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Illinois State Horticultural Society Field Day this Thursday

Tours of Curtis Orchard, a local, family-run orchard, and of the University of Illinois Fruit Research and Education Center will be part of this year’s Illinois State Horticultural Society Horticulture Field Day on Thursday, June 13.

The event, which is sponsored by the Illinois State Horticultural Society, the U of I, and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association will feature walking and wagon tours in the morning at Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch in Champaign. Members of the Curtis family will present on the history and current operation of the 80-acre orchard.

The morning tours will include presentations on the following topics from U of I speakers:

• Horticulture (Mosbah Kushad, associate professor of crop sciences)

• Entomology (Richard Weinzierl, professor of crop sciences)

• Plant pathology (Mohammad Babadoost, professor of crop sciences)

• Weed sciences (Elizabeth Wahle, Extension horticulture educator)

The afternoon walking and wagon tours will take place at the 100-acre Fruit and Research Education Center on the U of I south campus. The center, established in 2008, is used for teaching, research, outreach, and extension education programs relating to fruits and vegetables.

The perennial plants at the farm consist of 15 acres of apples, 3 acres of peaches, Asian pears, grapes, and small fruits. The research focus includes disease resistant cultivars, root stock compatibility, applied entomology, and plant pathology. The Sustainable Student Farm is also located at this site.

Topics and speakers for the research center tours include:

• apple and peach root stocks (Kushad)

• Insect pest management in orchards (Weinzierl)

• Disease management in orchards (Babadoost)

• Disease resistant apple cultivators (Schuyler Korban, professor of molecular genetics and nutritional sciences)

• Weed control in orchards (John Masiunas, professor in crop sciences)

• High-tunnel vegetable production (Zach Grant, visiting research specialist in crop sciences)

Registration begins at Curtis Orchard at 8:00 AM, with tours starting at 8:30. A lunch will be served at the orchard at noon. Afternoon tours begin at the research center at 2:00 PM. The UIUC Fruit Farms and research center are located at 2711 S. Race St., Urbana, near the intersection of Windsor Road and Race Street.

The cost is $25 per person or $30 at the door, which includes lunch. To register, call 309-530-7678.

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