Emerald ash borer confirmed in Montgomery Co, IA

DES MOINES – The emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive and invasive insect of ash trees has been discovered in central rural Montgomery County. Iowa’s growing number of counties with confirmed detections has now reached twenty-seven. Native to Asia, EAB has spread to 25 states since first being identified in Michigan back in 2002. This exotic pest is responsible for the death of tens of millions of ash trees.  Click for current map of infestations.



Emerald ash borer confirmed in Clinton County, IA

DES MOINES – Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in the city of Clinton, making this the twentieth county in Iowa where this wood boring pest of ash trees has been found. EAB kills all ash tree species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.


Turfgrass Rust

Rust is a fungal disease caused by several species of Puccinia.  All turfgrass species are susceptible to rust.  However, it is most commonly seen on perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. 
From a distance, rust infected turf has a yellow-brown color.  Close examination of rust-infected grass blades reveals numerous yellow-orange pustules.  Rust can be easily diagnosed by walking across the lawn.  As one walks across the lawn, bright orange spores of the rust fungus rub off onto one’s shoes. 

Treatment for Prevention of Emerald Ash Borer

A recent inquiry from an Extension and Outreach colleague about timing of preventive treatments for the emerald ash borer (EAB) was insightful. This note is written to help direct types of treatments to the seasons they are most appropriate.
Insecticide product labels state that there are two windows for preventive treatments when applied to the soil or externally to the trunk of the tree: Spring and Fall.  Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication PM2084 currently includes both windows, in keeping with the product labels.  Trunk injections can be done in a wider window (May through September 1) when the tree has a full crown and there is good soil moisture.

Yard and Garden: Tackling Common Summer and Fall Tree Issues

Trees can become afflicted with problems that can change their appearance and overall health. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists offer tips on fighting these issues. To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or

My magnolia is infested with magnolia scale.  What are my control options?

Magnolia scale (Neolecanium cornuparvum) is the largest scale insect in Iowa. Adult magnolia scale females are pinkish orange to brown, elliptical and up to one-half inch in diameter. Females give birth to their young (known as nymphs or crawlers) in late summer.

It’s Palmer Time

The lack of reliable traits to distinguish Palmer amaranth and waterhemp during vegetative stages complicates efforts at stopping the spread of Palmer amaranth across the state. However, both plants should be in full reproductive mode at this time, greatly simplifying the identification of the two amaranths.

While most agronomists and weed scientists prefer to identify weeds using vegetative traits, the small bracts (modified leaves) associated with flowers of Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are the most, if not only, reliable way to differentiate the two species. Palmer amaranth has relatively large, green bracts that extend well beyond the other flower parts, whereas on waterhemp the bracts are similar in length to the tepals surrounding the seed capsule. On close examination, Palmer amaranth’s bracts on mature female plants are easily seen protruding from the plant’s seedheads without the use of a hand lens. Redroot and smooth pigweed also have large bracts; however, these species have hairy stems in contrast to the smooth stems of Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.


Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed In Boone County

DES MOINES – Two adult Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetles have been collected from a trap in a residential tree in Boone and have been positively identified as EAB by a federal identifier. The trap was placed in the tree this summer after suspect galleries were found in an ash tree branch that fell during a storm.

A statewide quarantine restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states was issued on Feb. 4, 2014 and remains in place.


Soybean Aphid Numbers on the Rise

Since 2000, soybean aphid has been the primary soybean insect pest in Iowa. Infestations are sporadic and unpredictable, but this insect has the ability to cause significant yield loss during periods of optimal reproduction. Several notable infestations have been reported, particularly in north-central Iowa, this week, and therefore scouting to determine population densities is strongly encouraged. Fields that have a fairly uniform infestation with low densities (e.g., 50% of plants infested with an average of 40 aphids per plant) should be closely monitored in August.

Control of Foliar Diseases on Tomatoes

Septoria leaf spot and early blight are common foliar diseases of tomatoes in home gardens.  Fungal diseases overwinter on plant debris in the soil.  Fungal spores are splashed onto plant foliage by raindrops or splashing water and invade the plant tissue when leaf surfaces are wet.  Rainy weather in spring and early summer favors development of foliar diseases on tomatoes. 


Periodical Cicadas: And Then They Were Gone

Sigh.  It's hard to believe but the periodical cicada emergence of 2014 that we waited 17 long years to see is over.  They came, they sang their song, they perpetuated the species (which is all that was expected on them, after all), and now they are gone.  Oh, there will be a few stragglers next summer to remind us of what was, but for the most part, those of us living in central Iowa will not see them here again until 2031.  Let the countdown begin!!


Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Muscatine County

Iowa now has 11 infested counties after larva found in Muscatine

DES MOINES, Iowa – A larva collected by the Iowa EAB Team from a residential tree in Muscatine has been positively identified as the Emerald Ash Borer by a federal identifier. A statewide quarantine restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states was issued on Feb. 4, 2014 and remains in place.

Mid-Season Update on Fungicides and Corn Diseases

We continue to receive several questions about Northern corn leaf blight, Goss’s wilt and fungicides. Here is some additional information.

Basics of fungicides

Parts of rural Iowa are abuzz about fungicide use to manage some emerging diseases, and we have received several questions about the basics of fungicides. A quick reminder, APS PRESS recently published a book geared towards farmers and agronomists on the basics of fungicides.


Fungicide Thoughts for 2014 Season

We will have a fair amount of corn tasseling shortly after the weekend – so fungicide application season is about here.

In talking with farmers and retailers the last week or so, based on all the rainfall and wet soils this is shaping up to be a big year for fungicide applications, so just a few thoughts for guys “on the fence” and trying to decide whether to spray or not.


Risk of Sudden Death Syndrome Increasing with Rains

One thing we have learned from outbreaks of sudden death syndrome (SDS) in years past is that this disease likes it wet. Last year we wrote about the risk of SDS  increasing with the early season rain. But at the end of the article we threw in one caveat – soybeans were planted very late in the season, which reduced the risk of SDS developing. And after we published the article, the rains essentially stopped. Fast forward to the end of the 2013 season -- we still had some SDS in parts of Iowa in 2013, but it was not as nearly as bad as it could have been.



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