Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pesticide Applicator Training Workshop December 14, 2012

Pesticide Applicator Training Workshop
December 14, 2012

Country Inn, 718 Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, CO 81506

Speakers – Curtis Swift, Ph.D. (QS # 00019) and Jude Sirota (QS # 00759)

For more info Call Dr. Swift  970.778.7866

Why you should Attend?

Private Pesticide Applicators who apply restricted use pesticides are required to be certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Continuing Education Credits are required to maintain this certification.
Commercial Pesticide Applicators, i.e those who apply pesticides for hire, are required to be certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and receive the required Continuing Education Credits to maintain that certification.
The morning sessions are required for Private Pesticide Applicators to maintain their certification.
Commerical Pesticide Applicators also require the morning sessions. The afternoon sessions are for specific categories.
The paperwork necessary to certify attendance at these sessions will be forwarded to the Colorado Department of Agriculture upon completion of the training. Attendees will receive a copy of the attendance verification form for their records.

Registration is Easy! The registration form is at the end of the program.

The Schedule:
8:15  – 9:15 a.m. Laws and Regulations
Laws and Regulations – ½ hr; Dr. Swift –Requirements and Forms for Commercial, Limited Commercial, or Public Applicator Licensing. Each item will be discussed and samples of documents provided.
Laws and Regulations – ½ hr; Jude Sirota – EPA pesticide registration: cancellations and reregistration status.
9:15 - 9:45 Applicator Safety – ½ hr; Curtis Swift – Use and maintenance of personal protective clothing and safety equipment. Material Safety Data Sheets and label requirements.
9:45 – 10:15 Pesticides and Their Families – ½ hr; Jude Sirota – Insecticide families and their mode of action. Mode-of-action-based management to prevent insecticide resistance.
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:00 Environmental Protection – ½ hr; Jude Sirota – Dust storms and Hurricanes: How weather affects pesticide applications.
11:00 – 11:30 Public Safety - ½ hr; Curtis Swift - Safe methods of handling pesticides during transportation, storage, mixing and loading, application, and cleanup equipment that must be available.
11:30 – 12:00 Use of Pesticides – ½ hr; Jude Sirota – Choosing pesticide application techniques based on label requirements.

12:00 - 12:45 Lunch - provided for those paying for full day.

Pest Management: Breakout room #1 – Curtis Swift

 12:45 – 1:45 Turf Pests 206 – Diseases of cool-season grasses - 1 hr 
Identification and control strategies to include cultural and chemical management.
1:45 – 2:45 Turf Pest 206 – Weed control in cool-season grasses and ornamental plants - 1 hr - Differentiating between broadleaf and grassy weeds and their control; specific info will be provided on treating weeds in ornamental beds.
2:45 – 3:00 – Break
3:00 – 4:00 Ornamentals 207 - Pests of Woody Plants - Aphids, Mites, Scales, Gallmakers - 1 hr - Identification strategies and control options to include cultural.
4:00 – 5:00 Ornamentals 207 Pests of Woody Plants -Defoliators, borers and bark beetles - 1 hr - Identification strategies and control methods to include cultural.

Pest Management: Breakout room #2 – Jude Sirota 
12:45 – 1:45 Agricultural Insect Control 101 – New pests on our doorstep: what growers can do to prevent the introduction and spread of exotic agricultural insect pests.
 1:45 – 2:45 Agricultural Weed Control 103 – Managing weeds so they don’t control you: developing a system of crop production that is less susceptible to weed invasions.
2:45 – 3:00 – Break
3:00 – 4:00 Rangeland Pest Control (107) / Industrial Right-of-way Weed Control (109) – one credit for one or the other will be awarded for attending this session.  Managing noxious weeds while protecting endangered/ threatened native plants.

To register, complete the following and return it along with a check or purchase order to:

Swift Horticultural Enterprises LLC
450 Hill Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501

Your contact information: Name ___________________________________
Physical Address _______________________________________________________ email__________________________________

  Number attending Subtotal $ Please provide names of attendees for each category
Full Day - $150 per person      
Afternoon sessions - $100 per person      
Morning sessions - $75 per person      

Contact Info:; 970.778.7866


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The importance of soil testing


Swift Horticultural Enterprises, LLC
Swift Horticultural Consulting

High Altitude Lavender
Curtis Swift, Ph.D.
450 Hill Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501


The importance of soil testing;

How to collect a sample, where to send it for analysis, and how to obtain a quality recommendation

Why is soil testing important?

·         To determine if the soil is appropriate for the trees, shrubs, flowers, herbs, lawn grasses, etc. you want to plant; not all soils can support healthy plant growth.
·         To learn what is needed to improve the health of those plants and reduce plant stress and reduce the potential for insect and disease problems.
·         To know what is needed to increase plant vigor, fruit, and flower production. 

A soil test provides the following:

·         What nutrients are deficient, the organic matter content, the pH and the soluble salt content.
·         What you need to add to the soil to correct deficiencies.

 You need the answers to the following items to realize the full potential of a soil test: 

·         Is this soil compatible with the plants you want to grow?
·         What nutrients are needed and when should they be applied and at what rate?
·         What nutrients should you avoid to prevent imbalances, excessive growth, root damage, etc.?
·         Are your plant problems the result of an improper fertilization program?
·         What nutrients are excessive and how can you avoid contributing to the problem?
·         Do you have a soluble salt problem and if so how can you correct it?
·         If the organic matter level of the soil is low how can you correct it without damaging established plants?  If this is a new planting what should you use and how much to improve the soil.
·         Is there a sodium problem and if so how do you correct it?
·         How can you enhance the growth and quality of the plants in this soil?


My job is to provide you the answers to the above questions.  My written recommendations will be specific to the plants you are growing or plan to grow in that soil. If you prefer the use of organic products in lieu of synthetic fertilizers I will provide you specifics on what products to use and how much of each is required for your plants and when they should be applied. 

Collecting a soil sample is simple. 

Shovel or trowel: Dig a hole in the area eight inches deep. Take a slice of soil off the side of the hole and throw it in a clean bucket, cardboard box, etc.  

Soil Auger or Probe: Twist/push the auger/probe into the soil to a depth of eight inches. Put the soil you collect in a clean pail, bag, or box.  

For more information on collecting a soil sample go to  Use clean tools to take samples.

 The soil testing laboratory needs about one pint of soil.  If the soil being tested is similar throughout the field or lawn take multiple samples from the area and mix them together for a composite sample.  If the soil appears or feels different in different parts of the field you should submit a separate sample for each soil type. If testing the soil around a tree, collect samples from the area half way between the trunk and the furthest reach of the branches and all the way around the circumference of the tree. 

 Air-dry the soil before sending it to the lab for analysis. Do NOT dry the sample on a newspaper or other surface where compounds can leach from the surface into the soil.  I use a plastic shoe box to dry the samples I mail to the lab. After the sample is dry, package it up in a plastic zip-lock bag. Keep the sample out of the sun after you have sealed the sample in the bag.

Where should you send your soil samples?

 I work with Ward Laboratories, Inc. in Kearney Nebraska (  Their analytical fees are reasonable and they are quick and accurate. Their S-4 Routine analysis provides the information I need to provide quality recommendations.   Use the sample submittal sheet at .  Make a note on the form to have them email the results to  Make sure your name, address, and email address is on the form. Please send me an email to let me know you have sent a sample to the lab so I will expect it.

 Mail the dried sample(s), sample sheet, and payment of $19.25 per sample to:

 Ward Laboratories, Inc.
4007 Cherry Ave., P.O. Box 788
Kearney, Nebraska 68848-0788 

When I receive the results from Ward Lab I will contact you to obtain further information to make my recommendations fit your situation correctly.  

 My Fee: 

My fee for providing recommendations and associated literature based on the soil test results is $30 per sample.  

If you live in the Grand Junction area and want me to pick up the sample(s) at your home or office, mail them to the lab, and provide you recommendations, my fee is $40 per sample.  Please contact me at 970.778.7866 if you prefer this option.     

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Alfalfa Mosaic Virus and Lavender

Alfalfa Mosaic Virus (AMV) and Lavender
Curtis Swift, Ph.D.

Image 1: Symptoms of AMV on Lavender

Image 2: Distorted yellow spotted leaves are smptomatic of AMV. Yellow spots on flower stalks are less common.
The Alfalfa Mosaic Virus is found through out the world and no lavender field is free of possible infection. While this disease is easily spread by cuttings they are seldom tested to ensure they are free of virus.  This does not, however, mean infection will result in a loss of yield or plant vigor. Identifying infected plants is often difficult as symptoms of infection may persist or disappear soon after infection. (Hartman, et al.)
 AMV was first described in California in 1931 as a mosaic virus of alfalfa. Since viruses are named for the first plant in which they are identified, the virus was named Alfalfa Mosic Virus (Hall).  AMV is a pathogen of several vegetable crops causing up to 65% yield loss of peppers (Pernezny, et al.) while the strain that infects beans is reported to be of no economic importance whatsoever. Other crops reported to be susceptible to AMV include peas (Hagedorn, 1984), soybeans (Harman, et al. 1999), celery, celeriac, and other umbelliferous crops (Davis & Raid, 2002), head lettuce (Davis, et al., 1997), eggplant, and other dicots, many of which are weeds.   This virus has one of the largest host ranges of any virus known to infect 600 plant species in 50 genera.  Daughtrey et al. indicate AMV has been reported in greenhouse flower crops to include primrose, geraniums and hydrangea.  They suggest this virus may be more widespread in flowers than reports would indicated.
Stunted lavender plants (Lavandula angustifolia and L. x intermedia)  with yellow spots and distorted plant growth were reported in western Colorado lavender fields in 2011.  In 2012, samples of tissue was collected from plants exhibiting yellow spotting and stunting from three widely distributed lavender fields in western Colorado and tested for virus.  Suspect tissue was collected from 'Fat Spike', 'Royal Velvet' and the lavendin 'Grosso'. A total of five samples collected from different plants were sent by priority mail to AgDia, Elkhart, Indiana for testing.
The presence of virus is typically determined by the ELISA procedure. For many crops, tissue from the suspect plant is macerated in a buffer solution and paper strips containing antibodies to the suspect virus inserted into the mix of buffer solution and plant tissue. This technique gives us an answer as to which virus or viruses is/are present in the sample in about five minutes. 
Due to the essential oil of lavender tissue, a technique called PCR had to be used to characterize (identify) the virus to family.  Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a scientific technique that increases a single or a few copies of a piece of DNA, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence.  This technique revealed all five samples were in the Bromoviridae family of virus.   
This family includes:
   Genus Alfamovirus; type species: Alfalfa mosaic virus
   Genus Anulavirus; type species: Pelargonium zonate spot virus
   Genus Bromovirus; type species: Brome mosaic virus
   Genus Cucumovirus; type species: Cucumber mosaic virus
   and others, hence the reason to have this virus characterized to Genus.

The DNA samples were found to be 97%-99% related to Alfalfa Mosaic Virus. The strain of the virus was not identified in this process.  Many strains of AMV cause necrotic local lesions, while other strains can result in yield loss, reduce winter survival, and an increase in infection by other pathogens.  No data is available on the overall effect of AMV on lavender thus further research on this problem as it relates to lavender winter survival and yield is needed.

Disease Management

Myzus persicae, the green peach aphid, is the most efficient aphid vector of at least 15 different aphid species that spread this virus. Aphids can acquire the virus after only a few minutes of feeding on a virus-infected plant and can immediately transfer the virus to another plant.  The virus is picked up on the outside of the stylet (needle-like mouth parts). When the aphid feeds on the next plant some of the virus particles remain in the probed plant tissue causing the disease.  This type of virus transfer is referred to as non-persistent or stylet-borne transmission, as compared to viruses that are sucked into the insect’s gut prior to being trasmitted to the next plant.  The latter is referred to as `circulator/ persistent`, or `propagative` transfer depending on whether the virus passes directly through the insect gut system, or multiplies inside the insect prior to being passed on to the next plant.  

Like the virus, M. persicae is found world wide. This aphid is a common pest of peach, cherry, and other Prunus species and insecticide treatment of those trees to prevent spread of this aphid to nearby lavender field is strongly recommended. In cold climates this insect often overwinters in warm greenhouses. 

Alfalfa Mosaic Virus can be spread through transmission of sap thus disinfecting equipment used for pruning, shaping, and other operations is recommended to prevent the spread of this virus, especially when AMV-infected lavender plants or weeds or other crokps are in or near the field.  A solution of 10% bleach solution (sodium hypochlorate) created by mixing one part bleach with nine parts water, or a spray of alcohol, or other disinfectant is recommended to treat sickles, shears, and other cutting implements between plants to help prevent spread. Bleach is corrosive so frequent replacement of cutting implements will be need if used as the disinfectant.


Image 3: Pigweed with symptoms of AMV.

All AMV-infected plants are dicots and many are weeds. Controlling weeds around the production field is key to preventing the introduction of this disease into the lavender field. It is critical that weeds be treated with an insecticide prior to being eliminated.  Hoeing, mowing, or spraying weeds with a herbicide prior to treating for aphids results in the aphids moving to other plants, some of which could  be lavender plants. Applying an insecticide to weeds prior to control can be done with synthetic products or organic approved materials such as SucraShield™, neem oil, insecticidal soap, etc.

When neighboring fields of alfalfa and other aphid-infested crops are harvested, aphids move to find other plants to feed on.  Leaving a buffer of plants between the harvested crop and the lavender field will help keep aphids from moving to the lavender. This buffer could be treated with an insecticide.  If the neighboring buffer is not a viable option the use of a trap crop around the lavender field should be considered. This trap crop could consists of several rows of alfalfa treated with a fast-acting contact organic or synthetic insecticide.  The concept is simple.  Aphids moving into the area would hopefully alight and feed on the trap crop and would be killed before they have an opportunity to move into the lavender field. Organic products typically have no residual or have a shorter residual effect than synthetic products and thus would need to be applied more frequently to maintain control of the aphids feeding in the trap crop.

Insecticides applied to lavender plants are not effective in preventing AMV infection since the non-persistent transmission of the virus occurs too rapidly.

The use of a spun-bonded polyester insect barrier over the plants helps prevent virus infections. Drought and drying winds cause aphids to move from droughty crops and dry desert areas to other crops including lavender. During such times additional steps may be necessary to prevent AMV infection of lavender.

Dodder, a parasitic seed plant, can spread this virus from infected to non-infected plants thus keeping the field field of dodder is critical.  

Image 4: Dodder wrapped around bindweed

The tolerance level of lavender to this virus is not known.  AMV infection appear to have no effect on plant growth or yield in some fields. Some growers remove infected plants while others leave them be.  More research on this aspect of the disease needs to be conducted to determine its effect on lavender in general and cultivars specifically. 

 Creating virus-free transplants and cuttings

Greenhouses used to propagate lavender should be kept free of aphids to help ensure transplants are not infected when moved to the production field or retailer outlets. The use of insect screening installed over doors, intake vents, fan housings, and other openings should be considered.  Mother plants used for cuttings should be examined for visible symptoms of the virus and not used for that purpose if symptoms are noted.  Mother plants should be kept covered with an insect barrier spun-bonded fabric if not kept in an aphid-free glass house. Having mother plants tested for AMV would be ideal but costly. 

Cuttings taken from plants infected by viruses, phytoplasma, fungi, or fungal-like organisms are often cured of their pathogens by being placed in hot water for a certain number of a minutes. Azalea cuttings infected by Rhizoctonia can be cleared of this pathogen by placing the cuttings in 122o F water for 20 minutes without damaging the plant tissue. Virus-infected daffodil bulbs placed in 129o F. water for an hour are made virus-free. While hot water treatment will most likely inactivate virus in lavender cuttings information on the proper temperature or length of time necessary to achieve this virus-free status needs to be determined. 

Hot water treatments are also used to inactivate virus in seed.  When seed is colllected from lavender in the process of selecting new cultivars one should consider treating the seed with hot water therapy as AMV is seed transmitted. A hot water bath of 144o F for 10 minutes is a common treatment regimen for seed.



·        Chaube, H.S. and Singh, U.S. 1991. Plant disease management: Principles and practices. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

·        Davis, R.M., and Raid, R.N. 2002. Compendium of umbelliferous crop diseases. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Davis, R.M., Subbarao, K.V., Raid, R.N., and Kurtz, E.A. 1997. Compendium of lettuce diseases. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Daughtrey, M.L., Wick, R.L., and Peterson, J.L. 2006. Compendium of flowering potted plant diseases. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Hadidi, A, Khetarpal, R.K., and Koganezawa, H., eds. 1998. Plant virus disease control. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Hagedorn, D.J., ed. 1984. Compendum of pea diseases. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Hartman, G.L., Sinclair, J.B., and Rupe, J.C. 1999. Compendium of soybean diseases: 4th edition. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Hall, R. 1991. Compendium of bean diseases. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Pernezny, K. Roberts, P.D., Murphy, J.F., and Goldbert, N.P. Compendium of pepper diseases. 2003. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

·        Sherf, A.F., and Macnab, A.A. 1986. Vegetable diseases and their control. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New York, NY

·        Sutic, D.D., R.E. Ford, and M.T. Tosic. 1999. Handbook of plant virus diseases. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Parthenolecanium corni, the European Fruit Lecanium

Larry Traubel, Grand Mesa Discount, Eckert, Colorado, provided this photo of Parthenolecanium corni, the European Fruit Lecanium on a peach tree. The photo shows the overwintering stage of the female scale and the small translucent crawlers.

Parthenolecanium corni
A horticultural oil sprayed when the crawler stage is present in spring will suffocate this insect. Timing the spray based on the presence of the crawlers before they begin to secrete their protective covering is critical. The crawlers typically hatch when Catalpa trees are in bloom.

The other option is to use a dinotefuran product that lists peaches or stone fruit on the label. Dinotefuran is a highly systemic third generation neonicitinoid applied as a trunk spray, foliar spray, or soil drench.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Essential Oils by Dr. Janet Scavarda, DC

Essential Oils Dr. Janet Scavarda, DC

DATE: Friday, June 15th

TIME: 10:00AM to 2:00PM – Please bring a bag lunch

LOCATION: Sagebrush Room at the Mesa County Fairgrounds

CLASS FEE: $35.00 for Lavender Association of Western Colorado members, $45.00 for non-members. ***Advanced registration is required to insure note packets for all attendees. Please call and reserve your space by noon June 14th.

TO REGISTER: Call 970-210-3559 or email

Section 1 – METHODS OF APPLICATIONS – All of the ways to use essential oils

Inhalation: Dry inhalation, Moist inhalation, Room sprays, Nebulizing Diffusion, and Heat diffusion

Diluted skin application: Baths (full, foot and hand), Lotion, Nut & Vegetable oil, Salve, Massage, Compresses, Soles of feet


Why should we care about the reasons plants produce essential oils? Because understanding how plants use essential oils will give us insight into what they will do for us. It provides the bridge we need to treat the body, and its mental and emotional components, simultaneously and in balance. This information provides a clearer vision of how to blend essential oils effectively.


How to choose and eliminate oils to blend for a specific purpose, issues to consider, and how to address the primary goal as well as balance of involved systems. Differentiating base, middle and top notes, and their purposes.

Qualifications: Dr. Scavada has eighteen years experience using essential oils personally and in her practice and thirteen years experience teaching classes, both privately and at a local technical college. In 2002 Dr. Scavarda took and passed the only nation-wide competency examination available at the time; the Aromatherapy Registration Council's Registration Examination in Aromatherapy, becoming a Registered Aromatherapist. She has continuing her education through The Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy in 2004, 2006, and 2010, as well as her own research. Dr. Scavarda is currently researching and writing a book on aromatherapy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Valley Grown Nursery Digs Trees

The process of digging trees out of a field takes equipment and know-how.  This video was shot on Saturday, March 10 at the Valley Grown Nursery Mack Coloado location.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop on Saturday, March 24

Public Fruit & Vine Pruning Workshop

What: Fruit and vine pruning workshop – including tree fruits and grapes.
When: 1:00pm - 4:00 pm, March 24th , 2012 (Saturday)
Where: Western Colorado Research Center – Orchard Mesa, 3168 B ½ Rd., Grand Junction, CO

Specifics: The workshop will be presented by Colorado State University Western Colorado Research Center at Orchard Mesa. Cost for the class is $25 per person for those who register on or before March 19, 2012 or $30.00 at the door (if space is available). Registration will be limited to the first 45 people who register.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Cut and Mail

Registration form: Make checks payable to “Colorado State University.”

Return registration form with $25 per person registration fee by 5:00 pm, March 19, 2012 to:

WCRC – Orchard Mesa

Attention: Donna Iovanni
3168 B ½ Rd.
Grand Junction, CO 81503

After March 19, 2012, registration fee is $30.00. Enrollment is limited to the first 45 paid registrants.

Name ______________________________________________________________________

Address ____________________________________________________________________

City ____________________________________________ State ________ Zip __________

Phone _______________________

Email address ___________________________________

Experience growing tree fruit / Grapes(please check the appropriate category):

None ____ 1 year ____ 2 years ____ 3+ years ____

Looking for a job? Mesa County Weed and Pest Coordinator

The Mesa County Tri-River Department is accepting applications for the Mesa County Weed & Pest Coordinator. The salary range is $16.12 - $21.75/hr. (DOQ). To apply submit a Mesa County general application to the Mesa County Human Resources Department at 544 Rood Avenue by 5 PM on March 15, 2012. General applications are available online at

The details for this position can be found at: