Issue no. 8 of the Home, Yard & Garden Newsletter


Guignardia Leaf Blotch

Guignardia leaf blotch is a fungal disease that affects many Aesculus species.  In Illinois, this disease is commonly seen on the common horsechestnut (Aesculus  hippocastanum).  Symptoms begin as rapidly enlarging, irregularly shaped,  water-soaked areas.

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F,  March 1 through May 15)

Insect  development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Home, Yard, and Garden readers  can use the links in this article along with the degree day accumulations to determine  what insect pests could be active in their area.

Illinois  Invasive Plant Phenology Report

Several invasive plant experts  from around the state have started a new series of reports focusing on the  phenology of invasive plants in Illinois. The intent of these reports is to  provide an update on the development of invasive plants across the state of  Illinois — what plants are in bloom, leafing out, setting seed, or senescing in  different areas of the state.

Thousand  Cankers Disease Confirmed in Indiana, Fungus Found on Insect Other than Walnut  Twig Beetle

The Indiana Department of  Natural Resource issued a press release on Friday, June 20 announcing the  detection of Thousand Cankers Disease in Indiana. Indiana joins Maryland, North  Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and eight western states  with the disease.

Palmer Amaranth — A New Weed to Watch For

Ask any cotton farmer what has been their biggest weed  problem of recent years and they will all likely tell you the same:  Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri).  This  plant has put some southern farmers out of business. Midwest farmers are now or  will soon be well acquainted with this fast growing and yield robbing species  as it is moving northward across the Midwest.

Japanese Beetle

Japanese  beetle adults are present throughout Illinois. Robert Bellm, Extension  Educator, reported their presence in Madison County, and Ed Nangle, Chicago District  Golf Association, reported their presence in Cook County. Last week in this  newsletter, we predicted low numbers in the northern half of the state due to  the extended deep soil freezing last winter.

Fall Webworm

Fall  webworm is named for infestations that occur in the northern part of the United  States only in late summer to early fall. In the southern half of the United  States, including the southern half of Illinois, fall webworm has an additional  generation in early summer. This first generation of fall webworm is now  feeding in southern Illinois.

Issue no. 6 of the Home, Yard & Garden Newsletter is now available


Oak Leaf Blister

Oak leaf blister has  started to appear on oak trees on the Illinois. This disease is caused by the fungal  pathogen, Taphrina caerulescens. Members or the red oak group are more commonly  affected by the disease. Symptoms are distinctive, and appear as scattered blister-like,  puckered, or raised areas on the leaves.

Mushrooms Growing in  Turf

Wet spring weather has provided an excellent environment for  mushrooms. They can form wherever sufficient moisture and organic matter is  present. When found growing in turf, mushrooms tend to stand out and be  unsightly to some. The fungi responsible for producing the mushrooms live off  organic matter in the soil, such as decaying tree roots or buried construction  debris.

Anticipation… of  Tomato Diseases

Tomatoes!  We all love  them but you need to anticipate that disease issues can quickly arise. Now is a  good time to review common disease and environmental issues that may arise with  the tomato plants.  Some issues may be in  the form of foliar diseases or even environmental mayhem, so it’s a good idea  to keep in mind some examples of what to look for and what options are  available for treatment.

Modified Growing  Degree Days (Base 50°F,  March 1 through June 5)

Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Home, Yard, and Garden readers  can use the information in this article to determine  what insect pests could be active in their area.

Invasive Species ALERT: Viburnum  Leaf Beetle

We’ve  shared several articles in in the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter about  the viburnum leaf beetle. Up until the last 2 weeks, we’ve only had a couple of  isolated reports of viburnum leaf beetle in the state, in both DuPage and Cook  counties. Over the past couple of days, several reports of severe defoliation  caused by viburnum leaf beetle have come in from these same two counties.

Periodical  Cicada

Periodical  cicadas should be emerging in northwestern Illinois. This is the Iowa brood,  also known as Marlatt’s Brood III, that covers most of the southern two-thirds  of Iowa. It extends into Illinois, being present in Henderson, Warren, Knox,  Fulton, and Schuyler counties. It has a disjunct area in northern DeWitt, and  northwestern Champaign counties.

Buffalo Gnats

We have received reports of large numbers of buffalo  gnats, also known as black flies, attacking people particularly in western  Illinois. Buffalo gnats are small, 1/16- to 1/8-inch-long, humpbacked black  flies. They bite exposed skin, typically leaving a small, red welt. When the  gnats are numerous, the toxins from their bites can kill poultry and other  birds.


Bagworms will have hatched in southern Illinois. They  should hatch by mid-June in central Illinois. When newly hatched bagworms  emerge from their mother’s bag, they climb to the top of shrubs, trees, and any  other erect object. They spin out two to three feet of silk which catches in  the wind and blows them to new locations.

Upcoming Phragmites Webinar

Join us for a webinar:
Invasive Species Management:
State Department of Transportation Perspectives

June 19, 1-2pm Eastern
Space is limited! Register now to reserve your spot!

Background: The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative webinar series is focused on invasivePhragmites in the Great Lakes region to encourage dialogue and technology transfer throughout the region. This series includes topics such as: current research on Phragmites control, management techniques and case studies, monitoring and assessment protocols, mapping and tracking and regional management initiatives. We appreciate your input into the development of this series and invite you to share your experiences. Contact us via emailtwitter, or facebook.

Upcoming Webinars:

  1. June 19, 2014 1-2pm Eastern
    Invasive Species Management: State Department of Transportation Perspectives
    Taneka JacksonIllinois Department of Transportation
    Peter DunleavyNew York State Department of Transportation

    State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have jurisdiction over large rights-of-way which form pathways where Phragmites and other invasive plants can move through the landscape. This, combined with land disturbance for capital projects and maintenance, plus mowing and other regular movement of vehicles and materials combine to pose significant invasive species control challenges. Join Taneka Jackson of the Illinois Department of Transportation and Peter Dunleavy of the New York State Department of Transportation to discuss challenges and opportunities they see from a DOT perspective. They will share background information about DOTs involvement with invasives including training, staffing, some of their specific experiences managing invasive plants, the use of GIS in mapping and management and the importance of partnerships. They will be joined by Bob Batt of Michigan DOT and John Rowen of New York State DOT during Q&A time. Come learn about these resources that crisscross the basin.

     Click here to register

Past Webinars: Click here to view recordings of our past webinars!

  1. March 27, 2014
    Outreach and Education Methods for Phragmites Management
    Mary Bohling, Extension Educator, Michigan Sea Grant Extension
  2. January 23, 2014
    Microbial Symbiosis
    Kurt Kowalski, Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey
    Wes Bickford, Wetland Research Analyst, U.S. Geological Survey
  3. December 13, 2013
    Bernd Blossey, Associate Professor, Natural Resources Cornell University
  4. November 22, 2013
    Gene Silencing
    Dr. Edward Golenberg, Professor, Biological Sciences Wayne State University
  5. October 3, 2013
    Seeds, Stolons and Rhizomes. Oh My! Pathways of Introduction
    and Spread of Non-native Phragmites

    Karin Kettenring, Assistant Professor, Wetland Ecology, Utah State University
  6. August 8, 2013
    Beyond the Burn-Managing Phragmites
    Using an Adaptive Management Framework 

    Ray Fahlsing, Stewardship Unit Manager, Michigan State Parks

To learn more about the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative,
visit our website at,
email Heather Braun, or follow us on twitter or facebook!

Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative
Questions?  Contact Heather Braun,

Awards given out for outstanding invasive species work in Illinois

The Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month Committee would like to recognize recipients in five categories: Professional of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Professional Organization of the Year, Business of the Year, and Educator of the Year. Recipients of the 2014 ISAM awards were officially recognized at an awards ceremony in Springfield at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) office…

Continue reading at

Issue 5 of Home, Yard, and Garden


Caterpillar Hunter

The large ground beetle Calosoma has been reported in the Bloomington and Joliet areas of the state. This 1.2-inch long beetle is broadly oval with long black legs and antennae. There are species with purple wing covers and others with bright metallic green wing covers that occur in Illinois. The ones being seen currently have green wing covers.

Black Cutworm

There have been large flights of black cutworm moths into Illinois for several weeks. This insect overwinters in the southern U.S., flying up into the state in the spring. There are several generations per year in Illinois. Golf course personnel should be on the lookout for black cutworm larval infestations in bentgrass, ryegrass, and fescue. They do not cause damage to Kentucky bluegrass as most larvae are unable to survive on it.

Invasive Species Spotlight: European Gypsy Moth

The European gypsy moth (EGM), Lymantria dispar, is a non-native moth that can attack up to 500 tree and shrub species. It is one of the most destructive forest pests in the United State. It is also present in the northern part of Illinois.

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F,  March 1 through May 29)

Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Home, Yard, and Garden readers can use the information in this article to determine what insect pests could be active in their area.

Giant Confusion: Giant Hogweed and Common Look-Alikes

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is an invasive plant from Asia and was likely introduced into the United States due to its use as a spice in foreign dishes.  This exotic, invasive has been identified in a couple of Illinois counties.

Anthracnose on Shade Trees: A Review of the Tolerable, the Bad, and the Ugly

Anthracnose samples are just beginning to show up at the Clinic this season. Conditions have been favorable this spring for the development of anthracnose on shade trees. Anthracnose is the disease name designated for a group of closely related pathogens which cause a variety of symptoms including leaf blight and deformation and cankers on stems and branches, though symptoms that develop depend on the tree that is infected. The occurrence of anthracnose on shade trees is favored by cool, wet springs. Anthracnose diseases can be hosted by a number of shade trees including sycamore, ash, and maple.

Tiny, Black Lady Beetles Released Against Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Maine

The Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a small, aphid-like insect that is covered with white, waxy wool-like material. This insect, which came from Japan in the 1950s, causes deterioration of infested trees, including loss of needles, crown thinning, and tree death.

Over the coming weeks, entomologists at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will release more than 10,000 tiny, black lady beetles, known as Sasajiscymnus tsugae, in several hemlock woolly adelgid-infested stands in the southern region of the state.

The biological-control effort isn’t expected to eradicate the infestation, but it should reduce the HWA populations, according to Allison Kanoti, a forest entomologist.

“It is not a silver bullet, but it’s the best management tool we have in the forest at this time,” Kanoti said.

“This is a long-term solution; results will not be immediate.”

The beetles will come from labs in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Their release is made possible by federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The adelgid begins its egg-laying in March. During the spring and summer there are thousands of offspring, called crawlers, crawling around, sifting down through the tree canopy and drifting on the breezes in infested hemlock forests. These young can be transferred to new locations by people, birds, and other animals. The hemlock woolly adelgid can also be moved year round on live trees.

HWA has been found in at least 19 states.

Read more at:  Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Maine

The 2014 Illinois Invasive Species Symposium is now going to be available for viewing as a live webcast

The webcast can be viewed at

We will be broadcasting from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM on Thursday, May 29th.  If you would like to ask a question during any of the discussions as they are happening,  please send an email to  Following the event, we will be posting the webcast and the results of our discussions on our website for additional public comment.

This event is a one-day, all-taxa symposium that features a great lined up of speakers to give presentations on invasive plants, diseases, insects, and animals.

To see a full list of the day’s presentations, please see the agenda HERE.

Illinois Invasive Species Symposium
May 29th, 2014 9:30-4:00
IDNR Office Building – Springfield, IL
One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702

The meeting is free to attend (lunch is on your own) and will include a ceremony for this year’s Invasive Species Awareness Month Awards.

While the meeting is no cost and no registration is required, we ask that you let us know if you plan on attending this symposium in person by emailing  Webcast viewers do not need to register, just go to the webcast page during the broadcast times.

Issue no. 3 of the Home, Yard & Garden Newsletter is now available


Bridalwreath Spirea and Insect Management

Bridal wreath spirea, or Vanhoutte spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei), is blooming in throughout the state. This is a major phenology plant in Don Orton’s book Coincide. With phenology, stages of plant development (usually bloom time) are used to predict stages in pest development. This method is more accurate than using calendar dates because the plant is exposed to the same climatic conditions as the insect.

Hydrangea Leaftier

Hydrangea leaftier, Olethreutes ferriferana, has been noticeable in central Illinois and is present in other areas of the state. Damage appears as two to four cupped leaves tied together with silk at the end of a branch. An attacked plant will typically have ten to twenty of these cupped leaf sets. Pulling the leaves apart reveals a slender greenish caterpillar up to one-half inch long with a blackish head.

Euonymus Caterpillar

Euonymus caterpillars are numerous in northeastern Illinois. This insect rarely occurs in Illinois south of Kankakee or west of Rockford. Its main host in Illinois is European euonymus, Euonymus europaea. It is listed as also attacking spreading euonymus, E. kiautschovicus, and winged euonymus, E. alatus; but I have not received reports of it feeding on those hosts. European euonymus is a slender, large shrub to small tree.

Azalea Sawfly

There are three sawfly species that commonly attack azaleas, two in the spring and one in the summer. We are apparently currently seeing Amauronematus azaleae. There is one generation per year with the adults emerging to lay eggs on expanding leaves in the spring. The larvae are feeding at this time in central Illinois and apparently prefer mollis hybrid azaleas, which are deciduous. Nearby evergreen azaleas are not attacked.

Dealing with Tree Seedlings in the Lawn and Landscape

The maples are currently on a mission to reforest the Earth.  The ash, cherry, and mulberry trees are often on the same mission. What can you do?

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F,  March 1 through May 15)

Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Home, Yard, and Garden readers can use the links below with the degree day accumulations above to determine what insect pests could be active in their area.

Emerald Ash Borer Emergence Approaching

Historically, as we approach the Memorial Day weekend, we begin to be aware of the possibility of emerald ash borer (EAB) emergence.  Emerald ash borer emergence is predicted to begin when the accumulation of degree days reach 450—500. Several areas of the state have reached or are closing in on that threshold.

Illinois Invasive Plant Phenology Report

Several invasive plant experts from around the state have started a new series or reports focusing on the phenology of invasive plants in Illinois. The intent of these reports is to provide an update on the development of invasive plants across the state of Illinois – what plants are in bloom, leafing out, setting seed, or senescing in different areas of the state.

Impatiens Downy Mildew

Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM) continues to threaten one of the most popular shade-tolerant bedding plants used in American landscapes. At one point, impatiens was the number one bedding plant sold in the United States. However, as a result of IDM, many growers have opted to cut back on the number of impatiens grown or avoid them all together.

Basil Downy Mildew in 2014

A sample of basil from Wisconsin was diagnosed with downy mildew last week at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. Basil downy mildew was a serious problem last year and, depending on the weather, we may be seeing more of it in 2014. This pathogen affects both homeowners growing a few basil plants for fresh harvest, and the producers who cultivate commercial basil in Illinois.