Blog Archives

“Wet Feet” of Ornamentals

“Wet feet” is the common term for a condition that affects plant species intolerant of wet growing conditions. This problem occurs when soils become saturated in water, which ultimately causes roots to suffocate. Once root damage occurs, plants decline and

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Rainy Season Equals Phytophthora Disease in Ornamentals

Spring rains can create growing conditions that are devastating to most landscape plants.  Wet soils are favored by a group of pathogens called water molds, or oomycetes, which cause a range of root and stem diseases. Water molds are found in

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs, Ornamentals

Bugs of Boxwoods

Boxwoods are incredibly common ornamental shrubs in the state of Kentucky. Unfortunately, they are also popular with some of our insect pests. Two in particular, the boxwood leafminer and the boxwood psyllid, show up most often. Boxwood leafminer Leafminers are

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

New Tool for Identifying Pests of Woody Plants

The Department of Entomology has created a new, interactive website to help agents and concerned tree owners identify their insect problems. The “Guide to Insect Pests of Woody Plants” will hopefully be of use to you if you have the

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

From Tree Thief to Holiday Tradition: The Story of Mistletoe

Once autumn leaves have fallen, mistletoe becomes highly visible on large trees throughout Kentucky. Phoradendron, the scientific name for Kentucky’s most common type of this parasitic plant, means tree thief. These small leafy plants are commonly found on twigs and

Posted in Forest Trees, Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Landscape Sanitation: Clean Up for Clean Plants

Autumn has arrived in Kentucky and, as leaves will soon begin to change color and fall from trees, it is time to focus on landscape sanitation. Good sanitation practices can help reduce disease-causing pathogens.  These organisms can survive for months

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs, Landscapes, Ornamentals

Tree Wounds – Invitations to Wood Decay Fungi

Wood decay leads to loss of tree vigor and vitality, resulting in decline, dieback, and structural failure. Wounds play an important part in this process since they are the primary point of entry for wood decay pathogens. While other factors

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

How Dry Seasons Affect Woody Plants

Water is an essential component to plant mass and is vital to growth, carbohydrate production, and nutrient transport. During periods of below-average rainfall or when rain distribution is uneven, plant health may decline (Figure 1). Drought conditions or inadequate water

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Stress and Decline in Woody Plants

Woody trees and shrubs may exhibit decline resulting from the stresses that can occur during their lives. Stress may be the result of improper plant or site selection, incorrect planting or maintenance practices, or poor soil conditions. Injury from equipment,

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Rose Rosette Disease: A Threat to Kentucky Roses

Rose rosette is a devastating viral disease that is a threat to roses, including rose cultivars known for their exceptional disease resistance and cold hardiness. Symptoms can vary greatly, depending upon cultivar, plant age, and growing conditions.  Symptoms are often

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Bacterial Leaf Scorch Can Torch Landscape Trees

Kentucky’s landscapes are populated by many trees that are susceptible to bacterial leaf scorch. This disease may not kill trees instantly, but over time, it can have devastating effects. Pruning and reducing stress can prolong the life of infected trees;

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Yellow poplar looking yellow? It must be summer…

Have you noticed that our state tree, yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), is looking less than stately right now? All around the bluegrass, yellow poplar leaves have been turning yellow and dropping.  Interior leaves seem most affected, but this yellowing is

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blight can be devastating to American boxwood cultivars, which are common in the Kentucky landscape. Complete defoliation can occur within a week and plants can die within a single growing season. Use of tolerant cultivars, cultural practices, and fungicides

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Armillaria Root Rot – A Threat to Stressed Landscape Trees

Tree stress can come from numerous factors, including weather, mechanical damage, insects, or poor growing conditions. These stresses make plants more susceptible to the plant disease Armillaria root rot. This fungal disease is also known as shoestring root rot, mushroom

Posted in Landscape Trees & Shrubs

Japanese Beetles Now Active

Last week, Dr. Dan Potter reported seeing adult Japanese beetles. This is the first report that I have received and signifies the start of the Japanese beetle season. High populations of Japanese beetle were observed in many locations in Kentucky

Posted in Fruit, Landscape Trees & Shrubs