University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Looking Back on 1998

December 31, 1998

We saw a variety of yard and garden problems in 1998. Here’s a brief rundown of four example problems; the first two are major statewide issues and last two most likely appeared in all neighborhoods.

Insects captured the headlines in 1998. Asian horned beetle grabbed the most headlines. Adult beetles are large, black insects with white dots and long antennae. This serious exotic invader can be very destructive to trees and has been detected in Ravenswood, Addison, and Summit. Hopefully, no additional infestations will be found in 1999 in any other areas. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) and several other agencies are working together in monitoring and managing this pest.

Gypsy moth numbers were again high in 1998, based on IDA trapping. Nearly 52,000 gypsy moths were caught in 1998 in Illinois, a 48 percent increase over 1997. The increase most likely is due to a mild winter last year and continued influx from Indiana and Wisconsin, although nationally the gypsy moth population continues to increase. Unlike the Asian longhorned beetle, gypsy moth infestations are treatable through a variety of methods, under the leadership of IDA.

Crabgrass was a common problem in lawns in 1998. All those crabgrass plants are dead, but most likely plenty of seed remains ready to germinate in 1999. Mow lawns in the 2-1/2 to 3-inch range for 1999, and consider applying a preemergence herbicide. The target date is about the first week of May; watch for more details here later this spring.

Another common problem for the past few seasons has been apple scab, a fungus disease of crabapples and apples. Wet, cool spring weather as leaves develop on trees is ideal for this disease. Most susceptible crabapples are defoliated by mid-summer. Fungicides can provide control, but need to be applied starting as buds break in spring. Resistant cultivars are available, be sure to look for them when purchasing flowering crabapples.

Stay tuned to this column for more on these and many other plant problems as the 1999 season unfolds. Happy New Year!


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