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Landscape Message: Jun 26, 2015

June 26, 2015

UMass Extension's Landscape Message is an educational newsletter intended to inform and guide Green Industry professionals in the management of our collective landscape. Scouts compile and record environmental and phenological data for locations throughout Massachusetts to aid in the monitoring of plant and pest development, the planning of management strategies, and the creation of site-specific records for future reference.  Detailed reports from Extension specialists on growing conditions, pest activity, and cultural practices for the management of woody ornamentals, trees, and turf are regular features. UMass Extension has updated the following issue to provide timely management information and the latest regional news and environmental data.

The Landscape Message will be updated bi-weekly July-September. The next message will be available on July 10. Enjoy the 4th, and we'll check back with you in two weeks! To receive immediate notification when the next Landscape Message update is posted, be sure to join our e-mail list.

Scouting Information by Region

Regional Notes

Cape Cod Region (Barnstable)

General Conditions: This reporting period saw some relief from the prolonged dry weather. Most of the period was beautiful with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s F. This changed on Sunday, 6/21, when the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill came through the Cape. Warm, muggy air proceeded some drenching downpours. In Marstons Mills 0.83” was recorded in the rain gauge by the end of the day. On Tuesday, 6/23, a line of severe thunderstorms came through towards the end of the day with high wind, thunder and lightning. There was an additional 0.6” recorded in the rain gauge. Falmouth was struck with 60+mph winds. There were trees down, limbs broken and power loss. The weather has now returned to the upper 70s F with bright sun. Landscapes are looking lovely with Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) coming into bloom. Many landscape roses are also beginning to bloom. In the perennial garden, Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla) and Stella D’Oro daylilies are in full bloom. Hummingbird moths are flying and sipping nectar from many annual and perennial flowers.  Pests/Problems: Pieris lacebug nymphs and adults are active. Asiatic garden beetle is feeding on annuals at night. June Beetles are flying into windows at night. Oriental beetles are now active. Hibiscus sawfly larvae are feeding on perennial Hibiscus. Cutworms, aphids, leafhoppers and Cottony taxus scale, and spittlebugs are active. Rose slug sawfly has finished for this generation. Gypsy moth caterpillars are leaving the trees and searching for a place to pupate in most areas. There is considerable defoliation across the Cape this year due to the double whammy of winter moth caterpillar and gypsy moth caterpillar. The best practice for managing defoliated trees is to keep them well watered during periods of low rainfall. Do not fertilize. Four lined plant bug nymphs are active. Lily leaf beetle larvae continue to feed on Asiatic and Oriental lily foliage. Slugs and snails are active. Earwigs are skeletonizing foliage of newly planted annuals. Russell Norton, Extension agent with Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, reports that Armillaria root rot has been diagnosed on Leyland cypress. This fungus has been a problem on Arborvitae for many years and now is showing up in hedges of Leyland cypress. Look for white mycelial mats under the bark at the base of the trunk and on the upper roots of dying trees. Russ reports that Pestalotiopsis has also been diagnosed causing die-back of branches of Leyland cypress. This is usually a secondary pathogen coming in on winter damaged tissue. Powdery mildew can be observed on Phlox, lilac, and beebalm, as well as on squash and cucumbers in the vegetable garden. Black spot is active on susceptible roses. Spots of cedar-apple rust can be seen on susceptible crabapples.  Weeds are growing strong – Fleabane (Erigeron spp.) is in full bloom, with Galinsoga not far behind. Lamb’s quarters and red root pigweed are getting tall. Purslane and carpet weed are growing well. Deer tick nymphs are still active and mosquitoes are biting!

Southeast Region (Hanson)

General Conditions: Summer weather has been the norm this past week, with sufficient rain. Hanson received 2.25 inches of rain this past week and 0.75 inches of that rain fell in less than an hour on the afternoon of June 23rd, when Hanson, like many other MA towns and cities, was under a tornado watch for few hours. Soils are moist. Stewartia rostrata, Cornus kousa, Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia), Spiraea sp., Hypericum androsaemum ‘Mrs. Gladis Brabazon’, Indigofera sp., Wisteria frutescens (American Wisteria), Weston hybrid azaleas, Lonicera sempervirens, Clematis, roses, Ilex verticillata, Ilex pedunculosa, Campanula sp., Geranium sp., Persicaria polymorpha, Achillea, Alchemilla mollis, Oenothera sp., Aruncus dioicus, Lamium, Foxgloves, Valeriana officinalis (Garden Heliotrope), Allium and Asiatic lilies are in full bloom. Catalpa ovata (Chinese catalpa), Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea), Heliopsis sp., and Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink) are beginning bloom. Sinocalycanthus chinensis and Styrax japonicus are ending bloom. Cotinus obovatus (American Smoketree) and Cotinus coggygria (European Smokebush) are past bloom but continue to display their ‘smoke” (plume-like hairs that form on the sterile flowers). Staghorn sumac has ended bloom and fruit is now beginning to turn red.  Pests/Problems: To many people, the biggest concern now in the landscape is gypsy moth, with many oaks stripped bare of leaves. Many are just now realizing that their trees have been under further attack from gypsy moth caterpillars, after being damaged earlier by winter moth caterpillars. It is easy to spot the gypsy moth caterpillars now, as most of the males are in their 5th instar and females in their 6th and they are large; 2.5 - 3 inches! The caterpillars have started to pupate with many pupating in the leaves and needles they are feeding on. Others can be seen on the trunks of trees and other places. A person from Mansfield said the oak trees in her area were bare and that she just noticed the gypsy moth caterpillars all over her house. In Carver, someone sent a photo of gypsy moth caterpillars eating a young dwarf oriental spruce. Scouting has not revealed much evidence of sickened, or dead, caterpillars by the fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, although some dead caterpillars, killed by the fungus, were seen on a European beech. The caterpillars should be done feeding and should begin pupating within the next week. In a few weeks, after the adult moths emerge, we can all start looking for the pale, tan egg masses, which judging by the high number of caterpillars, won’t be too hard to find. It looks like next year has the potential to be a big year for gypsy moth. Stay tuned. Sod webworm moths emerged this week. Look for buff-tan colored moths with a telltale “snout”, flying in a zigzag pattern over the turf and dropping down, to lay eggs. These eggs will hatch into sod webworm caterpillars that feed on turf. Continue to monitor Echinacea, Heliopsis, marigolds and Bidens flowers for caterpillars of the sunflower moth (Homoeosoma electellum). Rose curculio weevil has emerged. This weevil has a reddish body with black legs and snout, which it uses to drill into the flowers and rosehips to feed and lay eggs. The following insects are active: Asiatic garden beetles, Oriental beetles, Hibiscus sawflies, earwigs, hemlock woolly adelgid, White-spotted Pine Sawyer (Asian longhorned beetle look-alike), golden tortoise beetle, azalea and Andromeda (Pieris) lacebugs, aphids, slugs, snails, stink bugs, four-lined plant bugs, leafhoppers, lily leaf beetle (adults & larvae), wasps, pine spittlebugs, hornets, deer flies, black flies, horse flies, deer and dog ticks. Right now, along with fewer slugs for this time of year, there does not appear to be many of the usual diseases in the landscape, perhaps, the long dry spell we had earlier this spring, with almost 5 weeks of little rain, is the reason. Powdery mildew was observed on Phlox paniculata and Cornus florida. Tip dieback is showing up on Kwanzan cherry and might be caused by a brown rot fungus, (Monilinia sp). Red thread is showing up on lawns.The white spore-covered Azalea leaf galls (Exobasidium vaccinii) are now bigger than a golf ball; remove and place them in the trash. The following weeds are in bloom: Linaria vulgaris (Yellow toadflax), milkweed, Achillea, oxeye daisy, clover, fleabane, Lonicera japonica, Queen-Anne’s-lace. Multiflora rose has ended bloom. Invasive weeds, like burning bush, Oriental bittersweet, autumn olive and multiflora rose, are forming seeds, and now is a terrific time to remove or shear back the plants to reduce seed dispersion. Mosquitoes continue to be a nuisance; it is a banner year for mosquitoes. We are starting to see the results of the northern migration of monarch butterflies. Monarchs, along with fritillaries, silver-spotted skippers and other butterflies, were reported in West Bridgewater and Hanson, MA. Beneficial insects like hoverflies, lady bug beetles and green tiger beetles are also active.

North Shore Region (Beverly)

General Conditions: During this reporting period temperatures were in the 70s during the day and low 60s during the night. Long Hill gained 112 growing degree days (GDD) during this period, and pproximately 1.38 inches of rainfall were received. Most the rainfall came on Sunday June 21 and the rest on Tuesday the 23rd . Turf on lawns is green and the landscapes are looking lush and fresh due the rains during this period and in the last few weeks. Woody plants seen in bloom include: Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata), Peking tree lilac (Syringa pekinensis), Stewartia (Stewartia rostrata), Privet (Ligustrum spp.), Kousa Dogwood (Cornus Kousa), Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), Summer blooming azaleas, Japanese holly (Ilex crenata), Wahoo Euonymus (Euonymus atropurpureus), Smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria), Sweet azalea (Rhododendron arborescens), Chinese stewartia (Stewartia gemmata) and Indigofera (Indigofera amblyantha). Herbaceous plants in bloom include: Masquerade rose (Rosa Masquerade), Native Rose (Rosa virginiana) Summer flowering roses (Rosa sp.) Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Clematis vines (Clematis paniculata), Spiderwort (Tradescantia sp.), Bush cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), Fever View daisy (Chrysanthemum parthenium), Persicaria (Persicaria polymorpha), Water lily (Nymphaea odorata), Hardy cranesbill (Geranium sp.), and Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare).  Pests/Problems: Woodchucks are causing some damage on Hostas. If you have problems with woodchucks in your garden consider non-lethal control measures such as setting up a fence around the garden with a mesh size less than 2X2 inches. Leaf tip necrosis was seen on a Japanese stewartia probably caused by anthracnose. If you notice this in your landscape, consider sending a sample to the UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab for correct diagnosis of the problem. Some gypsy moth damage has been seen on some landscapes. Hemlock woolly adelgid continue to be active on infested trees. If you have infested trees consider getting them treated by a professional. Poison ivy is growing vigorously and young plants were seen sprouting in the landscape. Learn how to identify poison ivy to prevent exposure. Other weeds are growing vigorously due to the rains in the last few weeks. Take measures to control weeds before they set seed. Ticks and mosquitoes continue to be very active. Protect yourself with a repellent when working outdoors.

East Region (Boston)

General Conditions: Temperatures have remained consistent compared to last week. Low temperatures averaged 60º F, ranging from 52º F to 64º F; high temperatures averaged 80º F, ranging from 71º F to 88º F. We accumulated 140.5 GDDs over the last week bringing us to 805 GDDs on the year. We received a good amount of rain on Sunday the 21st, amounting to 1.62 inches of precipitation. Despite calls for thunderstorms and bad weather on the 23rd, we received very little rain. Turf is green from all the rain and the landscape is looking fresh. Woody plants currently in bloom include: Cornus paucinervis (littleleaf dogwood), Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea), Ilex grabra (inkberry), Ilex pedunculosa (longstalk holly), Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel), Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender), Lespedeza bicolor (shrub bushclover), Lyonia ligustrina (huckleberry), Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia), Spiraea japonica (Japanese spirea), Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese stewartia), Syringa pekinensis (Pekin lilac), Tripterygium wilfordii (thunder god vine), Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum), and Vitex sp. (chastetree). Herbaceous perennial in bloom include: Achillea 'Moonshine' (yarrow), Alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle), Aruncus dioicus (goatsbeard), Astilbe sp. (false spirea), Coreopsis sp. (yellow tickseed), Digitalis sp. (foxglove), Geranium sp. (geranium), Heuchera sp. cultivars (coral bells), Hosta sp. cultivars (hosta), Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta daisy), Lilium sp. (lily) and Polemonium sp. (Jacob's ladder). Pests/Problems: Weeds are plentiful throughout the landscape. Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is blooming as is pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea) and spiderwort (Tradescantia sp.). Black swallowwort (Cynanchum louiseae) continues to flower and is just beginning to set seed. At this time of year, grasses are to blame for most allergies. Fungal diseases are prevalent on leaves of many plants. Mosquitos are very active at this time.

Metro West (Acton)

General Conditions: This week we welcomed summer with a gain of 126.5 GDD during this recording period and received a total of 2.53"of rain with much of it, 2.22”, recorded on Sunday the 21st. The average rainfall for the month of June is 3.93" and 5.09” of rain has been recorded for this month so far and it is not yet over! Needless to say, soils are moist. Woody plants seen in bloom this week are Buddleia spp. (Butterfly Bush), Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa), Cornus kousa (Kousa Dogwood), C. sericea (Redosier Dogwood), Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea), Ilex glabra (Inkberry), Ligustrum spp. (Privet), Philadelphus spp. (Sweet Mock Orange), Potentilla fruiticosa (Potentilla), P. tridentata (Cinquefoil), Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac), Rosa rugosa (Rugosa Rose), R. 'Knockout' (The Knockout family of Roses), Rosa sp. (Rose), Rubus odoratus (Purple flowered Raspberry), Sambucus canadensis (American Elderberry), Spirea japonica 'Alpina' (Daphne Spirea), Spiraea spp. (Spirea), Stewartia psuedocamellia (Japanese Stewartia), Syringa reticulata (Japanese Tree Lilac) and Tilia cordata (Littleleaf Linden). Woody vines in bloom are: Clematis spp. (Clematis) and Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle). Contributing even more color and interest to the landscape are some flowering herbaceous plants including: Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), Aruncus aethusifolius (Dwarf Goat's Beard), A. dioicus (Goat's Beard), Astilbe spp. (False spirea), Campanula persicifolia (Peach-leafed Bell Flower), C. takesimana 'Elizabeth' (Bellflower), Chrysogonum virginianum 'Allen Bush' (Green and Gold), Clematis recta 'Purpurea' (Clematis), Coreopsis sp. (Tickseed), Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink), Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove), Filipendula sp. (Meadow Sweet), Gaillardia aristata (Indian Blanket Flower), Geranium sanguineum (Cranesbill Geranium), G. ‘Johnson’s Blue’ (Cranesbill), Hemerocallis 'Stella D'Oro' (Daylily), H. fulva (Orange Daylily), H. spp. (Daylily), Heuchera spp. (Coral Bells), Hosta spp. (Plantain Lily), Iris ensata (Japanese Iris), Leucanthemum sp. (Shasta Daisy), Lilium spp. (Lily), Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion), Nepeta spp. (Ornamental Catmint), Oenothera macrocarpa (Ozark Sundrops), Paeonia spp. (Peony), Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower), Salvia nemerosa (Salvia), Saponaria ocymoides (Rock Soapwort), Sedum kamschaticum (Stonecrop), Thermopsis caroliniana (Southern Lupine), Thymus praecox (Thyme), Tradescantia sp. (Spiderwort) and Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue' (Speedwell).  Pests/Problems: Pine Sawyer Beetles have recently emerged and are often very confused with the Asian Longhorned Beetle and can be distinguished by its single white dot found at the base of its wing cover. Asian Longhorned Beetles have yet to emerge but will soon! Ticks and mosquitoes are active and feeding.

Central Region (Boylston)

General Conditions: A pleasant week with summery temperatures, a touch of humidity and some welcome rain, particularly the 1.1” recieved on Sunday, June 21st. We were spared the extreme storms that passed through part of the region on Tuesday, and received 0.24” of rain. Some of the plants bloom this week include Catalpa speciosa, Summer Azaleas, Oakleaf Hydrangea (H. quercifolia), Rosa rugosa, Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’, Cornus kousa, Syringa reticulata, Calycanthus ’Venus’, Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’, Stewartia pseudocamellia, Magnolia virginiana, Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Variegata’, Potentilla fruticosa, Calluna vulgaris ‘Silver Knight’ and ‘County Wicklow’, Clematis ‘Polish Spirit’, Corydalis lutea, Aruncus dioicus, early Hemerocallis cultivars, Verbascum chaixii, Cynanchum ascyrifolium, Penstemon barbatus subsp. coccineus, Penstemon pinifolius, Veronica spicata, Veronica spicata subsp. incanca, Phlox glaberrima ‘Triple Play’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Achillea millefolium, and Astilbe cultivars.  Pests/Problems: We are seeing damage from sawfly on Hibiscus moscheutos, and Rose Slug Sawflies are still active. Spots of Cedar apple rust are evident on susceptible Crabapple leaves. Three lined potato beetles are active on Nicotiana and other Solanaceous plants. We are also seeing gypsy moth caterpillars and the golden tortoise beetle. Fire blight continues to show on Apples.

Pioneer Valley Region (Amherst)

General Conditions: It was another brilliantly wet week in the Pioneer Valley with well over an inch of new precipitation. Much of that total was accrued during a morning rainstorm on Father’s Day, 6/21. Storm totals ranged from ~0.80ʺ in Hampden County to >1.25ʺ in Franklin County. At Barnes Airport in Westfield, 5.5ʺ has now been recorded during the month of June, well above average. Rain during this time of year is critical for trees and shrubs dealing with cankers and other bark wounds. Callus tissue can only develop during annual increment growth and plentiful soil moisture will ensure growth is robust and not marginalized in favor of root, shoot and foliage production. Temperatures during this reporting period were seasonable at times, with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the upper 50s while at other times hot and even muggy, with the heat index (ambient air temperature with relative humidity) pushing over 90º F on 6/23. Scattered thunderstorms, ushered in by a large cold front moved the humid air mass out of the region during the evening of 6/23. Widespread warnings of severe thunderstorms and possible tornado development were enacted by the National Weather Service. The worst of the strong winds appeared to have struck Hampden County and several large trees were uprooted with structural damage to residential homes reported. There were reports of additional tree failures from the storm in western Franklin County. Thankfully, no one was injured. We are now squarely in the time of year when structural weaknesses are exposed in trees with significant root and/or butt rot infections. In many cases, there are very few symptoms or signs of internal decay. However, mid-summer starts the season when annual fruiting bodies are produced by some wood-rotting fungal pathogens (e.g. Laetiporus, Bondarzewia, Phaeolus, among others). Carefully scout the base of large trees on a weekly basis to detect these fruiting bodies, which may indicate significant internal decay is present.  Pests/Problems: Because of the hot and bone dry conditions in May, many of the common foliar pathogens are delayed this season. Horsechestnut leaf blotch is just starting to appear and may not be as conspicuous as it is in typical years. Cedar-apple rust galls on eastern redcedar have been observed fruiting recently. These spores will disperse to create orange-red colored lesions on apple. To date, many landscape apple and crabapple trees have only minimal apple scab, frogeye leaf spot and cedar-apple rust infections. Phyllosticta leaf blotch on witchhazel (pictured below) is prominent in the landscape, however. There are numerous Phyllosticta species that attack a wide array of conifers and hardwoods. Most are minor pathogens that do not warrant concern (such as purple eye leaf spot of maple). But P. hamamelidis can be a problematic pathogen on witchhazels, especially those growing in shaded conditions and stressed by winter injury. Speaking of Phyllosticta, arborvitae needle blight, caused by P. thujae continues to be observed on landscape Thuja. Drought stress and/or winter injury may be facilitating establishment of the pathogen since little is currently known about its virulence as a plant pathogen. Damage from the honeylocust plant bug is widespread in the region but its effects on overall tree health are minimal. Continue to scout eastern white pine and Norway spruce for terminal leader damage from the white pine weevil. Diagnosing damage from this pest can be difficult at times, since the terminal shoots may be healthy but are drooping simply because the shoots haven’t hardened off and cannot fully support their own weight just yet. Obviously blighted terminals should be pruned out as soon as possible.

Berkshire Region (Great Barrington)

General Conditions: A pattern of scattered thunderstorms has taken hold and looks to continue over the next week or more. Some storms have been accompanied by high winds resulting in some downed trees, usually trees with some structural weakness. Soil moisture remains high and is saturated on poorly drained sites. Temperatures are near normal or slightly below at night. Growth of turfgrass and weeds has accelerated. Multiflora rose continues in full bloom and is a dominant presence in unmanaged landscapes. Goutweed is in bloom. Pests/Problems: With the prevailing wet conditions, slugs and snails have become prominent pests in gardens and are devouring annuals as well as many herbaceous perennials. Mosquitoes, too, are enjoying the favorable conditions and are a major nuisance at this time. Carpenter bees, wasps, earwigs, millipedes, and ticks are still found in high numbers as are black cutworms, aphids, and spanworms. Oak lace bug eggs have begun to hatch. Leaf edge notches in rhododendron foliage indicate feeding by adult black vine weevils but none were found in the burlap traps this week. Euonymus scale crawlers have settled. Pine spittlebug was seen on pines and on hemlock. Spittlebugs were also spotted on Cornus mas and on many herbaceous plants. Woolly beech aphid, imported willow leaf beetle larvae, pupae, and adults are still around. Disease pressure remains low with fire blight, anthracnose, black spot apple scab, cedar apple rust, and an assortment of leaf spots noticeable exceptions. Powdery mildew on Physocarpus and a few herbaceous perennials has made an appearance.

Environmental Data

The following growing-degree-day (GDD) and precipitation data was collected for an approximately one week period, June 18 through June 24. Soil temperature and phenological indicators were observed on or about June 24. Total accumulated GDDs represent the heating units above a 50° F baseline temperature collected via our instruments for the 2015 calendar year. This information is intended for use as a guide for monitoring the developmental stages of pests in your location and planning management strategies accordingly.


(1-Week Gain)

(Total 2015 Accumulation)

Soil Temp
(°F at 4" depth)

(1-Week Gain in inches)

Cape Cod










North Shore










Metro West










Pioneer Valley















n/a = information not available


Phenological indicators are a visual tool for correlating plant development with pest development. The following are indicator plants and the stages of bloom observed for this period:

Indicator Plants - Stages of Flowering (BEGIN, BEGIN/FULL, FULL, FULL/END, END)
Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle Hydrangea) begin/full * * begin * * * *
Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire) begin full begin/full full * full begin/full begin/full
Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea) * begin begin begin begi begin begin begin
Tilia cordata (Littleleaf Linden) * * * begin begin * full *
Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea) begin begin/full begin full begin begin begin *
Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac) begin end begin full begin/full full full begin
Ligustrum spp. (Privet) begin full/end full full full * full full
Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa) * full/end full/end end full/end full/end end end
Sambucus canadensis (American Elderberry) * full full full/end full full full full
Syringa reticulata (Japanese Tree Lilac) full/end end full end full full full full
Cladrastis kentukea (Yellowwood) end end end * end end end end
Philadelphus spp. (Mockorange) full full/end full/end full/end full/end full/end full/end full
Kalmia latifolia (Mountain-laurel) full/end full/end full/end end end end end end
* = no activity to report/information not available
  • CAPE COD REGION - Roberta Clark, UMass Extension Horticulturist for Barnstable County - Retired, reporting from Barnstable.
  • SOUTHEAST REGION - Deborah Swanson, UMass Extension Horticulturist for Plymouth County - Retired, reporting from Hanson.
  • NORTH SHORE REGION - Geoffrey Njue, Green Industry Specialist, UMass Extension, reporting from the Long Hill Reservation, Beverly.
  • EAST REGION - Kit Ganshaw & Sue Pfeiffer, Horticulturists, reporting from the Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain.
  • METRO WEST REGION – Julie Coop, Forester, Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, reporting from Acton.
  • CENTRAL REGION  -  Joann Vieira, Superintendent of Horticulture, reporting from the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston.
  • PIONEER VALLEY REGION - Nick Brazee, Plant Pathologist, UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab, reporting from UMass Amherst.
  • BERKSHIRE REGION - Ron Kujawski, Horticultural Consultant, reporting from Great Barrington.

Woody Ornamentals


Needle and shoot blight caused by Pestalotiopsis on Leyland cypress (×Cypressocyparis leylandii). Multiple samples from eastern and southeastern Mass. Trees planted as a screening hedge, shedding needles prematurely, yellowing/browning of foliage and general branch dieback. Interior growth is shedding prior to foliage on shoot tips. Leyland cypress is hardy only to zone 5 and winter injury is likely an predisposing stress. Root disease from Armillaria was confirmed in one case. Two species of Pestalotiopsis have been recovered from diseased needles. Additional work is being performed to achieve a more exact species identification.

Shoot and needle blight of Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) caused by Diplodia pinea. The nemesis of two- and three-needle pines, Diplodia is an aggressive and destructive pathogen. Tree is approximately 70-years-old and major symptoms of decline have been evident for three years. Premature needle shedding and shoot dieback are present primarily on lower branches.

Fire blight, caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, on apple (Malus domestica) and pear (Pyrus communis). Samples originated from two separate orchards, both small, in eastern New York State. Blackened shoot tips and leaves, with the characteristic “burned/torched” appearance developed during the first week of June. Fire blight inoculum was abundant this spring, but outbreaks were mostly contained by the lack of rain during the flowering period in May. The rains in June have initiated some local outbreaks.

Stem cankering caused by Cenangium ferruginosum and needle cast caused by Rhizosphaera and Pestalotiopisis on Tanyosho pine (Pinus densiflora 'Umbraculifera'). Tree is approximately 40-years-old and has been present at the site for 30 years. Tree is sheared to maintain a compact canopy. This spring, large portions of the canopy began dying back and new growth is very sparse. Cenangium is common on pines, mostly hard pines, suffering from drought stress or winter injury.

Foliar anthracnose caused by Aureobasidium apocryptum on red maple (Acer rubrum). Tree is approximately 12-years-old, present at the site for three years. In May, foliage became curled and scorched along the margins throughout the canopy. The damage appeared to the managing arborist as heat scorch or a late frost. Additional interveinal blotches developed and fruiting bodies of the pathogen (acervuli) were abundant.

Fig1: Symptoms of brown needle spot, caused by Mycosphaerella dearnessii, on limber pine (Pinus flexis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid').      Fig2: Leaf blotch, caused by Phyllosticta hamamelidis on witchhazel (Hamaemelis sp.).     Fig3: Current season's galls produced by the eastern spruce gall adelgid (Adelges abietis) on Norway spruce (Picea abies).

For more detailed management information for woody plant diseases in the landscape, refer to UMass Extension's Professional Management Guide for Diseases of Trees and Shrubs.

Report by Nick Brazee, Plant Pathologist, UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab, UMass Amherst.

Other Relevant News/Pest Alerts

New Massachusetts Plant Nutrient Regulations in effect: Turf and landscape practitioners and fertilizer retailers in Massachusetts are advised to keep informed about changing plant nutrient management regulations.  The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has developed statewide plant nutrient regulations that went into effect on June 5, 2015.  New regulations for agricultural production will take effect on December 5, 2015.

For more information or questions about the regulations contact Hotze Wijnja at MDAR: or 617-626-1771.

New fact sheets: Two new fact sheets were posted to our Home Lawn & Garden Library this week: Fertilizing Flower Gardens and Avoid Too Much Phosphorus and Plant Pest and Disease Management: The Basics.

Additional Resources

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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

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

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.

Ticks are active at this time! 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