UConn

Fall is a Great Time to Plant Trees

Autumn is an ideal time to plant a tree is as the airtemperatures have cooled but the soil is still warm. Warm soil temperatures encourage root growth while decreasing light and day length signal the plant to stop producing top growth. Roots will continue to grow until the soil freezes and the tree enters dormancy. Growth will pick up again in spring as the plant continues to get established in its new location.

The mechanics of planting a tree are pretty standard: dig a hole, put the tree in the hole (root end down) and backfill the hole. Just how each step is done will determine the long term success of the tree’s survival. New trees may be sold as bare-root, container grown, or balled-and burlapped. Trees purchased through the mail typically arrive as a bare-root stock. Local garden centers and nurseries often sell smaller trees in a plastic container filled with a soilless mix. Balled-and-burlapped trees are larger, field-grown specimens. They are dug and the root-ball is wrapped in burlap, which is then tied around the base of the trunk. Sometimes balled-and burlapped trees also have a metalcage placed around the burlap to make transport easier and hold the root-ball together.

The planting hole should be dug only as deep as the root ball or bottom of container but two to three times as wide. Most trees do not grow taproots, but rather the majority of roots will grow in the top 12 to 18 inches of soil, spreading out in all directions. Planting depth is the most critical part of the planting process. Roots belong below ground and all bark should be above the soil line. Look at the tree to find the point where the bottom of the trunk flares out. This basal flare should always be exposed and not buried in the soil. More trees are killed each year by planting them too deep. Don’t let your new tree become one of them.

Before planting, remove the plant from the container and examine the roots. Loosen the roots slightly by gently pulling them apart. If the roots are circling the inside of the container, coax them apart and give them a trim. This will encourage them to leave the circular shape in which they were growing and enter the new surrounding ground. Bare-root trees should be placed atop a cone of soil mounded on the bottom of the planting hole before spreading out the roots.

Balled-and-burlapped trees must have all of the burlap, caging and twine removed for long-lived success. Today’s burlap is treated with chemicals to keep if from decomposing and lasts much longer in the soil than the old, untreated version. The burlap will restrict the roots from reaching into the surrounding soil. Twine can girdle the tree, eventually killing it. Root cages are made of metal and will take many decades to decompose. Roots can become girdled once they grow through the openings in the cage, effectively choking the tree after a decade or more. There is also the danger of broken and rusty metal poking up when working around the tree. Cut all packing material off, even if this has to be done after the tree is placed into the hole.

Loosen the soil in the hole and water well to prepare the hole for the placement of the tree. Adding compost or other organic matter is not needed. Limestone and phosphorus may be mixed with the backfill soil if determined necessary by a soil test. Set the tree’s basal flare slightly above the soil line to account for any settling. Back fill hole with existing soil. Create a ring or berm of soil about a foot away from the trunk to hold water and let it soak into the root area. Mulch can placed outside of the berm to retain moisture. Never place mulch against the bark or root of the bark can happen. Water again immediately after planting and then weekly, if no natural

precipitation occurs, for at least one year during fall, spring and winter to ensure a well-developed root system. Do not add water if the ground is frozen.

Staking plants is no longer a recommended practice as trees develop stronger trunks and root systems when allowed to sway and move with the wind. Trees can be fertilized once a year in the spring. If the tree is planted within a fertilized lawn, it will usually receive adequate nutrients from lawn fertilizer applications so additional sources of nutrients may not be needed.

– Carol Quish, UConn Home & Garden Education Center

Originally published by the UConn Home & Garden Education Center

Canine Circovirus in Connecticut, Identified by UConn Researchers

CVMDL vet lab blue sign on the UConn campus with the brick Chemistry building in the background
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory on Jan. 14, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Investigators at the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) at UConn recently reported a new canine disease, identified for the first time in New England. This is the same group, same laboratory, that recently reported eastern equine encephalomyelitis in horses and birds and earlier recognized epizootic hemorrhagic disease in deer (September 2017) and West Nile encephalitis in crows (2001).

The published case report (Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, September 2019) documents the death of a 5-month-old dog that originated in Mississippi, was shelter-housed in Texas for a time, and then was delivered for adoption in Connecticut. The disease was characterized by severe bloody gastroenteritis and rapid progression to death. Autopsy was followed by electron microscopy and molecular techniques which demonstrated a circovirus as the cause of disease and death. First recognized in California in 2013, the appearance of canine circovirus disease in New England, in dogs shuttled among shelters, raises concerns for dog owners and veterinarians.  At this time, it is hard to know if this disease will spread, like parvovirus disease in the 1980s, or remain sporadic.

CVMDL, part of the Department of Pathobiology in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, is on the frontlines of research and testing to keep humans and animals safe. For more information visit http://cvmdl.uconn.edu or call 860-486-3738.

Article by Dr. H. J. Van Kruiningen

UConn Beef Auction – Nov. 3rd

black cow
beef steer

The UConn Beef Auction will be held this year on Sunday, November 3 at the Cattle Resource Unit (heifer barn) located on Horsebarn Hill Road, Storrs campus.

The auction will be held at UConn’s Storrs Campus at the UConn Cattle Resource Unit (Heifer Barn) located on Horsebarn Hill Road. The event is free and open to the general public. Preview of animals begins at 10 a.m.; auction will be held at 12:00 noon; donuts/coffee and pizza will be available for purchase. Please contact Mary Margaret Cole, Executive Program Director, UConn Livestock Units at Mary_Margaret.Cole@uconn.edu with any questions. Please visit http://animalscience.uconn.edu/join.php to join the email list if you would like to receive a digital copy of the animal sale list. Approximately 25 UConn animals are expected to be auctioned and may include Angus and Hereford heifers, steers, bulls and pregnant cows. The auction does not accept consignments. A list of UConn animals to be sold as well as pedigrees are posted on our website at s.uconn.edu/beefauction.

Job Openings

Extension banner

Join us! We have two part-time positions open, both located in our Hartford County Extension Center in Farmington. We are seeking a part-time program aide, and a part-time Extension eLearning developer. Apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs/ – click on staff, and search Job IDs 2020125 and 2020126.

Water Testing in Connecticut

water being put into test tubes with a dropper in a water test situation

Water is part of everything that we do. We are frequently asked about water testing, septic system maintenance, and fertilizing lawns. The Connecticut Institute of Water Resources, a project with Natural Resources & the Environment, has resources for homeowners: http://ctiwr.uconn.edu/residential/

#AskUConnExtension

Sheep Shearing School

sheepThe Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association Inc. in conjunction with the UConn Extension are again offering a one-day shearing school.
 
Saturday, October 26, 2019
UConn Beef Barn (Livestock Unit 1)
Horsebarn Hill Road
8am-4:30pm
 
This program is offered for those individuals who have a strong interest in learning how to shear sheep and have a basic understanding of sheep husbandry and handling. As sheep shearing is a physically demanding skill, it is highly recommended that you be able to perform a squat and touch your toes without discomfort and hold for an extended amount of time.
 
Class is limited to 12 students
Preregistration is required: Deadline for registration is October 7
 
CSBA members and UConn student: $20.00
All others: $40.00
Audit course: $10.00
Send: Name, address, email and phone # along with registration fee payable to CSBA to:
Natalie Cohen, Secretary
36 Broad Brook Road
Ellington, CT 06029
 
Instructor: Matt Best
Equipment: provided
Outline:
8am-classroom, introductions, registration, waivers, brief overview of the day.
8:30am-classroom, first principal of shearing, know the equipment. Shears, combs and cutters, shearing area, etc, Q and A.
10:30am- Laboratory, Handling sheep. Catching, proper position, leg work, shearing pattern. Second principal, know the pattern.
Lunch (plenty of places to choose from!)
Shearing, Third principal, know the contour of the animal.
Close: 4:30pm
Questions?  hillviewdorpers@gmail.com or 860-819-8339

Ask UConn Extension

food, health and sustainability venn diagram

Do you have food, health, or environmental sustainability questions?

Ask UConn Extension.

We have specialists located throughout the state to answer your questions and connect you with the power of UConn research.

Fill out this form with your question: http://bit.ly/AskUConnExtension

FertAdvisor App Available from UConn

FertAdvisor app informationDr. Jason Henderson, Associate Professor of Turfgrass and Soil Sciences at University of Connecticut, is the lead investigator of an ongoing, multiple year research project that has been evaluating conventional, organic, and pesticide-free management systems for athletic fields and home lawns. Other investigators involved with the project include Vickie Wallace, John Inguagiato, Karl Guillard, Steve Rackliffe, and Tom Morris. To date, two graduate students have completed research studies while collecting data on this project.

Dr. Henderson has been a champion of research that supports environmentally sound turf care practices. Besides collecting data on the various management regimes, Dr. Henderson and his team of collaborators set out to develop a smartphone app, FertAdvisor, that assists users in calculating the amount of lawn fertilizer required to properly fertilize turfgrass areas.

FertAdvisor is designed to provide users with a comprehensive tool that will help ensure accurate applications of fertilizer and reduce misapplications that can potentially damage turfgrass, waste fertilizer and/or pose environmental risk. The app has recommendations about application techniques, accurate calibration, fertilizer timing, and nitrogen source selection. Built-in calculators within the app help determine how much fertilizer will be needed to properly fertilize turfgrass areas, streamlining calibration calculations and calculating the amount of nitrogen, phosphate and potash that will be applied to the area based on the fertilizer selected.

Animations and videos guide turfgrass enthusiasts on how to take a soil sample, properly apply fertilizer using both drop and rotary spreaders, calibrate a fertilizer spreader, and calculate lawn surface area. Ten tips and tricks for managing cool-season lawns are also provided, in order to help homeowners make the right decisions for a healthy lawn.

FertAdvisor is available for both iPhone and android users. It’s easy to use and takes the guesswork out of lawn fertilizer applications.

Submitted by Vickie Wallace and Jason Henderson

Maddy Hatt: National 4-H Conference Experience

4-H members in Washington DC
Left to right: Jenn Rudtke, chaperone, Samantha Smith, Christina Ciampa, Maddy Hatt, Representative Hayes’ Aide, and Olivia Hall.

National 4-H Conference

April 6-11 I was fortunate enough to be selected as part of the Connecticut delegation sent to Washington D.C. for the 2019 National 4-H Conference. I was a part of the Entrepreneurship round table and we were tasked with answering a set of questions for the United States department of labor. The challenge question tasked to us was as follows, “It is estimated that fifty percent (50%) of the U.S. workforce will be freelance workers by 2027. What is the Gig economy and what are the characteristics that make it so alluring to youth? What are the kinds of skills entrepreneurs need to be successful and in what ways is entrepreneurial, skills training taught? How important could an innovation-based entrepreneurial economy be to a rural area?” These questions were tough to answer at first but with the help of my round table, which consisted of 15 4-Hers, 14 from the United States and one boy from Saskatchewan Canada, we were able to begin answering the questions quickly and efficiently. We prepared a 30 minute presentation for select members of the United States department of labor and the presentation went very well. Many of these members have been receiving the presentations done by 4-Hers for many years now and as a group the members said our presentation was among the best they’ve ever seen. I learned a lot at this conference about leadership and it tested my public speaking skills as I met other 4-Hers from around the country and as I talked with high ranking officials., Leadership skills came into play in the planning stages of the round table discussions as we needed to put together a very large, multi-parted presentation with people we had never met before. I learned a lot from this conference as well about the industry that I want to go into.
I want to be an entrepreneur and own my own horseback riding facility when I’m older so through the topic of entrepreneurship at conference I learned a lot about what I will need to do in order to be successful in my field.

Why donors should fund these trips?

My experiences in 4-H surpass anything else I’ve done in high school or my other clubs because of the important life skills I’ve gained from these 4-H trips. I have been a part of various different clubs and sports throughout my youth, but the only thing I truly stuck with was 4-H because even at a young age I understood that in 4-H I was being taught important life skills that I would gain no where else. 4-H has taught me a lot about the importance of public speaking and being able to communicate effectively with others. From my first public speaking competition in 2015 where I was barely able to finish my presentation to placing 5th at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Contests in the Individual Presentation contest at the end of 2016, I have shown immense amounts of growth in being able to speak well. From there as I continued to work on my speaking skills I’ve made it to the Connecticut state public speaking finals four times.

Once my public speaking skills were improved through 4-H, I turned my focus to becoming a better leader which 4-H teaches so well. I worked my way up the ranks of my club to become club president for three years. From there I felt I had improved my leadership skills enough to become a superintendent of the Horse Exposition at my local 4-H fair, which is a fair entirely run by 4-Hers. I was able to implement an entirely new event at this fair from my skills learned about leading a group from my local 4-H club. I am now a ranking officer at my fair.

4-H is also a great place for kids to learn interpersonal skills and how to make friends. When you first join 4-H or go on your first national trip, it is likely you will know no one. This encourages kids to make new friends and connections and step outside of their comfort zone, possibly even for the first time. My experiences in 4-H are matched my nothing, and I truly thank the wonderful leaders and extension agents I’ve come to know for that.

Article by Maddy Hatt, UConn 4-H member