New York State IPM Program

December 6, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Shopping For Christmas Trees?

Shopping For Christmas Trees?

by Ryan Parker and Brian Eshenaur

When choosing the perfect tree, people usually consider variety, size, and shape. But with the phenomenon of a new invasive planthopper, Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) (SLF), the tree’s origin may be something to think about.

We always suggest fresh-cut trees from New York’s many great tree farms!Christmas tree farm in winter

 

First of all, we’ll say it’s unlikely that SLF will be on your cut tree. Conifers are not a food source for this pest, but egg-laying females are indiscriminate as to where eggs are placed. That’s why we offer a list for travelers making their way through quarantined areas.

Adult spotted lanternfly with covered egg masses on rusty shovel

Adult spotted lanternfly with covered egg masses on rusty shovel Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

Print this list and keep it in your vehicles!

SLF egg mass on tree trunk

Egg mass Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

At this time of year, winter has killed off adults, but their hardy egg masses remain. Although ornamental in appearance, Spotted Lanternfly is one “ornament” you don’t want hatching from their mud-like egg masses and decorating your property this coming spring. SLF causes economic damage to agriculture, forestry and tourism, and is a major nuisance to homeowners. Learn more by visiting our SLF website!

We bring this up because the SLF quarantined areas of Pennsylvania (shown in blue on the map below) happen to be home to many Christmas tree farms (Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill).

distribution map as of November 2019

Distribution map as of November 2019

If you’re buying a pre-cut Christmas tree, ask the seller where their trees came from. If it’s from PA, learn about this pest and inspect the trunk.  But don’t stop there. Get into the habit of citizen science! “Scouting” (actively knowing how, why, and where to look) for pests gives you a critical role in stopping the spread.

eggs and egg mass on bark

Eggs, and covered eggs (egg mass) on bark. Photo: Emily Swackhamer, Penn State Extension

What else can you do?

There are plenty of cut-your-own farms in New York with family-friendly atmosphere where you can get a fresh tree. If you don’t have time for a cut-your-own experience, ask your tree sellers if they’re aware of SLF risk on out-of-state trees. Awareness is key!

photo of Brian Eshenaur

Brian Eshenaur

Here’s some Christmas Tree tips from our own Christmas Tree expert, IPM’s Brian C. Eschenaur:

2019 was an excellent growing season for Christmas Trees.  We had more moderate summer temperatures and good rainfall this year.  Those suitable growing conditions allowed trees to put on healthy new growth, and the fine weather gave Christmas tree growers good conditions to prune trees so they will be in great shape for harvest. This year’s early-November cold snap was also beneficial in “setting” the needles which is good for longer needle retention in some tree species.

Once in a while we hear from people concerned about the “single use” aspect of real Christmas trees.  But considering the alternative of a plastic tree produced, then shipped from overseas, (and eventually ending up in a landfill), real trees have their benefits.  They are a renewable resource and by buying locally you are supporting growers that will continue to maintain their fields which are part of the greenspace we all value.

Choose a variety and shape that fits your needs. Many growers are producing a wide variety of firs, spruces and even old-fashioned pines. Each variety tree offers its own shape, color, fragrance, and even branch stiffness which is important to consider for holding ornaments.

Trees always look smaller in the field so don’t forget the tape measure.  Measure the floor to ceiling height before you go tree shopping and then while choosing so you end up with a tree that fits nicely into your home.

Don’t be afraid to bend the branches and shoots. Green needles should not come off in your hands. Also, the shoots should be flexible. Avoid a tree if the needles are shed or if the shoots break instead of flexing.

If possible, make a fresh cut on the bottom so the tree’s vascular tissue (pipe work) is not plugged and the tree can easily take up water. Then, if you’re not bringing it into the house right away, get the tree in a bucket of water outside.

Once you move your tree inside the house, don’t locate it next to a radiator, furnace vent or other heat source. And always remember to keep water in the tree stand topped off, so it never goes below the bottom of the trunk.

Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your “Holly Jolly Christmas” and hopefully “it’s the best time of the year.”

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker, NYSIPM Program

Cheers from all of the NYSIPM staff.

 

 

October 4, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on A Look Back at our Beneficial Habitat Events

A Look Back at our Beneficial Habitat Events

Photo of Betsy Lamb, Amara Dunn and Brian Eshenaur during twilight meetingOn Wednesday September 25th, Dr. Amara Dunn, Dr. Betsy Lamb, and Senior Extension Educator Brian Eshenaur hosted a Beneficial Habitat Open House. Guests could compare establishment methods, see some of the insects caught in our plots, or just enjoy the flowers.

Thursday September 26th was the Planting for Beneficial Habitat Twilight meeting. Attendees learned how habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects show good stewardship of the land. Dr. Dunn explained several methods of establishment, the benefits of hosting pollinators and other beneficial insects, and their impact as biological control.

For more, visit the Bicontrol Bytes Blog Creating Habitat for Beneficial Insects, Summer 2018
Creating Habitat for Beneficial Insects; Project Update End of Year One
Come Visit our Beneficial Insect Habitat Plots ,
Creating Habitat; Starting Year Two  
Photo shows Dr. Amara Dunn speaking with two attendees at the Beneficial Habitat Open House

Dr. Amara Dunn speaks with Cooperative Extension visitors.

Photo shows rows of small evergreen trees at the NYSIPM research plot at Cornell Agritech Fruit and Vegetable Research Farm

Evergreen plantings on the NYSIPM plot, Cornell Agritech Fruit and Vegetable Research Farm

photo shows at least one plot of beneficial habitat plants and part of a row of small evergreens

Does adding beneficial habitat reduce pest pressure on Christmas tree plots? We hope to find out.

photo shows six guests and two speakers from the IPM program standing near one of the habitat plots

Despite stormy skies, the Twilight Event was a success

photo shows Brian Eshenaur and Amara Dunn discussing the research plot

Brian Eshenaur and Amara Dunn address attendees of the Twilight Meeting

Photo shows college students working with insects around a table as Dr. Betsy Lamb directs them.

Keuka College students in Dr. Bill Brown’s Animal Diversity class compare pairs of insect samples. Dr. Betsy Lamb invited them to hypothesize differences in collected insects at varying locations within the plots, and at different times of the year.

Thank you to all who helped make these teaching events possible!

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