A monthly e-newsletter from UMass Extension for landscapers, arborists, and other Green Industry professionals, including monthly tips for home gardeners. To read individual sections of the message, click on the section headings below to expand the content: 2021 UMass Garden Calendar For many years, UMass Extension has worked with the citizens of Massachusetts to help them make sound choices about growing, planting and maintaining plants in their landscapes, including vegetables, backyard fruits, and ornamental plants. Our 2021 Garden Calendar continues UMass Extension’s tradition of providing gardeners with useful information. This year’s calendar offers tips on getting started with a vegetable garden with an emphasis on the basics, raised beds, and growing in containers. Nothing is fresher or more satisfying than growing and harvesting an abundance of high quality vegetables and herbs. Growing your own food is also appealing as a way do something fun that is compatible with social distancing! To become a successful gardener is not complicated; for the most part, the needed skills can be easily mastered. The 2021 UMass Garden Calendar offers tips on getting started and achieving success, with an emphasis on the the basics, raised beds, and container vegetable gardening. Many people also love the daily tips and find the daily sunrise/sunset times highly useful! Show your clients you appreciate their business this year! Bulk pricing is available on orders of 10 copies or more. COST: $14; shipping is FREE on orders of 9 or fewer calendars - FREE SHIPPING ENDS NOV 1! FOR IMAGES IN THE CALENDAR, details, and ordering info, go to umassgardencalendar.org. As always, each month features: An inspiring garden image. Daily gardening tips for Northeast growing conditions. Daily sunrise and sunset times. Phases of the moon. Plenty of room for notes. Low gloss paper for easy writing. Featured Plant Beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.) Autumn is a wonderful time in the landscape. Colorful fall foliage, crisp morning air, and pumpkins provide a festive feel to the season. Fall is also an exciting time because for many plants it’s also fruit season! Red and black seem to be the dominate fruit color with many species; however, the adeptly named beautyberry offers vibrant purple berries that are sure to stand out in the landscape. Callicarpa is a genus with around 140 species worldwide, but only four species are generally recommended for gardens in the US. Of these four, one is a US native (C. americana) but it is best suited for the southeastern states (hardy zones (6)7-10. Callicarpa bodinieri, C. dichotoma, and C. japonica are better suited for northern landscapes, being hardy to zones (5)6-8. Callicarpa dichotoma is smaller growing (3-6’ tall and wide) with arching branches, while C. bodinieri and C. japonica are larger with arching branches and a more open habit. Light pink flowers arise from leaf axils in summer along the length of the stem. Although pretty, flowers are not a standout feature. The real show starts when the fruit ripens in September, persisting into November. Branches are lined with vibrant clusters of violet to metallic purple fruits which occur in clusters above the leaves. Size and color of fruit can vary with species and cultivar. Fruit of C. bodinieri tends to be in looser clusters than C. dichotoma or C. japonica and C. americana has the largest fruit. Beautyberry does well in full sun to part shade with best fruiting in full sun. Too much shade results in leggy growth with reduced flower and fruit set. Cross pollination is also needed for good fruit set. Beautyberry is most effective in mass and is good grouped with other plants with fall berry set. It has no serious insect or disease issues. Plants can become unkempt over time; however, rejuvenation pruning is very effective with rapid regrowth. In zone 5, plants may die back to the ground but emerge from the roots in the spring. Cultivars:C. dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’ has bright amethyst-purple fruit that emerges before the species. This cultivar is an abundant seeder and can be somewhat weedy.C. bodinieri ‘Profusion’ is a large growing (10’) cultivar with large clusters of violet fruit. New leaves emerge bronze-purple in spring.C. dichotoma ‘Summer Snow’ and C. japonica ‘Summer Storm’ have interesting variegated white and green foliage. C. x ‘NCCX2’ (Purple Glam) has dark purple foliage and an upright habit. C. dichotoma f. albifructa is a white fruited form. Mandy Bayer, Extension Assistant Professor of Sustainable Landscape Horticulture Questions & Answers Q. Should I add a surfactant to all my herbicide applications? A. Surfactant should ONLY be added if the product label states that one is needed. If a surfactant is added when it is not required, you can lose herbicide selectivity; in other words, tolerant plants may be injured or killed. This is especially true if tolerant plants are stressed from heat or dry growing conditions. If a product with a manufacturer-added surfactant (product A) is tank-mixed with an herbicide product that does not require a surfactant (product B), the surfactant in product A will act as a surfactant for product B, possibly resulting in turf or ornamental injury from product B. As a general rule, “if an herbicide product label calls for a surfactant, then one should be added; if it does not, one should not be added”. Distributors that sell a specific herbicide product will also sell the appropriate surfactant to be used with that product. Q. Customer claims he received a rash similar to poison ivy. After inspecting the property, I did not see any poison ivy. I did see Virginia creeper in the areas where he was gardening. Is it possible that his rash was associated with Virginia creeper? A. While it is not common, Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) can produce a contact dermatitis rash similar to poison ivy. Allergic reactions to plants, like food, vary from person to person. Q. Are plant identification apps for smart phone useful for weed identification? A. There are many plant ID apps available for smart phones. Many of these apps perform better for garden plants. Some of the very common weeds will be recognized while less common weeds are often misidentified or not recognized at all. If a weed identification is given, I would suggest that you use its common names and/or scientific name in a internet search to verify the species. Verifying the species is very important to ensure that management strategies are effective, especially if the management strategies will include using an herbicide. Q. Is there an herbicide that will remove grassy weeds from a mixed ornamental bed that contains a groundcover? A. There are several herbicide products that are available for the control of grassy weeds in ornamental groundcovers. These are known as graminicides and are used over-the-top of groundcovers and broadleaf ornamentals for the control of annual and perennial grassy weeds. Fenoxaprop, sethoxydim, fluazifop and clethodim are the herbicides found in these products. Clethodim, sold under the tradename Envoy PlusTM, is the best choice for perennial grass control. Consult the label in order to be sure that that the groundcovers and ornamentals in the area to be treated are tolerant to over-the-top applications of these herbicides. Randy Prostak, UMass Extension Weed Specialist Trouble Maker of the Month Turf Care: Winter’s on the Way While the month of September is precious prime time for key turf management activities like planting, fertilization and aeration, once the calendar turns to October forward-thinking turf managers begin to shift their attention to the oncoming winter. Shorter days and cooler nights remind us that winter is just around the corner. After the heat and drought of summer, the winter season is the most difficult test for our cool-season (C3) grasses. Most perennial warm-season (C4) turfgrasses, such as bermudagrass or centipedegrass, are easily killed by lower temperatures and are therefore much better utilized in warmer geographic areas. Cool-season (C3) grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, are well-suited for culture in the Northeast because they have an inherent ability to survive the winter conditions typical of this region. Different species and cultivars vary in their tolerance level however, and injury or death is still very possible under the wrong mix of circumstances. There are two basic mechanisms of turfgrass injury by low temperature, or what is often called direct low temperature kill: Intracellular freezing occurs when the temperature dips to the point at which ice crystals form in the fluid within plant cells. The sharp crystals rupture the cell membrane resulting in leakage and eventual death of the cell. When this phenomenon occurs within the turfgrass crown (the main growing point of the plant), death of the entire plant is likely. Extracellular freezing involves ice crystal formation outside of plant cells during low temperature exposure. The ice crystals create a negative potential gradient that draws water out of cells and leads to desiccation, cell collapse and death of tissue. In response to shorter days and cooler temperatures in the fall, grass plants gradually shift resources away from growth and towards preparation for winter survival. During this acclimation to decreasing temperature (hardening), the ability of turfgrass plants to reduce crown hydration and accumulate solutes such as carbohydrates, soluble proteins and amino acids helps to protect plants from direct low temperature kill. The period after which shoot growth ceases but the turf remains green (typically around late November-early December in Southern New England) is especially critical for acclimation. The bulk of the carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis during this phase, instead of being directed to growth, are used by each plant to protect vital cells from freezing. A gradual decline in temperature over a period of 3 or 4 weeks is preferable during the last stage of the hardening process. Although air temperatures often fluctuate (sometimes considerably), soil temperatures are buffered and therefore the descent is typically more measured. As noted above, even among well adapted cool-season grasses, there is significant variability in low temperature tolerance and overall winter hardiness at both the species and especially the cultivar level. Genetics, furthermore, are only part of the equation, as a whole series of environmental, management and plant factors will play a role in the actual risk of cold injury any given year. In the end, much depends on the quality of acclimation and also the timing and pace of de-acclimation come spring. A lot of frustration originates from the fact that many aspects of the process are beyond our control. Research is ongoing to increase our understanding of low temperature hardiness in C3 grasses. In addition to direct low temperature kill, keep an eye out for other potentially damaging agents in the ‘winter injury complex’: Frost damage – Frost can in some cases be lethal to seedlings, but it is less common that frost alone causes lasting damage to mature turfgrass plants. A notable exception is when traffic (foot, equipment, vehicle) occurs on frosted turf. The compression drives the frost crystals into cells, rapidly killing tissue. Even if crowns are not directly affected, frost injury can destroy frozen shoots and leave crowns more exposed and vulnerable to other stresses. Visible frost injury caused in the fall will often be apparent throughout the winter until growth resumes in the spring. Desiccation is caused by excessive drying of plants from dry air and winter winds. Moisture is driven from vital tissues and is not replaced as a result of dormant plants and frozen soils, resulting in plants that do not recover when growth resumes in the spring. Desiccation is especially common during ‘open’ winters or due to other factors that leave turf exposed for lengths of time. Low temperature diseases, particularly snow molds, which are fungi that can grow and thrive despite cold temperatures. Often exacerbated by available moisture, higher N levels going into winter, and extended snow cover. While snow molds can be lethal on intensively managed turf such as that on golf courses, they are typically a temporary, superficial nuisance on lawns and grounds. Ice damage – this injury is caused by lack of sufficient gas exchange when ice cover is present on turf for long periods (typically > 60 days). Can be widespread and incredibly damaging under the wrong mix of weather conditions. Mechanical damage and heaving – Physical surface disruption from either natural frost heaving or snow removal operations. Can necessitate extensive springtime repairs. Critter damage – Voles are the most common culprit. Winters with lasting snow cover provide voles with protection from predators, frequently resulting in damage to turf areas and also woody plantings. Salt damage – De-icing salts that contact turf areas can impact plant growth in several ways: by affecting the ability of plants to able to absorb water from the soil, by alteration of physical soil structure, by competition with desirable nutrients in terms of root uptake, or simply by direct toxicity from some critical level of undesirable salts. Jason Lanier, UMass Extension Greenhouse Crops & Floriculture and Turf Specialist Garden Clippings Tips of the Month October is the time to: Perform fall cleanup. Clean up annual flower beds and remove diseased plant materials. Many disease-causing organisms can survive through the winter in infected plant debris. Removing diseased plant materials in the fall will help prevent disease problems in the spring. Cut back perennials and remove plant debris to prevent disease and pests occurring next year. Remove fallen leaves from the lawn. Accumulating leaves on the lawn prevent sunlight from reaching the turf grasses during this important time of lawn growth. Accumulating leaves can greatly reduce photosynthesis, slowing the growth of turf grasses and also affecting their acclimatization to dormant winter season. A thick layer of leaves can also smother the grass. Rake the leaves off and put them on the compost pile, or chop them up with a mower. Control broadleaf weeds. October is a good time to control broadleaf weeds in the lawn. If there are few weeds in the lawn, spot treatment with retail available herbicides can be effective. If the weeds are widespread in the lawn, seek the help of a professional lawn care specialist. A professional lawn care specialist should also be considered for difficult-to-control lawn weeds such as violets and ground ivy. Get a soil test. Fall is the ideal time to get a soil test, especially to determine if a lime application is needed. The best time to apply lime is during the fall, since lime applied during the fall has enough time to change the soil pH by next spring. A soil test will also provide recommendations of plant nutrients that need to be applied, how much to apply and when to apply. For more information on soil testing, see the UMass Soil and Nutrient Testing Laboratory at: https://ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory Direct seed a cover crop. After cleaning up the garden, you can plant a cover crop where vegetables or annual flowers were growing to keep the garden weed-free, prevent soil erosion and add organic matter to the soil. Fall cover crops include: ryegrass, rye, rapeseed, oats, winter wheat, or winter rye. Sow the seed thickly to create a cover that will not allow weeds to compete. Mow the plants down if they flower to prevent them from self-seeding in the spring and becoming weeds. In the spring, incorporate the dead plant material from the cover crop into the soil before sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings. Plant garlic. October is good time to plant garlic, since it needs a cold period for proper shoot and bulb development. Garlic should to be planted at least six weeks before the soil freezes to allow enough time for good root growth but not enough time for leaves to emerge from the soil. Cloves are planted 3 to 4 inches deep, oriented with the root end down. In fall when it is cool and day length is short, garlic forms roots and begins sprouting. In spring, leaf growth resumes. Bulb formation is initiated in response to the longer days and warm temperatures of late spring in May and June. Bulb growth continues until the leaves turn yellow in July and the bulbs are ready for harvest. Plant spring flowering bulbs. Late fall is the best time to plant hardy spring flowering bulbs. Preparing the soil properly for planting bulbs is very important. Good soil drainage is essential in growing bulbs. If the soil has high clay content, add an organic amendment such as compost or plant in raised beds. If the soil is mostly sand, add an organic amendment to increase water and nutrient holding capacity. Plant deciduous trees. Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted by mid-October, but evergreen trees and conifers should be planted before the end of September. Trees and shrubs should not be planted late in the fall because they need time to establish root systems. Make sure to keep newly planted trees and shrubs regularly watered until the ground freezes. Provide at least 1” of water per week, in one deep watering as opposed to light daily watering. Watch for ticks. Ticks are active and it is important to protect yourself with a repellent when working outdoors. Check yourself every day after working outdoors for ticks. If you find a tick on yourself or a pet, send the tick to UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology for identification and testing for tick borne pathogens. For details go to: https://www.tickreport.com. Geoffrey Njue, UMass Extension Sustainable Landscapes Specialist Local Connections: The Evolution of Urban Forestry in Northampton, MA We’ve all heard the expression “it takes a village…” and the same sentiments also have application to urban forestry at the grassroots level: successful initiatives require dedication, enthusiasm, and teamwork. As we read here, a small but dedicated cohort of individuals have transformed the state of the local urban forest into a program that demonstrates community pride, spirit, and perhaps most importantly, serves as an example to all of its neighbours. Well done, Northampton! - RWH “The pin oak trees in front of Forbes Library are what drew me to Northampton,” Lilly Lombard says, “I thought to myself, ‘I want to live in a place with trees like these and a library like this.’” Although, since her move to the vibrant western Massachusetts community 16 years ago, these trees have declined and been removed, Lombard draws inspiration from the municipal forestry program that has gradually emerged over the same period. This new program made it possible for Lombard and 20 other volunteers to plant a new stand of Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak) at Forbes Library (Fig.1), and engage in dozens of other volunteer opportunities each year to grow Northampton’s tree canopy. Presently, the city of Northampton, Massachusetts boasts over 11,000 public shade trees, valued at a total of $16 million and providing $1.3 million in yearly energy savings, carbon sequestration, stormwater mitigation, and property value enhancement. Over 100 dedicated volunteers help plant nearly 300 public trees each year. But of course, Rome was not built in a day. Lombard paints a picture of Northampton circa 2014: no tree warden, no forestry budget, a declining canopy, and a reactive approach to planting and care. The state of the urban forest was especially jarring when compared to the early 20th century, when trees generously adorned the streets. The onset of Dutch Elm Disease prompted the city to remove over 200 elm trees each year in the 1950s; this accounted for much of the urban canopy, which steadily continued its decline into the early years of the 21st century. Lombard proceeded to meet with the Mayor and every member of City Council, presenting data she had compiled to call attention to these shortcomings, their consequences, and possible solutions. She frequently visited other municipalities to learn about their effective urban forestry policies and programs, even traveling as far as Toronto, Canada. Inspired especially by the neighboring town of Amherst, she aimed to persuade Northampton to appoint a tree warden, conduct a baseline community tree inventory, develop a strategic planting plan, and allocate funds for a proper budget. In four years her vision came to life. And just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, it surely was not built alone. Lombard cites the emergence in 2013 of a group of tree-planting “super volunteers” (later forming the non-profit Tree Northampton) that renewed citizen interest in trees, followed by a successful citizen-led sample tree inventory (Fig.2) in 2014 which became the spark that finally lit the fire. Shortly thereafter, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz appointed Rich Parasiliti to be the city’s tree warden and created the Northampton Public Shade Tree Commission. Parasiliti applies his background as a certified arborist in his new role as the Director of Forest Operations in the Department of Public Works’ (DPW), to apply the necessary resources needed to encourage the success of Northampton’s urban forest (Fig.3). The Public Shade Tree Commission, which Lombard chairs, consists of seven multidisciplinary professionals and helps to advise Parasiliti and Mayor Narkewicz in planning and forming policies to ensure the public shade trees’ protection and promotion. It meets twice a month -- more frequently than most city commissions -- and acts as a liaison for the city’s residents and businesses, receiving and working to accommodate their questions, concerns, opinions, and other input. To provide further aid is Tree Northampton, now a thriving 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that collaborates with Parasiliti and the Commission. This volunteer-based group (Fig.4) serves as ecological stewards, not only planting trees, but educating, advocating, and engaging city residents. Together, Parasiliti, the Commission, and Tree Northampton have made great strides in these past four years. With a $30,000 grant from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, Northampton hired Davey Resource Group in 2016 to complete a full inventory of its trees. This provided the city with information concerning the current urban tree canopy composition, health, and value, as well as identified 2,000 potential future planting sites. These results made it possible to plan and employ data-driven, effective management strategies; the team recently completed a 5-year plan in which they specify “priority zones” for planting. These priority zones include addressing downtown heat islands, environmental justice neighborhoods, areas with heavy car or foot traffic, public parking lots, and areas close to community centers, all of which maximize the benefits a shade tree can provide. They also published a comprehensive Tree List and Planting Guide to inform both public and private plantings. Northampton itself has increasingly become a location where professionals in the tree care industry also come together to expand their network and increase their capacity as professionals. At the seasonal dinner meetings of the Western Chapter of the MA Tree Wardens & Foresters Association, 40 tree care professionals from central and western MA receive updates concerning pest activities and urban forest health, as well as learn about new strategies for managing urban trees. Northampton has also worked closely with the state-wide Tree Wardens & Foresters Association to host a recent urban tree planting program, as part of their Professional Development Series (PDS). Even a successful community-based urban tree management program, however, faces its own assortment of trials. Lombard laid out three of Northampton’s challenges: The first is limited nursery stock. There is a finite amount of species that tolerate tough urban conditions, and limited supply makes finding and planting 300 well-suited trees each year a difficult task. To address this challenge, the city is sourcing bare root stock in upstate New York, as well as exploring the creation of a municipal nursery. The second challenge is coordinating with the city’s planning department, and getting to the planning table at the earliest possible stage so that trees are deliberately and thoughtfully integrated into street design, redesign and construction. In a recent city planning process related to climate change preparedness, Parasiliti became part of the core planning team, suggesting the city’s growing appreciation of the central role shade trees play in resilience-building. The third challenge is the MA Department of Transportation “Complete Streets” guidelines, created to promote safe and convenient multi-modal travel routes within communities. Lombard remarked that street trees are rarely featured in these guidelines, and that, sadly, the expansion of streets to accommodate bike lanes, or the installation or widening of sidewalks, sometimes compromise the space that public shade trees can utilize. Lombard suggests this is a state-wide challenge that may require the coordinated advocacy of many municipal tree commissions and tree wardens. Challenges aside, Lombard expresses great hope for the future. Northampton just successfully piloted its Neighborhood Tree Planting Program in which neighborhoods that self-organize and provide volunteer planters can be selected to receive support for the intense planting of up to 25 street trees. Plans to use structural soil and porous pavement for difficult downtown plantings are on the drawing board, pending resource availability. The recent creation of the Division of Forestry, Parks, and Cemetery within Northampton’s DPW indicates that the city has fully institutionalized its commitment to urban forestry. All signs point to the transition from reactive to proactive tree care. The rapidly growing level of citizen interest may provide the most hope. The 100+ volunteers who have helped restore and grow the urban canopy demonstrate that care and appreciation for Northampton’s public shade trees are now part of the city’s culture. Many of these eager individuals were recruited as a result of a door-to-door community-wide recruitment campaign that started in 2013 by Rob Postel, himself a dedicated and passionate volunteer. Northampton’s website describes its ambitious mission to create, “A tree canopy that supports Northampton's goals of public health, beautification, and economic and environmental sustainability, and resilience in the face of climate change.” Between the city’s willingness to review past practices and policies, to make institutional and budgetary changes to support a comprehensive forestry program, and to collaborate with citizen volunteers, Northampton’s forestry program appears to be well on its way to fulfilling this mission. Ashley McElhinney and Rick Harper, Dept. of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst Upcoming Events For more details for any of these events, go to the UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program Upcoming Events Page. Dec 2 - Fall Wrap-Up for Landscapers Live webinar - details coming soon! Dec 4 - Fall Wrap-Up for Turf Managers Live webinar - details coming soon! Tune in to a TickTalk with TickReport Webinars This is a FREE live webinar series by Dr. Stephen Rich, Director of the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology held noon to 1:00 pm on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Co-sponsored by UMass Extension and the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology. Register at https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/webinars Nov 18 - BabesiosisSpeaker: Dr. Sam R. Telford III, Professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Dr. Telford III joins Dr. Rich on the TickTalk webinar to discuss the second most commonly reported tick-borne disease in North America (after Lyme disease). Babesiosis is a malaria-like illness transmitted by the same ticks as Lyme. Dr. Telford is recognized as a global authority on this disease. Pesticide Exam Preparation and Recertification Courses These workshops have been converted to a remote/online format. Contact Natalia Clifton at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.umass.edu/pested for more info. Invasive Insect Webinars Find recordings of these webinars at https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/invasive-insect-webinars. Topics include the spotted lanternfly, spotted wing drosophila, brown marmorated stink bug, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, winter moth, and Asian longhorned beetle. InsectXaminer! Episodes so far featuring gypsy moth, lily leaf beetle, euonymus caterpillar, and imported willow leaf beetle can be found at: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/insectxaminer Additional Resources For detailed reports on growing conditions and pest activity – Check out the Landscape Message For commercial growers of greenhouse crops and flowers - Check out the New England Greenhouse Update website For professional turf managers - Check out our Turf Management Updates For home gardeners and garden retailers - Check out our 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 at twitter.com/UMassGardenClip Diagnostic Services Landscape and Turf Problem Diagnostics - The UMass Plant Diagnostic Lab is accepting plant disease, insect pest and invasive plant/weed samples (mail-in only - walk-in samples cannot be accepted). The lab serves 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. Please refer to our website for instructions on sample submission and to access the submission form at https://ag.umass.edu/services/plant-diagnostics-laboratory. Mail delivery services and staffing have been altered due to the pandemic, so please allow for some additional time for samples to arrive at the lab and undergo the diagnostic process. Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing - The UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Lab is accepting orders for routine soil analysis and particle size analysis ONLY (please do not send orders for other types of analyses at this time). Send orders via USPS, UPS, FedEx or other private carrier (hand delivered orders cannot be accepted at this time). Processing time may be longer than usual since the lab is operating with reduced staff and staggered shifts. The lab provides test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. For updates and order forms, visit the UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory web site. TickReport Update - The TickReport Risk Assessment & Passive Surveillance Program is open and tick samples can be submitted via https://www.tickreport.com. Please contact TickReport with with tick-related questions and updates on the status of their service.