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.

Research tackles colony collapse

The solution to a huge problem may be hiding in the minutia of labs like this one at Oregon State University, where researchers examine the period-size brains of honey bees, test their blood and grind their guts for inspection under a microscope.

They’re looking for signs of parasites, viruses or nutritional lapses that may help explain colony collapse disorder.

Ramesh Sagili, who leads the OSU research effort, believes there is no single “smoking gun” cause of CCD. Instead, he and most other researchers say a combination of factors is most likely to blame.

Read more in the Capital Press »

A new star may be rising in Oregon’s blackberry fields

The next great Oregon blackberry may be growing in the demonstration plots at Oregon State University’s North Willamette Research and Extension Station.

Chad Finn, the USDA breeder who developed it, named it Columbia Star — a nod to Oregon and Washington and the river they share, and to its quality.

Time will tell, as it always does with plant breeding. But if it takes off, as Finn believes likely, Columbia Star may surpass the venerable Marion, which since introduction in 1956 has become the most widely planted blackberry cultivar in the world.

Read more in the Capital Press »

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.

Visit Oregon's Agricultural Progress magazine »


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.