Christmas tree IPM update 1.14.18

Those warm spells probably aren’t that good for the plants, but oh, I do enjoy them!

We are doing a survey at the CTFANY meeting this year on tick borne diseases and exotic Christmas tree species. If you won’t have a chance to fill it out at the meeting, you can do it here.

I’ve had a couple of questions that relate to DEC matters – pesticide choice and pesticide recertification credits.
I’ll do the easy one first. There are very few instances where credits from another state are allowed for recertification of NYS pesticide licenses. The organizers of the events have to register them with NYS DEC and meet all the specs so it doesn’t happen often. If you can’t find the event on NYSPAD it won’t count – except for making you smarter!

Which reminds me of another question… it rarely makes sense to add another private pesticide category even if you add new crops. DEC says “Applicants should choose the category based on their primary crop, it is not necessary to hold additional categories within the Ag Production series (21-25)”. If you decide to do aquatic pest control, for example, that’s another story.

Now back to the hard question – what to do about pesticide applications in mixed species Christmas tree plantations? Of course, you don’t want to spray anything that would damage any of the species – blue spruce comes up a lot here as some pesticides will take the blue off the needles. But even if the pesticides are all ‘safe’ for the species, the law says that the host and the pest must both be on the label for you to apply that compound to those trees. And finding information on the label – and understanding it – can require you to be quite a sleuth.

I often resort to pulling up the label in NYSPAD ( a different part of it) and using the search button on the computer to look for key words.

Some labels use ‘conifers’, some use ‘Christmas trees’ and probably some use the exact species. Some specify where the trees can be – Christmas tree nursery beds, production plantations, tree seed orchards, etc. Some include the species with the insect or disease and others just list the disease or insect. But you have to find both the host and the pest on the label to use the pesticide.

This is one reason that single species fields are easier to deal with.

There’s more helpful information on which pesticides to use for what and what’s allowed – AND lots of IPM information to reduce your need for pesticides – in the Cornell Guidelines and the 2018 “Tree and Shrub Guidelines” are almost ready!

This is a good time to plan for the insect and disease pests that you usually have, check your pesticide list, and read those labels. Put your feet up first – it might help.