Latest WSU Extension guides: lady beetles, soil health, and protecting fruit

Lots of ladybugs
Lady beetles are a popular biocontrol in home gardens

The latest guides from Washington State University Extension update Northwest farmers, foresters, and gardeners on how to protect tree fruit crops, gauge soil health, grow canola for harvest and grazing, the pros and cons of buying lady beetles, and more.

This January, experts from WSU and partner institutions released 10 new or revised online guides and modules. Find them at the WSU Extension online bookstore.

A Practical Guide to Soil Health Indicators for Monitoring Shifts in Soil Organic Matter (FS379E)

Improving and maintaining soil health can have a wide range of agricultural benefits, reducing input costs while improving crop growth, quality, and yield. Soil organic matter is a common metric but can be slow to respond to management changes. This guide is an overview of soil health indicators that can respond more rapidly; authors are Rachel Breslauer, Katherine Smith, and Deirdre Griffin LaHue with the WSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Soil Health in Washington Vineyards (FS378E)

Tracking soil health over time is an integral component of good vineyard management. Learn how to get started building and sustaining soil health in your operation. Authors include Deirdre Griffin LaHue, Molly McIlquham, Devin Rippner, Leslie Michel, Dani Gelardi, Teal Potter, Joan Davenport, and Michelle Moyer.

Canola Grazing
In the vegetative growth stage, winter canola can be a nutritious and productive forage crop.

Dual-Purpose Canola Management in the Pacific Northwest (FS374E)

This publication details the state of knowledge on grazing on canola in the inland Pacific Northwest. It also compares canola grazing to mechanically harvested canola forage and subsequent impacts on seed yield. Authors are Isaac Madsen, WSU Oilseed Extension Agronomist, and Clark Neely, Extension Agronomist.

Revised Publications

Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington (EB0419)

The 2023 edition of the crop protection guide outlines examples of pesticides registered on orchard insect, disease, and weed pests in Washington state; includes efficacy and toxicity charts; 172 pages. Cost is $21.50; authors include Tianna DuPont, Elizabeth Beers, Robert Orpet, Gary Grove, Achour Amiri, Rachel Bomberger, and Tory Schmidt, with editor Lagene Taylor.

Pest Management Guide for Grapes in Washington (EB0762)

This updated guide looks at control of diseases, insects, weeds, and vertebrate pests on commercial grapes. Cost is $9.50.

Lady Beetles: Should We Buy Them for Our Gardens? (FS268E)

Hailed as the home gardeners’ go-to aphid biocontrol, catch-and-release lady beetles are often cited in popular lit. This pub explores the science behind the hype—and suggests some alternatives. Part of the Home Garden Series; authors include Professor and Extension Specialist Linda Chalker-Scott and Washington State Department of Agriculture Entomologist Michael Bush.

Potential Contaminants in Residential Rain Barrel Water (FS280E)

Practical and inexpensive, rain barrels collect rooftop runoff and can extend irrigation during dry spells. But what’s in the water? Part of the Home Garden Series; by Linda Chalker-Scott.

Revised Online Modules

Animal Damage Control (OM29)

In this module, Jim Bottorff, retired wildlife biologist from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, provides an overview of the wildlife species that most commonly damage trees and describes control strategies. Access to the modules is free, but registration is required.

Managing a Successful Timber Sale: Top 10 Musts (OM13)

Long-time forest consultant Ron Munro discusses the top ten “musts” for putting together a successful timber sale. These tips will help minimize your risk and liability as a landowner. Access is free but registration is required.

Managing Woodlands for Aesthetics and Enjoyment (OM12)

Jeff deGraan, Forestry Consultant, Cascade Woodland Design, discusses six principles of managing for aesthetics and enjoyment. Jeff DeBell is an additional author.

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