Here’s what is happening now: Bagworms are still feeding on arborvitaes, junipers, planetrees, and dozens of other host plants.

Their cone-shaped “bags” are constructed from their food plants, with the caterpillar extending out of the bag to feed. Soon they will finish feeding, the caterpillars will pupate and turn into adults, with the males flying about and mating with the females still in the bag. By winter and into next spring the female dies after producing a bag full of eggs that hatch and start the process all over again. So, remove the bags between now and next season; it is too late to effectively treat with insecticides.

Redbud leaf tiers are now becoming evident, as the caterpillars have tied together leaves and munched away in peace. Tar spot of maple is evident now, and though especially dramatic this year due to our wet spring and early summer, these maples will survive the leaf drop that accompanies the disease. There is one type of tar spot on Norway maple, and a different, more dense tarry growth on silver and red maples.

Beech leaf disease, found first in Northeast Ohio in 2012 by John Pojacnik of Lake Metro Parks and thought to occur only here, is now known to occur on Long Island in New York and across Long Island Sound in Connecticut. I visited Wild Woods State Park on Long Island with plant pathologist Margery Daughtery of Cornell earlier this week, and there it was along a trail near a parking lot.

It is still a mystery as to what causes this malady that results in some tree damage and a limited amount of beech deaths, but the idea that its gall nematodes that feed on foliage is becoming more a possibility — I admit I doubted this at first. Symptoms include leaf banding of green and yellow, puckering, shriveling, and like damage from many foliar nematodes (typically on herbaceous plants) large necrotic lesions on leaves. This was present on the American beeches in the Long Island infestations. Intriguing.

But enough of all this doom and despair and agony on trees, what about some beauty noted recently: clouds reflected in waterlily pools, the glorious bark of lacebark elms, more and more used as street trees. Firs with their upright cones, large catalpa “cigars”, the freshness of white pine foliage. The large magnolias in Highland Square. Lovely baldcypress at Secrest Arboretum.

Speaking of Highland Square: what a cool thing PorchRockr was a week ago; I shall never miss it again. Dozens of bands, all sonically available with a casual stroll through this great neighborhood, also festooned with gardens and arboreal life.

On another note, speaking of Secrest Arboretum and what is happening soon: here are three programs for your consideration, the last one first.

 

Alexander von Humboldt

I have said it before and here I am saying it again. Since the publication of Andrea Wulf’s “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World” in 2015, I have loved the story of this man, once the world’s most famous “natural philosopher” (predating use of the term “scientist”) that we have all but forgotten. No longer.

He was lauded throughout the world in 1869 on the centennial of his birth (Sept. 14, 1769). Fast forward to this Sept. 14, in 2019, where at Ohio State University's Secrest Arboretum in Wooster we will celebrate the sestercentennial of his birth: 250 years.

Dan Herms, late of OSU and now vice president for Research at the Davey Tree Expert Company, will speak on the evidence and horticultural significance of climate change (and climate and man’s effect and interrelationship with nature was a key contribution of von Humboldt), Sara Chatfield of the University of Denver on climate change and the politics of federalism, Jason Veil and Paul Snyder of Secrest speaking of Edmund Secrest and the nurture of nature, John Pojacnik and friends from Lake Metro Parks speaking on the nature of Northeast Ohio, Matt Shultzman and Jim Chatfield of Secrest and OSU Extension with an introduction to Alexander von Humboldt. And poetry. And music. And flowers and trees.

And, what would make Alexander von Humboldt smile on his birthday: “The Science and Culture of Our Senses: Floral Aromas, the Taste of Fruits, the Textural Feel of Leaves and Stems, the Sights of Secrest, the Sounds of Birds." And if that is not enough, the night before at 7:

The Ohio premiere of “Humboldt Unbound,” a play performed by assorted wandering minstrels, in the amphitheater at Secrest Arboretum. One of the lines in the play is: “No more strudel for you”, from William von Humboldt, Alexander’s brother, when vexed by his younger bro. Well, I assure you we will have plenty of Tulipan’s strudel for the audience.

There is no cost for the Sept. 13 play and Sept. 14 educational program. Bring your own picnic lunch or buy lunch at the Umami Bites food truck. We will provide morning and afternoon refreshments. Let us know you are coming (not required) by sending your name and contact information to: go.osu.edu/chatfield (must be lower case “c”). Or you can contact Sarah Mays of OSU Extension at mays.201@osu.edu or 330-263-3831, fax: 330-263-3667. Prizes (books, plants, foodstuffs, and more), some especially reserved for those who let us now you are coming, will be part of the fun.

 

Two workshops

A "Sustainable Landscaping" workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Secrest Miller Pavilion in Wooster. The fee is $40.

On the agenda will be the definition of sustainability, what hath 2019 wrought, and an intro to Michael Dirr’s new “Tree Book.” Ann Chanon of OSU, Lorain County will discuss “Xeriscaping: The Art and Science of Matching Plants to Their Environments”. I will discuss “Plant Selections for Disease and Insect Resistance”. We will provide a delicious lunch and refreshments and plant prizes, and we will have an extended walk at Secrest Arboretum, with fun plant quizzes.

The "Ohio Plant Diagnostic Workshop," will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 6. We will have the latest iteration of this workshop for those who want to know or need to tell others of why a good plant goes bad.

We'll talk about oak wilt, Tubaki leaf spot and bacterial leaf scorch. And what about Sudden Oak Death, wasn’t that found in Ohio this year? No, though the pathogen did arrive from a West Coast nursery on rhododendron. Beech leaf disease and beech bark disease are two more topics.

Also up for discussion will be the effects of early season rain. Why did ‘Candymint’ crabapple have more rust this year compared to other years in Northeast Ohio? What caused bark peeling on thin-barked crabapple this spring? Will these plants die?

These and much more are the questions we shall explore at this workshop. The Tree Amigos: Joe Boggs, Erik Draper and Jim Chatfield, and their D’Arborangian-like cohort Curtis Young will hold forth with all attendees, including a presentation on oak diseases, extensive sample examples, the usual, the unusual and the bizarre. Bring your walking shoes. As with the Sustainable Landscaping workshop, register at go.osu.edu/chatfield or contact Sarah Mays of OSU Extension at mays.201@osu.edu or 330-263-3831, fax: 330-263-3667. Registration is $40 and lunch and refreshments are included.

To conclude: “Diagnosis of the maladies of the plantes of the heathe and the moores is woman (and man’s) most pressing calling, penetrating the very heart of darkness of Nature gone wrong.” – Pelinor of Buckland

 

Jim Chatfield is a horticultural educator with Ohio State University Extension. If you have questions about caring for your garden, write to chatfield.1@osu.edu or call 330-466-0270. Please include your phone number if you write.