General Conditions: Until Tuesday, May 10, the weather was cool (40’s-50’s), raw and damp contributing to the continued delay of plant development. Many trees, like oaks, have very small leaves and on some oaks we have yet to see leaf expansion; several other species of trees have yet to leaf out. The cool weather has also delayed flower development on plants like lilac which were beginning bloom last week and are at just about the same stage this week. With warmer weather arriving this week, and the recent rain, plant development is starting to pick up; however, this is probably one of the least colorful springs, at this time, due to all the cold damage to flower buds and plants that occurred in previous months. Hanson received 1.25 inches of rain and more is needed. Remind clients to water new plantings and that includes new or renovated lawns. The following plants are in full bloom: Sassafras albidum, Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud), late blooming magnolias like Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’, Kwanzan cherry, Crabapples, Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood), Chaenomeles speciosa (Common Floweringquince), Viburnum carlesii (Mayflower Viburnum), Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’, Viburnum ‘Eskimo’, Rhododendron schlippenbachii (Royal Azalea), Prunus serotina (Black Cherry), Amelanchier (shadbush), Halesia sp., Spiraea prunifolia f. simplicifolia (Bridalwreath Spirea), Fothergilla major (large Fothergilla), Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf Fothergilla), Flowering Almond, Kerria, Daphne tangutica, Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry), Rhododendron ‘Olga Mezitt’, Exochorda racemosa, Epimedium sp., Trillium sp., Tulips, Euphorbia polychroma, Brunnera macrophylla, Asarum canadense, Stylophorum diphyllum (Wood Poppy), Phlox subulata, Phlox divaricata, Arisaema sp.(Jack-in-the-pulpit), Corydalis scouleri, Primula sp., Pulmonaria sp., Ajuga, dwarf bearded Iris, Saruma henryi, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Lamium sp., Lathyrus vernus, Lunaria annua (honesty or money plant), Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells), Glaucidium palmatum, Helleborus foetidus, Violets and Vinca minor. Lilac, Lonicera tatarica (invasive), Corydalis lutea, bleeding heart, Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-valley), Phlox stolonifera, Polygonatum sp. (Solomon's Seal), Mazus repens, Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower), Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) and Doronicum sp.,arebeginning to bloom. Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, Azalea ‘April Snow’, and Helleborus x hybridus are ending bloom. Hummingbirds were observed in Hanson, MA on May 7th. Baltimore orioles and a Canadian tiger swallowtail butterfly were observed May 11th. The warm weather has also brought out honeybees which were very active in the crabapples that are now in bloom.
Pests/Problems: In the Hanson, MA area, Winter moth caterpillars were found in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd instars, most were in the mid-late 2nd instar (base 40 growing degree days (GDD) at 470). Winter moth caterpillar development is slow this season but the caterpillars are out there. They were found in the expanding buds of oak, between leaves of various maples, European beech, apples, etc. The cold wet weather has contributed to slowing the caterpillars’ development along with many of the plants they are feeding on; continue to monitor host plants and manage where needed. In last week’s Cape Cod regional landscape report, Roberta Clark reported that deer tick nymphs were active on Cape Cod, so they probably are active, or soon will be, here in Southeastern, MA. Deer tick nymphs are very tiny and it is this stage that is most responsible for the transmission of Lyme disease. Be vigilant, conduct tick checks frequently and take precautions like using repellents when working outdoors; the nymph stage is active for several months. Monitor the undersides of azaleas for azalea whitefly, which is active. Gypsy moth eggs have hatched and small caterpillars were found hunkered down on the egg mass earlier this week. As the warm weather came in the past few days, the caterpillars started moving on and were found in expanding oak leaves. UMass Entomologist, Dr. Elkinton’s staff reports that gypsy moth numbers are very high in Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, MA. Eastern tent caterpillar webs are getting larger and they can be easily removed manually and destroyed at dusk, when the caterpillars retreat back to their tents. Ants are active in lawns and around patios, etc. Mosquitoes, wasps and hornets have started to appear. Continue to monitor for the following insects: Lily leaf beetle adults on true lilies, boxwood psyllid, snowball aphids, Hemlock woolly adelgid and European pine sawfly on Mugo and other pines. Black flies, carpenter bees, and dog ticks continue to be active. The beautiful, bright green, Six spotted tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) is active. This beetle feeds on other insects and spiders and is considered to be beneficial. Barberry, a Massachusetts invasive plant, is in full bloom. Now is a good time to shear or remove and destroy the plant, to reduce seed or eliminate future seed production. The new reddish-green growth of poison ivy is appearing in landscapes. Dandelions are still in bloom but many are setting seed. Ground ivy, garlic mustard, buttercups, veronica, violets, chickweed and wild mustard are in full bloom. Now is a good time to prune, or renovate, spring-flowering shrubs, like Forsythia and PJM rhododendrons, that have already flowered and are starting to put out new growth.