Most fall defoliators come to us as the larval stage
(caterpillars) of a moth. When we talk about controls of the
larvae, the fact that they are larvae of moths or butterflies
makes them susceptible to the use of B.t. products such as
Thuricide. Other control options include the standbys such as
Sevin, permethrin, bifenthrin, Othene, malathion, and others.
The way insects live also dictates some of the control doís and
doníts. Fall webworms live inside a ďwebĒ all the time. They
actually expand the webbing as they need to have more leaves to
eat. They are usually worst on fruit and nut trees. You can even
clip the nest (and the branch it is around) off the tree and
burn it. I guess this tells you that defoliation caused by the
insect isnít that great of a threat to the tree or you wouldnít
cut the branch area off. If you want to spray fall webworms, you
need to get the spray through the web. This may be a little
harder than you think. If you donít have enough pressure, the
spray just runs off the webbing.
In the case of Eastern tent caterpillars, they hatch out of a
common nest. Another name for them is ďugly nest caterpillars.Ē
They then leave the nest to feed, but generally return in the
evening to congregate in the area of the nest. They are not
covered by webbing, and the time they are congregated is a great
time to spray since they are usually in one area on the trunk or
main branches of trees.
In summary, control of fall defoliators isnít usually justified
from the plantís standpoint. Add in the walnut caterpillars,
various tussock moth larvae, and even the giant cecropia moth
caterpillar, and there are quite a number of the defoliators.
Forested areas have heavy pressure from this group of insects
every year, and the trees are still thriving. The exception is
newly transplanted or struggling plants. If appearances are
important, consider a control spray.
[to top of second column]
Another fall topic to be covered in mid to late summer is fall
gardening. The idea is to harvest in the fall, and that takes a
little bit of planning, and planting, on your part. The fall
garden planting season actually begins in June. Most of the
dates are based on the ability to withstand frost, or not
withstand frost. Since we are well past June, here are some of
the things we can still plant in late summer for the fall
harvest period Ė since they are in the frost tolerant category.
Letís start with the list for late summer planted crops.
Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, cos lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard
greens, winter radishes and turnips are the group for late
summer planting. This group is made up of frost tolerant plants
which donít have a long life cycle. Examples of other frost
tolerant vegetables which wonít have time to mature very well
include cabbage, carrots, onions, and parsnips. They just wonít
mature before we get a hard freeze Ė unless you are trying to
get some green onions or turnip tops.
In about another month, we can plant some of the very hardy
vegetables which would mature in time to use them. Some are in
the late summer planting time, but most are in the early fall
planting category. Here is the list: leaf lettuce, mustard
greens, spring radishes, and spinach. Fall spinach is
interesting, and it sometimes overwinters to begin an early
harvest in the spring. Of course, you have to check carefully
before tilling the garden. The other thing which puts spinach in
this category is the fact the seed wonít even germinate if soil
temperatures are too high. Local supplies of seed may be hard to
find. That leaves having left over supplies from the spring or
placing an order to your favorite seed supplier to have any type
of fall garden.
[By JOHN FULTON, COUNTY EXTENSION
DIRECTOR SERVING LOGAN, MENARD, AND SANGAMON COUNTIES]