March 14, 2011

Spring is around the corner, as I saw snowbells in bloom and crocuses poking through the ground. It officially starts Sunday the 20th. I know, finally!

This is a great time to be pruning your pome fruit trees, such as apple, crabapple, and pear, as the buds are beginning to swell. This will promote better flower and fruit if done now. When temperatures get a little warmer, a dormant oil can be applied.

I have heard that this should be a good year for wintermoth caterpillar. Winter was relatively mild in terms of temperature. Last year was not too bad in many areas due to a late April frost that killed a lot of larvae. Keep an eye out for the caterpillars as they hatch this spring and pry their way into the unopened buds- a hand lens will make this easier. If you have a horsechestnut nearby, their sticky buds act like flypaper, and will catch many larvae preventing them from getting into the bud, so a good tree to use to check early populations.

The daffodils are just around the corner, and the Plant Health Care trucks will be on the road soon!

Jeff Bourque