May 29, 2019

NEWA Update 5.29.19

Buds are breaking all around Ithaca and Geneva.  We’ll be going through our planting to see how they did over the winter.

Sorry for the long break – amazing how long it takes to catch up from a couple of days off!  Did you check NEWA because you were missing my email?

Everyone’s in the triple digits now – but the range from Canton to Riverhead is 140 – 488 GDD!

Not too much has changed overall.

We’ll add:

Elongate hemlock scale crawlers  360-700 GDD – remember the only sensible time to treat EHS (except dormant oil) is when the crawlers are out.

Two spotted spider mite – 363-618 GDD – look for trees with stippled needles (lots of tiny yellow spots) and bronzed interior needles and do a tap test.  Two spotted spider mites like it hot – and dry and dusty makes them happy so maybe not so far this year.


Here are the ones continuing:

Gypsy moth larvae hatching – 90-448 GDD – remember the small ones are the easiest to control with Bt.  And larvae can sent up silks to be carried by the wind, so treat trees around any that are infested.

Douglas fir needle midge adults –  200-400 GDD – traps are helpful to know when they start emerging from the soil

Pine needle scale – crawlers emerge 298-448


There is always something to scout for.  I hope you are catching up in the fields!


Have a great week!


May 20, 2019

GDD Update May 20, 2019

Well, this is different – sun and heat!  Based on the weather alerts popping up on my radio, some people got lots of rain this weekend, which continues to make everything difficult.

Most reports are ‘missed that window for weed/insect management, planting, etc…’.  Peter Brooks wondered what the effect of all the rain on GDD based insect models is.  I suspect the effect is less on their development and more on our ability to deal with them.  Now, for something that pupates or overwinters in the soil, there might be an effect.  Harder to escape muddy soils?

On the disease side, there is definitely an effect of a wet spring.  We’ve seen too much Phytophthora in the past to not know it is exacerbated by waterlogged soils.  And George Hudler is noted in the Branching Out newsletter for May 17 as saying that leaf, needle and rust diseases are expected to be at high levels in 2019.  He thinks Rhabdocline and Swiss needle cast are as high as he has seen in many years.  (I have heard comments about Rhabdocline this year after not hearing any for quite a while.)

So this is a year to make sure you get good coverage for your needlecast sprays.  Remember Brian has seen good results treating for the first time at 1.5 – 2 inch elongation of shoots for Swiss needlecast, later than the traditional recommendation.

Growing degree days for the farms I am following range from 85-345.  Where do you fall?  Find out at NEWA:


Things to be scouting for now or soon:

Douglas fir needle midge – adults emerge 200-400

Gypsy moth  – eggs hatch 90-448

Pine needle scale – first generation crawlers emerge 298-448

I don’t get many requests for information on sawflies, but if you have them (and there are several species), they may be emerging now (78-220 for European pine sawfly).  Treatment is usually spot treatment only and often only in the last few years before sale.  Unfortunately, Bt doesn’t work on sawflies.

Have a great week!

May 13, 2019

GDD update May 13, 2019

GDD is inching up.  Not much has changed from the update last week.  The range of GDD for the growers I am working with on this project is 56 – 260.


Do any of you note the GDD for budbreak for the different tree species you grow?  Maybe a project for me for next year.  It would be helpful to know, wouldn’t it?  Source may affect it but perhaps we could get a range.


Supposed to get to 84 in Ithaca on Sunday.  The bigger problem for you at the moment may be getting in to your fields to scout with all the rain and little sun to dry things out.  We had to throw in the towel (and a soggy towel it was) on sampling for insects this week.


Have a great week!


May 13, 2019

GDD update for May 8, 2019

One thing I was reminded of this week – things can change quickly!  Especially when you get busy!

Monday I was out in our beneficial habitat plots setting up pitfall traps and helping with sweep netting.  We are certainly catching bugs – especially where there are flowers, and even weeds count (oh, yes, we have weeds).  We can’t identify them all yet but there are definitely beneficials out there already.  We caught several pink spotted ladybeetles – an excellent aphid parasite that you want if you have balsam twig aphid.

Why am I telling you this? Not just so you can be happy I spent a day away from my desk (Yes!) but because it suggests 2 things:

  • Flowering plants – beneficial habitat plots or weeds (if they aren’t interfering with production practices) – will draw the good guys in to your plots where they will feed on the pests you don’t want.
  • If you are applying pesticides, knowing the effects on beneficials will help you avoid killing them off.  This information isn’t that easy to find but if you want to know what I can find on a particular pesticide, send me a note and I will do my best (and include the information in these notes).

A quick review of where most people are:

Balsam twig aphid eggs will be hatching for many of you (30-100 GDD) and the best control is between egg hatch and bud break.

Balsam woolly adelgid treatment is before bud break (no GDD available).

Cooley spruce gall adelgid nymphs on Douglas fir or spruce are still in a treatable stage for some locations (22-91 GDD)

Douglas fir needle midge adults will be emerging from the soil (200-400) soon and heading out to lay eggs on your trees.  Yellow sticky cards will tell you exactly when.

Elongate hemlock scale adults can still be controlled if your trees are still dormant (7-120) but no-one is yet at the stage of treating crawlers (360-700)

Gypsy moth larvae will be hatching (90-448 GDD) and the Bt applications work best on small larvae.

Pales weevil and Eastern pine weevil treatment still possible for some (7-121 GDD and 7-100 GDD respectively)

Pine needle scale eggs should be scouted  (98-248 GDD) but I wouldn’t expect crawlers to be out for anyone quite yet (248-448)

Spruce spider mite eggs should be hatching – or already done (50-121 GDD)

White pine weevil – getting close to the end for everyone if you aren’t already there (7-58 GDD).  The next step is to cut out the shepherd’s crooks caused by the larval feeding.

Zimmerman pine moth – does anyone see this? – larvae are hatching now for some of you (121-246 GDD)

Does anyone get sawflies or pine bark adelgid?  As there are fewer pines grown as Christmas, we see fewer pine pests.  But they are still in the landscape trade.

A long one today since you got off easy last week!


Have a great week!

May 1, 2019

GDD Update 4.29.19

What a difference a day – or a year – makes.  We didn’t get the threatened snow in Ithaca but did get a good frost last night.  Just because I planted a few things (patience is not one of my virtues)?


And at the Cornell Orchards, the GDD today is 80 – last year on this date it was 13 and in 2017 it was 152.  So I guess we are at a happy medium.


Did anyone have snow?  Did anyone have buds out far enough to get nipped if you had a frost?


Not much change in GDD overall since last week – just 6 units if you all are included and 4 if we take out Long Island which had all the outliers. And no big jumps through May 4 – just creeping up. Doesn’t change any advice so I’ll make this a quick email!


Have a great week!