Consumer Horticulture News September 2022

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Fall Landscape Diseases and Pests
pin oak leaves showing scorch disease symptoms

Pin oak leaves showing scorch disease symptoms by NCSU Plant Pathology.

Scorch or marginal burning on leaves of shade trees is an old problem. Only in recent years has a bacterium been associated with this problem, at least on some tree species. Pierce’s disease of grape and phony disease of peach are two examples of this type of disease that have been recognized for many years but only in the past 10 years have we recognized bacteria as the causal agents.

Elm leaf beetle

Elm leaf beetle. Image by Michelle from Pixabay.

Are your Elm trees looking a little tattered? It could be feeding damage from the pesky 
Elm Leaf Beetle. The elm leaf beetle, Xanthogaleruca luteola, is about 316 inch long with darker outer margins of the wings and several black spots on the head and thorax. Eggs are about 132 inch long and are yellow and spindle-shaped. The newly hatched larva is nearly black. Larger larvae are yellow with black bumps. Full-grown larvae are yellow with black stripes along each side.

It’s  Time for Cool Season Turf
September is the time to start thinking about the rejuvenation of your cool-season fescue lawn.
These suggested management practices will help you care for your tall fescue lawn throughout the year. Location, terrain, soil type and condition, age of lawn, previous lawn care, and other factors affect turf performance, so adjust the following management practices and dates to suit your particular lawn.
It still feels like summer, but it is already time to start thinking about winter weed control. Annual winter weeds germinate late summer through fall and slowly grow during the winter months. They flower and produce seeds in late winter and early spring. Luckily, there are a few practices that can limit winter weeds.

Late Summer/Early Fall Bloomers

There are a couple of late summer bloomers that you should look at adding to your landscape. Tall Ironweed blooms from mid-summer to early fall in woodland edges, pastures, and roadsides. The flower color ranges from deep purple, lavender, and magenta. It’s native to the eastern US and a wide variety of butterflies and bees

Autumn Joy stonecrop in bloom

Autumn Joy stonecrop by Dow Gardens, Dow Gardens,

pollinate the flowers. The name Ironweed comes from the toughness of its stem and how hard it is to uproot the plant. Autumn Joy Stonecrop or Sedum is one of the most dependable perennial succulents and is attractive all year.

Mexican bush sage

Mexican bush sage. Image by Use at your Ease from Pixabay.

It grows best in full sun and well-drained soils. It does not like to be in soggy conditions. Once established, it is drought tolerant as well. Autumn Joy works well in containers and planted in borders or rock gardens. In the spring, rounded, fleshy green leaves emerge. In the summer, flower buds are light pink and open to red in late summer and early fall. In the winter, browned flower heads can be considered ornamental. To maintain the bushy shape and thick stems, cut or pinch plants back in early spring. Plants can be propagated by division, stem or leaf cuttings. Autumn Joy Sedum makes a good pollinator plant, especially for butterflies. Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, is a tender perennial that reaches 3 to 4 feet and is also drought tolerant. Flower spikes are long, with purple and white blooms in late summer. Mexican sage does best in full sun and as a specimen or accent plant.

Blue-winged Digger Wasps

This time of year, it’s common to see Blue-winged Digger Wasps hovering over lawns or visiting patches of native goldenrod or mountain mint. These wasps enjoy nectar-rich and showy flowers but what are they doing flying low over yards and parks? These wasps are actually looking for grubs to feed their future larvae. Blue-winged Digger Wasps are a parasitoid of insects such as green June beetles and Japanese beetles. After mating, female wasps burrow into the ground and sting a beetle grub, paralyzing it. She then lays an egg on the grub. As the wasp larva develops, it consumes the beetle grub and eventually kills it. The following year, the next generation of Blue-winged Digger Wasps will emerge; take that pesky Japanese Beetle! Despite their large size, these native wasps are not aggressive and there’s no need to fear them. Just consider them as a free and natural source of Japanese beetle control for your yard or garden. These wasps are your friends!

Contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Center, or Colby Griffin, 919-496-3344, for information about consumer horticulture.