The Newsletter of
The Plant Pathology
Volume 3-Issue 8
Christmas Trees: Beyond the Holiday Season
than 30 mil-
a live Christ-
mas tree into
to become the
ter of their
Christmas celebration. Years ago, most
Christmas trees were cut wild, but as
demand increased and the supply of
suitable wild trees decreased, growing
the United States, nearly 10 million of
these in the Lake States of Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In 1986,
there were about half a billion trees
growing in 43 states. About 7,500 year
round workers plus 100,000 part-
timers are needed to plant and tend
these trees. It takes constant and
skilled care for 8-15 years to produce a
salable, high-quality Christmas tree.
During this time, the trees face
many hazards; adverse weather, fire,
insects, and even animal damage. But
the most critical threat is usually dis-
ease. Learning to identify these dis-
eases is the first step in prevention and
Diseases affecting trees in
their natural settings may be relatively
harmless, but in intensively managed
nurseries and plantations, they can
have a devastating impact. Disease can
reduce growth, produce unsightly foli-
age, increase susceptibility to insects
and other diseases, and even kill trees.
For information on a specific Christ-
mas tree and its diseases, a good
source is the Pocket Guide to Christmas
Tree Diseases which is available online at
Most tree types discussed are
those of more temperate climate that
are imported into Florida in large
quantities during the holiday season.
Such trees include: Scotch Pine, Aus-
trian Pine, Red Pine, White Pine,
Douglas Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce,
Balsam Fir, and White and Norway
Each year, Florida Christmas
tree growers produce over 120,000
freshly cut quality trees to enhance the
joy of the holiday season. Christmas
trees are an agricultural crop, grown
specifically on Florida farms and
plantations to be harvested for use at
Christmas Tree Farming in Florida.
Florida Christmas tree growers, as a
rule of thumb, plant two or three trees
RsIRSt for every tree cut.
S The market for
A i fresh, Florida-
S i trees expands each
year as more and
more families enjoy the freshness,
quality, and fragrance of what the state
has to offer.
Trees are nature's way of
cleansing and purifying the air. Each
acre of Christmas trees produces
enough oxygen to meet the daily oxy-
gen requirements of eighteen people.
Tree plantations provide important
wildlife habitat and aquifer recharge
areas. Trees are great benefactors of
the land. They prevent soil erosion and
provide scenic greenbelts throughout
Many tree farmers allow cus-
tomers to choose and cut their own
2 PLP NEWS
Christmas trees. This has helped renew
the tradition of the entire family se-
lecting and cutting the Christmas tree.
The preferred species of tree is
often handed down from generation to
generation. In Florida, Red Cedar,
Virginia Pine, Sand Pine, Spruce Pine
and Leyland Cypress are grown spe-
cifically for use as Christmas trees.
A Christmas tree, like a bou-
quet of flowers, likes it cool and safe,
so don't put your tree near a fireplace,
heat source, or television set. Let the
tree remain outdoors or on a cool
porch or patio until ready to decorate.
Recycle your tree!!!
After the holidays, don't
throw your tree away.
Remember that trees are a
renewable resource. Here
are some tips on what to do with your
tree after the holidays:
1)Place the tree in the garden
or backyard and use it as a bird feeder
and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or
strung popcorn will attract the birds
and they can sit in the branches for
2)A tree is biodegradable; its
branches may be removed, chipped,
and used as mulch in the garden.
Many communities utilize a wood
chipper to make mulches for flower-
pots. Once the branches are removed,
the trunk can be chopped for fire-
3) Large quantities of used
trees make effective sand and soil ero-
4) Sunk into fish ponds, trees
make excellent refuge and feeding ar-
5)Woodworking hobbyists can
make a multitude of items including
buttons, gavels, and candlestick hold-
ers from the trunks of recycled
Whether you celebrate the
holidays or not, it might be the perfect
time to shop for a "Christmas tree"
and make it a part of your landscape.
Christmas Tree Facts
Christmas trees have been
sold commercially in the
United states since about
1850. Until fairly recently, all
Christmas trees came from the
Thirty-four to thirty-six mil-
lion Christmas trees are pro-
duced each year and 95 per-
cent are shipped or sold di-
rectly from Christmas tree
California, Oregon, Michigan,
Pennsylvania, and North
Carolina are the top Christmas
tree producing states. Oregon
is the leading producer of
Christmas trees 8.6 million in
The best selling trees are
Scotch pine, Douglas fir, No-
ble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia
pine, Balsam fir, and white
Over one million acres of land
have been planted in Christ-
mas trees. The industry em-
ploys over 100,000 people.
Many Christmas tree growers
grow trees on a part-time basis
to supplement farm and non-
More than 2,000 trees are usu-
ally planted per acre. On an
average 1,000-1,500 of these
trees will survive. In the
North, maybe, 750 trees will
remain. Almost all trees re-
quire shearing to attain the
Christmas tree shape. At six to
seven feet, trees are ready for
harvest. It takes six to ten
years of fighting heavy rain,
wind, hail and drought to get a
Selling directly to the con-
sumer has become a major
market for many Christmas
tree farms. Some tree farms
offer the consumer the chance
to select his own tree while it
is still growing in the tree
For More Help...
Consult an expert to identify the
cause of puzzling pest problems in
tion is extremely
important if con-
trols are to be ef-
Read books and
brochures about Christmas trees.
(Highly recommended: CHRISTMAS
TREE PEST MANUAL, for sale by
the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 2l '41 2
Join the National Christmas Tree
Growers Association. It provides
members with a number of valuable
services including the helpful "Ameri-
can Christmas Tree Journal".
Join your local Christmas Tree
Growers Association, and attend its
meetings. They often include valuable
field trips that will allow you to profit
3 PLP NEWS
from the experience of established
(Ed. Note: The above information is avail-
able from the Florida Department of Agri-
culture and Consumer Services, North Cen-
tral Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest
Service, National Christmas Tree Associa-
tion, and the University of Illinois Exten-
Faculty, staff, students,
alumni, and colleagues of our
Congratulations to Jessica
Roberts. Jessica was in the first class of
students to graduate from the College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences Honors
Program. We're very proud of your ac-
Dr. Charudattan was in Bra-
zil from Oct. 16 to Nov. 11 to collect a
rust fungus for the biocontrol of water-
hyacinth. The other highlights of his trip
include: two seminar presentations enti-
tled "Bioherbicides: Status and Pros-
pects" at the University of Sao Paolo,
Piracicala, S. P. and "Biological Control
of Weeds with Plant Pathogens" at the
State University of Maringa, Maringa'. P.
R. Charu also visited the lab of his for-
mer grad student, Dr. Dauri Tessmann,
at the State University of Maringa'.
Coffee Break Schedule and
Birthdays for December 1999
and January 2000
Friday Coffee Break
12-10 : Hiebert
12-17 : Charudattan
1-21: Kimbrough, Kucharek, Song
1-28 : Pring and Chourey
2-4 : Niblett
12-11: Robert Stall
12-23: Margarita Ferwerda-Licha
1-6 : Xiomara Sinisterra
1-15 : Jessica Roberts
1-16: George Agrios
1-21: Bob Kemerait
1-25: Abdul Al-Saadi
1-28 : Dana LeCuyer
1-30: Kris Beckham
Holiday Christmas, Friday, December
Holiday New Year's, Friday, Decem-
ber 31, 1999.
Graduation December 18h, 3:30 pm
for College of Agriculture.
Holiday Martin Luther King's Birth-
day, Monday, January 17, 2000.
Department Adopts A Family
This season the Plant Pathology De-
partment has decided to adopt a less
fortunate family through the Salvation
Army. We would like your help in
making this a brighter holiday season for
this family. Donations of clothing and
NEW, unwrapped toys are needed as
well as wrapping paper and ribbon for
the mother to wrap the gifts. The family
is a single mother with three children :
Vemon, a 5-year-old boy with sz. 6 pants
and small shirt; Daisy, a 7 year-old girl
with sz. 10 pants and medium shirts; and
Deltrice, a 10 year-old girl with size 12
pants and large shirts. Please contact
Karen in the front office for more infor-
mation on what needs to be donated and
where to deliver the items. Donations
must be received by Dec. 15.
Twas a Star Trek
'Twas the night before Christmas on
On a routine short hop to Starbase 03,
With Data on duty in the command
At Warp 6, the Enterprise soon would
Just for something to do while the
other crew slept,
He scanned where historical records
were kept --
And with a blink of his eye and a cock
of his head,
"Intriguing! Tomorrow is Christmas!"
But no one was stirring, and he sought
to find why,
And so he buzzed Geordi, who awoke
with a sigh:
"Christmas? It's only an old holiday --
Now just let me get back to sleep,
"But is to wish Merry Christmas not
human to do?"
And so Data wished it -- to the whole
ship and crew.
Everyone on the Enterprise awoke
from this clatter --
Picard rushed to the bridge to see what
was the matter.
"What is the meaning of this noise,
"Sir, is it not Christmas--?" "We'll dis-
cuss it much later!"
Just then Worf said, "Captain -- a
Klingon Prey Bird!
Its hull has been damaged -- it's un-
.- l. .! sir."
4 PLP NEWS
"On screen," said Picard, as the Klin-
gon ship hailed:
"Federation vessel, our Life Support
systems have failed!
A strange ship attacked us, inflicting
(though naturally, of course, we'd fired
on it first)."
The Klingons beamed over, and the
senior staff met,
To try and determine the source of the
Said Picard, "Mister Data, an assign-
ment for you:
Give all of these Klingons something
They think it's the Romulans we
should look for,
Get them all off the bridge, before
there's a war!"
So Data departed, while the rest of the
Wondered: Romulans? Ferengi? If not
them, then who?
Said Worf, "Sir -- disturbance on
The entire bridge crew ran down there
Roared Picard, "Mister Data, what the
devil is this!!"
"Sir, I have taught the Klingons how
to celebrate Christmas."
And so there they were -- on
holodecks 3, 4 and 5
With synthohol, singing and Rokeg
Soon the Big E was rocking with holi-
Friend,foe, and family came from both
far and near.
The Romulans showed up with some
The Ferengi brought goodies for free -
- not for sale!
But a strange ship was coming, the
captain was told,
With one crew member only, and a
huge cargo hold.
Said the Klingons, "It's the strange
ship that fought us -- attack!"
Said Picard, "On Christmas? -- Mister
Worf, just hold back."
And then as the ship came into view,
Onscreen came its captain -- none
other than Q!
He wore a white beard and a suit of
"Joyeux Noel, mon captain," was what
Santa Q said.
"Tell those Klingons next time to not
go so berserk.
You need good defense systems in this
line of work.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be warp-
Did you think anyone else could do
this job in one day?"
"I'm sensing emotion," said Counselor
"Peace in the galaxy, Good Will and
And they stood on the bridge and
watched Q take flight, l.. rin,
" !1 i.i.7 CHRISTMAS TO ALL,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!"
News from Bradenton....
Dr. Edward A. Hanlon, Interim
Center Director of the University of
Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Edu-
cation Center in Bradenton, is pleased to
announce the appointment of a Visiting
Scholar, Mr. Harukuni Horita, Re-
searcher with the Hokkaido Ornamental
Plants and Vegetables Research Center in
Japan. Mr. Horita is working under the
direction of Dr. Robert J. McGovem,
Plant Pathologist, and assisting with re-
search on the diagnosis, characterization,
and integrated management of diseases
affecting commercial ornamental and
Mr. Horita and his wife, Kyoko,
and daughters Hotaru and Mizuki, will
reside in Bradenton during their stay in
University of Florida
Gulf Coast R.E.C
5007 60t Street East
Bradenton, Florida 34203
(T) 941/751-7636 (F) 941/751-7639
New Graduate Student Up-
date: Fall 1999
During this fall the Plant Pa-
thology Department has had the pleasure
to become the new home for more new
students. With different backgrounds and
scientific interests, they will be offered
the opportunity to learn more about
Plant Pathology with our established
team, and we hope, they will have a lot of
fun! Let's welcome Aaron Hert, Alba
Nava, Curt Colbum, Jessica Roberts, Lisa
Nodzon, and Matthew Brecht.
Aaron and Alba were kind
enough to give us some information on
their background and research.
Aaron Hert: My research project for my
M.Sc. is with Xanthomonas campestris p.v.
vesicatoria. Dr. Jeff Jones is my major
professor. My previous experience in
plant pathology was working from Sep-
tember of 1998, to August of 1999, with
Dr. Pamela Roberts at the University of
Florida's Research and Education Center
in Immokalee, FL. I am originally from
Quincy, Illinois. I graduated with a BS in
5 PLP NEWS
Biological Sciences in May of 1998, from
Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.
Alba Nava: I'm from Maracaibo, Vene-
zuela. I graduated from the University of
Zulia State (Agronomy Engineer) in
1982, and received my M.Sc. degree at
the Central University of Venezuela (in
Agronomy) in 1986. I am a professor at
University of Zulia State, where I started
a project in tomato virus detection in
1993. The most frequent viruses ob-
served in commercially grown tomato
geminiviruses, producing severe damage
on the crop. In fact, we don't
have any resistant varieties, and the only
control is to use preventive practices.
For this reason, I started my Ph.D. in
Plant Pathology at the University of
Florida, where I am working with Dr. J.
Polston, conducting research on tomato
Interview with a Visiting
Renato Bassanezi visited us last
month from Piracicaba, Brazil. He at-
tended the University of Sao Paulo
[(ESALQ), the same university as Juliana,
Denise, and Daniela], where he earned
his B.Sc. in Agronomy. He stayed on for
his M.Sc. in Plant Pathology with a con-
centration in epidemiology. He worked
on a project with common bean and
studied the interaction between viral and
fungal diseases; focusing on latent pe-
riod, temperature differences, and infec-
tion efficiency. Immediately after com-
pleting his M.Sc., Renato began work on
his Ph.D. at ESALQ (he says he has been
there for 12 years!) He is investigating
the relationship between disease severity
and photosynthetic efficiency of com-
mon bean in Brazil.
Renato visited Dr. Berger's lab for a
month to use computer modeling com-
paring healthy leaf area absorption and
duration with the diseased tissue. He is
focusing on the differences of diseases of
varying severity, ranging from bean rust
to angular leaf spot disease and anthrac-
nose. Both Dr. Berger and Renato's ad-
visor are working on a common project
in Brazil. While visiting on a recent trip,
Dr. Berger stayed at Renato's home and
they have become friends, and Dr.
Berger invited him to come to Florida.
Renato will finish his Ph.D. when he
returns to Brazil; he is currently applying
for, a job.
Renato enjoys going to the movies,
playing volleyball, and riding horses (he
has one at home). He also enjoys trav-
eling this is his third trip abroad during
his Ph.D. In addition to Florida, he has
visited France and Germany to enhance
his understanding of computer modeling
of diseases. This is not Renato's first trip
to the US, however. He came to Florida
about six years ago as a tourist. He also
visited the University of Guelph in Can-
ada, and for 3 months, he participated in
the Trek America program where he
visited many cities along the eastern sea-
board, camping along the way. During
this brief stay in Gainesville, he visited
several art museums, the Ft. Pierce re-
search station, and St. Augustine. He
hopes to visit again someday.
We wish him well in finishing his de-
gree and look forward to his next visit to
Sunshine Fund Donations
This is just a reminder for everyone to
please help out with Christmas gifts for
the custodial staff this season. To do so,
simply drop your donations into the
"Sunshine Fund box" in the front office.
If the box is not sitting out, Karen or
Gail can help out.
Last year donations were embarrassingly
slim. Please remember that our custodi-
ans literally clean up after us all year and
survive on a lot less money than we do.
It really is a joy to see their faces light up
when we give them a gift and say "thanks
for all you do throughout the year and
Merry Christmas from Plant P irli. .1. -"
If anyone wants to take part in the gift
presentation, see either me or Patti Ray-
side. It might add a nice touch if they are
given out to individuals who have daily
interaction throughout the year.
We are presently accepting donations but
please try to submit them by December
Thanks and Merry Christmas,
Annual Winter Social
The Plant Pathology Annual Winter So-
cial will be held Saturday, December 11it
, at Lake Wauberg This is always a won-
derful, festive event for everyone in the
department and their families. Please
bring a dish to share and contact Wayne
Jurick (wmj(@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu) for more
information and an RSVP form.
The PLP News Staff Would
Like to Wish You Happy
6 PLP NEWS
Holidays and a Wonderful
Hey Budding Writers and Folks with
Questions : We want to hear from you! If
you would like to join our staff or con-
tribute an article, contact us!
1453 Fifield Hall
P.O. Box 110680
Gainesville, FL 32611-0680
Or, you can e-mail us at:
News Team Nov./Dec .1999
The opinions expressed in this newsletter are not
necessarily those of the PLPNews '