tent caterpillar, freeze effects and gardening calendar
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[May 07, 2007]
I saw my first small tent from the eastern
tent caterpillar this weekend. It happened to be on one of their
favorite trees -- an apple tree. Egg hatch may be running as much as
three weeks later than normal. Of course, with the crazy "spring"
we've had, the insects are probably somewhat disoriented as well.
After hatching, the caterpillars create a white, silken tent in
the branch crotches of crab apple, hawthorn, mountain ash,
flowering cherry, and other trees and shrubs in the rose family.
Eastern tent caterpillar is one of the earliest defoliators. The
feeding damage does not kill the tree, but it does use some of
the stored energy of the tree.
Control at this time can be
accomplished by removing the tents, and the caterpillars inside,
and taking them a long way from the tree to dispose of. When
caught early, the caterpillars tend to be staying in the nest.
As they grow, they will not be in the nest as much. Control with
sprays such as Bt, acephate, permethrin and carbaryl will also
Effects of the freeze
Some of the effects of the late freeze are easily visible on
fruit and shade trees. Trees and shrubs with exposed, tender
leaf material (or even swollen buds in some instances) have
partially dead leaves. It is common to see leaf tips that are
brown on an otherwise healthy leaf. It is amazing there are a
few apples set on at least some protected trees. There are even
some later blooms coming out. If the bloom centers are brown, it
indicates the bloom was damaged and will not set fruit. Some
plants had permanently damaged tips, while others are just
extremely slow in initiating new buds.
Give things until about the end of May to determine what kind
of permanent damage occurred. After that time, dead ends may be
trimmed off. Also, keep things as positive as you can for the
plants. Water, fertilizer and pest control will probably be as
important this year as they have ever been.
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The gardening calendar shows it is about time, from May 10 to 25,
to start in on our tender vegetables. This group includes green
beans, sweet corn and tomato plants. It is also time for successive
plantings of leaf lettuce, other greens, radishes and spinach. The
way the wind has blown, it is probably a good idea to provide some
protection for tender transplants for a week or two to let them get
If you haven't checked out our website, give it a look. The site
www.extension.uiuc.edu/logan. There is an abundance of
horticulture information, from local blogs to plant selectors. Most
of this is available from the
Horticulture and Environment section. This is a good resource to
answer questions you might have on many topics. Other sections are
available for youth, agriculture, health, money management, kids,
teachers and others. There are some great online learning activities
for kids, just in time for summer.
[Text from file received from
Fulton, University of Illinois Extension,
Logan County Unit]