No. 1/April 22, 2021

Welcome to the 2021 edition of the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter. This newsletter is written to keep professional landscapers, arborists, golf course superintendents, lawn care personnel, and garden center operators up-to-date on the commercial management of diseases, weeds, insects, and other pests. We will report on the pests we are seeing and anticipating throughout Illinois. To assist us in these efforts, we ask for your help in reporting pest situations as you see them throughout the year. Your assistance will help us to provide relevant and timely content for all of Illinois. Most of the newsletter's authors are only able to scout a small portion of east-central Illinois. Please send pest reports to Travis Cleveland at

Spruce spidermites
Spruce spidermite (Oligonychus ununguis) is a herbivorous mite that feeds on spruce, fir, juniper and other conifers. These mites suck plant fluids from conifer needles. Each time a mite pierces the plant, it leaves behind a small discolored spot. When many mites feed on the plant, the needles can quickly become covered in small yellow spots, described as “stippling.” This can give the injured plant a bronze appearance at a distance. Fine silk may also be visible among the needles and twigs.

Selective Control for Nimblewill
Nimblewill is a warm-season perennial grass that is fairly common in Illinois. Typically found growing in shady or wet lawns and landscapes, it creeps by aboveground, horizontal stems that can root at the nodes and readily form patches. Its leaves are smooth, quite narrow, and short compared to many grass species. Individual plants look almost wiry. In fact, another name for this grass is wire-grass. A closer look at this plant will reveal a very short, membranous, toothed ligule. The leaves are rolled in the bud. The flower is a fine, slender panicle.

Taking Care of Trees: Five Tips for Root to Top Success
We have all heard the phrase, "Money doesn't grow on trees." However, trees add both aesthetic and economic value to a landscape. So, if we think of our home as an investment, we should consider our trees as investments as well. As with a financial investment, you will need we choose the right tree and provide regular maintenance. Neglected trees often decline. By the time we notice their decline, it is often too late to correct the cause. This article will provide five tree care tips to keep your trees healthy from the roots up.

Dermal Toxicity and Absorption Rates
What comes to mind when you think of absorption rates? When I think of an absorption rate, the first thing that comes to mind is a paper towel and how fast it can absorb mom's first cup of coffee that was just knocked off the counter by two little boys in a sword fight. Of course, some brands of towels are faster than others. It isn't often that I think about my body's skin being like a paper towel, but it too can absorb substances. Imagine this slogan, “Your skin, the quicker picker-upper.“ Our skin is a vital organ to our body and can take in substances, including pesticides. A dermal exposure occurs when a pesticide contacts and enters the body through the skin. Dermal exposure can occur when mixing, applying, or otherwise handling a pesticide. It also happens to be the most frequent route of pesticide entry into the body, often going undetected.

University of Illinois Plant Clinic Operations 2021
Normally, this would be the time to welcome spring and remind people of how to submit a sample to the Plant Clinic. We are open and accepting samples. However, we are also operating a bit differently in accordance to University and state guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pest Management Handbooks
My colleagues and I frequently receive questions on when new editions of the Illinois Commercial Landscape & Turfgrass Management Handbook and Pest management for the Home Landscape will be available. The current editions are several years old, 2014 and 2016, respectively. The good news is that there are plans to revise both handbooks. However, we do not have a timeline or estimate on when the next editions will be available.