General Conditions: Like a broken record, the message remains the same: the drought continues to be the most challenging landscape concern. According to reports, August was the warmest on record and one of the driest. Hanson received 0.62 inches of rain over the past two weeks, most of that from Hurricane Hermine, which did not deliver the much anticipated “downpours” that were predicted. Much more rain is needed as soils remain powder-dry and plants remain drought-stressed exhibiting leaf drop, leaf scorch, wilting, etc.
Albizia julibrissin, Rose-of-Sharon, roses, Campsis radicans, Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea quercifolia, Caryopteris divaricata, Butterfly Bush, Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia syphilitica, Lobelia hybrids, Heliopsis ‘Summer Sun’, Helianthus 'Lemon Queen', Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne', Japanese anemone, Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’, Rudbeckia triloba, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm,’ Sedum sp., Eupatorium sp., Corydalis lutea, Hosta sp., ornamental grasses, Coreopsis ‘Harvest Moon‘ and Phlox paniculata remain in bloom. New England asters are beginning to bloom and Clerodendron trichotomum, Veronicastrum and Echinacea purpurea and hybrids are ending bloom. The fruits of hollies, Kousa dogwood, Cornus controversa, crabapples, Staghorn sumac and Viburnums are beginning to form and color-up; however, the fruits are small on those plants that were not irrigated. On some of the non-irrigated hollies, the developing fruit has dropped due to the drought.
Pests/Problems: Again the drought continues to be the biggest problem. Most towns have initiated some form of water ban and those plants and lawns that have not been irrigated are certainly showing the stress. If clients can water, advise them to water their high value trees and shrubs.
Continue to monitor for Andromeda and azalea lacebugs which can cause significant damage and also monitor for dogwood sawfly larvae, birch sawfly larvae, redheaded pine sawfly larvae and introduced pine sawfly larvae, which can also cause significant damage. Remember, sawflies are not Lepidopteron caterpillars and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) will not work on sawflies. Also continue to monitor for Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), dogwood sawfly larvae; and viburnum leaf beetle. (See Tawny Simisky’s Insect section of the Landscape Message).
The following insects remain active: wasps, spider mites, boxelder beetles, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, sunflower moth caterpillars and aphids.
Sod webworm adult moths are active. Continue to monitor lawns for sod webworm larvae and for chinch bug activity.
Once again a cautionary note to be careful and to be on the lookout for ground nesting yellow jackets and the grey paper-like nests of the bald-faced hornet which hang from branches often hidden within the foliage. Just last week, a landscaper relayed the story of one of his employees running into a low-hanging branch while mowing and disturbing a bald-faced wasp nest. The unlucky guy was stung 15 times and had to run quite a distance before the wasps stopped attacking him.
Powdery mildew continues to show up on Monarda, dogwood, Helianthus, Lonicera and garden phlox and tarspot is becoming more pronounced on Norway maple.
Ragweed, Japanese knotweed and jewelweed continue to bloom and pokeweed is setting fruit.
As part of fall cleanup, now perhaps, would be a good time to prune, shear, or remove autumn olive, oriental bittersweet, burning bush and other invasive plants whose fruits are beginning to ripen and are very attractive to birds, which inadvertently through seed dispersal, help spread the plants.
Deer continue to browse plants, especially hosta.