Sycamores can survive ravages of anthracnose

Backyard Q&A

June 26, 2005|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to the Sun

The new leaves on my sycamore tree turned white around the edge and crinkled up. All the sycamores in the neighborhood look the same. Some brown leaves fell off. The tree is in full sun. I really love this tree and want to help it.

Sycamores were hard-hit by anthracnose fungus this spring. This is a common occurrence in years when spring is cool and wet. Although the trees look like they are at death's door, having lost almost all their new leaves, sycamores possess the remarkable ability to put out continuing flushes of leaves and thus survive anthracnose. While evolving with the disease, sycamores developed this handy mechanism for outwitting it.

Help! This has occurred now the second year. I must have an infestation of mosquitoes. I was outside maybe 10 minutes and have five welts.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito, a recent U.S. arrival, is an aggressive biter, feeds during the day (unlike most native mosquitoes), can breed in only tablespoons of water, and is a carrier of West Nile virus. It has black and white striped legs. Asian tiger mosquitoes travel only 100 yards or so from where they hatch.

Wear suitable clothing and repellent when in your yard. Eliminate any sources of standing water in your yard. Check flowerpot saucers, bottles, cans, tarpaulins and tires. Change birdbath and wading pool water at least weekly. Keep rain gutters draining. Minimize high grass and weeds -- mosquitoes lurk there. If tiger mosquitoes bite you, they are biting your neighbors, too. Organize your neighbors into a mosquito "SWAT" team to comb for sources of mosquitoes. If you live in Baltimore City, Baltimore County or Harford County, call the mosquito hot line at 877-425-6485 for tips and a checklist of typical mosquito breeding sites.

Checklist

1. Japanese beetle adults will be emerging now. Single traps will serve to attract additional beetles into your landscape, resulting in increased damage.

2. Don't apply broadleaf herbicides to your lawn during hot weather. Wait until the fall.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information and answers to plant and pest questions. Call its hot line at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail questions through the Ask a Question feature on the Web site at www.hgic.umd.edu. (You can also download or order publications and diagnose plant problems online.)

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