Tag Archives: winter moth

Welcome to our Demonstration Garden!

May 14, 2019                                                                                                      DONATIONS PAGE LINK

The fruit trees in the orchard this year would amaze anyone. They are striking and flush …
with pests. It’s true. Come and allow us to demonstrate all manner of pest infestation plus other unsightly disorders.

Last year was a record bounty but, this year, we are counting on one hand the number of fruits from most of the trees.

Why, on one small branch of the Mirabelle plum (photo) you can view tip dieback from brown rot, scale, aphids and leaf roller damage. The pear, just after the height of the leaf roller infestation, has now been chewed to smithereens by the California pear sawfly (photo).

Wander over to the Fuji and notice apple blister mite. Then, check out the powdery mildew on the William’s Pride.

This situation takes me back to coaching where you had to make sure you didn’t spend all of your energy on the one high-maintenance kid and take for granted the other 14 well-behaved teammates. So, yesterday, I coddled our precious persimmon. The persimmon, like the mulberry, sits and watches the devastation and only asks for a drink of water now and then. I composted-in-place its weeds, fed it some nice compost and leaf litter, and laid out a coat of chips on top. Namaste.

Sun, May 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sat, Jun 1, 10-12, Work Party
Sun, Jun 16, 2-4, Work Party
Sat, Jul 6, 10-12, Work Party

Back in February, Allison and I thought we had the winter moth larvae in check. We had banded the trunks then flattened the eggs below the band. The problem was, while we were focused down on that trunk, the winter moth larvae soon would be sailing through the air, landing on whichever fruit or nut tree was within striking distance. Much like a skilled parachutist, I think they tug a certain way on that silken thread to ensure they make it to the canopy. In April, they were landing on our sweaters and hats faster than we could squish them off the leaves and blossoms. We had kept our own trees from propagating larvae but we were defenseless against tall neighboring trees that spit out the little buggers like factories.

Yesterday, I sighed as I cleaned off more dead material from Liberty branches (photo). Oh, but then I looked closely. Was that a little speck of green? Sure enough, the tree is pushing out a new leaf where the others had been eaten.(photo) The Liberty is willing and ready to try again. OK then! We will also find energy to grow and prepare for the next obstacle.

Ruth

Fall Fruit Tree Follow-up

November 30, 2018

Fall is a fine time to do investigative work in the orchard and plan for winter or spring pest management.

Confirming that our Harrow Delight pear problem was Pear Trellis Rust (Gymnosporangium sabinae) was an excellent warm-up exercise, since the blemishes on the leaves are so clearly identifiable. I made a leaf infusion and put a drop under the microscope. There wasn’t much else to see but for the spores of this particular fungal problem. Confirmed.

Another set of eyes is so valuable when reviewing the status of the plants. We warmly welcome Allison, a new volunteer, who joined Sue and I last week as we continued our review of the fruit trees and other fruit-bearing perennials.

The three of us started with the Izu Persimmon and worked through the checklist:

  • Add Tanglefoot to trunk to dissuade the winter moth from laying eggs
  • Clear debris from around the root crown
  • Make sure staking materials and any plant ID tags are not choking a branch or harboring pests
  • Look for eggs on all surfaces
  • Review the new flowering buds for health
  • Prepare a leaf infusion if a fungal disease is suspected
  • Cut a twig and drop the end in water to check for ooze if a bacterial problem is suspected
  • Identify bamboo watering holes with survey tape to minimize tripping hazards
  • Add compost and mowed leaves, and consider the timing for full sheet mulching
  • Look for anything unusual.
Sun. Dec 16, 2-4, Work Party
Sun. Jan 20, 2-4, Work Party
Sat. Feb 16, 1-3, Tree Pruning Class
Sun. Feb 17, 2-4, Work Party

There was little to study on the Izu; the only problem it had was too many fruit. Of the 24 fruit it presented to us, we only allowed 7 to remain on the tree. It will need time to build a stronger scaffold to support more fruit.

We moved on to the Early Fuji for review. The new buds looked cheerful but the Fuji suffered from scab this year. After bloom, we had netted it with bee netting in order to keep the coddling moth at bay. We might have replaced coddling moth damage with scab damage! The apples were still edible and many were pristine enough for the food bank. But, we won’t net next year, in order to assess whether the tree will be healthier with improved air circulation.

The scab (Venturia inaequalis)  (photo) was also a pretty easy diagnosis but it can be confused with sawfly damage. Again, a leaf infusion confirmed the presence of many of the shoe-shaped spores associated with apple scab.

We noticed two male and one female winter moth caught in the Tanglefoot band around the lower part of the tree trunk. Since the moth activity is just past it’s peak, we set about looking for eggs and anything else that might pose a risk to our tree.

We didn’t find eggs but Sue was standing at exactly the correct spot to be staring right at the tiny protective covering of a scale insect. Good eye Sue! We were not sure of the scale type so we looked up its characteristics to confirm. I also pulled one apart and set it under the microscope to look at the multitude of white eggs. (A compound microscope can be crudely fashioned into a dissecting one with an extra light source.) We agreed it was Lecanium Scale (Parthenolecanium corni) and we will pinch those little bumps off the trees as we see them.

Please visit our new Water Conservation Page

Next week we review the Mirabelle Plum and its multiple problems, makes notes, develop our plans for that tree in the coming year and, hopefully, find something else interesting to put under the magnifying glass.

Ruth

It’s A Game Of Mistakes

October 20, 2018

Why didn’t soccer coaches ever have anything positive to say at halftime? Because they had just watched 45 minutes of errors. Even the pros only complete 57% of their passes in the final third of the field. I often feel this way about gardening; it’s a game of mistakes.

First was my failure to outwit the winter moth. The female does not fly. She has to crawl up the fruit tree to lay her eggs, from which, larvae emerge and eat the fruit tree blooms. I smeared Tanglefoot on the trunks to stop her in her tracks. Problem was, I put it on too late. I thought I had until mid-November but, not so. Not only did we battle with the winter moth larvae this spring but also the oblique-banded leaf roller larvae showed up – a more difficult opponent. I will double my efforts to come up with a better strategy this winter.

Just look at this little devil – the larvae of the strawberry root weevil. Sometimes there were two of them inside the root, in total cooperation. I was pressing my luck hanging on to those wonderful Glooscap (Canadian) berries, which I had planted in 2011! This year they were still sweet as ever but not productive. It’s no wonder. I should have paid heed when the pros told me to keep strawberry plants only a few years.

The elderberry produced quite a bit of fruit, bless its lil ole heart, in spite of the fact that it was a sufferin’. I pruned dead branches all summer. Finally, I sat and studied it a bit. Someone was making tunnels through the bark and into the trunk. I peeled back some flaky bark and watched as the following scampered back to darkness: black ants, red ants, tiny gray bugs with antennae, a slender shiny black insect that jumped, a little red mite. Actually, I have a feeling all of these critters were just using the network created by someone else. I won’t know until dormant season when I will have to do some vicious pruning. Observation is king in gardening!

Sun. Oct 21, 2-4, work party
Sun. Nov 18, 2-4 work party
Sun. Dec 16, 2-4 work party
Bring your wallet for homemade goodies

Nancy also had growing pains. It’s a snap to grow grape plants if all you want are vines. To get fruit, you have to prune properly. Nancy thought she could choose between cane pruning and spur pruning so she developed some of each. Wrong. The take-away from a WSU pruning class was that, in the maritime NW, spur pruning reduces the number of fruit-bearing buds. So, this winter she will have to rework the vines and train them for long-term cane pruning.

Then there’s summer pruning. She thought all you had to do was take out excess growth. She took another class. Wrong. Wow! It’s so much more complicated. Essentially, you need to do three things: mark the shoots that will become next year’s canes, remove some but not all of the non-fruit bearing shoots, train but don’t tip the fruit bearing shoots. Training means get them up off the ground and onto the trellis, but don’t snip off the terminal bud.

Not to mention the continuing saga of failed pickling cukes, the appetite of the rats, the disruption from the squirrels, and the off-leash dogs. All this to deal with and now … the bunnies are coming!

Ruth