New & Free! Southeastern Pest Control Guide for Nursery and Landscape Plants

2017 Southeastern US Pest Control Guide for Nursery Crops and Landscape Plantings.

Tired of going from state to state sifting through extension publications for the latest pest management recommendations? If this sounds like the start of an info-mercial and I guess it is.

A team of University and Extension personnel from around the Southeast has created the 2017 Southeastern US Pest Control Guide for Nursery Crops and Landscape Plantings. Yes its a long title but its a long book available in electronic and pdf versions.

The Guide includes sections on Arthropod, Disease, Weed, and Wildlife control in and around nursery and landscape plants. Comprehensive lists of pesticides are listed in tables to help you find information quickly.

This pest control guide was a project of the Southern Nursery IPM Working Group (SNIPM) and collaborators. Other comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) manuals for trees and shrubs available for download from the SNIPM web site (also don’t miss the new greenhouse pest iBook). The Southeastern US Pest Control Guide for Nursery Crops and Landscape Plantings was funded by a grant from the Southern IPM Center.

Of course the best part is that its free, available on your device in the field, and will be undated each year. Enjoy.

March 30th, 2017|Categories: Extension, Landscape IPM, Nursery IPM||

Warm days likely bring ambrosia beetle attacks

Frass tooth-pick from adult ambrosia beetles boring into trees. Photo: SD Frank

With several days of warm weather be on the look out for ambrosia beetles in your nursery. You are trapping right?

Keep checking those traps. I already have reports of a few beetles trapped in the eastern part of the state. Do not over-water your trees. Media moisture over 50% makes trees more attractive to beetle attacks. Many species, like dogwood, are never attacked when media moisture is below 50%.

Read up on our past ambrosia beetle posts, industry publications, new media moisture thresholds, and a review in the Journal of IPM.

February 21st, 2017|Categories: Nursery IPM|Tags: , |

Highlights of the 20th Ornamental Workshop

Frank Hale and Andrew Loyd in costume (not mandatory btw) during the Wednesday night social. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Frank Hale and Andrew Loyd in costume (not mandatory btw) during the Wednesday night social. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Now over 40 years old, the Ornamental Workshop convened for three beautiful days in late October. One hundred and twenty-three university researchers, extension personnel and representatives from agrochemical companies, biological control companies, tree care companies, public gardens, and others all converged in Hendersonville, NC to geek-out on the pests and diseases of ornamental plants.

Engaged participants soaking up knowledge.

Engaged participants soaking up knowledge. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Our keynote speakers, Adam Dale (University of Florida) and Steve Oak (USDA FS), started big with presentations about how climate change and urbanization affect insect and disease biology and management. For the next 3 days we had talks and workshops on everything from the latest research on exotic pests like emerald ash borer, crape myrtle bark scale, sudden oak death, and rose rosette, to new innovations in extension delivery. We covered nurseries, greenhouses, chemical control, biological control, new pests, old pests, you name it. We even had a workshop on macrophotography by Matt Bertone (NCSU). You can view the whole program to see what you missed.

Participants Cliff Sadof, Brian Kunkel, Gerald Adams, and Carlos Quesada 'networking' on a hike.

Participants Cliff Sadof, Brian Kunkel, Gerald Adams, and Carlos Quesada ‘networking’ on a hike. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Of course we never work too hard at the Ornamental Workshop even though ‘work’ is in the name. Each night we gather for drinks and snacks for networking (there is that ‘work’ again) and catching up with friends. The highlight for some folks is Wednesday when we take the afternoon off for a mushroom foray and hiking. This naturally inspires some to attend the social Wednesday evening dressed as their favorite insect or disease. This without a costume can decorate a moonpie to honor their favorite pests.

Moonpie insects and diseases ready to be judged. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

Moonpie insects and diseases ready to be judged. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

I personally thank all the participants and sponsors for another great workshop. If you want to attend in 2018 watch the website, Facebook page, or join the listserv. If you know someone who should attend this meeting please pass along this post.

Morning at the Ornamental Workshop. Photo: SD Frank.

Morning at the Ornamental Workshop. Photo: SD Frank.

November 9th, 2016|Categories: Landscape IPM, Nursery IPM|Tags: |

New paper: Media moisture thresholds for ambrosia beetle IPM

Ambrosia beetles are among the most damaging pests of nursery. The main culprits are granulate ambrosia beetle (Xylosandrus crassiusculus) and the black stem borer (X. germanus). We have worked on ambrosia beetles for several years to find ways to reduce damage and insecticide use. Recently though, in collaboration with Chris Ranger at USDA ARS in Wooster and other scientists, we finally got to the root of the problem: why do ambrosia beetles attack nursery stock to begin with?

Chris and other collaborators started down this road with the realization that when trees get too much water they release ethanol through their bark. And what is the lure in ambrosia beetle traps?: ethanol.

Flooded trees produce ethanol which is the lure as in ambrosia beetle traps use ethanol

Flooded trees produce ethanol which is the lure in ambrosia beetle traps use ethanol. Photo: SD Frank

The question then became “how wet is too wet?” If nurseries could prevent trees from getting ‘too wet’ water maybe they could stop ambrosia beetle attacks all together. To answer this question we grew Florida dogwoods in containers and maintained 10, 30, 50, 70, or 90% media moisture throughout the spring. It turns out that trees above 50% media moisture got hammered by ambrosia beetles and those below did not get attacked at all. So, at least for dogwoods, we recommend a media moisture threshold of 50% or below to reduce ambrosia beetle attacks.

Experimental trees with covers to help regulate media moisture. Photo: SD Frank

Experimental trees with covers to help regulate media moisture. Photo: SD Frank

Next we measured media moisture at 6 cooperating nurseries each spring for two years. Unfortunately, containers at most nurseries were above the 50% threshold during peak ambrosia beetle activity in early spring. Thus, trees in these nurseries smelled sick to ambrosia beetles and were susceptible to attack.

Reducing media moisture in spring is a challenge because the weather is cool and often wet and trees are not transpiring. That said, sometimes we found irrigation systems were operating during ambrosia beetle season when they probably weren’t required. More research is required to develop horticultural tactics, such as new substrates, to reduce spring media moisture. In the mean time though growers can add the media moisture threshold of 50% to their IPM toolbox to use in combination with other tactics like trapping and insecticide applications.

Frank, S. D., and C. M. Ranger. 2016. Developing a media moisture threshold for nurseries to reduce tree stress and ambrosia beetle attacks. Environmental Entomology 45: 1040-1048.


August 23rd, 2016|Categories: Nursery IPM|Tags: , |

Maple Shoot Borers Damaging Maples in Nurseries

This is a guest post by our PhD student Larry Long.

MSB Flagging (Long)

Flagging of apical shoot and frass expelled from larvae developing inside the stem and beneath the lateral leaves. Photo Credit: Larry Long, NCSU

Maple shoot borers (Proteoteras aesculana) are common pests of red maples in nurseries. This caterpillar causes flagging and dieback of the apical shoots of maples (Acer spp.). It is too late this season to manage this pest or damage with insecticides but recognizing the damage could inform your management next spring. Maple shoot borer adults are small nondescript moths that lay eggs on maple stems near expanding buds in early spring. After hatching the caterpillar burrows into the growing shoot where it feeds on the vascular cambium. As the larvae develops it expels frass and silk from the hole through which it entered the stem. Young stems and leaves above the point where the larvae entered eventually die.

Mature larvae exit the shoot then pupating on the ground. There is no evidence of summer season egg laying so it is thought that upon emergence from their pupae the new moths seek overwintering sites.

Monitoring for damage by this pest is not very useful because by the time damage occurs management is impractical. However, if a high proportion of plants are infested this year it could warrant preventive insecticide applications next spring. To confirm that damage is from maple shoot borers and not another pest like potato leafhoppers, cut open flagging stems to see if they are hollow and if larvae are present. The larvae are a tan to cream-colored with a dark head capsule.

Dissected maple stem showing larvae living inside. Photo Credit: Matt Bertone, NCSU

Dissected maple stem showing larvae living inside. Photo Credit: Matt Bertone, NCSU

Preventive management entails applying pyrethroid insecticide from just before bud break until shoots have flushed their first two pairs of lateral leaves. Since this is in early spring you may be making these applications anyway for ambrosia beetle management so there is no need to spray extra just for maple shoot borer. Preventive applications are important because once symptoms appear it is too late for treatment. Damaged shoots should be pruned and a new leader trained to correct tree form.

Dieback or ‘flagging’ caused by maple shoot borer. Photo Credit: Larry Long, NCSU

Dieback or ‘flagging’ caused by maple shoot borer. Photo Credit: Larry Long, NCSU

See our guides for IPM of of trees and shrubs in nurseries on our extension resources page.

May 13th, 2016|Categories: Nursery IPM|Tags: , , |

IPM Symposium in Western NC – biocontrol, bees, and bugs

The North Carolina Arboretum is holding its annual IPM Symposium this year October 1st from 9:00-4:00. This is a insect_ecologyfantastic symposium that has grown each year. It provides high-level information on IPM from national experts in biological control, pest ID, scouting and monitoring, disease management, pesticide use, and other topics. See the full schedule of speakers and topics then register here. It is a real bargain for such good talks and is one of the few places you can get your fill of biological control info along-side more traditional IPM.

July 15th, 2015|Categories: Greenhouse IPM, Landscape IPM, Natural Enemies, Nursery IPM|Tags: |

New ambrosia beetle paper published


Frass tubes made by granulate ambrosia beetle. Photo by Laura Lazarus, North Carolina Division of Forest Resources,

Check out our new paper published this month in PLOS ONE on two exotic Xylosandrus ambrosia beetles and factors that influence what trees they attack.

July 15th, 2015|Categories: Lab Happenings, Landscape IPM, Nursery IPM|Tags: , , |

New and Updated Insect Notes for Pests of Ornamental Plants

Old Insect Note

Old Insect Note

Maybe you have already found the relatively new Extension Resource Catalog. This is a huge effort by Extension to modernize  fact sheets and other information resources. Instead of every department, or even every program, having its own fact sheet design and delivery format (web?, pdf?, print?, fax?) all the resources will look the same and reside in the same place. The interface makes it easy to update so the resources will be (should be) more current. They are also printable. Yeah for Extension.

With help from the great folks in Extension IT I am gradually getting the Insect Notes for Pests of Ornamental Plants moved from their current home to the new Extension Resource Catalog. You can find several Insect Notes already present like Gloomy Scales, Greenstriped Mapleworm, Japanese Maple Scale, and Maple Spider Mites.

New Insect Note

New Insect Note

When you get to the main Extension Resource Catalog you will find every resource from every department and county all listed together. Don’t fret. On the left bar you can select resources by topic, like Commercial Horticulture, Nursery & Turf, or by Department. This will help narrow down the list. Of course you can also use the search bar. I think this is an overdue, but great, advance in NCSU Extension delivery. Please be patient as I transfer the 200 Insect Notes on ornamental pests into the new system. If there are Insect Notes you would find particularly useful please let me know.

July 9th, 2015|Categories: Greenhouse IPM, Landscape IPM, Nursery IPM, Uncategorized|Tags: |

Spider mite outbreaks

Photo Jun 24, 6 07 00 PM

Things are heating up and the twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, thrives in hot dry weather. I have found many spider mites in the landscape on roses and many other plants. My butterfly bushes (Buddleja), which are particularly susceptible, are losing leaves (which have turned yellow anyway) due to mite damage. It is important to scout for twospotted spider mites now because they reproduce most rapidly in hot dry weather. Under these conditions they can mature from egg to reproducing adult in 5 days! Nursery crops are especially susceptible because they may be exposed to more sun than landscape plants and tolerance for damage is lower.

Orius nymph on butterfly bush leaf with spider mites. Photo: SD Frank

Orius nymph on butterfly bush leaf with spider mites. Photo: SD Frank

My plants had predatory minute pirate bug (Orius) nymphs mixed in with the spider mites but so far they were not keeping up with the rapid spider mite population growth. I rarely see spider mite webbing on plants especially outdoor plants.

buddleji damage

Stippling damage on butterfly bush. Photo: SD Frank

Twospotted spider mites feed on over 100 plant species sucking the fluid out of leaf cells. This ‘stippling’ damage can rapidly cause entire plants to take on a bronzed appearance. Look on the underside of leaves on susceptible hosts or beat foliage on a white piece of paper to scout for spider mites. If you notice mites or damage a range of control options are available the best of which are several new miticides that provide efficacy against many mite life stages. Pyrethroids can make mite populations worse by killing natural enemies. Imidacloprid can also cause spider mite outbreaks. For more information and product suggestions visit a comprehensive guide from University of Florida.

June 26th, 2015|Categories: Landscape IPM, Nursery IPM|Tags: , |

Japanese beetles are active – can you manage them without neonicotinoids?

In the last week I got reports from NCSU Extension Area Agent (Extraordinaire) Cliff Ruth that Japanese beetles were starting to fill traps in WNC. Yesterday I finally found a couple of Japanese beetles in Raleigh on hibiscus and roses. When I say a couple though I mean I literally found 7 beetles at the JC Raulston Arboretum and 2 beetles after searching the whole Raleigh Rose Garden.

JB on rose cropped

Japanese beetle feeding on rose pedals. Photo: SD Frank

Over the past several years there have been fewer and fewer Japanese beetles on campus and around Raleigh. Several years there have been droughts during Japanese beetle oviposition which I believe is responsible for this trend.  Japanese beetles need to lay eggs in moist turf so that the eggs do not desiccate and so the young larvae can burrow into the soil after hatching. This is why Japanese beetles are still abundant in neighborhoods with irrigated turf, golf courses, and similar situations.  Thus, Japanese beetles persist in the areas where people hate them most. Places with highly maintained turf.

Japanese beetle adults feed on the foliage of many plant species including Tilia spp., crape myrtle, roses, ornamental fruit trees, and others. It has become common for homeowners and professionals to treat plants with neonicotinoids, especially imidacloprid, to reduce Japanese beetle feeding. An imidacloprid drench can reduce feeding on trees for multiple years and is thus an effective alternative to foliar applications of pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates that were (and still are in some cases) the standard practice.

Japanese beetle after feeding on imidacloprid treated knockout rose leaves. Photo: SD Frank

Japanese beetle after feeding on imidacloprid treated knockout rose leaves. Photo: SD Frank

However, many people are concerned about using neonicotinoids in their landscapes. In addition, new labels of neonics, including Merit,  and Safari, do not permit application to Tilia spp. by any method. So I frequently get the question, “How can I manage Japanese beetles (or fill in other pest here) without neonics?”

One option of course is to plant less susceptible plant species some of which are listed in a UKY Extension sheet. In the case of leaf feeding scarab beetles (and most insects) there are other options. One active ingredient is chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn) which has low vertebrate toxicity and good control of similar pests to imidacloprid. Azadirachtin products can reduce leaf damage and even neem oil can provide short repellency (1-3 days). A slew of pyrethroids are also effective at reducing Japanese beetle damage but are very broad-spectrum insecticides (broader than neonics) will have severe effects on non-target and beneficial insects.


June 10th, 2015|Categories: Landscape IPM, Nursery IPM, Pollinators|Tags: , |