May 4, 2005
Now is the time to inspect mugho, Scots, red and other pine trees and shrubs for clusters of defoliating gray-green "worms."
The European pine sawfly is a common problem during the month of May. Larvae of this widespread pest are grayish-green with 2 light stripes and 1 dark stripe on each side of the body. The legs and head are shiny black. Full grown larvae, usually present by Memorial Day weekend, are about 1 inch long.
When a tree or shrub develops brown leaves, wilting leaves, poor growth, or dead branches, it's easy to focus on the above-ground portions of the plant to try to figure out what went wrong. In many cases, however, the root of the problem is exactly that - an unhealthy root system.
Diagnosing problems with underground plant structures can be difficult, especially with large plants such as trees. An accurate diagnosis requires assessing cultural practices, site factors, and environmental conditions, and possibly may require a careful excavation around the base of the plant.
Elephant ear, Colocasia esculenta, is grown for its large tropical-looking foliage. Foliage colors include purple-black, green, and white/green variegated. The large heart shaped leaves are produced on 2 to 3 foot long petioles (leaf stalks)