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Woody looking zucchini plant.

What’s Killing My Zucchini and Squash Plants?

For many of us, this time of year is tough for our zucchini, squash and pumpkin plants. A close inspection of wilting plants may reveal a sawdust-like substance around the soil surface or on the base of the stem. When pushed, the plants typically break and reveal clear evidence of insect feeding through the stem.

a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.

A field of green winter wheat emerging from a layer of light snow.

Climate Adaptability of Winter Wheat

For most of us, wheat is wheat. However, there is a distinct difference between spring and winter wheat, even though the vegetative characteristics of these two wheat types are very similar.

a lush, green grape vine with clusters of dark, purple grapes

Starting a Commercial Vineyard in South Dakota

Are you thinking of starting your own vineyard? This publication provides a brief overview of the issues you need to consider in determining whether grape growing might be a good fit for you.

A producer loading a planter with fungicide-treated soybean seeds.

Pre-Plant Disease Management Considerations

If the forecast holds true, it looks like it is going to be another year of excessive soil moisture and possible flooding come this spring. The increased level of soil moisture has implications with regards to plant stand establishment as well as root rot and nematode infestations.

A small black bug with tan margins on the wings. This insect is resting on a blade of grass that is green with white spots.

Black Grass Bug Activity Expected in Coming Weeks

Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.

a garden with several different areas and types of plants growing

Garden Food Safety

Every so often we hear about people getting sick from eating raw produce that got contaminated somewhere on its path from the field to the consumer. Commercial growers are taking great care to keep your food safe, and there are new national rules to guide them. Following are some tips for home gardeners to help keep their fruits and vegetables safe.

Two adult wasps side-by-side. The left is black and yellow and is resting on a green leaf. The right is black, yellow and burnt orange in color and is resting on a piece of wood.

Wasp Activity Is Ramping Up

With their distinctive black and yellow stripes and tendency to hang out in groups, wasps receive attention no matter the time of year. As the weather warms up and spring progresses, you may notice more wasp activity in your yard or around your house.

Rows of coleus foliage in dark purple, bright green, and bright pink colors.

Coleus

Coleus have long been a great plant for gardens, generally grown as foliage plants that offer a huge diversity of foliage colors, and can be grown in a diversity of soils, in part shade to sun. In recognition of this important garden plant, the National Public Garden Bureau has declared 2015 the Year of the Coleus.

Spring wheat growing in a no-till field. Courtesy: USDA NRCS South Dakota, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Chloride Fertilizers May Be Beneficial in Spring Wheat Production

Chloride, the ionic form of chlorine, although not considered an essential nutrient, has long been observed to be highly beneficial to field crops. Chloride is known to play an essential role in plant development and osmoregulation.