Hunting for mushrooms is a fun past-time, even if you are not looking for edible fungi to “spice” up your cooking. However, when you see a fungal invader popping up in your lawn or landscape, they tend to be unwelcome inhabitants because they are launching sticky spore masses onto your siding, producing foul odors (Figure 1), could be eaten by your kids and/or dog, or its simply marring the aesthetic. Fungi are heterotrophs, meaning they cannot produce their own food, which is why when you find them popping up, you should be asking what are they eating? If you see a fungal structure (conk or mushroom) developing near or on a shrub or tree, it is important to evaluate why it is there. Getting it identified can help you determine if it is a potential pathogen or just a happy little mushroom growing in your lawn. If it is growing[Read More…]
If your hostas are looking a little ratty recently you’re not alone (all the photos here are from my garden). Hostas at this time of year tend to have marginal scorch, dieback, leaf spotting and yellowing . A variety of factors may contribute to these symptoms including environment, diseases and insect pests. Anthracnose, caused by the fungus Colletotrichum, shows up frequently on hosta and contributes to leaf yellowing, spots and marginal dieback. Leaf spots caused by Cercospora and other fungi, along with slug damage are usually present to some degree and contribute to decline in late summer as well. Insects like blister beetles, grasshoppers and cutworms may chew on hosta leaves and petioles, leaving ragged leaves behind (although you may not catch them in the act). Deer, rabbits and voles all seem to think hosta is a tasty snack, but those problems will have to wait for a future article.[Read More…]
White mold, caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a specific fungal pathogen that infects several hundred species of plants from more than 75 different families, resulting in death of the infected plant (Fig. 1). Many of the most popular annuals and perennial plants have been reported to be susceptible to white mold, from aster (Aster spp.) to zinnia (Zinnia spp.), and even a few woody ornamentals, too (Table 1). Infection by the fungus often begins early in the season when overwintering structures called sclerotia [not Latin for ‘fungus ball that looks like a rat poop’ (Fig. 2)] germinate in the spring, forming either: a specialized infection structure called an apothecium. After apothecia have formed, they mature to produce sacks (asci) containing ascospores. Ascospores are discharged and inoculate flowers of the host plant and germinate to form hyphae, or hyphae that directly infect the plant. Option one occurs more commonly in[Read More…]
You are invited to attend this free educational opportunity on campus or via webinar to this event on October 23rd! If you are interested in attending in person, please contact Kyle Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Title: The Changing Nursery Industry: How Will You Adapt? Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2:30-5:15 PM, EDT Moderator: Kyle Daniel Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3432994560801591051?source=college+and+ffa In this student- and young professional-focused webinar, you’ll hear from thought leaders like Kyle Daniel, Tom Buechel, Megan Abraham, and more! Learn how to better understand how to think and act progressively as a grower, how to find opportunity in pest and regulatory issues, how to navigate e-commerce shipping, and more. Join our experts as we dive into the many dynamics driving change throughout the nursery industry. You’ll hear from thought leaders like Goris Passchier, Tom Buechel, Megan Abraham, and more! Learn how to better understand how to think and[Read More…]
Have you ever noticed the fuzzy growth (Fig1) on the underside of an oak or sycamore leaf and wondered what was wrong with the tree? Fuzzy mats of hairy growth on the underside of tree leaves (Fig 2) are often mistaken for a plant disease or insect problem. In actuality, the whitish-tan fuzzy growth is a part of the plant known as trichomes (Fig3). Wikipedia defines a trichome as a small hair or other outgrowth from the epidermis of a plant, typically unicellular and glandular. Trichomes may provide greater surface area, and create a sunlight- or wind-deflecting blanket. Thick mats of trichomes on leaves can actually help a plant control its temperature. A carpet of fuzz on a leaf’s underside can reduce a plant’s water loss through evaporation. When viewed with magnification, trichomes can be seen to come in many forms including straight, branched, star-shaped, and tufted.
Ornamental dogwoods are prone to several leaf spot diseases, but the fungus, Septoria, is commonly found in Indiana. It causes angular, brown lesions bordered by a purplish color on the leaf. The leaf spot symptoms are similar to dogwood anthracnose, however, Septoria does not infect the twigs or branches so it is a much less damaging disease. Throughout summer, spots may become numerous enough to cause early leaf drop. While the disease does not cause serious harm to the plant in any given year, multiple years of heavy infection may weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to other diseases or winter injury. Septoria overwinters in dead leaf material left around the plant. Spores can spread through wind and rain. Symptoms tend to first appear after periods of warm and humid weather and will progress through the summer. In severe cases, leaves will yellow and fall from the plant. To[Read More…]
This 5 minute check could save your tree and others in your neighborhood!
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) is a low growing native shrub that is valued for its adaptability to many soil types, wet or dry conditions, easy care as a ground cover, and for preventing erosion on slopes. It is often found in highway medians (Fig. 1), in parks or as a foundation planting around commercial buildings. The common name arises from the fact that crushing the leaves produces a lemon-like scent. The most commonly planted form is the variety ‘Gro-low’ which has nice fall color and usually stays about 2 to 3 feet tall instead of the 3-5-foot height of the native type. Starting in 2010, the PPDL began receiving samples of dying fragrant sumac from several locations around the state, including Hancock, Marion, Porter and Tippecanoe counties (Fig. 2, 3). In each sample the main symptom was a striking internal discoloration of vascular tissue in the stems and crowns (Fig.[Read More…]
From Matthew Chappell, UGA NewGen Boxwood, marketed by Saunders Genetics, LLC, will unveil the first two introductions in its groundbreaking boxwood program at Cultivate’19. The two exclusive varieties will be available in the marketplace beginning early 2020. The revolutionary aspect of the brand-new introductions is reflected in the given names—Buxus NewGen Independence and Buxus NewGen Freedom. “We’re excited to be able to offer these introductions to the industry and consumers,” says Bennett Saunders, General Manager of Saunders Genetics. “The discovery of boxwood blight in 2011 and the spread of leafminer before that signaled a need to raise the bar in boxwood genetics. After these initial years of work, we think we’re on the track to a new era for boxwood.” NewGen Independence is a very deep green medium-sized boxwood that holds its rich color all winter. It performs best in Zones 5b-8, with further testing underway. With a medium growth[Read More…]
“We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves, not the breeze of a morning that flutters the leaves, but its own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots.” Jiddu Krishnamurti When appreciating the beauty of trees (or any plant, for that matter!), we often overlook what goes on underground—the roots. The major function of the root is to anchor the plant to the soil, and to absorb water and nutrients for the plant. Unfortunately, the roots are rarely observed in their entirety even though the structure of the root system profoundly impacts plant health above-ground. As a result, root problems are frequently under- and misdiagnosed. Until it is too late (Fig. 1). Unusually[Read More…]