|Eriophyid Mites on Hemlock and White Pine are cool season mites that turn needles a yellow-green to an olive green color and if the infestation is high can eventually cause major leaf drop.|
|Spruce Spider Mites are also active in cool spring weather and can attack many of our conifer plants (Spruce, Arborvitae, Junipers, Firs, and Pine). Eggs can be seen with a hand lens in the bud area or look for yellowish to off white stippling on the undersides of needles.|
Southern Red Mite, another cool season mite become visible on the undersides of Holly, Pieris, Camellia, Azalea and Rhododendrons leaves.
For all mite control, if detected early, use of a 2% horticultural oil to reduce egg and adult mite populations. Miticides may be required if populations go undetected and build to damaging levels.
|Eastern Tent Caterpillar adults are not active until April but their eggs cases are easily detectable. Look for blackish – styrofoam egg cases on branches of susceptible plants such as Crabapples, Cherry, Apple, Plum, and other deciduous trees. Simply prune out the masses during the dormant season. Once nests are visible in the tree in April, simply destroy the web contents.|
Scale Insects such as Pine Needle Scale, White Peach Scale, White Prunicola Scale and Indian Wax Scale are easily detected on deciduous plants such as Spirea, Barberry, Quince, Lilac, Privet, Japanese Holly, Euonymus, Yews and Azaleas. Examine braches and look for white wax coverings. Look for branch dieback and prune off heavily infested branches if possible. Depending on the scale species, dormant oil applied during the crawler stage can reduce the use of residual pesticides later. Deep root systemic injections offer up to a year or two of control for plants heavily affected.
|Boxwood Leafminer can cause blister-like botches to appear on infested leaves because feeding occurs in fall through late winter. Deep root systemic injections in March will reduce adult emergence in late April.|
|Diseases that are favored by wet weather and humidity include:|
Kabatina and Phomopsis Tip Blight– both affect Junipers and symptoms often look alike but the development of infection and control are different. Kabatina blight requires a wound for the pathogen to enter primarily in late summer but visible symptoms don’t show up till spring, earlier than Phomopsis blight symptoms. Look for branches that turn dull green, then red or yellow.
Examine plants for small, ash gray to silver lesions at the base of discolored tissue. Phomopsis blight affected new needle growth and succulent branch tips and cause blighting of the terminals during the growing season. Foliage will turn dull red or brown and eventually a ash gray color. Pruning of diseased branches during dry summer weather is the best control option. Avoid excess pruning or shearing in early spring. Juniper varieties vary in susceptibility, so use resistant cultivars when possible.
|Cedar Apple Rust– Cedar-apple rust is one of several similar fungal diseases which could be broadly classified as Juniper-Rosaceous rusts. Each species spends part of its life cycle on a juniper host and part on one or more hosts in the rose family, and require both hosts to complete their life cycles. Two other common juniper-rosaceous rusts are hawthorn rust and quince rust, although there are many more.|
|Examine for swollen growths or woody galls on branches or shoots. Once mature in spring, bright orange, gelatinous, spore-producing growths emerge from the galls. In severe cases these rusts may be managed with fungicides, however registered fungicides will vary by the type of plant(s) to be treated and their use or site. In addition, there are resistant varieties of juniper, apple, crabapple, and hawthorn available for use in new plantings or when replacing severely diseased specimens. There may also be some potential for control by eliminating nearby juniper hosts, or removing galls from hosts before sporulation occurs, however, this is not always practical because the spores can travel several miles by wind to infect the alternate hosts (Cornell Fact Sheet).|
SUMMER MAINTENANCE TIPS
Grub control should be applied as close to egg hatch as possible. Eggs can hatch at the end of July or early part of August but this year emergence may be earlier due to the warmer temperatures and moisture availability in the soil. Use of environmentally friendly products such as Mach 2, an insect growth regulator, Imidacloprid (Merit), Allectus and (Merit and Talstar) are very safe for use around of homes, people and pets. Grubs usually feed in localized spots, so treat all areas that have been damaged in the past seasons.
Reducing irrigation during peak flight of beetles, raising cutting height to 3.5′ – 4′ and remember that mid summer is not the time to fertilize your lawn are cultural practices to consider.
Cool season grasses often go dormant during the summer when temperatures are high and moisture is in short supply. Most cool season grasses can tolerate up to a month of dryness. If you do irrigate, run your sprinkler less frequently in an area to a depth of eight inches. If you have runoff before this, irrigation should alternate for an hour(s) on and an hour(s) off.
Dollar spot, Brown Patch, Pythium Blight, Summer Patch, Take-All Patchare potentially harmful disease organisms that attach turf grass when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day that persist into the evening, along with rainy, humid weather with prolonged leaf wetness. Many of our seed varieties are tolerant to these diseases. Contributing factors include poor air circulation, high thatch (higher than 0.75′), too high fertility levels and extended leaf wetness. There are several effective fungicides available to combat these foliar turf diseases which include Banner MAXX, Armanda, Bayleton, Heritage and Medallion.
FALL MAINTENANCE TIPS
The summer season can be very stressful on fescue lawns. Thinning occurs and brown dry areas develop due to turf diseases and/or lack of proper irrigation.Core aeration and reducing thatch are two techniques to help improve the health and vigor in turf. Dethatching can be done with a power rake or by hand and is recommended to reduce thatch layers less than ¾”.
What is Thatch? Thatch is a tightly interwoven layer of living and dead tissue between the green vegetation and the soil surface. It is composed of products from stems, leaves and roots that are resistant to decay. A little thatch improves the wear tolerance of a lawn. Too much can harbor disease organisms and insects making the lawn more susceptible to damage from disease and drought. Thatch buildup and soil compaction are both conditions that can cause lawns to struggle.
Once thatch is under control, core aeration can be done when lawns are still actively growing. Core aeration can be done in the spring or fall. This involves using a core aeration machine that removes ½” – ¾” cores of soil about 2-3″ long every 6″ apart via hollow tines or tubes. A benefit of aeration is it opens up the root zone to greater access to air,water and nutrients leading to improved turf health and vigor. Core aeration helps reduce thatch by punching holes into the thatch layer, it reduces soil compaction and allows nutrients such as lime and fertilizers to penetrate deeper into the root zone. Cores are deposited on top of turf grass and allowed to decompose. Grass seed drops into the holes creating a moister, protected environment allowing optimal development for germination.
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