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Landscape Message: Apr 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

UMass Extension's Landscape Message is an educational newsletter intended to inform and guide Massachusetts Green Industry professionals in the management of our collective landscape. Detailed reports from scouts and Extension specialists on growing conditions, pest activity, and cultural practices for the management of woody ornamentals, trees, and turf are regular features. The following issue has been updated to provide timely management information and the latest regional news and environmental data.

Well-Wishes for a Healthy, Safe 2020 Season from the Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program

Dear Landscape Message Readers,

As we begin this surreal 2020 growing season, everyone here at UMass Extension hopes that you, your families, friends, coworkers, clients, and communities are healthy and prioritize safety, above all. For the Green Industry professionals in Massachusetts, the prioritization of safety will not come as an unusual activity, despite the particularly unfamiliar circumstances we all currently find ourselves in.

UMass Extension is abiding by the current Massachusetts and University policy which has the effect of temporarily suspending most of the on-campus and in-person services we provide. However, our professional staff and the contributors to the Landscape Message are working remotely while following public health guidance and hope to continue to provide the useful and science-based information for landscapers, arborists, turf managers, nursery growers, garden designers, and other practitioners that you have come to expect from this publication.

We recognize that families, Green Industry businesses, communities, and our Commonwealth have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. We encourage everyone to stay up-to-date with the latest guidance from the MA Department of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here: . Current information about the UMass response to COVID-19 can be found here: . COVID-19 information specific to landscapers, garden centers, and nurseries was also featured in the April issue of Hort Notes: Clippings from the Garden, here: .

Stay safe everyone, and know that we are thinking of you and doing our best to maintain and expand our remote educational offerings at this time.


Tawny Simisky

Extension Entomologist

Interim Team Leader of the Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program

The Landscape Message will be updated weekly in May. The next message will be posted on April 24. To receive immediate notification when the next Landscape Message update is posted, be sure to join our e-mail list.

To read individual sections of the message, click on the section headings below to expand the content:

Scouting Information by Region

Regional Notes

Woody Ornamentals

Additional Resources

To receive immediate notification when the next Landscape Message update is posted, join our email list by emailing your request to with Subscribe Greeninfo in the subject line, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For a complete listing of upcoming events, see our Upcoming Educational Events page.

For commercial growers of greenhouse crops and flowers - Check out UMass Extension's Greenhouse Update website

For professional turf managers - Check out Turf Management Updates

For home gardeners and garden retailers - Check out home lawn and garden resources. UMass Extension also has a Twitter feed that provides timely, daily gardening tips, sunrise and sunset times to home gardeners, see

Current Massachusetts and University policy have the effect of temporarily suspending most of the on-campus services that we provide, including but not limited to:

  • Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Lab
  • Plant Disease Diagnostics Lab
  • Weed, Insect, Turfgrass, and Invasive Plant Identification

Until further notice, please do not send or deliver samples to the campus, as we cannot process them.

Diagnostic Services

A UMass Laboratory Diagnoses Landscape and Turf Problems - The UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab is available to serve commercial landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries and other green industry professionals. It provides woody plant and turf disease analysis, woody plant and turf insect identification, turfgrass identification, weed identification, and offers a report of pest management strategies that are research based, economically sound and environmentally appropriate for the situation. Accurate diagnosis for a turf or landscape problem can often eliminate or reduce the need for pesticide use. For sampling procedures, detailed submission instructions and a list of fees, see Plant Diagnostics Laboratory . No samples are being accepted at this time.

Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing - The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory is located on the campus of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Testing services are available to all. The function of the Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. For complete information, visit the UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory web site. Alternatively, call the lab at (413) 545-2311. No samples are being accepted at this time.

At this time, the TickReport Risk Assessment and Passive Surveillance Program, which is not part of UMass Extension, remains open. Tick samples can continue to be submitted via . Please contact TickReport with further questions and updates on the status of their service.

Ticks are active any time that temperatures are above freezing! Remember to take appropriate precautions when working and playing outdoors, and conduct daily tick checks. UMass tests ticks for the presence of Lyme disease and other disease pathogens. Learn more