No. 1/April 24, 2017

First Issue of 2017
Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter. We plan to publish 17 issues during the coming growing season. The first two issues will be two weeks apart as spring pest problems gear up. Through May and June, we will provide weekly issues, with issues every two weeks during July, August, and September. We will finish with an issue in mid-October that will include an index to the 2017 issues.

Mild Winter & Warm Spring Bugs
The temperatures of the past winter and so far this spring have shown an interesting effect on landscape plants and insects. Although we have had a generally warmer winter and spring than usual, an inordinate amount of the daily high temperatures have been in the 40's degrees F.

Sand Wasps
Sand wasps have similar habits to the cicada killer, but they occur earlier in the spring, with other species common later in the growing season. There are several species, ranging in size from 1/2 to almost 1 inch long. They are dark-colored, slender wasps with one or more contrasting gray to reddish bands. Adults feed on flower nectar, pollinating plants in the process.

2017 Season at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic
Plant Clinic services include plant and insect identification, diagnosis of disease, insect, weed, and chemical injury problems (chemical injury on field crops only), nematode assays, and help with nutrient related problems, as well as recommendations involving these diagnoses. Microscopic examinations, laboratory culturing, virus assays, and nematode assays are some of the techniques used at the Plant Clinic. Many samples can be diagnosed within a few days.

Boxwood Blight
Boxwood blight is a potentially devastating disease affecting members of the Buxaceae family. The disease has been found on boxwood, pachysandra, and sarcococca. The disease is caused by the fungi Calonectria pseudonaviculata (syn. Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum and C. buxicola) and Calonectria henricotiae. To date, C. henricotiae has not been found in the United States.

Boxwood Blight Look-alikes
With the recent detections of boxwood blight in Illinois, the importance of scouting landscapes and new plants for the disease is greater than ever. Boxwood blight can be a challenging disease to identify outside a plant diagnostic laboratory. Many of the symptoms associated with the disease are similar to other common boxwood disorders. One major difference between boxwood blight and its look-alikes is the potential for defoliation. Boxwood blight causes extensive defoliation, while look-alike disorders tend to have leaves turn tan to brown, but remain attached to the plant.

A (Partial) Roundup of Roundups
New this year to the Roundup brand is "Roundup for Lawns". Yes, I said brand and yes, I said lawns. Many know Roundup as a nonselective, systemic herbicide used for broad spectrum weed control. The active ingredient or weed killer in this traditional form of Roundup is glyphosate. It's what made the name Roundup well known. 

Is It Really Soil?
In Soils 101 we learn soil is composed of three particle sizes: clay, silt and sand. An ideal soil will have all three particle sizes, which helps with water draining (the larger sand particles) as well as retention (the small clay particles), and allows root growth to take place. On the other hand, an ideal soil doesn't have them in equal parts. What you really are looking for is 60-70% silt, and equal parts of sand and clay for the rest. This gives you a loamy soil.

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F, March 1 through April 20)
Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Home, Yard, and Garden readers can use the links in this article with the degree day accumulations listed to determine what insect pests could be active in their area.

Emerald Ash Borer Emergence Projected to Be Underway Soon
Areas south of I-64 may see emerald ash borer emergence soon. With the warm spring temperatures, degree day accumulations will soon reach levels when adult activity begins. While peak emergence (and activity) is still quite a ways off (accumulation of 1000 degree days), it is possible to note potential infestations at the apparent health of the ash tree, presence of D-shaped, and of course the confirmation of the borer itself.