No. 12/October 12, 2020

Fall Control Options for Viburnum Leaf Beetle
Viburnum leaf beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) larvae feed on members of the Viburnum genus causing significant defoliation. While the larvae are active in May and June, there are some steps that can be taken in the fall to reduce or prevent injury the following year.

Seasonal Needle Drop
Around this time of year, the U of I Plant Clinic receives many calls regarding yellowing needles on evergreens. The appearance can be quite alarming to homeowners whose seemingly healthy evergreens suddenly turn yellow and drop large numbers of needles. Fortunately, most are witnessing a harmless and natural part of the plant’s cycle. Despite the name, evergreen foliage does not stay on the plant forever. Evergreens commonly shed their less productive or older needles. Most pine species shed their needles after 3 to 4 years. The occurrence is more noticeable on some species, such as white pine, and less evident on others, such as spruce and fir.

White Pine Decline
The University of Illinois Plant Clinic frequently receives white pine samples with symptoms described as, “Dying trees with thinning, yellowing and browning needles.” These samples are always somewhat frustrating because they usually lack any pathogens to explain the symptoms. Incubated needles and branches rarely produce any diagnostic clues. The lack of pathogen(s) leads us to attribute the symptoms to white pine decline, a condition caused by an environmental or abiotic stress.

Illinois Pesticide Applicator/Operator Training & Testing Options for 2020-2021
University of Illinois’ Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) and Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) are taking steps to provide safe training and testing options for pesticide applicators and operators. PSEP will not offer in-person training during fall 2020 or spring 2021. The decision to cancel in-person training was based on the health of not only training clinic attendees, but the staff and the surrounding community with whom we share spaces. Additionally, in-person training was not feasible given the current restrictions which limit event attendance to the lesser of 50 persons OR 50% of the overall room capacity. In place of in-person training, PESP plans to offer the following resources to individuals preparing for Illinois Pesticide Certification Exams during the COVID-19 pandemic: