No. 1/May 2, 2023

Welcome to the 2023 edition of the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is 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.

Common Chickweed
Spring is finally upon us. While many of us would like some warmer temperatures, cool-season annual weeds such as common chickweed are greatly enjoying these cooler days. In many areas where a preemergent herbicide was not applied last fall for broadleaf weed control, quite a bit of chickweed can now easily be found. Its bright to light green color gives it away. In fact, I’ve seen some far enough along in development and the color is light green to yellow. This is how this plant looks before dying. That’s the good news for us about this weed. It won’t be here much longer. If common chickweed is a problem weed for you, plan to prevent future infestations in the fall. Mulch works well to prevent germination in landscape beds. For lawns, control options are discussed below.

Volutella Blight of Pachysandra
Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) is a mostly trouble-free species. However, it occasionally has problems with scale insects and fungal diseases, with Volutella blight being the most common.

Botryosphaeria Canker of Dogwood
My neon burst Tatarian dogwood has been through a lot since I planted it a few years ago. It has been grazed on a few times by the local deer population, hosted a dogwood sawfly convention in 2021, and most recently accommodated several Botryosphaeria cankers. Botryosphaeria canker is a common disease of many landscape trees and shrubs. The cankers tend to be inconspicuous on many plant species. However, the cankers are evident and stand out against the young bright-colored bark of red-stemmed dogwood species.

Spring Tips for Pollinator Protection
Pollinators can be some of the first spring insects we notice in the landscape. You may have seen honey bees and native bees foraging on grape hyacinth earlier this season or foraging at crab apple and cherry blossoms right now. You may even notice butterflies like, my favorite, the mourning cloak, as they emerge from their overwintering sites. This makes spring a great time to brush up on tips for pollinator protection.