News for the Horticulture Department

Purple TomatoesThe Purple Tomato FAQ

Learn more about this promising release from Oregon State University Department of Horticulture Plant Breeder Jim Myers.

Pest Counterpunch: Integrated Pest Management

Adjusting an insect incubator in his lab at Hood River, OSU entomologist Peter Shearer examines how hot and cold temperatures affect pests such as spotted wing drosophila. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

The phone rings in a dark room in Corvallis, where Colton Bond sits illuminated by a lone lamp and headset around his neck. On the line is a distressed caller with snakes in her attic and a box of mothballs in her hand. She’s called Bond for advice on how to deploy mothballs against the snakes.

Mothballs are not intended to kill snakes—nor squirrels, bats, or birds—Bond gently informs her. Because mothballs change from solid to gas in closed spaces, they can be dangerous to people breathing in the fumes.

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Goat herd ‘hired’ to remove invasive species from campus

Briana Murphy may not carry a crooked staff, but with a blonde braid slung over one shoulder and a straw hat firmly perched on her head, she wears the title of shepherdess well. Standing in front of her herd of goats as they graze on ivy in front of the Crop Science Building on the Oregon State University campus, she jokes about chasing a particularly stubborn escape artist across a golf course for two hours. That goat was subsequently ‘fired.’

Murphy has owned her own sustainable landscape management business, “Goat Power,” for three years, and takes her herd of around 40 goats across Oregon and Washington to help property owners combat invasive plants with a natural, and furry solution. She’s worked everywhere from vineyards to apartment complexes, tackling all kinds of tricky situations with her hooved co-workers.

Read more in OSU Today »

Oregon beekeepers continue to see unsustainable losses (Grower)

Oregon beekeepers continue to see unsustainable losses (Grower)
Oregon State University bee researchers are trying to better understand honeybee health.

Pesticides, starvation implicated in recent Oregon bee die-offs; task force seeks solution

Several highly publicized bee die-offs have increased concern for the health of Oregon's bee populations, prompting investigations and the establishment of a legislative task force to examine pesticide use and improve pollinator habitat in the state.

A collapse in bee population could destabilize food supplies, as about a third of all the food we eat is dependent on bee pollination. In Oregon, commercial and wild bees provide an estimated $600 million in annual agricultural value.

Read more in the Oregonian »

Blueberry mania: Grow sweet to spicy berries in your backyard

Bernadine Strik, a berry specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, says three categories of blueberry plants are best suited for Oregon climates -- Northern highbush varieties, rabbiteye varieties and half-high varieties.

Read more in the Oregonian »