Conserv FS News
Eliminate Overwintering Pests
Clients might think in the winter there are no lawn or landscape matters to concern themselves with, but this a prime time to monitor and eliminate overwintering pests that can become a problem in the spring.
While one can hope the freezing temperatures will kill off all of these troublesome insects, many can survive as egg masses or by seeking shelter in plant debris. Take the time to educate your customers on why overwintering insects should be handled now, and you’ll also have fewer headaches to deal with come springtime.
Types of Overwintering Insects
While not all overwintering insects are harmful, and some are beneficial, others can be quite detrimental to plants or a particular nuisance. These are some of the common culprits to be on the lookout for.
Defoliators like gypsy moths, Eastern tent caterpillars, and fall cankerworms lay overwintering eggs masses on twigs, branches, and trunks. Gypsy moth egg masses are tan-colored lumps about the size of a nickel or a quarter. Eastern tent caterpillar egg masses are 150 to 400 eggs covered with a shiny, black varnish-like material and encircle branches about pencil-size or smaller in diameter. Fall cankerworms have single-layered masses of flower-pot-shaped eggs on smaller branches.
Bagworms also pass the winter as eggs, but their eggs are inside bags that served as cocoons for last year’s females. Adelgids like the Eastern spruce gall, cooley spruce gall and hemlock wooly adelgid overwinter as immature females.
Soft scales like Tuliptree, Magnolia, Fletcher, Calico, Lecanium, Cottony Maple, and Cottony Camellia all overwinter as nymphs on twigs or branches on deciduous trees and shrubs. Armored scales overwinter as first instar nymphs and adult females.
Most aphids overwinter as eggs, but some overwinter as adult females. While aphids often don’t cause permanent plant damage, their sticky honeydew can result in sooty mold appearing on the affected plants. This can drastically reduce the vigor and beauty of ornamental plants.
Fall cleanups not only help provide a tidy landscape going into the winter, but they can also remove hiding places for some overwintering insects. Plant material infested with insects should be disposed of rather than composted.
Tilling the soil to incorporate amendments can also unearth pests overwintering in their pupae stage, like seed, root, bulb maggots, and leaf miner species.
For the insects with overwintering egg masses on plants, these can be removed manually or pruned out. If there are too many egg masses, or they cannot be reached, you can note treatments will be needed next spring.
Dormant oils can also be sprayed on shrubs and the bark of trees to suffocate the insects before they become active in spring. Dormant oil is effective for scales, aphids, bagworms, and more. Note that dormant oils should not be sprayed when there is a danger of freezing or if plants have already emerged from dormancy.
WHAT ARE BLENDED ICE MELTS, AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
In a blended ice melt product, there are four main melting granules:
- Sodium chloride,
- Potassium chloride,
- Calcium chloride
- Magnesium chloride.
The advantage of blended de-icing materials lies in the fact that they are economically priced and still have the ability to work quickly at low temperatures. In melting ice and snow, the formation of an ice melting brine is key. Brine acts much like a lighter fluid as it ignites the melting process. The specific chloride, or combination of chlorides, that is applied and the amount applied dictates the speed and efficiency of the melting process.
Blended ice melt products bring together two or all the granular chlorides, in different percentages, for an infinite number of melting formulations. All these blends have their own unique advantages and melting temperatures based upon the percentages of each chloride used. A blend containing high percentages of calcium chloride and magnesium chloride is going to react faster and work to lower temperatures. Calcium and magnesium chloride, in their purest form, react very quickly to begin the melting process.
Potassium chloride and sodium chloride are not fast-acting and take longer to activate, or in other words, take longer to form a liquid brine. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are hygroscopic ice melting materials. Unlike potassium and sodium, they draw heat from the air throughout the melting process, causing a quick formation of a faster, more effective brine for de-icing. Potassium and sodium chloride do not attract heat from the air; instead, they simply react chemically with the snow and ice to lower the melting temperature. This process is slower, and the brine formed is less likely to work as the temperature drops.
When used in combination, chlorides of greater power can cause a synergetic effect to increase the melting performance of less effective chlorides. When calcium and magnesium chloride form a brine, they in turn cause sodium and potassium to form a brine faster than if used alone. It is this effect that allows blended ice melts to compete in performance with many of the stronger, more expensive straight de-icers like 100% calcium chloride and 100% magnesium chloride. Blended ice melting products deliver performance at a reasonable price and without the hazardous environmental effects of using a straight de-icing product. For more information on Ice Melt products, visit www.conservfs.com
TWOLINED CHESTNUT BORER
A collaborative effort of Deerfield, Lake Forest, Northbrook, and the Morton Arboretum is aimed at trying to assure the current attack on oak trees by the twolined chestnut borer beetle will not be as severe as the devastation to ash trees by the emerald ash borer, a few years ago.
“We can very easily treat it,” said Corey Wierema, the head forester for the city of Lake Forest. “It’s always been here, but this year the infestation has been severe.”
Deerfield, Lake Forest, and Northbrook are currently working with the Morton Arboretum to gather information about the impact of the chestnut borer on oak trees in their towns so other Lake and Cook County communities can learn the best treatment when it spreads.
Wierema said weather conditions over the past seven years made the environment ripe for the chestnut borer this summer. He and colleagues in other communities started noticing the bug in June. High rainfall for five years, followed by dry conditions the past two, caused the outbreak.
“We started to put the pieces together,” he said. “When you have these conditions, it really puts a lot of stress on trees like the oak. Oaks can be temperamental and susceptible to the chestnut beetle. It can be very destructive. The infestation was higher than normal.”
Bob Phillips, Deerfield’s director of public works and engineering, said the three communities started noticing a greater infestation of the chestnut borer leading to the partnership with the Morton Arboretum.
Phillips said the three towns all have strong populations of oak trees and noticed similar conditions, like the crown of the trees starting to lose color in the leaves. They are working with the Morton Arboretum to track data to find solutions when the borer spreads elsewhere.
“They only attack trees in a weakened condition,” Phillips said. “The arboretum is gathering data over two years to learn as much as they can about the impact on the trees. It’s not going away. The beetle is able to travel.”
Along with working with the Morton Arboretum, Wierema said all three communities are putting information on their websites to educate their residents. Discoloration of the leaves is a potential sign.
“You should use supplemental water in dry periods if it hasn’t rained for a few days,” he said. “The roots need a pretty deep watering or a deep soaking.”
Kelly Hamill, the public works director for Northbrook, said there are things homeowners can do to protect oak trees on their property from infestation. Like Wierema, Hamill said people should let the hose or sprinkler soak the tree for a few hours.
If the tree is surrounded by grass with no ring of soil around it, Hamill said homeowners can remove a circle of grass and put mulch there to allow water to reach the root system more easily. Such treatment makes the trees less susceptible to beetle infestation.
“If you see a dying branch, remove it so the tree won’t be in stress anymore,” Hamill said. “You should separate it completely. Look for (other) signs of stress.”
Wierema said with the emerald ash borer beetle when the signs of stress appear, there is little to be done to help the tree. With the twolined chestnut borer, trimming, watering, and the help of a certified arborist.
Grub Control with Fertilizer with MERIT® 0.2 or Imidacloprid 0.2
Turf fertilizer with Merit 0.2 or Imidacloprid 0.2 will provide plant nutrients as well as control selected insect pests on turfgrass, including home lawns, school grounds, nursing homes and hospital grounds, city, county, state, municipal and federal grounds, business and office complexes, shopping complexes, multi-family residential complexes, golf courses, airports, churches, cemeteries, parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, and sod farms.
Features & Benefits
- Season-long grub control
- Low application rates (0.25 - 0.4 LBS AI/per acre)
- Broad-spectrum insecticide
- Long application window: June–July
Packaging: 50 Pound Bag
STROBE® PRO G
Strobe Pro G fungicide provides the same long-lasting, broad- spectrum disease control as Strobe Pro fungicide, only now in granular form. Strobe Pro G is a combination of two broad spectrum, preventative, and curative fungicides with systemic properties for the control of many important turfgrass diseases. Strobe Pro G may be applied by drop or rotary broadcast granular spreaders.
Granular herbicide, AI: 0.31% Azoxystrobin, 0.75% Propiconazole
Features & Benefits
- All markets can easily use Strobe Pro G without making a complete tank mix.
- LCO’s can treat localized portions of a home lawn.
- Smaller sport turf facilities that do not have large spray equipment, now have an affordable means to treat most common turf diseases.
- Golf courses can treat individual greens when the spray equipment is being used for other applications.
Foliar, stem and root diseases such as leaf and stem blights, dollar spot, leaf spots, patch diseases, anthracnose, fairy rings, mildews, molds, and rusts of turfgrass.
- Packaging: 30 Pound Bag— Item# 480411
Contact your Conserv FS Turf specialist for more information.
SOIL TESTING FOR LAWNS
Soil testing provides an estimate of the plant-available nutrients in the soil and is an essential tool for a sound fertilization program. Periodic soil testing will help to correct nutrient deficiencies, avoid excess fertilizer applications, and maintain a healthy lawn.
A routine soil fertility test (pH, neutralized acidity, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, organic matter, and cation exchange capacity) is recommended under the following circumstances:
- Before establishing a new lawn, whether from seed, sod, or sprigs.
- Every three years on established lawns.
- Annually when attempting to correct a nutrient deficiency or change the soil pH.
- When fertilizers containing phosphate or potash have been used on a regular basis for several years.
Contact your Conserv FS Turf specialist for more information.