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Pests of the Week

The warm weather has brought us numerous visitors in the form of insect and spore! Since prevention is key, here are some tips for prevention and early treatment of primetime pests:

PESTS

Sawfly

A pest to many plants, including columbine, dogwood, spruce. The sawfly measures approximately ¼” in length and sports colours from white to lime to leafy green, characteristically curl into an S when disturbed. They often feed off the upper leaf layer, so you can ‘see through’ the leaf, and they tend to curl themselves into the foliage as they feed. Snip off affected leaves early on, if infestation is large Safer’s End All or Doktor Doom House and Garden insecticides can be applied.


 

Caterpillar

These guys are messy eaters, taking big munches out of leaves. So many different kinds, right now we are seeing a large amount of Forest Tent Caterpillars. Easily treated with BTK (bacillus thuringiensis). This is sprayed onto plants, and when ingested by caterpillars (harmless to birds/pets) acts as a stomach poison.


 
Mites

Common on various plants, mites tend to leave symptoms specific to each plant. Mites overwinter near the bud scales of trees and shrubs and as leaves unfurl in spring they begin to feed. The plant reacts, and surging hormones form colourful bumps on the plant, where the mite actually encloses itself to feed even further. Appears as fine webbing and red color on cranberries, as ‘fingers’ on plum trees and ‘pimples’ on maples. Treatment is difficult, as the mite is hidden in the leaf, so protected from insecticide spray. Though unsightly, this will not result in death of the plant. In fall, once leaves drop, woody stems can be sprayed with horticultural oil to smother overwintering mites.

DISEASES

Juniper Hawthorn Rust

This complicated fungal disease requires two hosts to complete its life cycle each year. It spends the winter on Cedar or Juniper, as a cone shaped gall. After spring rains, the gall ‘ripens’ turning into a glob of orange. These spores are carried by wind and rain to nearby Hawthorn or Apple trees, where once they ripen cause unsightly red bumps that ripen to powdery orange spots. Though unsightly, the disease does not kill the tree. Control includes removing one of the hosts (either the evergreen OR flowering plant), and spraying preventative applications of copper spray to hawthorn or apple trees staring late May, repeating every 10 days. The galls on existing cedars or junipers can also be pruned away.
 

Powdery Mildew

This year powdery mildew has come incredibly early, as the warm temperatures and rain are the perfect environment. We are seeing an incredible amount of it on apple trees already. Prune out any stems of powdery white foliage, and spray plants with Natria or Garden Sulphur every 7 days to prevent further infection.

 

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