April – June Plant Health Care – the right approach, at the right time, in the right amount!
1. Lace bugs that hit azaleas especially hard – they can produce a lot of damage with their multiple laying of eggs throughout the growing season. They leave a stippling pattern where nutrients (photosynthates) have been extracted. TREAT NOW THROUGH JULY (POSS AUG) AND TREAT SMART TO AVOID BEE AND POLLINATOR HARM
2. The Lilac/ash borer is in flight this time of year causing shrubs and trees to produce a wilting leaf that turns reddish-brown. TREAT MAY-JUNE
3. Scales are active now – month early due to the early summer we’re having. Look for wilting, discoloration, or leaf distortion in willows, dogwoods, lilacs, maples, filberts, poplars, nut trees, and others. MAY BE TOO LATE TO TREAT WITH CHEMICALS - CONTACT A CERTIFIED ARBORIST/PESTICIDE APPLICATOR
4. Fruit tree borers are flying this time of year which is the best time to kill them. Topical insecticides can protect the woody tissues of your fruit trees. TREAT NOW
5. May is a critical month to treat pine needle scale – one of the scales that can do a lot of damage. Organic treatments are very effective through June. In late summer it’s best to use systemic insecticides. TREAT NOW WITH ORGANICS!
6. Leaf miners are a nuisance mostly except in boxwoods and a few other trees and shrubs. I don’t recommend treating them in red bud or euonymus (and few others). But boxwoods can get hit hard and combined with all the fungi attacking boxwoods and the terrible soils they are often growing in – this is one straw too many. There’s an organic solution that is quite effective and will provide a season or two of protection. Systemics are also available but I find them useless in a plant where the new growth is constantly being shaved-off. Why NOT treat leaf miners? They’re a favorite food of many birds for their offspring this time of year – like the tufted tit mouse. So poison the bug, poison the bird, poison the fledglings. TREAT NOW WITH ORGANICS (NOT NEEM)!
7. BAGWORMS – start hatching mid may – actually this year it was mid April. There are several different species of bagworms and some are still in the infant stage which is when they can be treated. TOO LATE TO TREAT! This time of year I recommend having a bagworm party with rewards for who collects the most bagworms. Kids really get into this.
8. This is the time of year to treat Japanese beetles becuase the juicy grubs are still in the ground and there’s’ a great organic that ‘eats’ them. TREAT IN SOILS NOW WITH ORGANICS!
9. Leafhoppers (also known as sharpshooters) and thrips are starting to hit the scene this month and next. TRANSMIT SOME DEADLY TREE DISEASES. Anyone who knows or has met me recently knows I’m having a small freak-out (is that too 90s) about losing our oaks to one of three fungal and one bacterial disease spreading through the southeast or just the southern US. They all have the potential to kill oaks especially oaks that have been stress by unusually long droughts or wild temperature extremes – sound familiar.
The best way to protect is a systemic (I know – I’m contradicting myself) insecticide to keep the disease transmitting insects from landing on your oak tree. Once infected there are remedies but they are more costly to your pocket book (albeit less costly to the birds and the bees). Please, please, please check out the Emergency plant page for a look at the oak disease and contact me with any questions.
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