Boxwood in MA & Grass Growing Tips

Boxwood Blight Found in Massachusetts

In December 2011, the UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab working with samples collected by MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) inspectors positively identified boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum) in Massachusetts. 

boxwood blight Boxwood in MA & Grass Growing Tips

Beginning in early December, MDAR inspectors performed trace forward surveys of nurseries and garden centers identified by USDA APHIS PPQ as having received boxwood plants from nurseries in CT known to have some boxwood blight infected plants.

In the mid-1990’s, plant pathologists in the United Kingdom first identified the fungal disease.  By 2002, boxwood blight was present in New Zealand.  How the fungus arrived in the United States is unclear, but within the last year, it has turned up in Virginia, North Carolina, and Connecticut landscapes, garden centers, and nurseries.

The most susceptible species appear to be English (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’) and American or common boxwood (B. sempervirens), although many species of boxwood are susceptible to infection. Asymptomatic but infected plants of resistant varieties may introduce this pathogen to uninfected areas. The fungus colonizes all aboveground portions of the plant.  Initial symptoms appear as dark or light brown circular leaf spots.  Infected leaves then turn brown-tan, which is rapidly followed by defoliation.  In addition, black lesions often develop on twigs and stems. Plants are not killed by this disease, but become so defoliated as to be aesthetically unacceptable. Infected plants introduced into older, well-established  plantings will rapidly spread the disease to healthy plants.

This disease is spread primarily by water (rain splash, irrigation, runoff, etc.) and by the movement of plant material in the trade. The best management strategy at this point, before more is known about this pathogen, is to not introduce any boxwoods from unverified sources, either into the nursery or landscape.

For information on this emerging issue, refer to the following fact sheet provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station:

Boxwood Blight – A New Disease for Connecticut and the U.S. 

 - Dan Gillman, UMass Extension Plant Pathologist


Which turfgrasses grow and survive best with the least amount of water?

That’s the focus of a study, designed to save water, being conducted by the UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture. Using its new rainout shelter, UMass researchers are studying drought tolerance that will help with the management of golf, recreational turf and lawn turf.
umassvideo Boxwood in MA & Grass Growing Tips

High-Tech at Noon

JANUARY 20, 2012

Lawn Care meets high-tech at Noon Turf Care

By Josh Steinberg

mobilecomputer High Tech at Noon
Starting this season, Noon Turf Care will be using powerful new technology while servicing their client’s lawns, trees, and shrubs. “This great new technology will help us to service our clients more efficiently”, says Chris Noon, President of Noon Turf Care.

These mobile computer systems have software to help our technicians service your lawn and give instant printed analysis at the time of service. This new technology will keep our staff safe and they will never get lost with the GPS mapping and turn-by-turn voice navigation. They will use the software to ensure accurate data entry and provide a safe, modern method to service customers. 

Each of our trucks will be equipped with a mobile unit as well as a color printer. Noon strives to stay ahead of its competition, and with the addition of new technology, the future has never been brighter at Noon Turf Care.




Planning your Lawn & Garden’s Future

Planning for Spring | Flower and Plant Design
Garden Design July August 2011 Cover Planning your Lawn & Gardens Futurecountrygardens Planning your Lawn & Gardens Future

It’s that time of year again. The Holidays are over, we concentrate on paying bills and staying warm, when the barrage vegetable, and bulb catalogs are rubber banded to our mail boxes! They just don’t fit in the box!

This a good time to take a look at your landscape and plan your spring planting projects. The beds and foundations are free of snow and the time is right to save money on these projects.

Whether you are planning annual flower dressings, perennial gardens, ornamental trees and shrubs, these catalogues can provide a wide variety of colors and contrasts to choose from. So take a moment to look at them and your own castle to see if some small changes can enhance your landscape.
Some magazine suggestions are:

Fertilization | DIY or hire a professional?
logo noonturfcare Planning your Lawn & Gardens Future

Now that the holidays have past, a lot of us are looking to spring and our lawns. Several questions and issues arise while we are in the process of deciding whether to do it ourselves, or hire a professional. Several respected and licensed landscape professionals are also providing fertilization services.

The issues to research are generally buying exactly what you need to fertilize your property yourself. Most times a 15,000 square foot lawn is 20,000 or 10,000 square feet, and the home owner ends up purchasing too much or too little and ends up with a partial bag left over. The next application usually requires a different Nitrogen percentage and the cycle begins again. By the end of the season, you have spent a lot of money, without a guarantee, for several bags of rocks in the corner by the garage door.

And then there is the true professional turf care company that is licensed, applies exactly what is specified for each application, guarantees its service and is in tune with environmental concerns.

This does come at a price, but if you add up the cost of those bags of rocks in the corner you would find that the cost is equal in most cases to having a licensed, reputable company address your lawn needs.

So whatever you choose, shop wisely and implement what works best for your landscape.


Winter Lawn & Tree Care | Challenges with Mild Winters

Winter Lawn Care | Challenges with Mild Winters 
leavespile Winter Lawn & Tree Care | Challenges with Mild Winters

This winter has brought new challenges for lawns. Lack of snow, unstable and fluctuating temperatures etc. If you have not introduced lime over the fall, now would be a great time. Check for accumulating leaves, toys, and Christmas decorations and remove them. These accumulations are harborage points for insects and rodents. They will also impair sunlight and nutrients to dormant turf grasses and promote die off. Vigilance now will help provide a greener start in the spring.

Winter Tree Care | Ornamental Trees
ornamentaltree Winter Lawn & Tree Care | Challenges with Mild Winters
With an extremely mild winter upon us, the average and exotic landscapes will have several issues to overcome this spring. Lack of moisture at the feeder roots, lack of nutrition caused by unseasonable temperatures using up stored energy and early insect activity are just a few examples. It would be prudent to research and plan a minimal insect, watering and fertilization program this spring to replace lost nutrients and identify any harborage points and egg masses before damage occurs. Be ready to water ornamental trees and shrubs for 45 minutes weekly. This will insure that root systems do not rise to the surface for minimal moisture from light rains and dry out when temperatures rise and soil conditions dry. These 3 small steps can provide healthy landscapes without a lot effort
Tree and Lawn Tips | Pruning & Snow Mold

Tree Care | Pruning Practices
pruning Tree and Lawn Tips | Pruning & Snow Mold


When do I prune trees?

Deciduous trees

Deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in winter) are usually pruned in autumn and winter. In some cases, for example with magnolias and walnuts, pruning is best done in late summer, as healing is quicker. 

Trees such as Prunus sp, which are prone to silver leaf disease are best pruned from April to July when the disease spores are not on the wind, and the tree sap is rising rather than falling (which pushes out infection rather than drawing it in).

Some trees can bleed sap if pruned in late winter and early spring. Although seldom fatal, this is unsightly and can weaken the tree. Birches and walnuts often bleed if pruned at the wrong time. 

Evergreen trees

Evergreens seldom need pruning, although dead and diseased branches can be removed in late summer.

How to remove tree branches and limbs

  • Wear protective gloves and, if necessary, eye and head protection.
  • When cutting a stem, cut just above a healthy bud, pair of buds or side shoot. Where possible, cut to an outward facing bud or branch to avoid congestion and rubbing of branches.  
  • Make your cut 0.5cm (¼in) above the bud. Beware cutting too close, as this can induce death of the bud. Beware cutting too far from the bud, as this can result in dieback of the stub and entry of rots and other infections.
  • When removing larger limbs, make an undercut first about 20-30cm (8-12in) from the trunk, and follow this with an overcut. This will prevent the bark tearing, leaving a clean stub when the branch is severed.  
  • Then remove the stub, first making a small undercut just outside the branch collar (the slight swelling where the branch joins the trunk), followed by an overcut to meet the undercut, angling the cut away from the trunk to produce a slope that sheds rain. 
  • Avoid cutting flush to the trunk as the collar is the tree’s natural protective zone where healing takes place.
  • There is no need to use wound paints, as they are not thought to contribute to healing or prevent disease. The exception is plums and cherries (Prunus sp), where wound paint may be used to exclude silver leaf disease spores.

If pruning cuts bleed sap, don’t bandage or bind the cut, as attempts to stem the bleeding are likely to be unsuccessful and may impede rather than aid healing.

tips courtesty of Royal Horticultural Society

Turf Diseases | Snow Mold
gray snowmold1 ltc Tree and Lawn Tips | Pruning & Snow Mold

Symptoms: Damage from snow mold fungi usually becomes apparent as the snow melts and exposes the grass in late winter. Snow mold symptoms consist of roughly circular patches (at least 3 to 12 inches) of dead and matted grass blades. In severe cases, these patches coalesce and may not be recognizable as individual circles. Just after snow melt and while the grass remains moist, it may be possible to differentiate between the two common types of snow mold found in New England by their color. The web-like mycelium of pink snow mold (Microdochium nivale) may initially look white and mature to a faint pink to salmon color.

Gray snow mold (Typhula spp.) is white to gray in color. The mycelium of both types of fungi will disappear quickly as the grass dries. A useful identifying characteristic of gray snow mold is the presence of tiny brown to black mycelial masses (sclerotia) on the blades and in the leaf sheaths of infected plants. These survival structures vary in size and color, becoming smaller and darker as they dry. The pink snow mold fungus does not produce sclerotia.

It is useful to determine whether the disease is pink or gray snow mold because gray snow mold rarely damages more than the blades of the grass. Lawns with gray snow mold can be expected to recover fairly quickly even when damage appears extensive. Pink snow mold, in contrast, may invade the crowns and roots causing more serious injury. It is not unusual for both types of snow mold to be found in the same area. All common lawn grasses may be infected, but Kentucky bluegrass-fescue lawns are the least susceptible to severe damage.

Courtesy of University of Rhode Island