General Conditions: The warm summer-like weather gave way to fall with cooler days and nights. Rain was a welcome relief and Hanson received 5.84 inches of much needed rain. The rain did much to alleviate some of the drought stress but more is needed before plants go into dormancy. The first frost of the season came overnight on Oct. 26-27; cold enough (32 degrees) to frost the coleus but tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, geraniums were fine. A later frost (30 degrees) overnight on Oct. 31 - Nov. 1, took out the tomatoes, but marigolds, etc still look ok. Hanson has not had a killing frost to date. The following plants remain in bloom: landscape roses, hardy Chrysanthemums (Clara Curtis, Sheffield pink, etc.), Nippon daisy, Aconitum sp., Corydalis lutea, Lamium, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, and a few lingering Phlox paniculata. Fall color was mixed this year. The drought certainly impacted fall color with many trees dropping leaves before they changed color or just turned brown and dropped. Fall color is impressive on Oxydendron arboreum, Ginkgo biloba, some red maples, etc. but overall not as impressive as in previous years.
With the rain, lawns started to recover and come out of dormancy. Many lawns have greened up nicely and mowing continues.
Pests/Problems: Continue to monitorand manageAndromeda, rhododendron and azalea, for lacebugs which remain active. At one site, high populations of lacebugs were observed on several azaleas and also on P.J.M. rhododendron; plants that, in previous years, never had a lacebug problem. The drought stress is most likely a contributing factor. Winter moths, fall cankerworm moths and Bruce spanworm moths will be emerging in a few weeks. A few winter moths may be seen emerging in the next week or so, but heaviest flights are usually just before and around Thanksgiving, especially on warm nights and after rain. Insect activity has slowed down as is usual at this time of year, although boxelder bugs, slugs and snails remain active.
Mosquitoes also remain active although in very small numbers. Adult deer ticks are active; continue to take precautions and use a repellent like DEET, especially during fall cleanups. The fall invaders (Asian ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis), western conifer seedbugs, spiders, etc., were observed on buildings, looking to enter and find shelter to overwinter.
Fall cleanups are underway and, now is a good time to cut back perennials, remove leaves, grass and weeds from around trees and shrubs, etc. to help remove habitat for voles and mice. Turkeys continue to be seen in high numbers in many southeast MA locations and deer continue to browse.