General Conditions: The last two weeks of summer remained warm, sunny and dry, except for 0.42 inches of rain on Monday, Sept. 19. Hanson, like many other towns in Southeastern, MA, did not receive the rain that was predicted, and hoped for. Most towns are, and remain, in an Extreme Drought designation, with most towns posting some form of water ban. Non-irrigated landscape plants continue to exhibit signs of drought through marginal leaf necrosis, leaf drop, wilt, premature ‘fall’ color, etc. Many trees, like oaks, did not fully refoliate after the defoliation from gypsy moth caterpillars.
Heptacodium miconioides (Seven-Son Flower), Albizia julibrissin, Butterfly bush, Rose-of-Sharon, roses, Campsis radicans, Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea quercifolia, Actaea (Cimicifuga) simplex, Eupatorium rugosum, fall asters, Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed), Tricyrtis formosana ‘GiltyPleasure’, Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’, Sedum sp., Japanese anemone, ornamental grasses, Corydalis lutea, goldenrod, Caryopteris divaricata, Coreopsis ‘Harvest Moon‘ and Phlox paniculata continue to bloom.
Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia syphilitica, Lobelia hybrids, Heliopsis ‘Summer Sun’, Helianthus 'Lemon Queen', Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne' and Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm are ending bloom.
Autumn clematis is in full bloom. While this plant is not listed as a Massachusetts invasive plant, it certainly can aggressively seed into many areas around and away from where it is planted. If your clients want to avoid unwanted numerous clematis seedlings next year, shear the plants immediately after flowering and before seed set.
Hummingbirds appear to have left the area. Another sign that fall is here.
Pests/Problems: There are no new pest problems to report and insect activity is slowing down. The following insects remain active: lacebugs, sawfly larvae on various plants, wasps, hornet, aphids, spider mites, slugs and snails. Continue to monitor for hemlock woolly adelgid and continue to monitor for Asian Longhorned beetles on susceptible trees. (See Tawny Simisky’s Insect Report). Also, ticks and mosquitoes remain active and the diseases they are capable of passing along to you are daunting; continue to take precaution against ticks and mosquitoes and use a repellent.
Beneficial insects like lady bugs and their larvae also remain active.
Drought continues to be the biggest landscape challenge and if clients are planting trees and shrubs and are having lawns put in or renovated, remind clients that newly planted plants all need to be watered on a regular basis and grass seed will not germinate without moisture and the young seedlings will not be sustained without it. Education of clients is important.
Many plants in non-irrigated landscapes, especially perennials, are looking bedraggled and the landscape may benefit from early fall cleanups.
Deer, chipmunks, squirrels and turkeys continue to be a landscape nuisance.