Insect problems are popping upSpring seems to have arrived but the warm weather must have taken a different route. The cold nights are setting many plants back and delaying the planting of the garden.
By: By Larry Zilliox, Extension educator, Alexandria Echo Press
Spring seems to have arrived but the warm weather must have taken a different route. The cold nights are setting many plants back and delaying the planting of the garden.
I was surprised to see my fruit trees had not blossomed yet after being gone for 10 days. This is as late a blooming season as I can remember.
Reports are also coming in from around the state with a lot of winter damage to perennial plants and trees. I was at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Horticultural Research Center and saw both young and old perennial and trees that had succumbed to the winter. Walking through the apple research area, I would guess 5 percent of the trees had died. We all felt that it was a long hard winter, not necessarily extremely cold. Hopefully, the weather will straighten out soon and also give us some rain.
One of things to be on the look out for over the next couple of weeks is the forest tent caterpillar. This nemesis has been pretty low key for most people the past number of years. However, there are localized hot spots where they defoliate some trees. I think we want to tolerate it as much as possible so that its predator numbers can increase and keep the tent caterpillars under check.
If you have evergreens in your yard, check them over the next couple of weeks for sawfly damage. These inch-long worms look like caterpillars and have voracious appetites eating the needles on spruce and pine trees. Interestingly they do not attack every tree in the row, but for those they do, will strip the needles quickly. If you find them use one of the general insecticides, such as Sevin or Malathion or an insecticidal soap. The biological such as Bt will not kill them.
People are reporting brown spots in the lawn. If you had a female dog urinating on the lawn over the winter, water those spots to dilute the nitrogen. Many times that is enough to get the grass to grow back. If the crown of the grass is dead then you will have to reseed.
In some cases the dead spots may have been due to grubs eating the roots of the grass late last summer. A simple method to determine if it was grubs is to grab the grass and see if you can lift it up. Because there are no roots left it will lift up easily. If that occurs remove the sod and reseed. Grass seed must be in contact with the soil in order for it to grow.
The grubs that did the damage will have pupated and emerge as the May beetle or June bug, those big brown bugs that hit the window in the evening when you have a light on in late May or early June. The adult will lay eggs later this summer and start the three year cycle over again.
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Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.