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Diagnosing herbicide problems takes detective work


A grower applies an herbicide to his tomato plants, or thinks a neighbor’s treatment is drifting over her almond trees. A short time later, the leaves start to bleach or shrivel. Was it the herbicide? Or maybe water stress? Soil nutrients? Perhaps an insect?

Figuring out the causes of crop problems takes detective work, and like solving any mystery, it starts with knowing the signs, gathering evidence and asking questions.

Brown and Jiang honored by ASHS


Patrick H. Brown and Cai-Zhong Jiang have been recognized by the American Society of Horticultural Science. Brown was awarded the 2024 Outstanding Researcher Award, and Jiang was named a fellow of the society. 

Beckles examines how early harvest, storage affect tomatoes

Growers often harvest tomatoes before they ripen in hopes of extending shelf life and avoiding crop loss. But that act of removing the fruit from the vine affects flavor. And, storing tomatoes below certain temperatures also hurts quality and shelf life. 

New research published this month out of the University of California, Davis, examined changes in tomatoes at the molecular level to better understand what happens during postharvest handling and cold storage. 

Postharvest Center: New research focus and outreach


UC Davis has been a leading source of information for people handling, packaging and transporting crops since the beginnings of the Postharvest Research and Extension Center in 1979. Now, the center is strengthening its focus on the needs of industry, offering fresh courses, weaving strategic partnerships and expanding into digital media, all while building up its research capacity to better serve the needs of the produce industry.

Graduate spotlight: Urias cultivates the link between plants and people

When Joseph Urias transferred to UC Davis from a community college two years ago, he found allies in the Department of Plant Sciences. The flexible program let him customize his learning. Passionate about the interface of plants and people, he dove into the study of horticulture and nursery management: He aimed to strengthen the hands-on learning he was getting at Planting Justice, a nonprofit nursery and community center in Deep East Oakland.

“Education is like going to the gym,” Urias said. “Learning is exercise for your mind.” And like after a run, he’s feeling good.

Rutger remembered for rice research

J. Neil Rutger died on June 6, 2024, at the age of 90. He was a breeder with the United States Department of Agriculture and an emeritus adjunct professor in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

A graveside service with military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, June 21, at the Woodland Cemetery on West Street. A reception will follow at 11 a.m. at the American Legion Yolo Post 77 Hall, 523 Bush St., Woodland.

Cribbs and Venuti forest resilience projects funded by CalFire

Restoration and resilience of California forests will benefit from the research of two graduate students whose projects have received state funding. Jennifer Cribbs and Nina Venuti are graduate students studying with Andrew Latimer, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.