General Conditions: On September 21-23, the remnants of Hurricane Jose brought constant high/gusty winds, drizzle, lower temperatures and 2.93 inches of much-needed rain. Temperatures the following week were in the low to mid 80’s with high humidity. Temperatures and humidity have since dropped, with lovely fall weather being the norm. Prior to the rain mid-September, Hanson had received only 5.10 inches of rain over an approximate 12-week period and a total of 8.25 inches for the past 14 weeks. Soils have been very dry and along with the high temperatures, un-irrigated plants have been stressed. According to the U. S. Drought Monitor, most of southeastern MA is rated as “abnormally dry”. (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?MA).
Continue to remind clients to water high value trees and shrubs and especially those recently planted or defoliated by caterpillars this past spring. Many of the stressed trees have not fully recovered from last year’s extreme drought and more rain is needed, especially as plants go into dormancy.
The following plants continue to bloom: fall asters, goldenrod, roses, Butterfly bush, Hydrangea paniculata, Persicaria sp., Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’, Japanese anemone, Actaea (Cimicifuga) simplex, Sedum sp., Corydalis lutea, Montauk daisyand Lamium. The colorful fruits of many landscape plants are also providing interest: viburnums, hollies, crabapples, Kousa dogwood and flowering dogwood.
Fall color has not begun in the Hanson area and many drought-stressed plants are exhibiting marginal leaf burn, brown foliage and/or leaf drop; similar to this time last year. It will be interesting to see if we have a colorful fall or not. It does not look promising but time will tell.
Painted lady butterflies and cabbage butterflies continue to be seen. Hummingbirds left the site in Hanson around Sept.13, although a lone, probably migratory hummingbird did show up at the feeders on September 26, for 2 days, before moving on. Hanson has 3,964 GDD (Growing Degree Days) Base 40.
Pests/Problems: Drought stress is the concern right now, as insect activity has slowed down.
However, be on the lookout for wasps and hornets as their nests are large and may be in the ground, hidden in tree hollows, branches, behind siding, etc. at this time of year and if disturbed, or threatened, they may attack and could possibly cause a medical problem to victims.
Also, continue to monitor pines for sawflies, and rhododendrons, azaleas, and Pieris for lacebugs and manage if found. Slugs, aphids, snails, leafhoppers and mites remain active.
Mosquito populations have decreased although West Nile Virus has been found in some areas of the state, so continue to take precautions and use repellents. The same advice is given with regard to deer ticks which are active so continue toconduct tick checks frequently, and use insect repellent, especially during fall cleanups, when raking leaves, etc.
This is the time of year when some insects seek shelter to overwinter in buildings. Insects like: western conifer seed bugs, boxelder bugs, and lady beetles. These insects are usually considered nuisance pests, and usually do not warrant the use of insecticides indoors. Another newcomer to this list of insects that seek to overwinter in homes is the brown marmorated stink bug. This insect has been found in Massachusetts but not in every community.
Several people have commented on “the disease affecting” Norway maples. The disease is Tar spot and maybe it is more prevalent in some areas this year but it is a disease that is common on Norway and silver maples almost every year and treatment is usually not recommended.
Deer continue to browse.