Spring 04

Written by horticulture  |  14. May 2004

This past winter has been extremely hard on our plants, leaving behind many dead and damaged from winter burn and low temperature injury. For the damaged plants, I would recommend they be fertilized to help boost the new growth this spring. This will help to cover up the brown leaves and increase the plants over all health. For the dead ones- replacement is necessary. Well, spring is here again and so are the insects that can damage our landscapes. The warm weather that we have been experiencing lately has helped to accelerate the emergence of many of the springtime pests. Tent caterpillar nests are growing larger along the Southern State Parkway as well as in many other areas where there is no care. These nests should be blown apart with a high-pressure spray or if possible cut out of the trees. I have already seen damage to some oaks from oak leaftier. The leaftier is the larvae of the moth Croesia semipurpurana. The larvae enter the unopened buds and feed on the newly forming leaves. Buds that survive produce leaves with a series of round holes in them. This pest has to be treated for very early in the spring, even before the buds open up. Gypsy moth caterpillars and inchworms are beginning to make an appearance on our trees as well. Now is the time to spray them with a good BT (Bacillus thuringiensis- a naturally occurring stomach poison that only effects caterpillars). BT is only good while the caterpillars are small (less than 2 inches long), after that, then a conventional pesticide, such as orthene, will need to be used. Now is the time to start treating for mites on spruces, hemlocks, junipers and arborvitae. Traditionally, mites have been treated in the summer months (since that is when you see the damage). However, mites can be easily controlled at this time of year in their immature stage using a miticide such as floramite or cinnamite. Mite predator bugs should be released at this time to reduce populations. Some of the other insects to look out for at this include- lace bug, birch, elm and holly leaf miner, spittlebug and aphids. If you have any questions, or need help diagnosing a plant problem, I would be happy to help. You can contact me at 631-691-2381 or at 631-466-2930 or by E-mail at aplantdoctor@hotmail.com.

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