Saturday, July 3, 2021

Weather dictates disease and insect control measures


    During the last 5 days of June it rained every day for a total accumulation of over 5 inches. With all that rain, the Neosho river spilled over its banks and flooded my pecan grove. The excessive moisture provided excellent conditions for the spread of pecan diseases but I was forced to wait until the flood receded before starting up the sprayer. While waiting to spray a fungicide,  I also noticed several colonies of Japanese beetles (photo at left) starting to feed on pecan leaves. 
      Japanese beetle has been a pest in the US for also 100 years and has moved slowly westward across the continent. For SE Kansas, Japanese beetle is a new pest that I first noticed only 5 years ago. This year, the beetle population has grown large enough to present a significant threat to pecan foliage.
   The damage on pecan is easily spotted high in the tree's canopy. Beetles feed on foliage in large groups leaving areas of tree canopy with a lace-like appearance (photo at right). This photo was taken a few hours after an insecticide and fungicide application so the beetles are gone but evidence of their activity remains. I just wish I had a way to capture the wild buzzing of beetles around the tree when I hit them with the air-blast sprayer. While driving the sprayer a blistering 1.9 MPH, I was able to get a pretty good feel for the large number of beetles that had been feasting on my trees. 
   During the morning of spraying, I also noticed a single fall webworm colony (photo at left). The insecticide I used to control Japanese beetle will also kill the larvae inside this single web. However, the appearance of this webworm colony serves as a reminder that I will need to stay vigilant with my pecan pest scouting efforts.
    Starting at sunrise this morning (3 July 2021), I sprayed my orchard using Quilt fungicide and Mustang Maxx insecticide.