General Conditions: Beautiful summer weather continued this past week and but with no rain until the 29th and then not enough. Hanson received 0.70 inches of inches of rain. It cannot be emphasized enough, how important it is for clients to provide water to drought-stressed plants, especially those plants planted this season or plants damaged or defoliated by caterpillars. Stewartia pseudocamellia, Stewartia rostrata, Catalpa ovata (Chinese catalpa), Hydrangea anomala petiolaris, Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea), Hypericum androsaemum ‘Mrs. Gladis Brabazon’, Indigofera sp., Calycanthus floridus (Common Sweetshrub), Lonicera sempervirens, Clematis, Roses, Spiraea sp., Weston hybrid azaleas, Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed), Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), Campanula sp., Geranium sp., Persicaria polymorpha, Achillea, Alchemilla mollis, Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink),Thermopsis, Coreopsis sp., Aruncus dioicus, Lamium, Foxgloves, Valeriana officinalis (Garden Heliotrope),Anemone canadensis, Corydalis lutea, daylilies, Astilbe, Allium and Asiatic lilies are in full bloom. Heliopsis sp. and Lysimachia punctata are beginning bloom. Sinocalycanthus chinensis and Styrax japonicus are ending bloom. Cotinus obovatus (American Smoketree) and Cotinus coggygria (European Smokebush) are still ‘looking good’ with their colorful ‘smoke’. Staghorn sumac has ended bloom and is beginning to develop pink-red fruit.
Pests/Problems: Gypsy moth caterpillars have caused extensive, yet scattered, defoliation in many areas of the state, including many in Southeast MA; it varies by town and even neighborhoods. Reports are that this is the worst outbreak in 30 years. Oaks are the primary host plant, but because of the sheer magnitude of high numbers of caterpillars, many other plants like white pine, cherry, willow, even spruce, arborvitae and other pines are showing severe damage. At this time most of the caterpillars are in the process of pupation or have pupated; however, there are still a few caterpillars feeding, but it should be over soon and the adult moths will soon emerge, mate and the female moths will lay their pale, tan egg masses for next year. Based on the incredibly high number of pupae we are seeing, next year should be ‘off the charts’ as far as gypsy moth caterpillars go, unless we get lucky and next spring is rainy and Entomophaga maimaiga manages to knock down and kill the gypsy caterpillars. Scouting this week in Hanson revealed a few dead gypsy moth caterpillars, most likely killed by the fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, but, probably not enough dead caterpillars to make a difference. We desperately needed rain to activate the fungus and we did not receive it. (See Tawny Simisky’s Insect section of the Landscape Message).
Oriental beetles emerged this week in Hanson. These grey-tan beetles, similar in shape to Japanese beetles, feed on a wide variety of plant material, especially at night, along with Asiatic garden beetles and earwigs, which are also active. Japanese beetles usually emerge around the 4th of July.
Hibiscus sawfly continues to feed on the foliage of untreated perennial hibiscus.
Along with mosquitoes, dog ticks and deer tick nymphs, remain active. Take precautions against being bitten by using a repellent like DEET.
The following insects remain active: Andromeda lacebug on Pieris japonica, dogwood sawfly larvae on certain dogwood, planthoppers, four-lined plant bugs, White pine sawyer beetles (Asian longhorned beetle lookalike), sunflower moth caterpillars (Homoeosoma electellum), Hemlock woolly adelgid, cottony camellia scale on Meserve hollies and Taxus, Taxus mealybug, aphids, stink bugs, leafhoppers, lily leaf beetle and larvae, slugs, snails, pine spittlebugs, azalea whitefly and biting flies
The white, spore-covered Azalea leaf galls (Exobasidium vaccinii) continue to show up on deciduous Azaleas; remove galls and place in the trash.
The following weeds are in bloom: Queen-Anne’s-lace. Linaria vulgaris (Yellow toadflax), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica - Massachusetts invasive plant), Achillea, oxeye daisy, clover, and fleabane.
Continue to prune, or remove and destroy, invasive plants, like Multiflora rose, burning bush, Oriental bittersweet and autumn olive, which are now forming seeds.