Monday, November 29, 2010

The spiraling whitefly menace! - two new videos

I recently collaborated with UCU-team leader Mary McCready on two short videos about the emerging South Florida infestation of gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly.

Although not as aggressive as the ficus whitefly (it will not kill its host), the spiraling whitefly has a wider host range – affecting everything from fruit trees to shrubs.

These videos were produced to supplement Miami-Dade Extension’s educational literature geared toward alarmed residents in areas of the county where the infestation has been particularly harsh (Doral, Miami Springs, etc.). Currently, the videos are prominently displayed on Miami-Dade Extension’s main webpage.

Check them out!

The gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly

La mosca blanca espiral del gumbo limbo

Friday, November 19, 2010

Out of town

I will be out of town next week Nov 23-26. If you have an emergency, you can call my cell phone. I will check emails. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!

Awesome photo from our collection

In an effort to get people besides Mike and me to blog - I'm going to offer a challenge! I hope that every now and then, someone can post a great memory from our group. Here is the start!

Great teamwork! These two worked really hard last summer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BMPs for water quality and treatment in south Florida

Today an extension event was held in Homestead for water quality BMPs - primarily focusing on ornamental nurseries. We had some great tours and speakers. This program was organized by the Water Education Alliance for Horticulture ( and Dr. Paul Fisher from UF-Gainesville. We saw some beautiful plants! And, some great BMPs! Thanks to Costa and Living Color for hosting us!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ET in Ag

Traditionally employed in large commercial properties and urban landscape irrigation, ET-based irrigation controllers can also be used in agriculture.

Following a study by ABE graduate student Isaya Kiseka that successfully used a ET-based controller in a star fruit orchard, the Water Resource Engineering team installed an off-site ET-based timer on a pressurized irrigation system servicing a young avocado orchard at TREC in Homestead, FL.

This particular controller is of the “off-site” variety, meaning that it receives ET information from a weather service at another location. Beyond this, it is similar to other ET-based controllers in that it uses such factors as plant-type, soil-type, incline, shade factor, and sprinkler head type in calculating how much water should be applied during a scheduled irrigation event.

The set-up for the avocado orchard system includes additional instruments.

Since the off-site signal does no account for instantaneous rain events, a rain sensor was added to the controller. This sensor will suspend irrigation after it collects a specific depth of water and will sustain suspension until it dries.

A water meter was also added to the system’s mainline to track irrigation event frequency and duration.

Several tensiometers were also installed in the field to insure that irrigation is reaching row ends.

Though initiated in late 2009, the avocado orchard's ET-based irrigation system is finally in working order thanks to the recent efforts of Tina Dispenza.

To view short videos about previous Water Resource Engineering team studies conducted in the aforementioned avocado orchard and with the aforementioned ET-based controller, follow these links:

Evaluation of automatic evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling controllers for water and energy savings in southern Florida tropical fruit orchards
Assessing nutrient leaching under different nutrient and irrigation management practices