General Conditions: Wow! Where did spring go? Warm weather this past week, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, pushed plant development and now we are a week ahead with some plants. There is a considerable amount of overlap of plants in bloom, making for very colorful landscapes! Aesculus hippocastanum (Common Horsechestnut), Halesia sp. (Silverbell), Magnolia macrophylla and late blooming magnolia hybrids, Cercis canadensis, Cornus florida, crabapples, Exochorda racemosa (Pearlbush), Pieris japonica, Pieris floribunda (Mountain Pieris), Pieris 'Brouwer's Beauty', Viburnum 'Eskimo', Viburnum carlesii (Mayflower Viburnum), Viburnum ‘Mohawk’, Wisteria floribunda (Japanese Wisteria), Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice), Ilex x meserveae (Meserve hybrid Hollies), Rhododendron schlippenbachii (Royal azalea), Rhododendron carolinianum, Fothergilla sp., Spiraea prunifolia (Bridalwreath Spirea), Syringa sp., Loniceratatarica, Kerria, Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie', Daphne tangutica, Weigela florida 'Versicolor', Iberis sempervirens, Pulmonaria, Trillium, Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-valley), Helleborus foetidus, Euphorbia polychroma, Lamium sp., Primula sp., Iberis sp., Brunnera macrophylla, Ajuga, Saruma henryi, Phlox subulata, Phlox divaricata, Myosotis sylvatica (Forget-me-not), Lunaria annua (honesty or money plant), Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding heart), Dicentra eximia (fringed Bleeding heart), Corydalis scouleri, Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower), Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells), Violets, Vinca minor, Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff), Hyacinthoides hispanica, dwarf bearded Iris, Arisaema (Jack-in-the-pulpit), Polygonatum sp. (Solomon's Seal), tulips, and Epimedium sp., are in full bloom. Aristolochia macrophylla (formerly, durior) or Dutchman's pipe is in bloom. This is an old-fashioned native vine that was often used as a privacy screen on front porches. This vine is a source of food for the pipevine swallowtail. Lawns are lush and green. Hanson received 0.15 inches of rain and soils are very dry. The warm weather, combined with no rain, is stressing plants and many are wilting. Remind clients to water and to especially water newly planted trees and shrubs and those planted within the past 2-3 years that may not yet be established. Pollen, especially oak pollen, is everywhere and the weather forecasters are referring to it as a “Pollen Tsunami”. Pests/Problems:The warm weather also pushed insect development and most winter moth caterpillars are now in late 3rd instar and soon-to-be 4th. Damage by winter moth caterpillars is starting to show up. Continue to monitor susceptible trees and shrubs and manage, if needed. Winter moth caterpillars will continue to feed for the next 1-2 weeks, and can do considerable damage in that time before they pupate. This past week, the caterpillars have been ballooning and filling the air with “silk” and 3rd instar caterpillars. They are looking for food sources and will feed on understory plants like roses, Japanese maples, etc. Monitor for gypsy moth caterpillars which are active. Right now, the caterpillars are small and black with tiny hairs on their bodies which can cause allergic reactions (rash) in some people. Dr. Joe Elkinton’s staff reports seeing, high numbers of gypsy moth, in pockets of Freetown State Forest, Assonet, MA and Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, MA. Azalea leaf sawfly is active on deciduous azaleas, especially ‘Exbury’. This caterpillar-like larva is bright green and feeds on the leaf margin, making it difficult to see. It will devour the leaf down to the midvein, if left untreated. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) does not work on sawflies. Lily leaf beetle adults are active, mating and laying eggs on true lilies. There appears to be higher numbers of eastern tent caterpillars in the area this year. The silken “tents” are readily visible on Malus and Prunus species and are easily seen driving around Plymouth County. Hemlock woolly adelgid, spruce spider mite, aphids, woolly beech aphid, ants, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, honeybees, mason bees, carpenter bees, bumblebees, mosquitoes, deer and dog ticks continue to be active. Reports continue to come in of the high number of deer ticks this year. The deer tick nymph stage is often thought to be very responsible for transmitting Lyme disease. In this stage the ticks are very tiny and are active for several months. To avoid being bitten and possibly contracting Lyme or one of the other tick-borne diseases, consider using a repellent, conduct tick checks frequently, shower or bathe after yard work and place clothes in the dryer to desiccate and kill any ticks. Azalea leaf gall (Exobasidium vaccinii), a fungal disease, has just started to appear on deciduous azaleas. Look for small, green galls and hand pick and remove and destroy before they become larger and turn white. Now as they come into bloom, is a good time to shear, cut back or remove Massachusetts invasive plants, barberry, autumn olive and burning bush. These actions will reduce seed production and help reduce the population of more of these invasive plants. Veronica, garlic mustard, ground ivy, and dandelions are in full bloom. American hollies have started to shed their older, yellow leaves which drop at this time of year. Turkeys have reappeared and the Tom’s are looking for mates... Oh joy.