Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IPM Update ...

Don't Leaf It Alone - Our Specialists Are Here To Help!

Lately our team has been talking with a number of clients who are saying "there's something wrong with my maple tree!" Chances are, the tree has a common fungal disease called TAR SPOT. Fortunately this problem rarely seriously impacts overall plant health and is primarily only an aesthetic problem. However, in conjunction with the drought and the fact that some trees have been quite heavily infected repeatedly over the last 4-5 years, Tar Spot is quickly becoming cause for concern. This disease cannot be treated now, in fall. If treating with fungicides, it must be done early in the spring – the first application is applied at bud break so now is the time to schedule this service with your David J Frank representative.

What is of the utmost importance in controlling this problem now and throughout the fall is that the fallen leaves of these trees must be collected and removed (or properly composted to kill the spores). The most commonly affected species is the Norway Maple, so if you have this tree on your property, be vigilant about raking leaves as they fall and doing a thorough fall clean up before the snow files. If left over winter, the spores will re-infect the trees next spring. Also, as is always the case, proper care and watering will help keep the plants as healthy and resilient as possible. Below is more detailed information if you're interested, or simply call us for assistance.

EUONYMUS SCALE is also very noticeable right now. There are many scales and this particular kind affects evergreen Euonymus like Boxwood Bittersweet, Burning Bush, Pachysandra and more. It is another problem that is hard to effectively control (chemically) right now based on the life cycle of the pest.

The problem is usually detected after high populations have develped and damage has already occurred. Stressed plants, like those near buildings where there are high temperatures and low moisture are most prone to attack. The first symptoms appear as narrow yellow or white spots on the leaves, which are males. Closer observation reveals female scales (dark brown and oyster-shell shaped) along the stems and leaf veins and sometimes on the leaf undersurface. The scales overwinter as mature, fertilized females. In spring, eggs are laid under the scale covering and hatch over a period of 2-3 weeks. The tiny orange-yellow "crawlers" then move to other parts of the plant or are blown to other susceptible hosts. There may be 2-3 generations per year, but the newly hatched crawlers are the easiest to control with contact insecticides. Because they hatch over a long period and feed on sap inside the plant tissue, contact or systemic insecticides are the preferred treatment.

Dormant season application of a narrow-range or horticultural oil is effective against scales overwintering as adults, but eggs will still need to be treated several times in spring at 10 - 12 day intervals with appropriate pesticides. Because there are so many varieties of scale and several application options, the best approach is to seek professional help with properly identifying and treating this problems before the plant becomes defoliated and you risk the death of valuable ornamental plantings.

The Doctor Is In!

We are fortunate to be one of only a handful of landscaping firms in the whole Midwest that has an IPM specialist (integrated pest management) on staff with a Ph.D. in entomology. Dr. Alfred Bezhani is available to to help with this or other insect problems and works closely with our team of horticulturists, arborists, certified landscape technicians, licensed applicators and maintenance professionals to ensure the complete health of your landscape, now and for seasons to come.