Fall Plant Health Care – Horticultural Oil

The Hemlock below has the woolly masses of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid eggs between the needles or leaves pictured in the photo.  Severe infestations resemble snow.  Dormant oil or Fall Horticultural oil applications to your plants has many benefits.  For hemlocks, the oil application suffocates hemlock woolly adelgid.

  • Oils are effective controls of many plant pests.
  • Advantages of oils include safety, effectiveness and limited effects on beneficial insects.
  • Horticultural oil sprays are directed to specific targets and do not leave a residual impact on beneficial insects or other organisms.

Various oils have been used for centuries to control insect and mite pests. Oils are an important tool to manage certain pest problems (e.g., scales, aphids, mites) on fruit trees, shade trees and woody ornamental plants. Several recently developed oils extend this usefulness to flowers, vegetables and other herbaceous plants. Oils also can control some plant diseases, such as powdery mildew. Oils used to protect plants have been called by many names, but perhaps horticultural oils best describes them.

  • For spider mites – hemlock, euonymus, forsythia, privet and pine.
  • For scale – euonymus, cherry, magnolia, hemlock, pine, oak, taxus, rhododendron, fruit trees, blueberry.
  • For hemlock woolly adelgid.
  • For lace bugs – andromeda, azalea, rhododendron
  • For winter moth – maple, birch, oak, blueberry and fruit trees.

Oils have different effects on pest insects. The most important is that they block the air holes (spiracles) through which insects breathe, causing them to die from asphyxiation. In some cases, oils also may act as poisons, interacting with the fatty acids of the insect and interfering with normal metabolism. Oils also may disrupt how an insect feeds, a feature that is particularly important in the transmission of some plant viruses by aphids.

Oils pose few risks to people or to most desirable species, including beneficial natural enemies of insect pests. This allows oils to integrate well with biological controls. Toxicity is minimal, at least compared to alternative pesticides, and oils quickly dissipate through evaporation, leaving little residue.

 

Winter Moth is Active

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Adult Winter Moth

Early this morning winter moth males were seen flying around lights in metro Boston in Belmont, Watertown and Newton.  This moth will mate and the female who cannot fly will lay her eggs in the cracks of bark on trees.  Those eggs will hatch in the spring and the larva will climb up into the buds and feed on the leaf tissue as spring progresses.  Look for winter moth males to be flying around lights at home, street lights, car and truck lights over the next few weeks.  Activity is highest after precipitation.  No control measures are needed now and these winter moths will not infest a structure or feed on grain or clothing.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Lack of rainfall this fall, and this year, causes plant stress.

OThis map of Massachusetts, from the water.weather.gov website, which has data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) highlights so of the challenges plant life in New England are facing.  On this map yellow and gold are minus 4 and 6 inches year to date, progressing to minus 12 inches in red. This map should be accessible by clicking here.  To help combat further winter dessication, try to give your plants a good watering before rolling up the hoses and putting them away for the year.

 

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Winter Moth-Active Last Night

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Winter Moth

 The moth surrounding your outside lights last night was the winter moth.  They have been active over the past few weeks and will continue to be active.  These adults are emerging from pupae casings in the soil.  The winter moth male and female will mate on a tree trunk, where the female will lay her eggs on the bark.  To protect landscape plants, including trees and shrubs, a variety of options exist, from late winter and early spring horticultural oil sprays to suffocate the eggs, to injection of a tree to kill the feeding larva, to spraying the foliage to kill the feeding larva.  For more winter moth information, contact us, or check out the Winter Moth web page at UMass.

Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.

www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Split Stem – Tree Repair

Here is an interesting case from two years ago, a heavy wet snow split the stem of a yew.  We cleared off the snow, drilled holes in the stem and bolted the tree back together upright.  Two years later, the tree  is healing around the bolts and doing great.



Winter 2009-2010



Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Site Sanitation

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Pest control is sanitation. Effective pest control, whether structural pest control, or ornamentals and shrubs is based on site sanitation. Keeping debris properly disposed of will dramatically reduce and control pest populations. For exterior pest control, including reducing issues that affect plant health, clean up all limbs, leaves and debris. Site sanitation will reduce the chance of plant disease. In addition, debris that are cleaned up reduce harborages for other pests, both rodents and insects that if left unchecked may multiply and cause problems inside.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Rejuvenation Pruning

The late winter and early spring time is a good time to look over and evaluate our landscape ornamental plants. Often there are plants which could use pruning to clean out diseased or damaged branches. When the foliage is off the plant and inactive, the quality and arrangement of branches is more visible.
Shrubs and ornamental trees need periodic pruning to promote healthy new growth, and to control the size, shape, and spacing of them. Some branching patterns can actually hinder future plant vigor by creating physical growth barriers or by creating areas of shade which may bring decline of parts of the plant. Any of these things could have a negative effect on the ornamental quality and aesthetic appeal of the landscape.
Gradual Rejuvenation pruning can clean out undesirable growth and correct problems of size and spacing in the landscape to encourage healthier new growth and vigor. See this link from the Virginia Cooperative Extension on rejuvenation pruning, and give it a try on your own. Correct pruning cuts can accomplish these goals and yield a healthier more attractive landscape to enjoy.
Call or email us if you would like a quote for rejuvenation pruning for your home or business.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com
. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.