Issue no. 2 of the Home, Yard & Garden Newsletter



Crayfish become a nuisance in turfgrass when they burrow in high moisture soil, creating chimneys at the burrow openings. These chimneys, made of balls of clay soil that bake in the sun, become very hard. Hitting them with a mower dulls the blades and may even kill the mower’s engine.

Lilac/Ash Borer

Lilac borer and ash borer, Podosesia syringae, is susceptible to control in southern Illinois. Insecticidal application will be effective in one to two weeks in central Illinois, and a couple of weeks after that in northern Illinois.

European Pine Sawfly

European pine sawfly larvae are present throughout the state feeding on Scotch, mugo, and other two and three needle pines. The larvae grow to about one inch long with dark and lighter green stripes. They have large black heads. Sawfly larvae can be distinguished from caterpillars by having six or more pairs of prolegs.

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F,  March 1 through May 8)

Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Degree day accumulations are slightly behind the 11-year average.

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month

The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan’s Invasive Species Campaign is sponsoring the 2014 Illinois Invasive Species Symposium. 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.

They’re Baaacckk – Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are Beginning to Make Their Presence Known

The sun has been shining, the temperatures have begun to warm, the landscape is turning into a rainbow of color – life is good! That is, until you notice the stink bugs crawling in or near your house.

Gymnosporangium Rusts on Eastern Red Cedar

Three common Gymnosporangium rusts affect trees in Illinois landscapes: Cedar-apple rust, Hawthorn rust, and Quince rust. These pathogens require two hosts to complete their life cycles. The most damaging stage occurs on deciduous hosts within the Rosacea family. Infections to deciduous hosts occur during the spring and become evident later in the season.

Bad Weeds and Bad Neighbors

Plants can bring out the best and worst in people. Every year, I hear about struggles that neighbors have over weeds not being controlled or perhaps being controlled in the wrong manner.

Garlic Mustard: Stewardship Network May Webcast

Join us for our next FREE monthly Stewardship Network Webcast! The webcast will be on Wednesday, May 14th, and will focus on the “Garlic Mustard”

Presentation by: Jeff Evans, USDA Agricultural Research Service; and Lisa Brush, The Stewardship Network

Date: Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Time: 12 noon to 1pm Eastern
Place: Your Computer!

Click here to view webcast! 
(Link will become live day of webcast)

With The Stewardship Network’s annual Garlic Mustard Challenge underway, it’s a great time to discuss this herbaceous invasive! Garlic mustard takes over our woodlands and out competes native wildflowers and tree seedlings, threatening biodiversity and forest regeneration. It’s been creeping its way across the continent, and can now be found in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. Join us for an overview of the biology of garlic mustard, emphasizing critical stages for management. Multiple management methods (mechanical, manual, and chemical), will be discussed, including when and where it is appropriate to conduct each method. We will also discuss the positive impact of multi-year management, and organizing and engaging volunteers to help in our efforts. Many hands make light work, and many trained eyes help us get a bigger picture of where invasive plants are in our communities.

Join Jeff Evans, USDA Agricultural Research Service; and Lisa Brush, The Stewardship Network as they present on this important stewardship topic.

Jeff Evans – Jeff is a population ecologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service who specializes in invasive species. His research focus is the development of population models that can guide management strategies for weedy and invasive species. Jeff earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University studying the demography of the invasive weed garlic mustard. He move to New Hampshire in 2009 as a postdoctoral researcher and teacher at Dartmouth College, and now studies the management of herbicide resistant weeds in agricultural systems. He continues to work on garlic mustard biology whenever possible.

Lisa Brush – Executive Director, The Stewardship Network. Lisa has worked in the environmental field in Michigan for the last fifteen years. She is currently the Executive Director of the Stewardship Network and has been involved with the Network since its inception more than 10 years ago. She has a wealth of experience helping non-scientific people understand scientific issues. For over nine years, as she has built and coordinated The Stewardship Network, she has emphasized effective and meaningful stakeholder involvement in developing and implementing all aspects of this program. She has a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (Science in Society) from Wesleyan University.

EAB University Webinar: “In Defense of Urban Forestry”

EAB University Webinar: “In Defense of Urban Forestry”
May 8, 2014

11 a.m. Eastern Time

To access the webinar, go to:

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Extension Specialist and Instructor in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department at Purdue University, discusses his experiences as urban forester in the City of Indianapolis and how to defend trees and “sell” the value and importance of urban forestry programs to city administration and the decision-makers.

As an urban forestry specialist, Lindsey has placed an emphasis on education and outreach in order to better understand our roles in environmental stewardship and creating sustainable programs.

Please join us for this webinar! If you are unable to join the live webinar, the recorded webinar will be posted later this week on the website.

May Declared Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month

As we near the end of April we are getting ready to embark on another Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) beginning in May. Central to this year’s events is the theme that “Invasive Species Affect Everyone!” If you live in Illinois, work in Illinois, recreate in Illinois, or just simply breathe in Illinois, invasive species affect you!

Organizations, agencies, and groups from across Illinois are once again teaming up to make this Invasive Species Awareness Month a huge success. Over 100 invasive species events have already been scheduled across the state during May (and early June). New this year will be an Invasive Species Symposium hosted by The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan-Invasive Species Campaign on May 29 in Springfield at the Department of Natural Resources. This will be an all-taxa meeting, covering invasive plants, animals, insects, and diseases. Stay tuned for more information!

ISAM provides opportunities for all citizens of Illinois to participate in invasive species awareness events around the state. Events and programs are being held across the state and everyone is encouraged to attend and learn more about invasive species (check out the ISAM website).  During May, you’ll be able to volunteer to help remove invasive species, join a nature hike to see invasive species firsthand, or attend presentations to learn more about what they can to do help fight these threats.

Invasive species come in many forms, from plants and animals, to insects and diseases. Invasive species can greatly harm the ecology and economy of Illinois. Invasive species can reduce productivity of agricultural lands, impact diversity of natural systems, reduce wildlife habitat, and limit recreational activities. Illinois has its share of invasive species problems. Two of the most recognizable are Asian carp and emerald ash borer, but we also face many challenges with invasive plants such as garlic mustard, Oriental bittersweet, kudzu, bush honeysuckle, and leafy spurge. Just as this year’s theme suggests….invasive species do affect everyone!

Issue no. 1 of the Home, Yard & Garden Newsletter is now available


First Issue for 2014

This is the first issue of the University of Illinois Extension Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter for 2014. It is written to keep professional landscapers, arborists, golf course superintendents, lawn care personnel, and garden center operators up-to-date on the commercial management of diseases, weeds, insects, and other pests.

New ICLT Available

The 2014 issue of the Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook is available at the University of Illinois’ PubsPlus web site.


The extended snow cover and cold weather during the winter has resulted in severe rabbit feeding damage to shrubs and small trees. Eastern cottontail is the primary rabbit species in Illinois. They are active through the winter primarily feeding on leafy vegetation from the previous summer.

Meadow Vole

Meadow voles eat runways through turf and strip bark off of trees and shrubs below the snow during the winter. These field mice are larger than house mice with broad heads and short tails. Last winter with its lingering snow cover was ideal for voles to live and feed under the snow with little predator impact.

Spruce Spider Mite

Conifer feeding mites including spruce spidermite, arborvitae mite, juniper mite, and pine mite are active at this time of year. They should be feeding with this year’s late spring through late April in southern Illinois, mid-May in central Illinois, and late May in northern Illinois.

Have Patience With Plants Injured During the Winter

Welcoming spring temperatures have finally arrived and allowed us to return to our gardens and landscapes. Even with onset of the nice weather, the harsh conditions of the past winter are still fresh in our memories.  One of the major concerns we have entering the growing season is how the harsh winter may have affected the plants in our landscapes.

2014 Season at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic

Samples have been steadily appearing this spring here at the Clinic in our 39th year of operation.  On the field front, there have been concerns with virus disease diagnosis in wheat.  On the home landscape front, there is a mountain of winter kill and windburn injury from the harsh winter just past.

Boxwood Winter Injury

Boxwood plants are susceptible to winter injury in central and northern Illinois when warm winter days are followed by freezing temperatures. The warm days deceive the plant into breaking dormancy and taking up water. Then when the sun goes down, the temperature drops, and that causes the water in the leaf tissue to freeze. The expanding ice within the plant splits and kills cells.

Prostrate Knotweed — A Harbinger of Spring

Prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare) is one of the first summer (warm season) annual weeds to germinate, first appearing when soil temperatures are only in the 40’s. For this reason, I know that spring has arrived when I see it emerge.

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F,  March 1 through April 24)

Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity.  In warm years, insects emerge earlier, like we experienced last spring. Degree day accumulations are slightly behind the 11-year average.

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month

As we near the end of April we are getting ready to embark on another Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) beginning in May. Central to this year’s events is the theme that “Invasive Species Affect Everyone!” If you live in Illinois, work in Illinois, recreate in Illinois, or just simply breathe in Illinois, invasive species affect you!