The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures. For more information on a particular disease or insect problem listed, follow the article cited.
The following plant identification highlights represent recent sample submissions
Dodders, or Cuscuta species, are plants that specialize in parasitizing other plants. See information about dodder from University of California IPM
Quackgrass is a perennial grass that is classified as a weed. Quackgrass in lawns can be difficult to control. For options to control this weed please see the publication "Weed Control in Home Lawns."
Birdsfoot trefoil has been obvious in lawns. According to Richard Jauron part of the reason it is noticeable in some areas this year is because drought conditions reduced the need to mow and so the bright yellow flowers are not being cut off.
The following plant disease highlights represent recent sample submissions from fruit, vegetables, and ornamentals.
Annual and Perennials
Spirea - Fasciation is a fascinating symptom caused by mutation or Phytoplasma. See the University of Arkansas article on Fasciated Plants.
Oak - Anthracnose see our encyclopedia article
Lilac - Anthracnose see our encyclopedia article
Oak - Suspected physiological scorch
Birch - Birch Leaf Spot. See this great resource for common problems on birch from University of Maryland Extension IPM Series: Birch trees
Oak - Suspected Herbicide Injury or Exposure. In the Clinic our assessment for chemical injury is based on visual examination of the sample; we do not test for herbicide residue. We can provide a list of laboratories that test for herbicide residue upon request. It is important to note that growth regulator herbicides are commonly used for broadleaf weed control and are in both homeowner and professional products.
Cucumber, muskmelon broccoli, kale - Suspected Herbicide Injury or Exposure, read about herbicide sources at the home garden on our article on Chemical Injury in Vegetables.
Fruit (small and tree fruit, including hops)
Peach - Bacterial spot. See our encyclopedia article Bacterial Spot on Stonefruit Trees
Apple - Powdery mildew symptoms in fruit. See Penn State article Powdery Mildew of Apple
Apple - fruit cracking and russeting See University of Minnesota article on Apple russeting
Japanese beetles have caused problems over much of the state. Populations had been lower in recent years due to dry summer conditions and cold winter temperatures that reduced larval survival. See the article elsewhere in this issue.
It's imported longhorned weevil time again. These hardshelled, outdoor beetles are a common accidental invader went they crawl into the house by mistake. The practical control is to vacuum or sweep and discard. See our encyclopedia article on ILHW (which is what we call it since its name is longer than it is!).
If you notice lots of wasps flying around your magnolia you should check it for magnolia scale. This now common pest feeds on the sap of magnolia trees and produces large amounts of sticky honeydew (excrement) that lands on the magnolia leaves and ground beneath the trees. It is common for sooty mold to grow on the honeydew giving the leaves a dirty appearance. Wasps and other insects are attracted to the trees because they feed on the honeydew. It is late to use systemic insecticide this year, but crawlers can be treated later this summer and systemic insecticides can be used after bloom next summer.