This spring has been an eventful one up until now. Ticks have made their presence known in several areas of Long Island, Gypsy Moth Caterpillars have been seen on both the north and south shores, Inch and Cankerworms, Scale insects on Maples, Lindens, Cherries and Plums, Fire blight on Bradford Pears, Cedar-apple rust galls on Cedars and the subsequent spots on Apples, Bleeding canker on Beech trees and a myriad of other diseases brought on by the wet spring that we have been experiencing.
Many of the disease problems that we are dealing with at this time can have their effects lessened in the future by maintaining the trees on our landscapes at their most vigorous state through fertilization and insect management. Some of them however, will need to be treated with fungicides.
For those of you not familiar with Fire blight, this disease is a vascular infection of Pears, Apples and Peaches. It is recommended to prune out the infected areas, disinfecting the pruners after each cut and treat the trees with a direct injection of "antibiotic" to help to minimize this potentially deadly disease. Fertilization should be avoided once the trees are infected as this can advance the spread of the disease.
The caterpillar problem this year has been extensive. Areas that do not normally see heavy caterpillar activity are getting bombarded. The good news is that the caterpillars will be gone in a few weeks. The bad news is that the trees that were damaged will be in a weakened state from the reduced ability to produce sugars from photosynthesis. These trees should be fertilized in the fall to help them compensate for the loss of nutrients.
The perennial problem-Scale is back again and running rampant on Maples, Lindens, Redbuds, Cherries, Plums and Azaleas. The best way to combat this pest is to treat them with a Horticultural oil in the cooler parts of the day.
Apple scab and Cedar-Apple rust is defoliating the Apples all over Long Island. It is too late now to try to treat for this disease. The only time to get control is when the leaves are small, just as they are beginning to open up. For now, remove all fallen leaves from the ground under the trees, and thin out the apples. Fertilization in the fall is recommended to help to strengthen the trees form this disease next year.
A condition that has been around for a long time, Bleeding Canker on Beech trees, is becoming more wide spread. This disease will eventually kill the tree in time. As of now, the lead researcher on this problem, Dr. George Hudler of Cornell University, has no solutions to the problem or control. The only thing that can be done is to keep the trees has healthy as possible and as stress free as possible. Fertilization in the fall along with a treatment of Phosphate as a soil drench will help strengthen the tree to battle this vascular disease.
White flies on Japanese Hollies and Azaleas are starting to become active, and Mites will not be too far behind. Many people think that Mites are a summer only insect. They are wrong. The majority of the Mite damage that you see in the summer, is done in the mid to late spring. Now is the best time to treat for Mites and White flies.
The way this year is shaping up, I feel that we are going to see a landmark year for mosquitoes. The higher than normal temperatures will help them to multiply more rapidly in the wetlands and other standing water spots.
We have also seen an increase in the Black Fly population this year. These small biting flies can be a major nuisance around a home.
If there is anything that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to call me at 631-691-2381 or 631-466-2930 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.