About the Author

Dr. Eric T. Stafne is an Associate Extension/Research Professor at Mississippi State University and the Coastal Research and Extension Center.  His office is at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville.  Dr. Stafne holds a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University, an M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in Plant Science from the University of Arkansas.  He has an extensive background with fruit and nut crops, both in academic and applied settings.  From 1994 to 1996, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa where he worked with citrus and mango trees.  After graduating from UA with his M.S.in 1999, he worked at the Sugarcane Research Station in Canal Point, Florida.  From 2001 to 2005 he was a research technician at the University of Arkansas in the fruit breeding program.  There he managed blackberries, blueberries, grapes, peaches, and strawberries.  In 2005, he was hired as an Assistant Professor and State Extension Specialist for Fruit Crops at Oklahoma State University and worked there primarily with wine grapes and pecans until 2011 when he made the move to Mississippi State University.  He maintained a successful blog in Oklahoma on the topic of viticulture.  Dr. Stafne was also the national project director for the eXtension Grape Community of Practice along with the eViticulture website from 2009-2014. Find Dr. Stafne’s contact information by going to this link.

Dr. Eric Stafne

18 thoughts on “About the Author

    • Multiple methods are employed to control deer. Exclusion is one way (fencing), also habitat modification (reducing areas that they inhabit), population reduction (legal shooting), and repellents (hot sauces, egg emulsions, commercial products, etc.). Many growers use some of all of these methods. Exclusion is the most effective.

  1. SUPER JOB!!I dabble in blackberries/figs. Your blogs are very informative & “right on”. Thanks very much. Dan Miller, Macon, GA.

  2. Dr. Stafne

    Im a grower with Wayne County Blueberry Growers Association, and wanted to know if mulching around the plants with these chips from “chip and saw”? Its chipped from scrap oak and pine from clearcuts and such. Im just wondering if it will be suitable. Im sure id have to let it go through a heat so it doesn’t tie up the nitrogen in the ground. Do i need to send some to get tested to see if its suitable? If so, where would i need to send it? Thanks for your help.

    601-410-6516 cell

    • Adam:
      The mulch should be aged so that it does not tie up the N. After aging it should be alright, but don’t use if it starts growing fungus. The pH of your soil could also be a determining factor here — if the mulch is a mixture of components it may not as acidic as straight pine. If you are having problems with soil pH then you might reconsider or if you are growing Southern Highbush Blueberries. I will pass this question along to a colleague of mine who knows a lot more about mulches than I do and see if we can some up with a better answer for you.

        • Adam:
          Below is the response from my colleague regarding mulch.

          “I don’t think a soil test would be necessary for this material, since there is not really a test for checking the suitability of a mulch (especially if it is very coarse). He could send a sample to the MSU soils lab or a private lab to get an analysis for pH, soluble salts, and nutrient content (I can send you information on this if he wants it). The coarser the material, the less issues you will have with nitrogen being tied up. If he is sure that the material is mostly pine and oak, then there should not be a problem. Mulch made with a high proportion of trees such as black walnut should not be used, they contain compounds that are known to inhibit plant growth.

          Also, if the mulch had a high proportion of trees other than pine, he might run into a pH problem over time if multiple applications are made (hardwoods typically have a higher pH than pines).

          If the grower could send you a sample (1 gal ziplock bag), I would take a look at it and check the pH.”

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  6. Dr. Stafne: We live in Picayune, and my wife loves to garden. She would like to try growing some area-recommended bunch grapes, and it seems like “Miss Blanc” would have the best chance for success in this area. However, I can’t find any place to purchase “Miss Blanc” vines. Any suggestions regarding where to purchase “Miss “Blanc” grape vines would be appreciated! Thanks! — Jim Huffman, Picayune

    • Jim:
      To my knowledge they are not available from nurseries. I can get you a few cuttings if you wish to start your own, but that would be sometime this winter.

      • Dr. Stafne:

        Many thanks for the prompt reply!

        We would love a few cutting from your “Miss Blanc” stock this winter!

        It is very generous of you to so offer.

        Should we get back in touch with you at some specific time this winter, or will you have it on your calendar and get back in touch with us?

        Either way is fine.

        My wife is so happy that she will have the chance to grow grapes that might survive in this area!

        Thanks!  I look forward to hearing from you about when or if to initiate the next contact regarding the cuttings! — Jim Huffman, Picayune, MS

  7. Dr. Stafne: Just viewed your articles about bunch grapes. We have started a vineyard and the first crop for sale this year are: blanc du bois, black spanish, lomanto and blueberries. Greenwood springs vineyard located in greenwood springs ms.. Marketing our grapes may be a problem this year , any suggestions.

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