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[April 16, 2007]
While the damage from the freezing temperatures
is evident, maybe just as bad was the wind. Wind dries things out,
especially at lower temperatures. Colder air just can't hold as much
moisture as warmer air, and the combination of cold and windy is
just a double whammy. [Star of Bethlehem
pictured at left]
Some plants show the damage from drying winds more noticeably
than others. White pines are almost the kings when it comes to
visible damage. The damage shows as brown needles. When you look
at damaged evergreens, the key thing is the bud. If buds are
still plump and green, new growth can occur, even if all the
needles are brown. Also, with evergreens, remember that they
only keep up to four years of growth. The older growth toward
the center trunk falls off each year, usually in a gradual
process so it is hardly noticed. In a stress situation, such as
drought or temperature extremes, many needles suddenly turn
color and drop. This is quite noticeable, but the results are
the same as the usual gradual loss of needles.
tender, succulent plants are most susceptible at this time of
year. Hopefully nobody got caught with the latter out at this
time of year, so that left evergreens. It is even more
noticeable since the foliage doesn't drop off every year. But,
it does drop off. That's why you get inches of needles that
build up under a mature tree.
What can we do? At this time it's like "take two aspirin and
go to bed." In the case of trees and shrubs, this means to water
when it is dry and fertilize with the normal lawn rate in May
and September. If you are fertilizing the lawn, you have taken
care of the trees and shrubs.
There would have been some preventive things that could have
been done. One option is to block some of the wind with a screen
of some sort. A second would have been to spray foliage with an
anti-transpirant to slow the moisture loss from the needles.
With plump, green buds there should be new growth occurring
[to top of second column]
Star of Bethlehem
(pictured above at left)
One of the more prevalent "different" weeds this year has been
star of Bethlehem. This is a weed that looks like wild onion or
garlic but doesn't have the odor. It can also have a small white
flower. It grows from small bulbs, so tilling an infested area is
not a good idea.
Control is difficult. Traditional lawn weed herbicides don't
touch it. Recommendations have been repeated Roundup use or use of
Gramoxone (paraquat). Of course, both of these also kill most
anything they come in contact with.
Some research out of Virginia shows some promise for carfentazone
ethyl, which is usually mixed with traditional broadleaf weed
killers such as 2,4-D or dicamba. Gordon Chemical has the sole lawn
product and sells it as SpeedZone. I don't know of any distributors
around here, but you may find it out of the area. This product could
be used on lawns without affecting the grass.
2007 is the year for the periodical cicada northern Brood VIII
(17-year cicada) to return. The southern boundary of their range is
from Iroquois County to the northern edge of Sangamon County to the
Quad Cities. That puts Logan County at least partially in the range;
however, 1990 saw little activity in our area.
In heavily infested areas, new plantings of trees with small
diameter are discouraged. Larger trees look rough for a year but are
largely unaffected. I'll have more on cicadas in a few weeks, as
their emergence is generally toward the end of May.
[Text from file received from
Fulton, University of Illinois Extension,
Logan County Unit]