SPRING 2021 has brought back old memories, some not so good. A number of problems that we have not seen for a while are showing up this spring, much to the consternation of our old customers and some new ones.
SOFT SCALE INSECTS AND OTHER SAP DRIPPING PESTS ARE INCREASING
We are seeing a population explosion of the soft scales- especially Cottony Maple Scale (CMS) and Lecanium scale (LS). The sap drippage on cars, lawn furniture, decks, grills, etc. is a nuisance now and gets worse as the black sooty mold grows on the sugar laden sap. Silver maple trees, locust trees and linden trees often get the CMS, while ash trees, sugar maples, redbuds and oaks seem to be victims of the LS.
Fortunately, we have excellent means to rid the trees of these scales and ways for homeowners to keep them out of the trees in the future.
Another sap dripping insect that we are seeing a lot of this spring is the beech woolly aphid, with many of the same attendant nuisance factors as the soft scales. The woolly alder aphid may well show up this year as well.
GYPSY MOTHS ARE COMING BACK
We are seeing a resurgence of the gypsy moth caterpillars in many parts of the state. Preferred hosts for these fuzzy caterpillars are red oak trees and often Norway maples, especially the varieties with red leaves. Recurrent defoliation of the oak trees can invite in life threatening pests like borers. Fortunately, we have exellent insecticide products that can be applied without spraying. Soil applied or trunk injected products can give rapid and long-lasting control and can prevent the secondary invaders that can kill large oak trees.
SILVER MAPLE HEAVY SEEDING SEEMS MORE COMMON THIS YEAR
We often observe that some maples seed more heavily in a given season and when that is the case, the leaves are slower to develop, smaller and sparser. Those trees often stay "thin" for much of the season. Although the trees may look stressed, this is not usually a threat to long term health and is not an indicator of a serious problem.
On the other hand, if a tree that has seeded heavily is further stressed by anthracnose or soft scales, then the tree may benefit from some specific attention to those problems.
FROST AND FREEZE DAMAGE VS. ANTHRACNOSE
Although this has not been a particularly wet spring, we have seen a fair amount of ash anthracnose, maple anthracnose and some sycamore anthracnose.
And sometimes difficult to differentiate from anthracnose, we have seen some frost or freeze damage to some trees.
A more detailed discussion of anthracnose is found on our spring 2020 update page.