Peach leaf showing "shot hole" damage

Peach leaf showing “shot hole” damage

Advanced shot hole damage showing how the disease damage progresses

Advanced shot hole damage showing how the disease damage progresses

Our office has been buzzing with calls regarding problems with trees. These problems have been as varied as aphid infestations, browned leaves, holes in leaves and trees with 20-30% of their leaves turning yellow and falling off. All of these problems are caused by one thing: the unusually cool, wet weather followed by a couple of hot, dry weeks.

Fruit trees in our area have been hit the hardest. First, there were the series of frosts after several warm snaps this spring, leaving most people without any fruit on their trees. Next, it has been unusually wet – excessive rains have caused flooding and road wash outs throughout Lyon county. Cool, moist days have increased the incident of fugal and bacterial pathogens, especially in fruit trees. Normally, these pathogens are latent in our area and only appear when trees are irrigated

Leaf scorch on a redmond lindon tree leaves

Leaf scorch on a redmond lindon tree leaves

with a sprinkler system. All of the rain created the same situation.

We have seen many peach trees with shot-hole, a symptom of a fungal disease caused by Wilsonomyces carpophilus. Bacterial leaf scorch bacteria, Xylella fastidiosa, is very wide spread and can infect plants in many plant families. Non-bacterial leaf

Apricot leaf with mild leaf scorch damage that can appear to be similar to shot hole damage

Apricot leaf with mild leaf scorch damage that can appear to be similar to shot hole damage

scorch occurs when the plant cannot take up enough water to compensate for transpiration leaf drying/browning or leaf die-back. It can be caused by not enough water in leaves or soil, fungi or bacteria clogging the plants vascular system, or damage to the roots including rotting because of too much or not enough water. Sometimes there is sufficient water in the soil but the plant cannot take up enough because of salinity or clay in our soils which inhibits water absorption or if roots have not expanded sufficiently to compensate for the sudden new growth from additional moisture then unusually dry hot weather. Signs of root scorch include browning on the edges of leaf and the leaf surface between leaf veins. As long as it is not severe enough to cause significant leaf die-back and over watering does not occur, though unsightly, the plant usually recovers. At times, shot-hole signs can be confused with leaf scorch. If in doubt, email us pictures or bring samples to our office. Proper diagnosis of a plant problem is the first step to planning plant recovery. While there are some treatments for shot-hole, planting varieties which have natural resistance and properly watering are usually the best tools for the home orchards.

Young apricot tree with branch tips damaged by high aphid density and leaf scorch

Young apricot tree with branch tips damaged by high aphid density and leaf scorch

Aphids have also enjoyed this cool wet weather, which has created ideal environmental conditions for a longer period of time. New growth on trees is often the most susceptible. Aphids can vector plant viruses and cause the plant to be covered in sap, which can be unsightly or a nuisance. For the home gardener, most aphid problems will go away in a few weeks when the conditions are too hot or dry. Aphid populations can be decreased by spraying with a strong stream of water or by placing sticky tape around the base of the plant to trap the ants which herd aphids like tiny cows.

Robed locus canopy with yellow leaves caused by heat stress

Robed locus canopy with yellow leaves caused by heat stress

In my yard is a purple robed locust which responded well to all the rain, blossoming several times and putting out new growth. Then the heat wave hit. Almost 50% of the leaves on my tree turned yellow and fell off. Marcia has helped me resolve other problems with this tree, so I was afraid it was struggling from a split in the trunk it suffered 2 years ago. When I asked about it, we decided to go look in our water wise arboretum at the robed locust there. It was also shedding leaves, but only about 25%. The heat was much harder on my damaged tree than the healthy one at the office.

By Joy Paterson and Marcia Moffitt

Lawnspur performing at 4-H Camp

Lawnspur performing at 4-H Camp

4-H campers dance to Lawnspur

4-H campers dance to Lawnspur

That was the theme of the annual central 4-H camp, a week of fun and educational events where youth learn by doing. Young people 8-13 attended as campers and those 14-18 attended as teen counselors. These youth started out the week of events with a real rock show by a local band from Truckee, Lawnspur, who performed an 8 song set of original punk rock music for the camp. The band consists of the brothers Johnson, Jamie as lead singer and guitarist and Charlie on bass; Ashley Galleher, rockin’ the drums and Brennan back up vocals and electric guitar. At first, the kids were surprised by the loud, novel music, but after a little help from adult counselor Nick Beaton and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Staff Karen and Joy, the kids rushed the staged and danced to the energy-filled rhythms.

Nick shows the kids how to dance!

Nick shows the kids how to dance!

Over an hour passed in a flurry of bobbing heads, feather boas and bandanas with cheers and smiles on everyone’s faces. At the end of the final songs, the kids chanted for more. Lawnspur obliged with one more raucous song. Ashley gave her drum sticks to the cabin with the best dancers and the party clean up ensued. Everyone was sweaty and tired from the pace of the music and dancing. It was a fun night and a memorable way to open camp.

The next morning, as part of the educational workshops, 3 groups wrote their own songs about the one shared experience they all had, 4-H camp. Lyrics about the awesome food, going polar bearin’ (jumping into cold Lake Tahoe at 5:30 a.m.), dancing and fun times with friends were common themes the kids used to create these original songs. Once perfected, the groups performed their songs for the camera and are archived on YouTube: Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3.

4-H camper gets a bird's-eye view of the stage on the shoulders of her teen counselor

4-H camper gets a bird’s-eye view of the stage on the shoulders of her teen counselor

The 4-H program in Lyon county is growing. We are looking for youth and adults who want to learn by doing! 4-H is not just a club: youth learn to use their hands, hearts, heads and health to better themselves and their community. If you would like to join or volunteer, contact our 4-H coordinator, Kate Schnoor, to get the process started today! Can’t commit to being a club leader? Can you give us one week of your time? Sign up now to be an adult chaperone for next summer’s 4-H camp.

 

Written by Marcia Moffitt

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Tomato hornworm larva, can also be black

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Feeding damaged caused by tomato hornworms

I was wondering why I picked 67 hornworms, Manduca quinquemaculata, on just two tomato plants in the last ten days. I notice that leaves were missing and holes were being chewed into my tomato fruits. This is the first year I have had hornworm problems on my tomato plants. Joy Paterson and I discussed this and I described what was planted next to my tomatoes this year.

My vegetable garden is under renovation, so I am gardening in containers in a new location. The realization came that it might not be a good idea to place my tomato plants near my butterfly bush. Why? Because I had created the perfect environment for the hummingbird or hawk moths to complete their entire life cycle within a five foot area. The adult moths were attracted to my butterfly bushes. Hornworm adults are diurnal, with peak activity times at dusk and dawn. Mating occurred and female moths had a very convenient habitat for laying eggs with my tomato plants just feet away. Each morning and evening the females were passing by and laying more eggs. I had multiple generations with larvae of various sizes on both of my plants. They were happily munching on the fruit and leaves of my tomato plants. Look for round holes in the fruit, large round “bites” out of leaves, or dark green clumps of frass (insect feces) to see if hornworms are feeding. If you notice damage, look closely at stems and in the soil around the the base of the plant. Searching at night with a flashlight will also catch them in the act of feeding.

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Round holes are the feeding damaged caused on fruit

The fact sheet Tomato and Tobacco Hornworms is a great resource on the life cycle of this particular pest and control methods. More information on the damaged caused can be found at Grow Your Own Nevada’s  web page on hornworms. These sites provide a good description of what I experienced as the damage was quick and severe to both the plant and fruit. Since they were detracting from my production, I decided to recycle and feed them to my laying hens that scarfed them up as a tasty treat. Squishing them is also an effective way to remove the larva, if you do not have chickens.

If you find these larva, you can also rear them out as a science experiment. The Manduca Project has some great suggestions for rearing them through to adults. Though after the devastation I experienced, I cannot imagine myself rearing these critters despite the beauty of the moth.

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Hornworms have 3 pairs of legs and 5 pairs of prolegs with a red “horn” at the end

Dark green specks are frass (insect feces) on the tomato

Dark green specks are frass (insect feces) on the tomato

Field Bindweed

Field Bindweed Flowers

Bindweed

Field Bindweed at the Lyon County Cooperative Extension Office

After assisting with the biological control release on field bindweed, I have started to pay attention and I am noticing it more places. I even found it at our office. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension publication “Managing Field Bindweed” has useful information for managing bindweed; if you ever find it hiding in plain sight, like we did. It is a vining plant, with white to pink trumpet shaped flowers and arrow shaped leaves. Not sure if it is bindweed? Send me a picture.
Bindweed is difficult to control, once established. Small areas of infestation should be aggressively managed to prevent spread. Mechanical control requires removing or destroying all the green above ground parts and going several inches into the soil profile to remove the rhizomes as deep as possible. Smothering or solarization will only work if the entire plant is covered long enough to starve below ground portions of the plant. Chemicals can also be effective; however, the area should be monitored and re-treated if any return growth is observed. Biological control is an option for large patches that cannot be treated other ways. Agents have been released in Nevada, but have had limited success establishing.

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Marcia in our hoop house next to winter kale

Have you ever stopped by our office to ask a weed question? Or, called to get information or schedule a meeting? You were most likely assisted by Marcia Moffitt. She is not one to shout her accomplishments to the world, but she has been humbly helping the Lyon County community for the last 15 years! Today, Marcia received her 15 years of service award at the county commissioners meeting. While the moment of acknowledgment was brief, I was very proud of her dedication during her time with Lyon County Cooperative Extension.

Marcia in the middle, next to Linda and Kate during a training

Marcia in the middle, next to Linda and Kate during a training

Marcia does not easily fit into any easy category in our office. While she is the first line of contact, answering phones and manning the front desk, she is not just a secretary. She runs the Master Gardener programs, answers horticulture questions and manages our arboretum. Information technology is where her formal training lies, so she keeps our technology up to date, virus free, and connected. If you need to know where something is or how something was done in the past, she is the person to ask. Marcia is also the accounting, paperwork and property manager, making sure everything runs smoothly and equipment is ready when needed. She is willing to share all this knowledge and is not afraid to say when there is something she does not know. Helping solve problems is a skill she has perfected and is the go to person in our office.

The next time you stop by or call to get some information, let Marcia know you appreciate her service too!