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Landscape Message: Jun 5, 2015

Jun 5, 2015

UMass Extension's Landscape Message is an educational newsletter intended to inform and guide Green Industry professionals in the management of our collective landscape. Scouts compile and record environmental and phenological data for locations throughout Massachusetts to aid in the monitoring of plant and pest development, the planning of management strategies, and the creation of site-specific records for future reference.  Detailed reports from Extension specialists on growing conditions, pest activity, and cultural practices for the management of woody ornamentals, trees, and turf are regular features. UMass Extension has updated the following issue to provide timely management information and the latest regional news and environmental data.

The Landscape Message will be updated weekly April through June. The next message will be available on June 12. To receive immediate notification when the next Landscape Message update is posted, be sure to join our e-mail list.

Scouting Information by Region

Regional Notes

Cape Cod Region (Barnstable)

General Conditions: This reporting period began with delightful warm, sunny weather and ended with cold, wet weather. Temperatures ranged from 79º F as a daytime high to 51º F as a daytime high. Night temperatures ranged from the upper 50s to mid 40s – very chilly for the beginning of June! While much of the state received wonderful amounts of rain, the Cape barely received 4/10”. Radar during the three day wet period showed most of the precipitation grazing the Canal and heading out into the Bay or sliding south of the Cape. Wetness came mostly in the form of mist or drizzle interspersed with occasional showers. Lawns are green as are the weeds. Baptisia cultivars, Siberian Iris, Geranium macrorrhizum, and Centaurea montana are blooming in the perennial garden. American cranberrybush viburnum and Japanese Snowball viburnum are also in bloom. Native Trumpet honeysuckle vines are also beginning to bloom, attracting many hummingbirds!  Pests/Problems: Soils are still dry, in spite of the recent rainfall. What fell on the Cape was not sufficient to relieve the lack of rain during the month of May. Many trees have been defoliated by the winter moth caterpillar. It appears to be wide-spread across the Cape this year. Be sure to irrigate any trees that have been defoliated but do not fertilize defoliated trees. The caterpillars are just about finished for this year and are dropping to the ground to pupate. There are reports of some gypsy moth caterpillars on the Cape this year but they do not appear to be at outbreak levels. Eastern tent caterpillars are also just about done for this year. Black Turpentine beetle is now active, primarily attacking native Pitch pines. Look for the characteristic pitch tubes on the lower trunk. Start monitoring for Nantucket pine tip moth on Pitch, Red, and Austrian pine. These can be observed fluttering around these pines in the early evening. Rose slug sawfly is active, as is boxwood psyllid, aphids, and leaf hoppers. Monitor Euonymus for the Euonymus webworm. As reported by Ron Kujawski in Berkshire County, there is a borer attacking the new growth of ornamental elderberry such as 'Midnight Lace'. Symptoms are sudden wilting of all the tips on the shrub.  The three day period of damp weather could result in the appearance of foliar leaf spots such as Cedar apple rust, dogwood anthracnose, and peony blight.  Mosquito populations are high this year. Deer tick nymphs are active. Be sure to protect yourself by applying repellents containing DEET or treat your clothing with permethrin.

Southeast Region (Hanson)

General Conditions: After over 5 weeks of warm weather and insufficient rain, resulting in a “moderate drought” and water restrictions, Hanson received 2.5 inches of much needed rain beginning Sunday, May 31, and ending June 2. The temperature dropped 20 degrees on Sunday afternoon, with a nighttime overnight temperature of 42 degrees. Monday, June 1st, became one of the coldest (if not the coldest in some areas) June 1st on record, with many areas seeing temperatures in the 40’s. Cooler temperatures (50s-low 60s) continued through mid-week. Other towns in Southeastern MA received varying amounts of rain with 2.72 inches in Bridgewater and 0.95 inches in South Dartmouth. Cladrastis kentukea, Aesculus x carnea (Red Horsechestnut), Magnolia virginiana, (Sweetbay magnolia), Rutgers Hybrid dogwoods, Liriodendron tulipifera (Tuliptree), Cornus kousa, Robinia hispida, numerous viburnums including Viburnum opulus, V. plicatum var. tomentosum (Doublefile viburnum), and V. sargentii, Beautybush, Cotinus obovatus, Cotinus coggygria, Weigela, Indigofera sp., Abelia mosanensis, Chionanthus virginicus, Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom), Rhododendron, late lilacs like Syringa x prestoniae ‘James Macfarlane’ and Syringa ‘Miss Kim’, Calycanthus, Clematis, Rosa rugosa, Paeonia (Peony), Allium, Nepeta sp., Salvia ‘May Night’, Baptisia australis and Baptisia hybrids, Anemone canadensis, Amsonia sp., Thalictrum aquilegifolium, Oriental poppies, Lupine, Columbine, Geranium sp., Buglossoides purpurocaerulea, Doronicum sp., bearded iris, Mazus reptans, Allium, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Lamium, Dianthus sp., Arisaema (Jack-in-the-pulpit), Cypripedium sp. (Lady’s Slipper), Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding Heart), Polygonum bistorta ‘Superbum’, Corydalis lutea, Siberian Iris, and Centaurea montana are in full bloom. Physocarpus opulifolius (Eastern Ninebark) and Tradescantia are beginning to bloom. Cornus controversa, Cornus alternifolia, Laburnum x watereri (Goldenchain Tree), Styrax obassia and Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding heart) are just ending bloom. White pine pollen began to appear just before the rain and luckily, the rain washed much of it away, however, the weather has cleared and the pollen is falling once again! Pests/Problems: In most areas, winter moth caterpillars have stopped feeding and have pupated. Damage is severe in some areas of the southeastern region and sporadic even within those areas. The recent rain will benefit those trees and shrubs that were damaged and are, or will be, starting to regenerate new growth. Drought stress will only accelerate tree decline of those plants that were defoliated. Continue to monitor trees for gypsy moth caterpillars, especially those trees that were damaged by winter moth caterpillars. While not in outbreak numbers, there are reports of increased gypsy moth caterpillars in some areas. You and/or your clients may soon be seeing the appearance of the White-spotted pine sawyer, a native beetle, which is often referred to as an Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) ‘look-alike” but does not do the damage that ALB does. Iris bud fly maggot continues to show up in the flowers of Siberian iris and Iris pseudacorus and was also found, for the first time in Hanson, in the flower buds of bearded Iris. The maggots are found at the base of the flower and will go into the stem. Sanitation, in the form of cutting back and removing the spent flowers and stems, will help manage this pest. Continue to monitor for Euonymus caterpillars (cream colored with black spots) which can be found feeding on the new foliage of euonymus. (On one Euonymus bush, the webs were smashed by the soaking rains and the caterpillars appeared dead.) Monitor for Cottony camellia scale on blue holly and Taxus. Azalea sawfly is almost done feeding for the year, while roseslug sawfly remains active on roses. Lily leaf beetle adults, eggs and larvae continue to show up on true lilies. The snow and cold does not appear to have slowed this pest down. The following insects remain active. Aphids, deer ticks, dog ticks, biting flies, carpenter ants, pine spittlebug, azalea whitefly, snails, woolly beech aphid, ants, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, carpenter bees, bumblebees. Mosquitoes continue to be numerous and bothersome. The recent rain presented enough moisture to again encourage the formation of the orange, jelly-like galls of cedar-apple rust (Gymnosporangium rust) on Eastern red cedar and other junipers. Azalea leaf gall continues to show up on deciduous azaleas. On deciduous azaleas, continue to hand-pick and destroy the Azalea leaf galls (Exobasidium vaccinii) before they turn white. The foliage on ‘Arnold Promise’ witchhazel continues to turn brown probably due to Phyllosticta hamamelidis (Witchhazel blight). Ground ivy, oxeye daisy, red clover, cinquefoil, hawkweed, narrowleaf plantain, buttercups and veronica are in bloom. Multi-flora rose is beginning bloom.

North Shore Region (Beverly)

General Conditions: After a very dry month of May we finally received some much needed rainfall. Approximately 1.5 inches of rainfall was received at Long Hill between Sunday May 31 and Tuesday June 2 with most of the rain (0.96 inches) falling on Monday. The rains also brought in some seasonably cooler temperatures. Temperatures in the last few days have been averaging in the high 40s. The soil temperatures are also down by 11 degrees fahrenheit. The days before the rain were unseasonably warm and we gained 97 growing degree days (GDD) at Long Hill. Woody plants seen in bloom include: Toucan azalea (Rhododendron ‘Toucan’) Palestrina azalea (Rhododendron palestrina), Amoenum azalea (Rhododendron obtusum ‘Amoenum’) and Rhododendron ‘Blue Peter’, Flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), Betty Layman Azalea (Rhododendron 'Betty Layman'), Kyushu azalea (Rhododendron kiusianum), Fortunei Rhododendron (Rhododendron fortunei) (Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), Kousa Dogwood (Cornus Kousa), Doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum), Slender Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis), White Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), Summer snowflake doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum ‘Summer Snowflake'), Little leaf lilac (Syringa microphylla), White tree wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), Fragrant snowbell (Styrax obassia), Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis), and Chinese Neillia (Neillia Chinensis) . Herbaceous plants in bloom include: Peonies (Paeonia sp.), Fetterbush (Leucothoe fontanesiana), Rosa rugosa, Blue star (Amsonia hubrichtii), Columbine (Aquilegia spp.) and Bearded Iris (Iris germanica).  Pests/Problems: Winter moth caterpillars and Gypsy moth caterpillars are still causing damage on some trees. Hemlock woolly adelgid is also active. Eastern tent caterpillars are enlarging in their web tents and causing damage especially on cherry trees and crab apples . Ticks and mosquitoes are still very active.

East Region (Boston)

General Conditions: May was an unusually dry month for the Boston area. We reached high temperatures above 80º F on 11 occasions and hit 90º F on one occasion (May 10th); the average low was 50º F and the average high was 75º F. We accumulated a total of 407.5 GDDs and rainfall totaled 0.60 inches for the month. We finally received much needed precipitation starting on May 31st and lasting into June 2nd, the soaking event amounted to 2.72 inches of much needed rain. The end of May was quite warm, the last five days saw high temperatures range from the mid 70s to high 80s with lows in the high 50s to mid 60s. The first two days of June have been far below average in terms of temperature; with a high of 49º F on June 1, we have tied the record for the coldest high in June.  June 2nd was not much warmer, as we reached a high of 50º F; we have accumulated no GDDs for the month of June thus far. We gained 102.5 GDDs over the last week and recorded an average low of 55º F and an average high of 73º F. Many plants in flower had short lived bloom time due to excessive high temperatures. Plants currently in flower include: Acer spicatum (mountain maple), Actinidia kolomikta (Kolomikta kiwi), Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone), Arisaema triphyllum (small Jack-in-the-pulpit), Aruncus dioicus (goatsbeard), Asimina triloba (pawpaw), Cladrastis kentukea (yellowwood), Clematis ‘Starfish’ (clematis), Cotinus coggygria (common smoketree), Lonicera etrusca (Etruscan honeysuckle), Magnolia macrophylla (bigleaf magnolia), Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower), Maianthemum racemosum (false Solomon's seal), Neillia sinensis (Chinese neillia), Ornithogalum umbellatum (star-of-Bethlehem), Paeonia sp. (peony), Rhododendron ‘Smoky Mountaineer’ (azalea), Rhododendron smirnowii (Smirnow rhododendron), Stephanandra incisa (cutleaf stephanandra), and Wisteria frutescens ‘Aunt Dee’ (American wisteria). Rhododendron Dell is aburst with color, many cultivars are in peak bloom including: ‘Adalbert’, ‘Album Grandiflorum’, ‘Brookville’, ‘Cadis’, ‘Catawbiense Album’, ‘Charles Bagley’, ‘Duke of York’, ‘Echse’, ‘English Roseum’, ‘Fundy’, ‘King Tut’, ‘Old Port’, ‘Parsons Grandiflorum’, ‘President Lincoln’, ‘Purpureum Crispum’, ‘Purpureum Elegans’, ‘Purpureum Grandiflorum’, and ‘Roseum Superbum’.  Pests/Problems: We experienced an extraordinarily dry spring, receiving less than half an inch of precipitation over a five week period. On May 31st we received precipitation accompanied by windy conditions which lead to storm damage to several willows, a beech, and an oak. Despite these conditions, summer annual and perennial weeds are thriving. Weeds in bloom include: bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), black swallowwort (Cynanchum louiseae), bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata), pineappleweed (Matricaria discoidea), and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) are in seed. Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) has germinated. Yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus) is in full bloom in moist areas. Azalea galls caused by the Exobasidium vaccinia fungus are visible throughout the landscape. The purple loosestrife eating beetle (Galerucella sp.) is devastating purple loosestrife plants (Lythrum salicaria) in the meadow. Pollen at this time is mostly oak, ash and grass.

Metro West (Acton)

General Conditions: Finally, the area received some much needed rain. Starting with the first rain event on Sunday and with the rain ending on Tuesday, 3.07” of rain was recorded for this reporting period. The average monthly total for May is 4.04" and a total of 1.30” was recorded for the entire month falling far short of the average. The average rainfall for the month of June is 3.93" and we are well on the way to meeting the average since 2.05” of rain has been recorded for the month so far. There were a number of unseasonably warm days and so the area gained 99 GDD during this recording period. Woody plants seen in bloom this past week are Chionanthus retusus (Chinese Fringe Tree), C. virginicus (Fringe Tree), Cladrastis kentukea (Yellowwood), Cornus kousa (Kousa Dogwood), C. sericea (Redosier Dogwood), Cotinus coggygria (Common Smokebush), Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie' (Daphne), Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel), Kerria japonica (Japanese Kerria), Kolkwitzia amabilis (Beautybush), Leucothoe axillaris (Coast Leucothoe), Ligustrum spp. (Privet), Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree), Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle), Philadelphus coronarius (Sweet Mock Orange), Physocarpus opulifolius (Common Ninebark), P. opulifolius 'Summer Wine' (Summer Wine Ninebark), Potentilla fruiticosa (Potentilla), P. tridentata (Cinquefoil), Rhododendron spp. (Rhododendron and Azalea), Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust), Rosa rugosa (Rugosa Rose), R. 'Knockout' (The Knockout family of Roses), Rosa spp. (Rose), Rubus spp. (Blackberry, Bramble, Raspberry), Spirea japonica 'Alpina' (Daphne Spirea), Spiraea spp. (Spirea), Syringa spp. (late blooming Lilac), Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum), V. plicatum var. tomentosum (Doublefile Viburnum), V. sargentii (Sargent's Viburnum) and Weigela florida (Old Fashioned Weigela). Woody vines in bloom are: Clematis spp. (Clematis) and Lonicera sempirvirens (Trumpet Honeysuckle). Contributing even more color and interest to the landscape are some flowering herbaceous plants including: Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed), Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), Allium giganteum (Giant Onion), A. schoenoprasum (Chives), Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas Blue Star), Aquilegia spp. (Columbine), Baptisia australis (False Blue Indigo), Centaurea montana (Cornflower), Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold), Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley), Coreopsis sp. (Tickseed), Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink), Dictamnus albus (Gas Plant), Gallium odorata (Sweet Woodruff), Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' and 'Cambridge' (Hardy Cranesbill), G. maculatum (Wild Geranium), G. macrorrhizum (Bigroot Geranium), G. sanguineum (Cranesbill Geranium), Heuchera spp. (Coral Bells), Hyacinthoides hispanica (Wood Hyacinth), Iris germanica (Bearded Iris), I. sibirica (Siberian Iris), Leucanthemum sp. (Shasta Daisy), Lupinus 'Russell Woodfield Hybrids' (Lupine), Maianthemum dilatatum (False Lily of the Valley), Myosotis sylvatica (Forget-me-not), Nepeta spp. (Ornamental Catmint), Paeonia spp. (Peony), Papaver orientale (Poppy), Phlox divaricata (Canadian Phlox), Polemonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder), Polygonatum commutatum (Great Solomon's Seal), P. odoratum 'Variegatum' (Variegated Solomon Seal), Salvia nemerosa (Salvia), Saponaria ocymoides (Rock Soapwort), Stylophorum diphyllum (Wood Poppy), Thymus praecox (Thyme), Tradescantia sp. (Spiderwort), Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue' (Speedwell), Viola spp. (Violet), and Zizia aptera (Heart-Leaved Alexander).  Pests/Problems: Seen in the landscape are the following: Maple Bladder Galls on Acer saccharinum (Silver Maple), Eastern Tent caterpillar and the web that it creates in the main branches of Malus sp. (Crabapples) and Prunus sp. (Cherry) and evidence of Birch Sawfly larvae feeding on the foliage of Betula nigra (River Birch). Rosa multiflora is in full bloom and is now easy to detect growing in and amongst other trees and shrubs. Ticks and mosquitoes are active and feeding.

Central Region (Boylston)

No written report available this week, see Environmental Data & Phenology below.

Pioneer Valley Region (Amherst)

General Conditions: The Pioneer Valley, and southern New England, was finally the recipient of some much needed rain. After a hot and dry month of May (one of the driest on record), June began with a multi-day, multi-inch rainstorm that netted accumulations from 1.8−2.8” in the valley. The majority of the rainfall occurred during the evening of 6/1 and early hours of 6/2 when over 1.5” of rain fell over much of western Mass. The rainstorm also brought unseasonably cool temperatures, with highs in the low to middle 50s on 6/1 and 6/2. The long, soaking rain is sure to improve parched lawn grass and shallow-rooted trees like red maple that have been appearing thin this spring. It’s also a relief to those who have been constantly watering newly transplanted trees and shrubs. The pollen count is still high in the area right now and has picked right back up after the rain. The long-term forecast calls for seasonable temperatures with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the 50s with additional precipitation on 6/8 and 6/9. After a brutal May, June is shaping up just fine so far. The eastern cottonwoods that are so common along the Connecticut River are in full bloom and the falling seed almost looks like snow. Pests/Problems: The heavy rain likely awakened dormant fungal pathogens that never had enough free moisture on plant surfaces to sporulate or initiate new infections in May. Anthracnose, rusts, foliar spots/blotches/blight, stem cankering and needle cast pathogens will benefit from the soaking rain and residual water lingering on branches, fine twigs and foliage. Temperatures were cool during the rainstorm and were potentially out of range for many fungi to rapidly grow but now that conditions have warmed back to seasonal averages, we can expect the summer disease season to properly begin. Spruce needle rust, caused by Chrysomyxa weirii, continues to be abundant on blue spruce in the area. The disease was widespread in 2013 but damage was only minor in 2014. This year is proving to be a good year for the pathogen and while conditions were not conducive to spread during the peak of spore maturity (mid- to late-May), the heavy rainfall in early June likely initiated infections on newly developing needles. These infections won’t be observed until 2016. Many semi-hardy trees in our region continue to exhibit the effects of winter injury. After two consecutive harsh winters, trees hardy only to zone 5 may not be suitable for planting in the region if we continue to experience long stretches of arctic air. Some catalpas have had difficulty leafing out and the cause appears to be cold weather injury. Redbud and Japanese snowbell, notorious for their susceptibility to winter injury, were both badly damaged. Mosquito populations are still robust and the rains certainly help create egg-laying sites. Remember to turn over buckets and empty any free standing water on your property.

Berkshire Region (Great Barrington)

General Conditions: After weeks of bemoaning the extended dry period, a significant amount of rain finally fell this week. For the most part, it was the kind of rain that was needed, that is, a prolonged and soaking rain without being a gully washer. Almost ½ inch fell during a thunderstorm on May 27th and this was followed by two days of steady showers on June 1st and 2nd. Soil moisture levels are now high but not saturated. Some immediate response to the May 27th rain was noticeable in annual plants and seeded plants, in terms of their growth response. The early June rain was even more effective in perking up struggling plants. However, drought-stressed turfgrass on certain sites still shows significant browning but with improved soil moisture it is expected that such turf will recuperate. Temperatures during the June 1st and 2nd rain dropped to well below normal – a significant change from the previous week when temperatures were well above normal for this time of year.  Pest/problems: The past week saw a large increase in number of pests in landscapes and gardens. On-going pest problems are: black-legged and dog ticks, carpenter bees, mosquitoes, viburnum leaf beetle (larvae), lily leaf beetle (larvae), imported willow leaf beetle (larvae), boxwood psyllids, boxwood leaf miner (larvae and pupae), European pine sawfly (larvae), azalea sawfly (larvae), wooly beech aphid, eastern tent caterpillar (1.5-inch larvae), leaf rollers and leaftiers (hydrangea leaf tier in larval and pupal stages), aphids, and leaf hoppers on a variety of plant material, and spruce spider mite. Many new pests and diseases were observed. These included: elder borer (Desmocerus palliates) on ornamental elderberry (Sambucus nigra), dogwood borer on pear trees, oak sawfly, oak leaf lacebug (adult and eggs), rose slug, pine needle scale (crawlers), euonymus scale (crawlers), and unknown sawfly larvae on Oriental lilies. Diseases which appeared this week: cedar-apple rust on crabapples, apple scab on crabapples, fireblight on Prunus x cistena , and rust on undersides of leaves of jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). Mole activity in lawns picked up following the rain. This may be due to grubs and other favored prey of moles moving closer to the soil surface with the renewed soil moisture. Animal problems in the form of browsing by deer, rabbits, and voles remain at high levels.

Environmental Data

The following growing-degree-day (GDD) and precipitation data was collected for an approximately one week period, May 28 through June 3. Soil temperature and phenological indicators were observed on or about June 3. Total accumulated GDDs represent the heating units above a 50° F baseline temperature collected via our instruments for the 2015 calendar year. This information is intended for use as a guide for monitoring the developmental stages of pests in your location and planning management strategies accordingly.


(1-Week Gain)

(Total 2015 Accumulation)

Soil Temp
(°F at 4" depth)

(1-Week Gain in inches)

Cape Cod










North Shore










Metro West










Pioneer Valley















n/a = information not available


Phenological indicators are a visual tool for correlating plant development with pest development. The following are indicator plants and the stages of bloom observed for this period:

Indicator Plants - Stages of Flowering (BEGIN, BEGIN/FULL, FULL, FULL/END, END)
Philadelphus spp. (Mockorange) * full full full begin begin full *
Kalmia latifolia (Mountain-laurel) begin begin begin * begin begin full *
Hydrangea anomala petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea) * * * begin * begin full begin
Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood) * * * begin begin/ full full begin/full *
Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust) begin/full full full end full full/end full/end full
Cornus kousa (Kousa Dogwood) begin full full full full begin/full full full
Weigela florida (Old Fashioned Weigela) full full full full/end full full full full
Kolkwitzia amabilis (Beautybush) full full full full full full full full
Syringa meyeri (Meyer Lilac) begin full full full/end begin/ full full end full/end
Deutzia spp. (Deutzia species) begin/full full full full begin/ full full full full
Aesculus hippocastanum (Common Horsechestnut) full end end * end end end end
Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba Rhododendron) full full full/end full full/ end full/end full full
Enkianthus campanulatus (Redvein Enkianthus) full full * full * full full full
Rhododendron carolinianum (Carolina Rhododendron) full/end full/end full/end * full/ end full/end full/end *
Spiraea x vanhouttei (Vanhoutte Spirea) full/end end * full/end end end end full
* = no activity to report/information not available
  • CAPE COD REGION - Roberta Clark, UMass Extension Horticulturist for Barnstable County - Retired, reporting from Barnstable.
  • SOUTHEAST REGION - Deborah Swanson, UMass Extension Horticulturist for Plymouth County - Retired, reporting from Hanson.
  • NORTH SHORE REGION - Geoffrey Njue, Green Industry Specialist, UMass Extension, reporting from the Long Hill Reservation, Beverly.
  • EAST REGION - Kit Ganshaw & Sue Pfeiffer, Horticulturists, reporting from the Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain.
  • METRO WEST REGION – Julie Coop, Forester, Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, reporting from Acton.
  • CENTRAL REGION  -  Joann Vieira, Superintendent of Horticulture, reporting from the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston.
  • PIONEER VALLEY REGION - Nick Brazee, Plant Pathologist, UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab, reporting from UMass Amherst.
  • BERKSHIRE REGION - Ron Kujawski, Horticultural Consultant, reporting from Great Barrington.

Woody Ornamentals


Needle cast caused by Phyllosticta and Rhizosphaera coupled with a minor infestation of the elongate hemlock scale (Fiorinia externa) on true fir (Abies sp.). Tree is approximately 25-years-old and growing in a residential setting. This spring, scattered branch dieback was observed. Symptoms were not apparent in previous years. The affected branches also likely suffered from winter injury.

Needle cast of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) caused by Bifusella linearis. Young saplings growing in a forested setting. This spring, severe needle shedding was observed on trees of varying ages and sizes. Bifusella is one of several fungal pathogens associated with white pine needle cast that has plagued white pines in the region. Eastern white pine is only mid-tolerant of shade and if not released into full sun, this species declines in the understory.

Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) and bruce spanworm (Operophtera bruceata) infestation of tri-color beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Roseomarginata’). Young tree, present at the site for only two years, suffering from moderate caterpillar feeding.

Needle and shoot blight of Pfitzer juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzeriana') caused by Phomopsis juniperovora. Plants are 40-years-old and were treated with chlorothalonil in the past to control for this particular disease. This spring, scattered branch dieback developed with browning needles and shoots. The submitted material was heavily colonized by the pathogen. While the pathogenicity of many Phomopsis species is questionable, there is no doubt that P. juniperovora is a serious pathogen of ornamental junipers.

Leaf and shoot blight caused by Volutella pachysandrae and a severe infestation of the oystershell scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi) on Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green Sheen’). Mature planting that appeared healthy in previous years. This spring, a rapid dieback was observed, affecting roughly 65% of the plants. Symptoms included leaf spotting, yellowing/browning of foliage and shoot dieback. The scale infestation was impressive in its severity, with scales covering the entire surface of some of the shoots submitted for analysis.

Dogwood anthracnose, caused by Discula destructiva, on flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). Typical symptoms of the disease include epicormic sprouting and shoot dieback in the canopy. Without active management, nearly all flowering dogwoods in the region will become infected.

For more detailed management information for woody plant diseases in the landscape, refer to UMass Extension's Professional Management Guide for Diseases of Trees and Shrubs.

Report by Nick Brazee, Plant Pathologist, UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab, UMass Amherst.

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Diagnostic Services

A UMass Laboratory Diagnoses Landscape and Turf Problems - The UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab is available to serve commercial landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries and other green industry professionals. It provides woody plant and turf disease analysis, woody plant and turf insect identification, turfgrass identification, weed identification, and offers a report of pest management strategies that are research based, economically sound and environmentally appropriate for the situation. Accurate diagnosis for a turf or landscape problem can often eliminate or reduce the need for pesticide use. For sampling procedures, detailed submission instructions and a list of fees, see Plant Diagnostics Laboratory

Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing - The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory is located on the campus of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Testing services are available to all. The function of the Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. For complete information, visit the UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory web site.   Alternatively, call the lab at (413) 545-2311.

Ticks are active at this time! Remember to take appropriate precautions when working and playing outdoors, and conduct daily tick checks. UMass tests ticks for the presence of Lyme disease and other disease pathogens. Learn more