The Grey Treefrog is a carnelian, it can change colour from green to grey, depending on their environment. (Photo: Joe Crowley)
Today marks the first day of Autumn. And with it another interesting calendar event, the Autumn Equinox. Like the Spring Equinox (March 21), the Autumn Equinox marks a unique period of time where the length of daylight and night time hours are pretty much equal. So as you can imagine, the wildlife can get a little confused this time of year. If you spend time outdoors you might notice the odd mating song of birds and frogs. I have heard a lot of male Grey Tree Frogs singing in the last week or so. How cool is that? Continue reading
Close up of colonies of beech scale (Chris Malumphy, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Bugwood.org)
Introduced Beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisugae) is easier to see this time of year on our native American beech (Fagus grandifolia). That’s because of the white waxy coverings the females produce to protect their eggs. Look for Continue reading
The adult meadow vole. How can something so “cute” be so bad? (Image: John White)
Last fall and winter was one that I’ll always remember. The rodent population went NUTS and we had a lot of feeding damage on nursery and landscape plants. This year, we haven’t seen as many rodents around. Low precipitation levels and tough growing conditions have diminished food sources that would support large populations of rodents. Natural predators seem to be on the rise again. Mice and voles travel in tunnels under the snow or under the cover of fall foliage and feed on the bark and phloem of several tree and shrub species. The longer the winter, the more damage they can do and so far, Continue reading
So I started getting some queries about a new mealybug found on Magnolias in the landscape. You can imagine my despair, the poor magnolias have their fair share of sucking insect pest problems with the glut of Magnolia scale we are finding on our beloved specimens. Continue reading
Magnolia Scale is just rampant this year again. And to make matters worse, there seems to be two developmental groups of them, a smaller subset about 3 weeks behind the older ones (see photo above). This means a second set of insecticide applications (e.g. insecticidal soap, hort oil, or traditional insecticides) if you are trying to manage this pest. Magnolia scale females will be laying eggs soon, in the next week or so.
Pick off Magnolia scale female to uncover newly hatched crawlers hiding underneath (early August, J. Llewellyn)
Pick off scales to reveal dark grey eggs and crawlers (eggs with legs) underneath. A week or so later, you will see eggs are hatching into crawlers. But many crawlers will hide underneath the female scales for days before they venture out, meaning they are protected from insecticide applications.
The crawlers will gradually emerge out from under the dead female mothers. Contact insecticides (traditional insecticides, insecticidal soap, horticultural oil) can be used to manage crawlers once they emerge and start feeding on twigs (mid-late August).
If you miss the Magnolia scale crawlers, don’t worry. They overwinter as tiny, dark grey nymphs on the undersides of twigs. It is advisable to go in with a fall dormant oil sprays (with emphasis on contacting undersides of twigs) to significantly reduce the population in October. Many horticulturalists say that fall dormant oil applications are the BEST way to manage this pest issue. But your clients may have other ideas.
Environment Canada is calling for very hot and humid weather to continue into this weekend and early next week. There is a 40-50% chance of precipitation in southern Ontario for tomorrow, with a greater chance of showers on Monday. The UV index is very high so please take care out there and wear sunscreen, a hat and drink lots of hydrating fluids.
Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ (www.landscapeontario.com)
When you consider all of the trees that are grown for street plantings in the urban landscape, you will quickly come to realize that the number of possibilities can be quite small because of poor soil conditions and exposure. Our streets used to be lined with gorgeous, vase-shaped elms…until Dutch elm disease came along. The ash tree was a popular and drought resistant species…until emerald ash borer came along. Of course it was a mistake to plant so many of one species (or one cultivar). We weren’t thinking about how easy we were making it for pests to spread and infest trees along these long, continuous rows. Continue reading