December 1A 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: Hot Topics Jumping Worm Conference - January 26 & 27, 2022 When: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 9:00am to 11:45am Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 9:00am to 11:45am Where: Live via GoToWebinar Are you a land manager and have been receiving requests for more information about so-called "jumping/snake worms"? Are you a homeowner who is looking to learn more, ask questions, or perhaps you just found jumping worms on your property in 2021? No matter who you are, if you are curious or concerned about jumping/snake worms, this conference is for you! Join UMass Extension as we welcome scientists who specialize in jumping/snake worm research to discuss the latest understanding of these earthworms. How to identify jumping/snake worms, what their potential impacts are, and the latest research into how we might manage them to be discussed. These LIVE virtual presentations will also give you the chance to get your questions answered following each speaker's presentation. So, bring your questions! Click here for the full agenda and registration options. Credits: Pesticide - 1/2 contact hour PER DAY for categories 29, 35, 36, 37, and Applicator’s (core) License. Association - 1 MCA, 1 MCLP, 1 MCH, and 1 CFE credit PER DAY. ISA and SAF credit requested. Our Invasive Plant Certification Program begins in March! While turf and landscape professionals might be very proficient in the development of a weed management program for turf and/or landscape, invasive plant management often reveals many new and unique challenges. UMass Extension offers a 4-day program to help participants meet these challenges when attempting to develop an invasive plant management program as part of their business. The four sessions in this series are: Principles and Fundamentals of Weed Science State Regulations Pertaining to Invasive Plant Management The Invasive Plant Issue and Invasive Plant Identification Developing an Invasive Plant Management Program Participants may earn a certificate of completion in Invasive Plant Management by attending all four sessions and obtaining a passing grade for each on a follow-up quiz. These classes are only offered once a year; the classes in 2022 will be held virtually via Zoom. For dates and more details, see under Upcoming Events below or go to https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education/invasive-plant-certification-program. Featured Plant Daphne X transatlantica Shrubby daphne’s have a reputation among gardeners for being hard to grow - finicky, and susceptible to sudden and unexplained ‘daphne death’. Some species and selections have certainly earned that reputation but are treasured just the same for the powerful fragrance and the challenge and reward of growing them well. There are a few daphne selections which are easier to grown given the right conditions and Daphne X transatlantica is one of them. This hybrid daphne is an interspecific cross between D. caucasica and D. sericea Collina Group. D. caucasica lends its zone 5 hardiness to this cross and allows us to easily grow this plant throughout much of Massachusetts. Like most daphne’s, it requires full sun to partial shade and a well-drained, organic soil. Most daphne’s resent excess moisture, so be sure to plant where soils are well drained but not drought-prone and think about providing protection from winter winds and extremes. This hybrid daphne makes a great foundation plant and is easily used in mixed shrub borders, along garden paths, or adjacent to patios or terraces where you can enjoy its sweet scent and watch for intermittent blooms throughout the year. Since most daphne’s resent root disturbance, it is best used in locations where the soil and plants are infrequently disturbed and where organic mulch can help protect the roots from disturbance and the vagaries of weather. When it comes to flowering, this is one of the longest blooming shrubs available, sporting small, tubular white flowers blushed with pink off and on throughout much of the year. The flowers occur in clusters at the tips of branches and are most prolific spring though summer but will often flower during warm spells in December and January. Each tiny flower emits a powerful fragrance. The foliage is also noteworthy, as it is finely textured and semi-evergreen. Each narrow leaf is up to 2” long, deep green through summer and fall, and is retained year-round in protected locations and mild winters. There are a few cultivars on the market which boast improved characteristics including the cultivar ‘Blafra’ which is sold in the trade as ETERNAL FRAGRANCE. This is a compact cultivar which grows 2-3’ tall. ‘Summer Ice’ has an elegant creamy-white band along the edge of each leaf, adding interest in those moments when the plant is not in bloom. ‘Jim’s Pride’ is a somewhat obscure cultivar named for famed plantsman Jim Cross of Long Island and is intermediate between the previous cultivars, reaching 3’X3’. Daphne’s belong in the Thymelaceae family along with a few other shrubs you might recognize like Eastern leatherwood (Dirca palustris), the tender paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) and the uncommon Wikstroemia trichotoma – all worthy of a place in your garden. Joann Vieira, Director of Horticulture, Trustees Trouble Maker of the Month Salt Damage to Woody Plants Damage to woody plants from exposure to de-icing salts can be a major concern during the winter season in New England. The injury to trees and shrubs occurs two possible ways, either as salt spray to the canopy or through root uptake of salts in the soil. Symptoms of salt damage vary considerably depending on the plant, distance from a treated surface, type of exposure (spray or root uptake), amount of salt applied, soil type, among other factors. These symptoms can include: reduced vigor, stunted and/or deformed growth, marginal leaf/needle browning, shoot dieback, witches’ brooming and even outright death of the plant. The damage that woody plants experience from de-icing salts is primarily caused by chloride, and to a lesser extent sodium, as these ions accumulate in stems and leaves. High levels of chloride negatively affect a variety of important processes and structures at the cellular level, such as inhibiting nitrate and phosphate uptake, damaging cell membranes and disrupting enzyme function (Geilfus 2018). Plants respond to excess salts by translocating chloride and sodium ions to shoot tips and leaf margins, where they accumulate and symptoms manifest. In addition to causing damage directly to plant tissues, excess sodium in the soil raises soil pH and can make essential nutrients, such as calcium and iron, unavailable for root uptake. Chloride and sodium can leach from soils in certain settings, but they can also build up over time with repeated, annual applications. A variety of de-icing salts are available for commercial and residential use and it can be challenging to determine which is best when it comes to plant health. Two common forms, both used by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, include rock salt (sodium chloride) and magnesium chloride. While highly effective, both are harmful to plants when taken up either as salt spray or through root uptake in the soil. Liquid brine, which is used to prevent ice from forming over treated surfaces, is created by mixing water with rock salt or a combination of salts (i.e. rock salt and magnesium chloride). Alternatives, such as calcium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), are also effective and widely available. While both calcium chloride and CMA are believed to be less harmful to plants in comparison to rock salt and magnesium chloride, the results of various research trials do not always support this assertion. In a study of the short and long-term effects of salts on silver maple (Acer saccharinum), Patykowski et al. (2018) found that calcium chloride was less toxic compared to sodium chloride, but when applied at high doses, both were equally as harmful. In comparative greenhouse trials, it was concluded that CMA is less harmful to herbaceous plants when evaluated against traditional de-icing salts (Akbar et al. 2006; Ke et al. 2019). But in contrast, a study using potted tree saplings showed that CMA is equally as harmful to trees during vegetative growth when compared to sodium chloride (Hanslin 2011). In addition, the high cost of CMA prevents its widespread use by many municipalities. Overall, it may be possible to limit plant damage by avoiding the use of rock salt and magnesium chloride, but only when low amounts of other de-icing salts are used. According to Sinclair (2005; p. 468): “Salt absorption and subsequent damage increase with the amount of salt deposited on a plant. The type of salt is relatively unimportant.” Therefore, to prevent salt damage from developing, limiting the amount used is likely the most important factor. To that end, restrict de-icing salt application to essential areas only and include sand when possible. Keeping plants well-watered during the spring season, if dry weather persists, can help to dilute salts that may be present in the soil. Manipulating soil grade or altering downspout drainage adjacent to sidewalks or driveways prone to ice formation may help to limit salt application in residential and commercial settings. However, in some landscapes, salt damage may be unavoidable given the needs to prevent and remove ice. In coastal communities, salt spray from the ocean deposits sodium and chloride ions onto foliage and stems, which can be directly absorbed or enter through natural openings or wounds. Large storm systems with strong westerly winds, such as a nor’easter, can cause widespread salt spray damage. Physically covering plants with burlap prior to these storm events can help to limit the amount of salt deposited onto the canopy. Salt spray tolerance among woody plants varies and can be influenced by many different site factors. In general, plants with thick, waxy cuticle covering the foliage (i.e. two- and three-needle pines), resinous deposits protecting the buds, or thick, waxy stem bark can better tolerate salt spray. References: Akbar, K.F., et al. 2006. A comparative study of de-icing salts (sodium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate) on the growth of some roadside plants of England. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 10(1):67–71. Hanslin, H.M. 2011. Short-term effects of alternative de-icing chemicals on tree sapling performance. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 10(1):53–59. Ke, G., et al. 2019. Evaluation and selection of de-icing salt based on multi-factor. Materials 12(6):912. Geilfus, C.-M. 2018. Chloride: from nutrient to toxicant. Plant and Cell Physiology 59(5): 877–886. Patykowski, J., et al. 2018. Biochemical and growth responses of silver maple (Acer saccharinum L.) to sodium chloride and calcium chloride. PeerJ 6:e5958 Sinclair, W.A. 2005. Diseases of Trees and Shrubs: 2nd Edition. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. Nick Brazee, UMass Extension Plant Pathologist Q&A Q. Starting around Thanksgiving, I’ve been noticing moths flying at night, attracted to outdoor lights and in the headlights while I’m driving. What moths could possibly be active this time of year? A. The small, brownish moths seen attracted to outdoor lighting from Thanksgiving until roughly January are likely winter moths (Operophtera brumata). Winter moth males fly at this time of year in search of flightless females. Once they find the females, they mate and she lays her eggs in the cracks and crevices of host plant bark. In the spring, these eggs hatch just as host plant buds are beginning to open, and tiny inch-worm like caterpillars wriggle into the buds and feed on the leaf tissue within. Host plants include but are not limited to oak, maple, apple, and blueberry. In recent years, winter moth populations have been on the decline thanks to biological control using a parasitoid fly (Cyzenis albicans) whose young parasitize and kill winter moth. While we hope that populations of winter moth caterpillars will remain low again in 2022, it is not unusual to still see a few adult males flying this winter or to find some caterpillars next spring. The purpose of biological control is to reduce the pest population below outbreak/damaging levels, not eradicate it. Cyzenis albicans and winter moth will continue exist in our landscapes together – but hopefully without winter moth populations causing significant defoliation to their hosts. Note: At least two other native species of moths have adults that may fly between October and December – Bruce spanworm (Operopthera bruceata) and fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria). Q. I don’t have to worry about deer ticks during the winter, right? A. Wrong! Unfortunately, just because temperatures are cold, doesn’t mean we can let our guard down when it comes to deer ticks. Adult male and female deer ticks are active any time temperatures are above freezing from October through next May. So it remains important to do a “tick check” on yourself, loved ones, and pets when returning from working or playing outdoors. This is particularly true on milder days during the winter season. At least the mosquitoes aren’t flying! Q. I found jumping worms (Amynthas and Metaphire spp.) this past growing season. What can be done about them now? A. The short answer for this time of year is, not much. Luckily, the adults and juvenile stages of jumping worms perish with the onset of cold temperatures and frosts. However, these earthworms overwinter in the egg stage in tiny, mustard-seed sized cocoons that blend in well with the soil/leaf litter, and are robust in their ability to survive the winter. The cocoon stage is impossible to remove from an infested area. Even during the growing season when adult and juvenile jumping worms are present, management at that time is very difficult. Research is still needed in order to determine effective steps to take, and currently no products are labelled for the management of earthworms. If you would like to learn more about jumping worms, consider registering for this UMass Extension upcoming conference in January. Q. I heard about browntail moth adults being seen in parts of eastern and coastal Massachusetts last summer. What should I be looking for now? A. The overwintering life stage of browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) are young caterpillars that create winter webs at the tips of host plant branches (ex. oak, cherry, apple, beach plum, etc.) by spinning bright white silk, often around a few host plant leaves. Browntail moth caterpillars possess poisonous/irritating hairs that cause skin rashes and allergic reactions in people. Out of caution, do not touch these webs if you believe you’ve found them. If you think you’ve found browntail moth overwintering webs, particularly in parts of eastern and coastal Massachusetts, report them immediately at: https://massnrc.org/pests/pestreports.htm. A great video from Tom Schmeelk, Maine Forest Service Insect and Disease Lab, shows browntail moth winter webs, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6VmwsXE3lg. Q. An established population of spotted lanternfly was detected in Fitchburg, MA this year. What should I be looking for right now? A. The overwintering life stage of the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) are egg masses which are laid by females on just about any flat surface. Some great photos of spotted lanternfly egg masses, as well as the odd locations they can be deposited (not just on host plants), can be found here. This is the life stage that would be found in landscapes, residential areas, or urban forest areas at this time if spotted lanternfly was established there. If you believe you have seen a spotted lanternfly egg mass in Massachusetts, please report it immediately here. Tawny Simisky, Extension Entomologist, UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, & Urban Forestry Program Garden Clippings Tips of the Month December/January are the months to . . . . Take care during snow removal. Don’t pile snow up on plant material, especially if the snow contained salt used in de-icing. Use markers to delineate the outline of beds along driveways and sidewalks to avoid accidental damage from plows or shovels. Leave light snow but remove heavy snowfall from plants. When removing snow, make sure to do so gently. Do not shake branches as they are brittle during winter and may break easily. Do not attempt to remove ice; allow it to melt. Mitigate salt injury. Reduce salt applications by combing other materials such as sand, sawdust, or cinders that can provide traction. De-icing materials that use salts other than sodium chloride, including calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) are more expensive but can somewhat reduce injury to plants (see the article above - Salt Damage to Woody Plants). Applications should be targeted at walkways and roadways. Protect plants with physical barriers such as burlap, plastic, or wood. Use salt tolerant plants in areas near roads, driveways, and sidewalks. Remember that salt tolerant does not mean injury free. Evaluate stored tubers and bulbs. Desiccation (shriveling of bulbs/tubers) occurs when the storage area humidity is dry. Try spritzing with water or placing the bulbs and tubers into a plastic bag with dampened potting soil. If mold or rot is an issue, increase air circulation or place tubers and bulbs in an open paper bag. Bulbs and tubers are best stored in a cool, dark location. Force blooming branches indoors. January and February are a good time to take cuttings from some spring flowering trees and shrubs such as Forsythia, Chaenomeles, Hamamelis, and Cercis to bring indoors to force. Soak branches in room-temperature water overnight then place them in a vase with water in a room at or above 60 degrees F. Keep caring for indoor bulbs. If you want to plant the bulbs in the garden or save them until next season, let bulb leaves continue to develop and wait to trim leaves until after they have yellowed. Look for spots that need winter interest. Winter can be a less than exciting time in the landscape. Try incorporating an unusual evergreen, a specimen with interesting bark or good form, or plants that have persistent berries or seed pods. Also look for late fall and early spring interest species such Helleborus or Hamamelis. Mandy Bayer, Extension Assistant Professor of Landscape Horticulture, UMass Amherst Hammerhead Worms in New England Recent jumping worm outbreaks have caused a lot of anxiety and worries in New England in the 2020-2021 seasons. Yet another invasive worm species, hammerhead worms, was sighted in New England in 2021. Hammerhead worms (AKA arrowhead worms) belong to phylum Platyhelminthes (flat worms), class Turbellaria (non-parasitic flat worms), family Geoplanidae (land or terrestrial flat worms). Flatworms (Platyhelmintes) is a relatively diverse group of organisms which for the most part live in aquatic habitats. Some of them have adapted to survive in the terrestrial environment (family Geoplanidae), but still prefer areas with high soil moisture, not exposed to sun. Land flatworms are predators with a relatively broad host range. They can feed on slugs, snails, soil dwelling insect larvae, and earthworms. They have been reported as a pest in earthworm farms/production facilities because of accidental infestation and destruction of the colonies. Among terrestrial flatworms, hammerhead worms (subfamily Bipaliinae) are the most spectacular, attracting attention by their size, sometimes bright colors and the flattened, half-moon shape of their head. Hammerhead worms are known in many parts of the world, but predominately they are native to tropical and subtropical regions (predominately Asia). Several species of the genus Bipalium were introduced to the United States, most likely with horticultural plants and soil media. Bipalium kewense (Fig. 1 at left), the largest species, can reach up to 10 inches, has a pale yellow body and five longitudinal lines on its back. Sometimes the worm coloration is brown, which can mask the appearance of the stripe pattern. This species has been established in at least 12 southern states since the 1950's and can thrive in outdoor habitats (Ogren 1984). Mild winters, warm summers and an abundance of rainfall are necessary conditions for species survival. Bipalium kewense is not cold-tolerant and cannot survive harsh winters. Even though, the species has been recorded in some northern states (Pennsylvania, Maine, and Massachusetts); however, it can only survive in greenhouses, botanical gardens, and conservation facilities where it can be protected from harsh winter temperatures. Bipalium pennsylvanicum has been found and described from Pennsylvania (Ogren 1987, Ogren and Sheldon 1991). This species is capable overwintering outside, is more cold-tolerant than B. kewense, and has more potential to invade other northeastern states. This species has three distinct black stripes on the back. A smaller species, Bipalium adventitium (Fig. 2 at left), can reach about 6 inches and has a yellow to light brown body with one line on the back. This species was introduced into the U.S. presumably from Japan (based on a similar species present in Japan) and transported to California with soil and horticultural plants (Ogren 1984). It has become widespread across the country and is commonly sighted. It has been found in some Northeastern states (New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) and even in Canada (Klots, 1960, Ogren, 1984, Ducey and Noce 1998, Justine 2019). The wet summer of 2021 and several relatively mild winters in the eastern U.S. were likely the reasons for the increased frequency of sightings of these hammerhead worms on the East coast, including New England (O. Kostromytska, personal observation). The specimens collected in Massachusetts are most likely Bipalium adventitium based on visual identification. According to weather patterns and the Bipalium range spread, it is likely that in the future sightings of hammerhead worms will be more frequent. This might be concerning from an ecological perspective. These worms are invasive and can potentially be harmful for local ecosystems. Hammerhead worms are predators with a somewhat wide range, but they prefer earthworms as prey. In the southern states, where many native earthworm species are present, the expansion of land flat worm populations is bad news. In New England, where most of the earthworm species we have are introduced and the jumping worm population are thriving, these predatory worms are less of a concern. The hope is that the prey-predator cycle will balance the population of both species in the end. This might be true for the European earthworms so prevalent in our landscapes; however, so far, the efficiency of the hammerhead worms as a predator of jumping worms (Agrestis and Methaphire spp.) is questionable. A study by Gorsach and Owen (2014) showed that Bipalium adventitium was not an efficient predator of Amyntas agrestis. The reason might be ability of the jumping worms to defend themselves by active movements. When Bipalium spp. attacks an earthworm, it attaches itself to the earthworm body, which the earthworm can dislodge by active thrashing. The predatory worms then release a toxin to subdue their prey (Ducey et al. 2009). European earthworms might be less effective in this self defense strategy and therefore might be a preferred food for Bipalium spp. compared to jumping worms. The role of the Bipalium spp. in ecosystems and their efficiency in reducing jumping worm population densities is still to be determined. The ability of Bipalium worms to produce the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin raises concern about their potential hazard to humans and pets. According to recent studies, these worms use the toxin as a defense and to subdue their prey which can sometimes be larger in size. The toxin is distributed around the worm body with disproportionally higher concentration in their head (Stokes et al 2014). Tetrodotoxin is one of the most potent toxins and acts on the nervous system. These worms do not produce a high enough concentration to be lethal to humans, but it can cause skin irritation and make pets sick if they eat these worms. Therefore, caution is advised when handling these hammerhead worms (should be avoided), and hands should be washed with soap after contact. References Ducey, P. K., & Noce, S. (1998). Successful Invasion of New York State by the Terrestrial Flatworm, Bipalium adventitium. Northeastern Naturalist, 5: 199–206. Ducey, P., Messere, M., Lapoint, K. & Noce, S. (2009). Lumbricid Prey and Potential Herpetofaunal Predators of the Invading Terrestrial Flatworm Bipalium adventitium (Turbellaria: Tricladida: Terricola). The American Midland Naturalist. 141. 305-314. Gorsuch, J. P., & Owen, P. C. (2014). Potential Edaphic and Aquatic Predators of a Nonindigenous Asian Earthworm (Amynthas agrestis) in the Eastern United States. Northeastern Naturalist, 21: 652–661. Klots, A. B. (1960) A Terrestrial Flatworm Well Established Outdoors in the Northeastern United States, Systematic Biology, 9: 33–34. Ogren, R. E. (1984). Exotic Land Planarians of the Genus Bipalium (Platyhelminthes: Turbellaria) from Pennsylvania and the Academy of Aatural Aciences, Philadelphia. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 58: 193–201. Ogren, R. E. (1987). Description of a New Three-Lined Land Planarian of the Genus Bipalium (Turbellaria: Tricladida) from Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society, 106(1), 21–30. Ogren, R. E., & Sheldon, J. K. (1991). Ecological Observations on the Land Planarian Bipalium pennsylvanicum Ogren, with References to Phenology, Reproduction, Growth Rate and Food Niche. Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 65: 3–9. Stokes, A. N., Ducey, P. K., Neuman-Lee, L., Hanifin, C. T., French, S. S., Pfrender, M. E., Brodie, E. D., 3rd, & Brodie, E. D., Jr (2014). Confirmation and distribution of tetrodotoxin for the first time in terrestrial invertebrates: two terrestrial flatworm species (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense). PloS one: 9, e100718. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100718 Olga Kostromytska, Extension Assistant Professor of Turf Entomology, UMass Amherst Upcoming Events For more details and registration options for any of these events, go to the UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program Upcoming Events Page. Jan 26 & 27, 2022 - Jumping Worm Conference - live via GoToWebinar1/2 pesticide credit PER DAY for categories 29, 35, 36, 37, and Applicator’s (core) License. Invasive Plant Certification Program - live via Zoom Mar 10, 2022 - State Regulations Pertaining to Invasive Plant Management (A2)Two pesticide contact hours in categories 29, 36, 37, 40, 48, and Applicator's License. Mar 17, 2022 - Principles and Fundamentals of Weed Science (A1)Four pesticide contact hours in categories 29, 36, 37, 40, 48, and Applicator's License. Mar 24, 2022 - The Invasive Plant Issue and Invasive Plant Identification (A3)Three pesticide contact hours in categories 29, 36, 37, 40, 48, and Applicator's License. Apr 7, 2022 - Developing an Invasive Plant Management Program (B)Four pesticide contact hours in categories 29, 36, 37, 40, 48, and Applicator's License. Pesticide Exam Preparation and Recertification Courses These workshops are currently being offered online. Contact Natalia Clifton at email@example.com or go to https://www.umass.edu/pested for more info. InsectXaminer! Episodes so far featuring gypsy moth, lily leaf beetle, euonymus caterpillar, imported willow leaf beetle, and spotted lanternfly can be found at: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/insectxaminer TickTalk with TickReport Webinars To view recordings of past webinars in this series, go to: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/ticktalk-with-tickreport-webinars Additional Resources For detailed reports on growing conditions and pest activity – Check out the Landscape Message For professional turf managers - Check out our Turf Management Updates For commercial growers of greenhouse crops and flowers - Check out the New England Greenhouse Update website For home gardeners and garden retailers - Check out our home lawn and garden resources. Diagnostic Services Landscape and Turf Problem Diagnostics - The UMass Plant Diagnostic Lab is accepting plant disease, insect pest and invasive plant/weed samples . By mail is preferred, but clients who would like to hand-deliver samples may do so by leaving them in the bin marked "Diagnostic Lab Samples" near the back door of French Hall (please note that visitors are not allowed inside the building). 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. See our website for instructions on sample submission and for a sample 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 lab is accepting orders for Routine Soil Analysis (including optional Organic Matter, Soluble Salts, and Nitrate testing), Particle Size Analysis, Pre-Sidedress Nitrate (PSNT), and Soilless Media (no other types of soil analyses available at this time). Testing services are available to all. Send orders via USPS, UPS, FedEx or other private carrier (hand delivered orders cannot be accepted at this time). Please plan for the fact that date of receipt in the lab is affected by weekends, holidays, shipping time, and time for UMass Campus Mail to deliver samples to the lab. 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. Tick Testing - The UMass Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment provides a list of potential tick identification and testing options at: https://ag.umass.edu/resources/tick-testing-resources.