Spruce spider mites
become active when magnolia blooms are in the pink stage. This
means the 2010 weather is running about two weeks ahead of last
year. Not much of a surprise, given the temperatures we have
experienced. These mites are one of the major downfalls of
spruce in our area.
One of the early symptoms is a mottled
appearance to the needles. Many times some fine webbing, like
spider web, will also be visible on the needles. To determine if
you have spruce spider mites, hold a piece of white paper under
a branch and shake it. The mites will look like moving dust
specks on the paper.
Spruce spider mites can be controlled with sprays of
acequinocyl, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, insecticidal soap or summer
oil spray. The soap or oil sprays will require a second
application about a week later to give good control. These mites
normally remain active until mid-May, but the cool conditions
may extend their life cycle, as happened last year. These mites
will again be active in the cool fall weather.
Other spring pests are also indicated by the saucer magnolia.
During the bloom stage, just finishing now, the ash plant bug,
fall cankerworm, spring cankerworm, Fletcher scale, leaf
crumpler, eastern tent caterpillar, juniper webworm and
Zimmerman pine moth are susceptible to control. As we get to the
petal fall stage, European pine sawfly, Gypsy moth, hawthorn
mealybug, honeylocust pod gall and willow aphid become
susceptible to control.
Mow the grass
as it is needed. To do away with catching or raking grass,
try to remove no more than one-third of the leaf blade. That
first trip out with the mower usually shocks us with how
long some of the grass is.
We have missed
the first batch of crabgrass germination. Control is still
possible with one of the organic arsenicals such as MSMA or
DSMA sprayed on the recently germinated crabgrass, but it
does stress the desirable grasses and may turn them some
different shades of blue or green.
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is just around the corner for many weeds. Look at early May for
Grub control is
largely unsuccessful in the spring because of large grub size
and a short life cycle. Look to August and September for grub
Moles are active,
but controlling the grubs won't help much now. Look to a noose
or scissor trap, or one of the soft baits with poison for
The average last
killing frost date is about May 5 for our area, and many
gardening charts use May 10 for planting tender crops in our
area. This would include squash, peppers, tomatoes, green beans
shrubs after they are done flowering. This will promote growth
and, hopefully, maximize your flowers for next year.
If you are interested in using the
soil-applied treatment for Japanese beetle control on ornamental
trees and shrubs, the earlier applications allow for better
distribution in the plants. These treatments will not eliminate
damage, but will reduce it by 50-75 percent since beetles must
feed until they consume enough of the insecticide in the leaves.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]