are brown or grey, it is often too late to for spraying.

Cooperative Extension specialist and entomologist Brian Kunkel led a morning and afternoon tour, identifying both beneficial insects and pests commonly found in Delaware landscapes, and suggested control strategies and examples where no measures are necessary. IPM strategies emphasize the use of beneficial insects and parasitoids, which can effectively control damaging pests without the use of pesticides

Richard Pratt, state arborist with the Hagley Museum and Gardens partnered with UD Extension’s Dot Abbot and reviewed proper planting and pruning techniques for trees.  Delaware State Police Cpr/3 Keith Lamey conducted a session on the laws and regulations regarding commercial transport and the nuances between being classified as intra or inter – state business and provided guidance on commercial road safety.

In addition to landscapers, several state agencies were represented including the Delaware State Parks and Delaware Departments of Agriculture and Transportation. Rose Ogutu, an Extension specialist with Delaware State University, taught a session on soil health.

“To Delaware’s green industry, Cooperative Extension means top-notch researchers, educators and facilities,” said Valann Budischak, executive director of DNLA. “They keep us up to date on the latest practices and products and allow us to partner in some of their research projects.”

Michelle Rodgers, associate dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of Cooperative Extension was impressed with the variety of practical sessions offered to the participants. “It is great to be in partnership with DNLA in order to share knowledge and expertise for Delawareans.”

To view more images from the 2012 Summer Turf and Nursery Expo, visit our photo album on Flickr, or view below.

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

Children of Delaware’s migrant workers learn valuable safety lessons from Cooperative Extension

On August 1, 2012, 44 youth, all children of temporary migrant workers who are employed  during the summer in the agricultural sector in Kent and Sussex County,  were treated to a Ag Safety  Day Camp, a full day of extracurricular activities organized by Delaware Cooperative Extension Safety Agent Mike Love, and his team of volunteers from Sussex Central High School FFA. The day was part of a  six week summer program developed to promote academic, safety and other learning experiences for children of temporary migrant workers who travel throughout the country.

Children of migrant workers may be exposed to various farm equipment – This program teaches them how to be careful around specialized machinery.

Wednesday’s day trip to the Carvel Research and Education Center included several educational demonstrations or “classes” so that children could have the opportunity to enhance their safety skills in different environments that they encounter. Because many of the program’s children live on Delaware farms, agricultural equipment was an emphasis for the day.

Children arrived with their teachers from Eagle’s Nest and Milford Boys and Girls Club and watched demonstrations on child safety restraints and their proper use, air bag deployment, chemical and ATV safety, safety around water, and safe practices around a variety of home and farm equipment. While the primary purpose of the  federal program concentrates on academics, the summer day trips, such as this safety exposition, reflect common and practical scenarios that the children encounter in their day – to-day lives on the farm and on the road.

Maria Mendoza, field agent and migrant advocate from the Delaware Department of Education explained the value of their visit with Cooperative Extension. “These children are on the road a lot, traveling from state to state.” says Mendoza.  “Typically these children are in Delaware with their families during the growing season from June to August.”

Through the collaborative efforts,  children receive extensive educational reinforcement, which today included safety training on many levels. View our photo gallery of the day on our Flickr set

Here’s Mike explaining the purpose of Ag Safety Day and see a highlight of one of the demonstrations:

Photos & video by Lisa Collins and Michele Walfred

Palmer amaranth – the weed that takes an Extension village

In 2012, Delaware Department of Agriculture added Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri to its list of noxious weeds. Not only is the troublesome weed resistant to herbicides, it is a prolific seed producer, with each plant responsible for an average of half a million seeds. Unattended, the weed can quickly overtake a crop.

Extension Agent Emmalea Ernest, when not breeding lima beans, is defending them against the noxious weed Palmer amaranth

Palmer amaranth – one of six noxious weeds named by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Program

Palmer amaranth isn’t shy about taking root in the vegetable trial plots located at the Thurman G. Adams Research Farm, part of the University of Delaware Carvel Research and Education agriculture experimental station.

For two days in August, and with man hours anticipated, it takes a village – a community of Extension hands – specialists, agents, students and summer employees to do what must be done, bend over and hand remove each plant. It’s old fashioned work, but the labor is an effective preventative measure.

“I estimate we’ve prevented billions, billions by hand removal,” says Emmalea Ernest, an Extension agent who spent about an hour this particular morning  in a lima bean field with three summer employees, Heather Baker, Abby Atkins and Danielle Vanderhei, yanking up the culprit weed. Palmer amaranth’s seeds are not airborne, and most commonly spread through agricultural and mowing equipment.

This particular plot, which Ernest estimates is nearly an acre, will take an a few more hours to get under control. “Fortunately, they are not deep rooted and are easy to pull up.”

Ernest said that Palmer amaranth, like most weeds, “reduces yields as it competes with the crop for water, sunlight and nutrients. If uncontrolled it would also make harvesting in that field very difficult.”


Summer employee Danielle Vanderhei starts at one row and starts pulling, one of four staff members weeding in the lima bean field on an August morning


Extension Weed Specialist Dr. Mark VanGessel examines a pulled specimen of Palmer amaranth

Carvel’s summer employees, Heather Baker and Abby Atkins make their way through a third of an acre lima bean plot, pulling up Palmer amaranth stalks before they go to seed. Fortunately they are taller and easy to spot.

For more free-use stock  photos of Palmer amaranth visit our Flickr set.

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

Cooperative Extension agents and volunteers interviewed at the Delaware State Fair

We just love these interviews filmed live at the Delaware State Fair.  If you’d like to know a fraction about what we do and how the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension forms great partnerships with volunteers, colleagues at Delaware State University and other Extension offices…take a look at these “on the spot” videos by our friends at Catch it Live!

Bill Brown talks about Cooperative Extension, his role as state poultry agent and other Extension programs:

Video streaming by Ustream
Tracy Wootten and Maggie Moor-Orth (and a couple of volunteers) talk about the Delaware Master Gardener Program:

Delaware Soybean Board & Delaware Cooperative Extension hosts summer soybean tour






Delaware Soybean Field Day
August 22, 2102
(rain or shine)

Tentative Agenda:

Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Welcoming Remarks & Sponsored Lunch – The Grove, next to Carvel REC

Dr. Mark Isaacs, Director of the Carvel Research & Education Center,
Dr. Michelle Rodgers, Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach and Director of Extension at the University of Delaware,
Kevin Evans, Chairman of Delaware Soybean Board,
Secretary Ed Kee, Delaware Department of Agriculture

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Soybean Checkoff Sponsored Plot Tours – Group Split into Two Groups

Group # 1 remains at Carvel REC, soybean production updates and wagon tour of agronomic, insect and weed plots – University of Delaware Extension

Group # 2 travels to Warrington Irrigation Research Farm (Harbeson, DE) by charter bus. Tour of variable rate irrigation and subsurface irrigation plots – University of Delaware Extension

3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Soybean Checkoff Sponsored Plot Tours – Groups Switch Places

Group #1 travels to Warrington Irrigation Research Farm

Group #2 remains at Carvel REC

5:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Group # 1 returns, wrap-up at Carvel REC

6:00 – ?

Social & Fundraiser including a silent auction for “Save Farm
Families” coordinated by the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association
Join us for specials on food and beverages at
The Brick Hotel – 18 The Circle, Georgetown


Pesticide, Nutrient Management and CCA continuing education credits will be available.

For more information contact Cory Whaley (302) 856-2585 ext 594



Please contact Karen Adams at (302) 856-2585 x 540. You may also register by eFax at (302) 264-8368 or online at

This event is FREE, but please register by August 15 to help us prepare for meals. Thank you.




A Day in the Garden – Sussex County Master Gardener Open House Sat. July 14, 2012


Sussex Master Gardeners invite the public to “A Day in the Garden”

When:  Saturday, July 14, 2012

Where: Demonstration Garden, behind Carvel REC, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown

What: Sussex County Master Gardener Open House – annual event

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Parking: Free and ample!

Cost: Free to the public

Come get inspirational ideas for your garden – colorful photo opportunities abound in this annual open house of increasing popularity, more than 300 Sussex County residents and their families are anticipated to attend this open air event that will provide a multitude of events including:

  • Plant sale
  • Regular showings of the award-winning production of  “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden” which delight children
  • Expert advice at the Plant Clinic for vegetable and flower garden!
  • Demonstration Garden labeled with native and non-native plants that are idea for Delaware’s climate and growing conditions!
  • Garden Smart Garden Safe demonstrations on accessible gardening techniques and resources including tool demos and raised beds, etc.
  • Mini-workshops on:
    •  Making Herbal Vinegar and Flavored Honey
    • Shade Gardens
    • Five Ways to Save in the Garden
    • Free Tool Sharpening
    • Much, much more

The Plant Sale is a popular feature! There's nothing like a plant grown with love by a master gardener!

Talk with our Cooperative Extension experts and volunteer Master Gardeners who can provide advice, resources and inspiration for growing flower and vegetables and discovery of nature in Sussex County, Delaware. Did you know that in 2011, Master Gardeners donated nearly 6000 hours of service to their community. Many of those hours are spent planning and developing this beautiful teaching garden! We hope you will join us!



Visit the Open House “A Day in the Garden” website: (include photos from 2011 Open House event).


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