Less winter more spring

With bud-break on flowering trees and shrubs commencing a month earlier than usual this year, we can expect a flourish of rain-spread fungal disease to attack blooming ornamental cherry, crabapple, plum, pear and other trees and shrubs. Warmer temperatures and drier conditions earlier in February were perfect for getting things growing, including your lawn. (I’m sure I’ve never fired up my lawnmower in mid Feb before).
The down side, with inevitable rainfall and extended exposure of tender new tissue growth, is the establishment of apple scab, brown rot or blossom blight, shot-hole fungus and other leaf, petal and twig damaging pathogens.
Since our treatment schedules for plant fungus control are driven by target species and when they first bloom, not by the calendar, we are already applying our first treatments. If you are reading this and have trees blooming in your landscape now, you may want to give us a call for treatment if you are not currently a customer.
With an extended growing season such as this, we usually see an uptick in damaging insect activity as well. Early leaf feeders will respond to the emergence of new growth, especially if conditions are dry and warm. Overwintering egg cases of tent caterpillars have been observed around the county this winter which may signal a sizable outbreak this spring. Of course, trying to predict the behavior of insects and pathogens is not much easier than forecasting the weather, but we will try to anticipate whatever the season throws at us.
As the predicted El Nino weather pattern appears to be stalling out into a more “neutral” stance, it’s hard to imagine what our spring and summer weather will look like this year. I, for one, have little complaint about the mild temps and dryer conditions thus far. As for you mechanical landscape maintenance folks out there, it appears your usual winter slowdown has been cut short! I think I hear a mower running somewhere out there…
Feel free to give us a call to discuss treatment options or to have questions answered.
Price quotes at no charge, as always.
Evan Ogden