About Me

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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lichens

I get calls all the time about lichens on trees and the supposed harm they are doing. Lichens are the leafy, grey-green looking growths that appear on the bark of trees. Lichens are an example of a symbiotic relationship between algae and certain fungi and as such are capable of producing their own food. The effect of lichens on a tree are only slightly detrimental owing mostly to their appearance which can be “crusty” looking. These are not parasites like mistletoe but are called epiphytes since they derive their nutrition from the air and not from the plant they grow on. Lichens can indicate a problem with the tree they are growing on. They need sunlight to grow so it may indicate a thin or thinning, unhealthy tree but not because of the lichens. If you still insist on taking them out then spray your tree with copper compounds which are deadly to fungi and algae.

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