New England

June, 2010
Regional Report

Lily Leaf Beetles

Keep checking your lilies for this troublesome pest. The bright red adult beetles are mating and laying eggs. Look on the undersides of lily leaves for the masses of orange eggs and crush them. These eggs hatch out into the slug-like larvae that are covered with black "goo." This is their excrement that they carry on their backs as a defense against predators. If you can't bear to squash these yucky creatures barehanded, the insecticide spinosad will control them. After feeding on your lilies for several weeks, the larvae drop to the soil, pupate and emerge as adult beetles to feed for the remainder of the season. Neem oil helps to repel adult beetles and is thought to possibly sterilize the females.

Check Mugo Pines for Sawfly Larvae

The caterpillar-like larvae of the European pine sawfly are feeding now on a variety of pines, especially the popular mugo pine. Grayish-green with paler stripes and black heads, they feed in groups and, when disturbed, raise their heads and tails in unison- what my sister once described as "a big ball of caterpillars all doing the wave!" The newly hatched larvae eat only the surface layers of older needles, causing them to turn straw-colored. As they grow, the larvae consume entire needles from the branch tip to its base. If occurring in small numbers, clip off and destroy infested branches. Treat larger infestations now with a product that contains the insecticide spinosad.

Plant Sweet Corn in Blocks

Corn can be seeded directly in the garden after the soil has warmed and all danger of frost is past. To ensure good pollination, plant corn in blocks of at least 4 rows, leaving 2 to 4 feet between rows. Plant seeds 1 1/2-2" deep and 6-8 inches apart in the row, then thin to 12-16" when the corn is about 4" tall.

Keep Up with Lawn Mowing

Grass is growing vigorously now. Mow frequently enough so that you're cutting off no more than one-third the height of the grass blade at each mowing. This, along with cutting your grass about 3" tall and leaving the clippings on the lawn, will help to keep your turf dense and healthy.

Prune Arborvitae

Cut back the new growth of arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), also called cedar, after its first flush to promote a dense habit and control its size. When this soft, lighter green growth is about 4" long, cut it back by half.

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