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North Florida Research And Education Center

North Florida Research And Education Center

Dr. Freeman, Joshua (Josh)

Associate Processor
Horticultural Science

Dr. Freeman’s program focuses on vegetable and melon cropping systems important to the state and region. Much of his research and extension efforts are focused in the area of soil fumigants and fumigant alternatives for soil-borne pest and weed management. Many of the vegetable crops in Florida are produced using the plasticulture production system. For decades growers have relied on the soil fumigant methyl bromide for pest management. This chemistry is no longer available and Dr. Freeman’s program is addressing this issue.

Programs

  • Research

    Areas of Research:

    Methyl Bromide Alternatives

    This portion of my program focuses on a systems approach of managing soil-borne pests and weeds. Many of the fumigants available today do not have the pest control spectrum that methyl bromide had. Therefore, several fumigants must be used in combination to gain better control of pests. I also focus on new plastic mulch technologies that are less permeable than previous generation films. These allow for reduced fumigant application rates while maintaining pest control efficacy. The use of grafting for fruiting vegetables has also been a research emphasis. I am investigating multiple rootstocks in tomato and watermelon in an effort to manage soil-borne pests without fumigants.

    Variety Evaluation

    I work closely with plant breeders at the University of Florida and private industry to screen potential varieties for this area in an effort to provide growers with the most productive varieties for their operations.

  • Extension

    Methyl Bromide Alternatives

    The transition from methyl bromide to various fumigant and non-fumigant alternatives has been very difficult. Many of these alternative chemistries require application and environmental conditions to be ideal to gain pest control efficacy. The transition has been a learning experience for most growers. Using new fumigant chemistries and plastic mulches with different soil behavior has required changes in cultural practices. I am trying to steward these new pest management tools to the growers in an effort to maintain their productivity.

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Contact

Dr. Freeman, Joshua (Josh)
North Florida Research and Education Center
Quincy, FL 32351
Phone: 850-875-7128
Fax: 352-486-6617
Email