Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Reminder--Don't Move Firewood

Yesterday a news release was sent out from the Colorado Department of Agriculture reminding folks who are planning to go camping not to take firewood with them, but instead to 'Buy It Where You Burn It'.  The concern is that insects and diseases can be transported by moving wood from different parts of the country and even within the state. 

The complete article can be found at

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Stripe Rust News

This morning we received information that stripe rust has been confirmed in the southern panhandle of Nebraska.  It was found in two fields south of Chappell, NE located in Deuel County.  One field was irrigated and the other field was dryland.  The irrigated wheat was in the boot stage and the dryland wheat had the flag leaf emerging.  This information was provided by Drew Lyon at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, NE. 

So what does this mean for Colorado growers?  If we have another round of cool, wet weather, the impact of stripe rust could be severe.  We are already receiving spotty reports from the Northeast area of CO as well as western Kansas and with this new information, chances are it is in the NE part of the state.  If the temperatures warm up and we start drying out, we may not see much stripe rust, but Mother Nature never was very good about letting us know her intentions.  As far as we know, the stripe rust resistance in varieties such as Bill Brown, Hatcher, Hawken, Infinity CL, Snowmass, TAM 111, Thunder CL, Winterhawk, Yuma/Yumar is still holding.  There is mounting evidence that the resistance in Jagger, Jagalene and derivatives of these varieties may have been broken. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Stripe Rust is in Colorado!

Posted by Ned Tisserat and Scott Haley on the Cereal Rust Survey listserv:  Multiple observations of stripe rust on wheat have now been made in Eastern Colorado.  We just received three samples in the Diagnostic Clinic yesterday that confirms these observations.  Infections thus far are most prevalent in the southeast part of the state but it appears to be moving north as would be expected.  Infections at this point appear to be at low levels, but good moisture and continued moderate temperatures may promote its continued development.  Wheat in SE Colorado is mostly a few days either way of the heading growth stage.  If you are out scouting fields and find rust, we would like to have samples sent to the Diagnostic Clinic so we can forward them to WSU for race typing. 

Some Insect-Issue Thoughts and Predictions

Whitney Cranshaw, CSU Entomologist/Extension Specialist is providing his thoughts on insect issues that we may or may not see this summer: 

"This part of the state has had quite a spell of unusual weather.  Last fall we had a severe cold snap on October 13 and a very cool winter, often with some snow cover.  It has been above average with moisture, continuing the trend of last summer, and this spring has been very cool, with everything delayed.  Based on those conditions and some other things, I am going to guess on a couple of insect related events."

YellowjacketsDown.  The cold, wet spring is going to have the colonies get off to a slow start.  Furthermore last year wasn't great for them and the winter may have knocked out some queens.

Honey BeesVery rough start.  Late summer/early fall conditions were poor for setting up winter stores that allow colonies to survive winter.  Then this spring was late with bloom.  We now have abundant blooming, but weather is usually too cool for foraging.  Altogether this has to be very stressful for colonies and I suspect many starved out.

European mantids (aka 'praying mantid').  Down.  At least around here this is a marginally adapted insect.  It tends to be abundant in seasons when the previous winter was mild.  Last winter was not and I suspect that many of the eggs were killed.

Tobacco budwormDown.  Another marginally adapted insect that will freeze out if the overwintering pupae freeze.  Last winter there was a lot of deep soil freezing, which should have dinged the populations.

Squash bugs, Striped cucumber beetlesDown.  At least around here these also are marginally adapted insects.  They tend to be abundant in seasons when the previous winter was mild.  Last winter was not and I suspect that the overwintering adult stages of both of these had above average mortality.

Mites on lawnsWay down.  Good winter moisture in many places made clover mites a minor issue this year.

Miller mothsDown.  Low numbers were present last year and few eggs likely were laid in fall.  There have been no reports of cutworms active in crops yet, further suggesting that the insect numbers are low.  Plus, with all the moisture there will be abundant flowering of native plants which will provide an abundance of nectar sources for the moths; they will not aggregate around landscape plantings as occurs in drought years.  Flights will be later than normal, below normal in total number of  moths, and will be dispersed so people will not notice them as serious nuisance pests.

Aphids on trees and shrubsUp.  Cool, wet springs usually signal prolonged, heavier activity of many aphids at least until the end of June when natural enemies (e.g. lady beetles) come roaring back.

SlugsUp.  Last season was a building year.  They should be in great shape heading into the 2010 season.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Isn't Spring in Colorado Wonderful?

Wow!  It's May 12th and in a normal environment we would be admiring bedding plants placed around the patio and watching our vegetable transplants slowly acclimate to their new surroundings in your garden.  But we live in Colorado where spring snowstorms seem to come out of nowhere and all of a sudden our gardens and landscapes are turned into 'plantsicles' under the weight of the snow.  Driving into the CSU campus this morning I noticed that the damage on the west side of Fort Collins appears to be worse than the central or east side of town, although there is still plenty of damage to see.

I did make a few observations this morning on the damage that has occured:
  • The trees that are damaged most heavily appear to be trees that are in full flower (crabapples especially seemed hard hit) or fully leafed out. 
  • Trees with a spreading habit rather than upright also seem to be harder hit.
  • Trees that have not fully leafed out, such as Lindens, appear to have very little to no limb breakage.
  • Trees with a pyramidal shape (some of the ornamental pears, etc.) also appear to have very little to no limb breakage.

The recommendation would be to get out and inspect your landscape as soon as feasible for any signs of breakage or damage. will provide information on when and how to prune trees, if needed, as well as providing information on when or if there is a need to hire a certified professional arborist.  Here on campus this morning, the tree crews were already out pruning trees and cleaning up fallen branches. The road around the Oval was closed to traffic to allow crews to get the job done.  The elms around campus have really taken a beating this season with the early fall snowstorm and now the late spring snowstorm.  Hopefully all the damaged trees will survive in good shape.  As always, if you have any questions, you can contact the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at CSU or contact your local County Extension Office for more information.