Solar Leasing 101 – July 15

Join OSU Extension Greene County on Monday, July 15 for a Solar Leasing 101 Workshop. The program will discuss topics such as if a solar lease agreement is right for your farm? Speakers will feature OSU Extension Specialists: Peggy Kirk Hall and Eric Romich. The program is designed to be an informational program about leasing farmland for utility-scale solar production. Topics include solar development trends, converting farmland to solar production, and key considerations. View the flyer at: Solar Leasing 101 Flyer. Registration is free, but an RSVP is mandatory. The program will be held at the Extension office in Xenia on the fairgrounds from 2 to 5 p.m. on July 15. Call the OSU Extension Greene County office to register at 937-372-9971 ext. 114 or email Questions may be directed to OSU Extension Greene County, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Trevor Corboy at the above phone number and email.

Project Greene Teacher – Last Chance to Register

This is a school gardening program for educators, administrators, afterschool personnel, and others who are engaged in or would like to learn more about gardening as a way for others to learn.

This program is taking place June 18-20 at the Greene County Extension Office. The cost is $50 for all three days. Registration is online at

Please consider joining us for a great program.  Also, please share with anyone else that you know who might be interested.

If you need an invoice to pay with a PO, please contact the office.

Project Greene Teacher Team

-Rebecca, Trevor, Kim

CORN Newsletter

Corn Newsletter June 4, 2019 – June 10, 2019
Editor: Sarah Noggle

Average Fall Freeze Dates for Corn Considerations

Authors: Aaron Wilson, Sam Custer

In last week’s C.O.R.N.

Using the Corn Growing Degree Day Decision Support Tool to select appropriate hybrid maturities for June

Authors: Allen Geyer, Peter Thomison

The Corn Growing Degree Day decision support tool allows one to choose any Corn Belt county, enter the planting date and hybrid maturity, and generate a graph that shows projected GDD accumulations thro

Switching hybrid maturities for June planting dates

Authors: Alexander Lindsey, Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer, Peter Thomison

Farmers who still anticipate planting corn for grain production should review their hybrid maturities to minimize the risk of corn not maturing safely prior to a killing fall freeze.

Cereal Leaf Beetles in Wheat

Authors: Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon

Populations of cereal leaf beetle are increasing in Ohio.  Although adults can feed on wheat, the larvae do most of the damage.  These larvae are small, gray and moist, and are covered with a substance resembling bird droppings.  Damaged wheat appears “frosted” as the cereal leaf beetle feeds and

Insecticidal Seed Treatments in Late-Planted Crops

Authors: Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel

Many producers are planting late this year due to continued wet weather and may be wondering how insecticidal seed treatments should factor into their planting decisions.  While individual situations vary, here are some rules of thumb to consider.

Fungicide for Scab Control: Late Application and Rain-fastness

Author: Pierce Paul

Most of the wheat fields in the northern half of the state reached anthesis last week. The remaining fields will reach this critical growth stage during this week.

Agronomic Field Day June 20

Author: Alan Sundermeier, CCA

The Northwest Ag Research Station will be hosting a field day on June 20  at 9 am emphasizing “Lake Friendly Farming Research”.   Topics include Soil Drainage research, precision fertilizer placement, ultra-early corn, manure nutrient balancing, and soil health.  Management of prevented planting

Upcoming Events

Cover Crop Workshop
Lake Friendly Farming Research-Agronomy Day
Northwest Branch Field Day
West Ohio Precision Ag Field Day
CLIMATE SMART: Farming with Weather Extremes
Percision Ag Day: Sprayer Technology
About C.O.R.N. NewsletterC.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.
Glen Arnold, CCA
Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management
Mark Badertscher
Hardin County
Lee Beers, CCA
Trumbull County
Amanda Bennett
Miami County
Bruce Clevenger, CCA
Defiance County
Steve Culman
State Specialist, Soil Fertility
Sam Custer
Darke County
Wayne Dellinger
Union County
Anne Dorrance
State Specialist, Soybean Diseases
Amanda Douridas
Champaign County
Ken Ford
Fayette County
Elizabeth Hawkins
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Stephanie Karhoff
Williams County
Dean Kreager
Licking County
Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Rory Lewandowski, CCA
Wayne County
Laura Lindsey
State Specialist, Soybean and Small Grains
Mark Loux
State Specialist, Weed Science
David Marrison Andy Michel
State Specialist, Entomology
Rich Minyo Les Ober, CCA
Geauga County
Pierce Paul
State Specialist, Corn and Wheat Diseases
Eric Richer, CCA
Fulton County
Dennis Riethman
Mercer County
Garth Ruff
Henry County
Beth Scheckelhoff
Putnam County
Jeff Stachler
Auglaize County
Alan Sundermeier, CCA
Wood County
Peter Thomison
State Specialist, Corn Production
Kelley Tilmon
State Specialist, Field Crop Entomology
Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Aaron Wilson
Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center
The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, For an accessible format of this publication, visit

Need Tree Help?

Monday night brought strong storms, tornados and damaging winds that caused damage to trees. Once the light of day comes, the need to find resources to help remove the damaged trees becomes a priority. Tree care companies vary with the type of services they provide. The following steps can help you with finding a company to remove or repair the damage to your trees.

  • Get more than one written estimate based on the same service. Remember, the lowest price is not always the best.
  • Ask to see a copy of the company’s liability insurance and worker’s compensation certificate for all employees doing work, covering their workers on your property.
  • Ask for references and addresses of similar, previous work. Go and see the completed work.
  • Ask if the company is a current member of a professional arboriculture organization. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) are the most common in this area.
  • Ask if the company employs Certified Arborists. The ISA provides, on a voluntary basis, a rigorous test for arborists on their knowledge of tree care and safety.  Individuals, not companies, are eligible for certification.

For information on ISA Certified Arborist, copy and paste the link to their website:  Click on “Find An Arborist”

If you have specific questions, please contact the OSU Extension Greene County office, Kim Hupman or Trevor Corboy at 937-372-9971.

Tornado Donations Needed

OSU Extension and the 4-H program are collecting items to donate to the local food pantry that will go to help with the tornado relief.  Please feel free to drop off items here at the office and we will get them to the local food pantry.

Items include:

  • Bottled water
  • Baby wipes
  • Canned food items
  • Diapers
  • Personal hygiene items

Please drop off any donations to our office so we can take the items.  Thank you for all of your help!

CORN Newsletter

Corn Newsletter May 28, 2019 – June 3, 2019
Editor: Beth Scheckelhoff

2019 C.O.R.N. Articles Addressing Delayed Planting (published prior to May 28)

Author: Allen Geyer

Below is a list of 2019 Ohio State University Extension C.O.R.N. newsletter articles addressing the topic of delayed planting. This is a summary of articles published this season prior to the current issue (prior to May 28, 2019). Corn Related Articles

Prevented Planting…What’s That Again?

Authors: Eric Richer, CCA, Chris Bruynis

Wet conditions in Ohio and the Eastern Corn Belt has slowed (halted?) planting progress for Ohio producers. According to the May 20th Crop Progress Report by USDA National Ag Statistics Service, Ohio had only 9% corn planted.

Prevented Planning Decision Tools

Author: Sam Custer

We have reviewed two prevented planting decision tools that can serve as a resource in your decision making process with your crop insurance agent. Both tools also provide resources for determining replant decisions.

Corn vs. Soybeans in a Delayed Planting Scenario – Profit Scenarios

Author: Barry Ward

Wet weather and planting delays throughout much of Ohio and the eastern Cornbelt have many producers thinking about switching corn acres to soybeans or the taking the prevented planting option of their Multiple Peril Crop Insurance policy.

Forage Options for Prevented Planting Corn and Soybean Acres

Author: Stan Smith

Today, as we sit here on May 28, we know three things for certain:

More on Switching Corn Hybrid Maturities

Author: Peter Thomison

Corn GDD Tool to Identify “Safe” Hybrid Maturities for Late Planting.  Dr. Bob Nielsen at Purdue University has written an article describing a powerful decision aid, U2U Corn GDD Tool, which can be used to identify “safe” hybrid maturities for late planting.

Delayed Soybean Planting – A Yield Perspective

Author: Laura Lindsey

Across the state, soybean planting is still on-hold due to continued wet weather.

Current Weed Issues I: Controlling Weeds in Prevented Planting Areas

Author: Mark Loux

As we get closer to decisions about cropping versus prevented planting, weed control may be one of the factors to consider.  The season-long weediness of bare areas that occur in some crop fields from flooding and crop loss give a good idea of what can be in store on prevented planting acres.  So

Current Weed Issues II: Revised Herbicide Management Strategies for Late Planting

Author: Mark Loux

We’re running about a month behind in many cases, and with respect to weeds we are a month later than normal in implementing herbicide programs.  The most important thing to know about this is that we are well into the period of summer annual weed emergence, most of which occurs between early May

Forages Continue to Mature

Authors: Mark Sulc, Rory Lewandowski, CCA, Jeff Stachler

Forage stands that have survived this year continue to advance in maturity. Some producers in northeast Ohio were able to harvest last week, and many wet-wrapped the forage.

Speeding Up Hay Drying

Author: Mark Sulc

Author’s note: Most of this article is adapted with permission from an article published in Farm and Dairy on 2nd June 2010, available at htt

Upcoming Events

Fertilizer Recertification Opportunity
Lake Friendly Farming Research-Agronomy Day
West Ohio Precision Ag Field Day
CLIMATE SMART: Farming with Weather Extremes
About C.O.R.N. NewsletterC.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.
Mike Estadt
Pickaway County
Mike Gastier, CCA
Huron County
Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
David Marrison
Tony Nye
Clinton County
Les Ober, CCA
Geauga County
Alan Sundermeier, CCA
Wood County
Ted Wiseman
Perry County
Chris Zoller
Tuscarawas County
The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, For an accessible format of this publication, visit

Prevented Planting Decision Tools

By: Sam Custer, OSU Extension Educator

We have reviewed two prevented planting decision tools that can serve as a resource in your decision making process with your crop insurance agent. Both tools also provide resources for determining replant decisions.

In a recent Farmdocdaily article Schnitkey, G., C. Zulauf, K. Swanson and R. Batts. “Prevented Planting Decision for Corn in the Midwest.” farmdoc daily (9):88, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 14, 2019 they highlighted their decision tool.

The farmdoc tool can be used to make calculations for expected returns from three options: 1. Take a prevented planting payment and not plant a crop to be harvested or grazed. 2. Plant corn. 3. Plant another crop.

The farmdoc Prevented Planting Module is used to aid in making calculations for each alternative. The Prevented Planting Module is part of the Planting Decision Model, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet within the FAST series available for download on farmdoc (here). The specific spreadsheet is available (here).

Iowa State also has an article and tool that can be found at

The Iowa State model can be used to determine three options also: 1. Go ahead and plant the original crop. 2. Plant an alternative crop 3. Abandon the acres, and plant a cover crop.

The Iowa State model is designed specifically for Iowa but allows you to use your numbers. The farmdoc model contains Ohio data but also allows you to use your specific numbers.

If you have specific questions, please contact the OSU Extension Greene County office at 937-372-9971 x.114.

Prevent Plant…What’s That Again?

By: Eric Richer & Chris Bruynis, OSU Extension Educators

Wet conditions in Ohio and the Eastern Corn Belt has slowed (halted?) planting progress for Ohio producers. According to the May 20th Crop Progress Report by USDA National Ag Statistics Service, Ohio had only 9% corn planted. Surprisingly that was ‘double’ what was planted the week before and well behind the 5-year average of 62% planted. In 2018, Ohio was 69% planted by this report date.

Certainly, the Prevent Plant (PP) crop insurance tool has become a hot topic this year. Many of you have had the chance to attend prevent plant meetings or speak with your crop insurance agent. If not, we will try to briefly summarize your options and strongly suggest you talk to your agent or utilize one of the calculators (see associated “Decision Tools” article by Sam Custer) to determine which option best suits your farm operation.

Your first option is to plant the corn crop by June 5, the final plant date for corn (or June 20 for soybeans). Up until the final plant date, you are eligible for your full guarantee at the level you have selected. For example, 80% coverage x 170 bu/ac APH x $4.00 = $544/acre. If you elect to plant corn after June 5, you will incur a 1% reduction in your guarantee up through June 25, at which time your corn will crop will become uninsurable. For example, if you plant corn on June 8, the guarantee formula (170 APH, 80% coverage) would be: 80% x 170 bu/ac x $4.00 x 97% = $528/acre. Planting dates need to be recorded, as these rules apply on field-by-field and acre-by-acre basis.

Secondly, you can elect to switch your intended corn acres to soybean acres. You will not have the option to file a prevented plant claim (unless you arrive at June 20 unable to plant soybeans). You will be charged for the soybean insurance premium, not the corn premium. The decision tool referenced earlier will be helpful here as this is not an easy decision. June weather (local and regional), supply/demand economics, trade policy and input options increase the complexity.

Your last option is to file for Prevent Plant, assuming you did not get corn planted by June 5. The mechanics of prevented plant deserve a review to ensure understanding. Prevent plant covers Yield Protection (YP), Revenue Protection (RP) and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Option policies and references the February new crop corn pricing period (aka projected price). The projected price for 2019 corn is $4.00/bu and $9.54/bu for soybeans. A corn policy has a 55% Prevent Plant guarantee (buy-up available to 60%) and soybeans a 60% guarantee (with buy-up available to 65%). In order to further be eligible for Prevent Plant, at least 20 acres or 20% of that unit must not get planted (the lesser of the two). Prevented Plant does not affect your yield history as long as you do not plant a second crop. So a quick example (80% coverage, 170 bu/ac APH) for prevented plant corn would be: 80% x 170 bu/ac x $4.00 x 55% = $299/acre.

To be sure, there are costs besides the premium that are associated with Prevent Plant. Are there ‘restocking fees’ associated with returned seed or other inputs? What are the year-long weed control costs? If utilizing cover crops, what will their cost be? What are my land costs or how do I address my land costs? Do I need to pay labor & management costs even though the land wasn’t ‘farmed’? And finally, are their opportunity costs (marketing) missed because of taking Prevent Plant? We do not have space in this article to address these but they are things to be considering.

The reporting of Prevent Plant acres-should you elect that option-is quite simple. First, the total acres of Prevent Plant corn that you can file in 2019 can be no greater that the greatest number of acres of corn you reported in any of the previous four years (2015-2018). To report Prevent Plant acres, you would first need to turn in a notice (starting June 6) to your insurance agent. Then report your Prevent Plant to USDA Farm Service Agency to get it on your acreage report. Then you will need to work with your adjuster to finalize the claim, which will generally be paid within 30 days.

Prevented planting insurance payments can qualify for a 1 year deferral for inclusion in income tax. You can qualify if you meet the following criteria:

  • You use the cash method of accounting.
  • You receive the crop insurance proceeds in the same tax year the crops are damaged.
  • You can show that under your normal business practice you would have included income from the damaged crops in any tax year following the year the damage occurred.

The third criteria is the sometimes the problem. Most can meet the criteria, although if you want reasonable audit protection, you should have records showing the normal practice of deferring sales of grain produced and harvested in year 1 subsequently stored and sold in the following year.

There are many additional questions that we could address in this article but these are the basic options to guide your thought process…unless Mother Nature just won’t cooperate!

If you have specific questions, please contact the OSU Extension Greene County office at 937-372-9971 x. 114.

Sign up for your judging time & fair entries


New for 2019!

We are using 4-H Online to sign up for pre-fair judging times.  Please refer to these directions.  We also have the judges for each project.  Now is the time to sign up so you can pick what time you prefer.

Click here for the directions.

Also, you can get your fair entries (pen assignments) done.  Here are the directions.   They are due by June 28.

BYGL Weekly News for May 20, 2019

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.



Rhododendrons – Azaleas; Reality Art!

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on May 20, 2019



Rhododendrons – Azaleas; Reality Art!


Rhododendrons and Azaleas are blooming in Northeast Ohio. They come in almost all the colors of the rainbow! Azaleas have been blooming in northeast Ohio since April 8th starting with Cornell’s Pink, a deciduous Azalea variety.


The first of the evergreen Rhododendrons to bloom was Rhododendron PJM, which was in full bloom April 19th. Rhododendron Olga Mezzit followed on April 22nd (But this was in Columbus).


Our Rhododendron in Northeast Ohio are just coming into bloom like Rhododendron Yaku Princess which starts pink as a bud but opens white.


Now in mid-May, Evergreen Azaleas are in full bloom like Azalea Herbert, a lavender and Azalea Stewartsonia, a bright Red.


Rhododendron English Roseum and Rhododendron Roseum Elegans are also blooming.


However, don’t forget the deciduous Azaleas calendulaceum – Flame Azalea and Azalea Klondike with yellow flowers.


Just remember, Right plant, right place. Rhododendrons and azaleas thrive in moist, well-drained slightly acid soil and prefer partial shade or protection from add day direct sunlight.


Enjoy nature’s artistic rainbow of colors.





Yellow Fields Forever

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 18, 2019



The dichotomous nature of cressleaf groundsel (a.k.a. butterweed) (Packera glabella; syn. Senecio glabellus) tests the tolerance of lovers of native wildflowers.  On one hand, a sea of golden-yellow flowers carpeting farm fields in Ohio provides welcome relief from highway monotony.  On the other hand, upright 2 – 3′ tall plants dominating Ohio landscapes presents a weed management challenge.


Cressleaf groundsel is so-named because its lower leaves resemble watercress.  Its alternate common name of butterweed comes from its conspicuous buttery yellow flowers.


Cressleaf goundsel is a winter annual meaning that seeds germinate in late summer to early fall.  Members of this sneaky group of weeds grow throughout the winter and flower in the spring.  Winter annuals aren’t much of a problem for farmers who plow in the spring because entire plants are plowed under.  However, cressleaf groundsel growing in hay fields is a different matter.


The leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage if consumed by livestock.  The resulting chronic disease is called “seneciosis” from the alternate name for the genus.  Normally, livestock will avoid eating cressleaf groundsel; however, they may accidentally ingest dried plants if the plants or plant parts are harvested with hay.


A close look at the golden-yellow cressleaf groundsel clearly shows why it’s a member of the aster family (Asteraceae).  Each flower has a central composite cluster of disc flowers surrounded by up to 15 florets radiating like a star.  Indeed, “aster” comes from the Greek name for “star.”


The flowers are borne at the ends of thick, erect, deeply ridged green stems that are sometimes streaked in reddish-purple.  Seedheads look like miniature dandelion puff-balls which is no accident; dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) also belong to the aster family.


Vast expanses of cressleaf groundsel in full flower may draw the misplaced ire of allergy sufferers.  However, if you’re suffering sneezing fits, the answer, my friend, isn’t blowin’ in the wind.  The sticky, large pollen grains are too heavy to be moved by anything other than insects.  Cressleaf groundsel is actually considered to be an important early spring source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.


A Word from Management

Winter annuals can become a serious problem for landscape and nursery managers created by an over-dependence on pre-emergent herbicides applied in the spring to control weeds.  Preemergent herbicides used to target the spring seeds of summer annuals (e.g. crabgrass) do not remain effective long enough to suppress winter annual seed germination.  This allows winter annuals to escape to reappear as unwelcomed harbingers of spring each year.


Of course, if cressleaf groundsel is misbehaving, this winter annual can be easily removed right now and seed production reduced by hand-pulling or cultivation.  “Burn-down” herbicides such as pelargonic acid (e.g. Scythe) are also effective.


However, various reports indicate cressleaf groundsel may have some tolerance for glyphosate (e.g. Roundup), so high rates are required.  Indeed, there is speculation that perhaps the rise of cressleaf groundsel in recent years has occurred through herbicide-induced “un-natural selection.”  In other words, one person’s weed management program is another person’s wildflower proliferation program.


Another Yellow Flower Rocketing Skyward

The yellow-flowering garden yellowrocket (Barbarea vulgaris) is a non-native invasive biennial weed that is also on the rise at this time of the year and may be found mixed with cressleaf groundsel.  Yellowrocket belongs to the mustard family (Brassicaceae), so it is a prolific seed producer.


Plants spend the first year in the vegetative stage as tightly clustered rosettes of prostrate leafy stems that are often hard to spot lurking beneath other plants.  The weed shows its true colors the second year when it enters the reproductive stage.  Abundant clusters of tiny, bright yellow four-petaled flowers borne atop hairless, stout, light green to reddish purple flower stalks appear to “rocket” above 1-2′ tall rounded, bushy plants.





Fiery Eye-Candy

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 17, 2019



I came across one of the most striking beetles today that you’ll ever find in Ohio.  The fittingly named Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma scrutator) is best described as beauty with a bite.


Their beauty is clearly on display with deeply grooved metallic green elytra edged in lustrous reddish-orange.  The elytra are actually hardened front wings that protect the abdomen and membranous hind wings.  All beetles share this general body plan as described in the name Coleoptera:  coleo = sheath; ptera = wing.


The eye-candy continues with a dark blue prothoracic shield that is edged by a radiant ring of copper-orange.  This flame-like motif is responsible for the “fiery” in the common name.


However, I believe the most colorful display is revealed by flipping the beetle over to expose a carnival glass-like mix of green and reddish-copper that plays off the vibrant colors of the long legs best described as dark blue fading into electric-violet.  You need a color-wheel to give accurate names to the range of colors displayed beneath this colorful beetle.


The bite of this predacious beetle comes from their powerful, sickle-shaped mandibles.  Fiery searchers hunt down and feast on free-range caterpillar meat as well as any other soft-bodied insect they can clamp their mandibles on; thus the “caterpillar hunter” part of their common name.


Fiery searcher caterpillar hunters live for 2 to 3 years spending the winter beneath bark or in the soil.  They are one of the largest “ground beetles” (family Carabidae) found in Ohio measuring around 1 1/4″ in length.  These large meat eaters are one of our more significant insect predators with the capability of having a substantial impact on the population densities of general defoliators.


Their large size and obvious hunting equipment which includes long legs, big eyes (The better to see you with, my dear!), as well as obvious mandibles (The better to eat you with, my dear!) makes the fiery searcher a perfect model for teaching about insect predators.  Of course, you should use pictures, not live specimens because they bite.  They’re miniature wolves after all.





The European Paper Wasp Conundrum

Authors Joe Boggs  Curtis E. Young  Dave Shetlar

Published on May 17, 2019



European paper wasps (Polistes dominula) have presented a conundrum over the past several years in Ohio.  The literature notes these wasps were first found in North America in the 1970s near Boston, MA.   They are now found throughout much of the U.S. and parts of Canada.


These highly aggressive colonizers exploded onto the Ohio scene between 2000 and 2010 to become the dominant paper wasp found in our state.  They were a frequent topic during our weekly BYGL conference calls with Dave Shetlar and Curtis Young reporting high populations in central and western Ohio and I commonly found them in Greater Cincinnati.


In fact, we had real concerns this non-native would eventually supplant our native wasps including the northern paper wasp, P. fuscatus, and the native wasp, P. annularis.  At one point, it became difficult to find these native wasps.


However, the reverse has become true in recent years.  I talked with Dave and Curtis to compare notes and we’ve all observed the same thing.  Our native paper wasps have become more common, but the European papers wasps are becoming harder to find.  We have no explanation for the apparent reversal of fortune for the European interlopers.


That’s why I was so surprised to find the nest that’s pictured in the lead image for this Alert in a local park this past Wednesday.  In fact, the wasps almost found me!  The nest was at eye-level, but I didn’t notice them until I was only about a foot away.


My concern was justified.  European paper wasps gained a deserved reputation for being very aggressive.  This coupled with their propensity to build nests in locations where we generally don’t find native paper wasps, such as in dense shrubbery, inside railings and mailboxes, and inside the bases of light poles, frequently brought them into stinging conflicts with people.


However, the European invaders do share several traits with our native paper wasps.  Winter is spent as fertilized females in protected locations.  The lone over-wintered females start building their paper nests in the spring.  They use their powerful mandibles to grind-up fibers gathered from dead wood and plant stems which they mix with their saliva to extrude the water-resistant paper used to construct their nests.  They are soon joined by their off-spring including new queens which all join in to gather food and expand the nest.  They only use their paper nests for one season and new nest-building is occurring right now.


As with our natives, the European paper wasps are both pollinators and predators.  They are frequently found visiting flowers.  Look closely at the soon-appearing blooms of bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) and later in the season at the blooms of common goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).


They also gather and grind-up various “meat items” with their powerful mandibles to provide a protein-rich slurry to their helpless grub-like young developing in the paper nest cells.  The meat may include caterpillars, sawfly larvae, and other soft-bodied insects which makes them important predators.  In fact, some researchers have noted the Europeans may have a wider meat palate compared to our natives which could account for their rapid population expansions at the expense of our natives.


Please Report Your Observations


We would like to gauge the current status of European paper wasps in Ohio as well as elsewhere.  However, we need your help.


We would like for you to be on the lookout for these non-natives, but please note that European paper wasps bare a remarkable resemblance to yellowjackets; they are paper wasps wrapped in yellowjacket clothing.  In fact, their black and yellow markings caused them to be frequently mistaken for yellowjackets.  However, yellowjackets tend to be smaller with shorter legs and more robust bodies.  They also construct enclosed paper nests rather than the open nests built by paper wasps.


If you observe European paper wasps, please drop me an e-mail message with the exact location, the situation (nest or wasp), and an estimated number such as “several on a nest” or “lone wasp on flowers.”  Pictures would be hugely helpful … if you can safely take them!


Just click on my name at the top of this Alert to get my e-mail address.




Tree of the Week – Carolina Silverbell

Authors Amy Stone

Published on May 17, 2019



Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina) in bloom is a sight to behold. Its delicate white bell-shaped flowers hang down from 1/2 to 1 inch stalks in 2 to 5 flower clusters. While you can enjoy at all angles, my favorite is from underneath looking up as shown in the photo below.


As the spring progresses, flowers fall to the ground below carpeting the ground with the white flowers. The fruit that appears is oblong, 4-winged, dry drupe that will persist into the fall and occasionally into the winter.


This tree is a medium grower and will usually top off at 30 – 40 feet tall and 20 – 35 feet wide. The national champion tree is located at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee and is over 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide.


The plant does prefer a rich, well-drained soil with a pH range of 5 to 6, high in organic matter. Leaves can become chlorotic in high pH soils. The tree will do well in sun or part-shade.


More Information

Missouri Botanical Garden, Plant Finder…

University of Kentucky

Illinois Wildflowers




Bladdergall Enlightenment

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 16, 2019



My introduction to the wonderful world of plant galls began with observing vibrant red, wart‑like galls, known as “bladdergalls,” adorning the upper leaf surfaces of a silver maple tree.  The galls consist entirely of plant tissue and are produced under the plant gene-manipulating direction of the Maple Bladdergall Mite, Vasates quadripedes (family Eriophyidae).  I’m probably not alone with this being the first gall ever encountered.


Of course, mine is a cautionary tale.  I did not know that maple bladdergalls are a gateway-gall; they can lead to a serious hard-core gall-addiction.  It took me years to muster the courage to say this:  my name is Joe Boggs and I’m a gall-oholic.


The eriophyid responsible for maple bladdergalls only produces this type gall and no other.  The equally common maple spindle galls, which are sometimes called nail galls, are produced by a different eriophyid mite, V. aceriscrumena.  This eriophyid mite species never produces bladdergalls.


Maple bladdergalls have been great teachers of gallology.  The first lesson I learned is that galls can change appearance as they age, or “mature.”  The maple bladdergalls change from bright green to deep red and eventually turn black.


The second lesson is that populations of plant gall-makers tend to rise and fall dramatically from year-to-year.  I often re-visit the same trees year after year and I’ve found that while a tree may reward me with a huge gall display one year, it frequently disappoints the next.  My maple bladdergall photos below demonstrate this; same tree, different years.


Finally, very few galls that are produced by insects and mites cause any real harm to the overall health of their host plants.  I sometimes get reports of maple bladdergalls causing defoliation.  However, I’ve never observed this first-hand.  I suspect reported defoliation is perhaps connected to other issues including poor site conditions (e.g. poor drainage), nutrient deficiencies, maple anthracnose, maple petiole borer, etc.  One of the most common diagnostics missteps is to blame the obvious.


Other Eriophyid Gall Oddities

The Black Tupelo Bladdergall Mite (Eriophyes nyssae) produces galls that look very similar to those found on maples.  Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) (a.k.a. black gum, sour gum) provides a twofer with the eriophyid, Eriophyes dinus, producing crinkled leaf edges.  The crinkling is sometimes referred to as Black Tupelo Leaf Roll Galls.


One of my favorite plant galls is produced by the Poison Ivy Bladdergall Mite (Aculops rhois (= A. toxicophagus)) on its namesake host.  The galls vaguely resemble the itchy skin blisters we suffer when we contact the plant.  I like to imagine that gall-infested poison ivy plants suffer the same agonizing itch, but they have no fingers!


I’ve found that boxelder (Acer negundo) can challenge the saying “leaves of three, leave it be,” and the handiwork of the Boxelder Bladdergall Mite (Eriophyes negundi) doesn’t help.  The galls bear a striking resemblance to those on the three leaflets of poison ivy.  However, the boxelder bladdergalls undergo a distinctive change in appearance as they “mature.”


Early on, they appear as small bladdergalls.  Later, they become much larger and produce velvet-like patches on the corresponding lower leaf surface.  They are even given a different common name of “Boxelder Velvet Galls.”  I originally thought bladder and velvet galls were the work of two different gall-makers, but the literature attributes both types of galls to the same eriophyid mite.


Galls produced by the eriophyid, Eriophyes brachytarsus, are another type bladdergall that changes form as they mature.  At first, the galls look like typical bladdergalls and are called “walnut bladdergalls” in some online references.  However, as they mature, the galls become distinctively pouch-like and are referred to as “walnut pouch galls.”  Eventually, the galls break open like popcorn to reveal tufts of silvery-white hairs.


I first encountered the fuzzy, cauliflower-like galls produced by the eriophyid, Aceria cephalanthi, on common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) last year in northeast Ohio.  I could find no information in the literature about this gall-maker.  However, given the rise of buttonbush as a prized bumble bee magnet in pollinator gardens, I predict this gall will gain greater notoriety.


As with the vast majority of plant galls produced by arthropods (e.g. wasps, midges, etc.), those that are induced by eriophyids cause little to no harm to the overall health of their plant hosts.  Indeed, I contend that they add ornamental value to their tree and shrub hosts.  Of course, I’m a gall-oholic.




Slugged Rose Leaves from a Bristly Pest

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 16, 2019



When I started working for Extension back when growing roses meant hybrid teas, the dominant roseslug sawfly (order Hymenoptera, family Tenthredinidae) was Endelomyia aethiops.  It was so common, the common name approved by the Entomological Society of America (ESA) for this species was simply Roseslug.


The roseslug only has one generation per season, so we didn’t worry too much about this sawfly.  The early-season leaf damage was quickly covered over by new leaves as the season progressed.  We would occasionally see the Curled Rose Sawfly (Allantus cinctus), but with only two early-season generations, this sawfly would come and go so quickly it seldom caused appreciable damage.


However, in recent years, these relatively innocuous sawflies have been largely supplanted in Ohio by the more damaging Bristly Roseslug Sawfly (Cladius difformis) which has multiple generations per season.  Damage from this sawfly starts in the spring and only ends with the first frost.  The expanding numbers with each new generation may produce heavy defoliation by the end of the season.


I’m not sure what changed.  The bristly roseslug sawfly is considered a European native that was accidentally introduced into North America.  However, the introduction probably occurred decades ago because it is now found through the continent.  Of course, one thing that changed during this time was the rise of shrub roses over hybrid teas as the dominant roses in Ohio landscapes.  I don’t know of any host preference studies on this slug sawfly; however, there seems to be some preference for the shrub roses.


Early instar bristly roseslug larvae feed by removing one leaf surface and the mesophyll beneath. The corresponding epidermis on the opposite leaf surface remains intact and turns white producing a characteristic “windowpane” symptom.  Eventually, the “windowpanes” drop out to produce holes.


Later instars feed between the main veins to directly produce holes in leaves.  Heavy feeding damage by early and late instars may combine to produce “see-through” leaves.  We have commonly observed this type of damage from bristly roseslugs over the past few years in southwest Ohio.


You must look closely to spot the pale green semi-transparent sawfly larvae.   Despite their common name, the larvae of roseslug sawflies resemble tiny caterpillars and look nothing like the glistening, elongated pear-shaped “slug sawflies” which do resemble tiny slugs.  As their common name indicates, bristly roseslug sawfly larvae are covered with short, hair-like bristles that can be best seen with a hand-lens.


Control and prevention of further damage depend on proper identification of the true culprit.  Only the bristly roseslug is worthy of control measures because it continues to produce damage throughout the season.


Biorationals such insecticidal soaps are effective, but direct contact is necessary.  Products containing spinosad (e.g. Conserve, Entrust) are effective against sawfly larva and will also have less impact on bio-control agents.  Chlorantraniliprole (e.g. Acelepryn) is also effective and presents a low risk to pollinators.  Soil drench applications of systemic insecticides such as imidacloprid (e.g. Merit) or dinotefuran (e.g. Safari) are effective and provide lengthy protection.


Although roseslug larvae look like caterpillars, products based on strains of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that are specific to controlling moth caterpillars (order Lepidoptera) will have no effect on these primitive hymenopteran larvae.




Sycamore and Ash Anthracnose

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 16, 2019



Symptoms of two host-specific fungal anthracnose diseases are becoming apparent in southwest Ohio.  Ash anthracnose is usually announced by the appearance of irregularly shaped reddish-brown, blotchy spots along the edges of the leaflets.  The leaf necrosis often causes the leaflets to curl and severe infections may lead to defoliation.


Sycamore anthracnose typically takes two forms:  leaf lesions that appear to “bleed” from the veins and stem cankering that causes new leaves to wilt and blacken.  Both forms can lead to defoliation.  Thus far, the symptoms associated with the stem cankers has been the most apparent form of this disease in southern Ohio.


It’s important to keep in mind that the fungal anthracnose diseases affecting sycamore and ash are produced by different host-specific fungi.  The fungus that produces anthracnose on sycamore does not infect ash and vice versa.  This is also true for other fungal anthracnose diseases such as those that may occur on maple, oak, and beech.  Each is caused by a host-specific fungus.


Anthracnose diseases occur every year but most are enhanced by cool, wet conditions during leaf emergence.  Of course, “cool and wet” describes the weather experienced throughout much of Ohio this spring.  Still, it is just as common in the southwest part of the state to find sycamores and ash trees that are free of anthracnose symptoms as it is to find trees showing heavy symptoms.


Anthracnose diseases are not considered tree killers.  In fact, they seldom cause enough damage to seriously harm the overall health of their host trees.  While affected trees may look bad now, based on past history, the trees will recover.  There’s plenty of time for healthy trees to produce new leaves when warm temperatures are less supportive of new infections.


For this reason, it’s difficult to justify making fungicidal applications to suppress sycamore or ash anthracnose.  Sprays applied now cannot undo the damage from the early springs infections responsible for the symptoms we’re seeing now.  Preemptive suppression sprays starting at bud break can reduce infections; however, there’s no way to predict whether or not subsequent spring environmental conditions will support the levels of infection that justify the applications.  While there’s no such thing as an anthracnose crystal ball, history teaches us that heavy infections are a rarity.




Be Alert to Wild Parsnip!

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 15, 2019



Second-year wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa, family Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)) plants are producing deeply grooved flower stalks topped by characteristic bright yellow blooms in southern Ohio.  Landscape managers and gardeners should exercise extreme caution around this non-native invasive biennial plant.


Wild parsnip sap contains psoralens which are naturally occurring phytochemicals grouped in a family of organic compounds known as linear furanocoumarins.  Psoralens kill epithelial skin cells by inserting themselves into the DNA in the cell’s nucleus.  These cells are responsible for protecting us from long-wave ultraviolet radiation (LWUVR) that bombards us from the sun.


Severe blistering occurs when skin affected by the psoralens is exposed to LWUVR. The synergistic effect is called phytophotodermatitis(a.k.a. Berloque dermatitis) and the burn-like symptoms, as well as skin discoloration, may last for several months.  However, connecting skin blistering to exposure to wild parsnip sap can be a challenge.  The cause and effect are muddled by time because symptoms do not appear for around 24 hours after exposure to LWUVR and severe blistering doesn’t peak for another 48 to 72 hours.


Another challenge with connecting the dots is that wild parsnip commonly grows in and around other weeds, particularly poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) which is another member of the Apiaceae family.  This deadly non-native biennial weed contains highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds which cause respiratory failure and death in mammals.


The poison hemlock toxins have a completely different mode of action and must be ingested or enter through the eyes or nasal passages to induce poisoning; they do not cause skin rashes or blistering.  However, gardeners exposed to wild parsnip growing among poison hemlock may mistakenly blame the poison hemlock for their ultimate misery.


Psoralens are found in a number of other members of Apiaceae family including the notorious giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which has captured national attention in the past.  However, giant hogweed has only been confirmed in Ohio growing in the extreme northeastern part of the state primarily in and around Ashtabula County.  Wild parsnip is found throughout the state and is equally damaging.  Of course, giant hogweed has a more threatening sounding common name; wild parsnip just sounds like a vegetable gone wild.


Wild parsnip is native to Eurasia and grows as a biennial in Ohio requiring two seasons to complete its life cycle.  Plants spend the first year as rosettes with leaves confined to growing from a short stem only a few inches above the ground.  While in this stage, the plant produces a long, thick taproot.  Flower stalks are produced during the second year.


Second-year plants can grow to impressive heights topping 8′; however, most mature plants range in size from 4 – 6′.  Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, branched, and have saw-toothed edges.  Each leaf has 5 -15 ovate to oblong leaflets with variable toothed edges and deep lobes.


Mature plants will produce a single, thick, deeply grooved, greenish-yellow stem that sprouts lateral branches topped with hundreds of clusters of the umbellate flowers.  Plants are prolific seed producers meaning that small patches of this weed can develop into large patches in just a few years.


Keep in mind that sap in both the first year rosettes and second-year flower stalks contains damaging concentrations of psoralens. Always wear gloves and protective clothing if you find yourself working around any biennial growth stage of this malevolent weed!


Mechanical and Chemical Control

The toxic nature of the sap makes mechanical control of wild parsnip problematic.  Hand-pulling is a high-risk endeavor and not recommended.  There have been reports of sap spattered by mowers and string trimmers onto equipment operators producing phytophotodermatitis on exposed arms and legs.


The safest approach to controlling this invasive weed is to use herbicides.  Of course, as always, read and follow label directions paying close attention to recommended rates and whether or not surfactants are recommended to enhance herbicide efficacy.


Wild parsnip plants are susceptible to postemergent herbicides such as the non-selective systemic herbicide glyphosate (e.g. Roundup) and the contact “burndown” herbicide pelargonic acid (e.g. Scythe).  However, keep in mind that multiple applications of a burndown herbicide may be required to exhaust the energy stored in second-year tap roots.  Effective selective postemergent herbicides include 2, 4-D, clorpyralid (e.g. Transline), and metsulfuron (e.g. Escort XP).





Blue Week in Northwest Ohio

Authors Amy Stone

Published on May 15, 2019



Each May, the partners of the Green Ribbon Initiative assemble a wide array of programs to encourage people to get out into the amazing region in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. This globally unique region is home to a wide variety of plants and animals such as wild blue lupine, Karner blue butterflies, blue spotted salamanders, big and little bluestem, blueberries, bluebirds, blue racers and much, much more.  We love our blues!


The week-long celebration includes everything from bike rides and canoeing, to guided hikes and demonstrations by local experts, the programs offered each year are assembled to encourage people to get out and explore the region and inform them of how diverse and important the region is.


Even if you don’t live in NW Ohio, check out the website to learn more and learn why we are happy to be “blue” in the Oak Openings Region! It is a great place to visit and see its uniqueness for yourself.


More Information

Oak Openings Blue Week Website





Bug Museum Eases Fears

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on May 14, 2019



The Lake County Master Gardeners and The Ohio State University Extension presented a Bug Museum for Perry Elementary School on May 8th and 9th, 2019.


Classes visited in twenty-minute increments throughout the days. Each class was shown a PowerPoint presentation on the importance of pollinators, and then were free to visit individual stations featuring a collection of bees, beetles and live grubs, cicadas, hornet nests, praying mantis egg sacs, water insects, and much more. Bradley shared, “It’s really weird. I never knew how cool bugs looked up close”. Giada  beamed “I like butterflies the best. They are so colorful. I went to a fair once where they let butterflies go. It was awesome.”


Ruby added, “Ladybugs are my favorite”.

“I love how interested the children are in insects! We are grateful to Perry Elementary for allowing us the opportunity to share our collection and teach the importance of native bees and pollinators”, said Amy Goletz, Master Gardener and Bug Day Coordinator. The Master Gardeners are always happy to hear remarks from children like Lucas, a third grader, when he shared, “I found a big bug in my room but I like bugs and didn’t want to kill it. So we caught it and put it outside.” that’s exactly what Amy likes to hear as part a group of over 40 Master Gardener Volunteers in Lake County.


Master Gardener Gwen Zeitz amassed the OSU collection over the past 10 years. Along with Gwen, Master Gardener Volunteers Pat Smeby, Jan Downing, and Amy Goletz all answered questions throughout the days.

Answering questions. “That’s what they do as Master Gardeners. They answer questions about all things related to Horticulture”, stated Thomas deHaas, Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator for OSU – Lake County Extension who assisted with the event as well. We offer horticulture help to homeowner every Tuesday from 9-11 AM April through October via Helpline. Residents are welcome to call the helpline at 440-350-2254 or drop into the office located at 99 East Erie Street, Painesville. In addition, we are always looking to welcome more volunteers. We are presently taking application for new intern trainees that will begin in August.


If you love bugs, The Lake County Master Gardeners and The Ohio State University Extension will be participating (as they do every year) in “Bug Day!” at Penitentiary Glen on September 8th, 2019. See you there!




Dogs Gone Wild!

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on May 13, 2019



Dogwoods are in full bloom in Northeast Ohio. They are beautiful: Whites, Pinks and Pale Pink.


However, are you sure that is what you want to install? Consider where dogwood grow in the wild. They are an understory plant on the edges of woods and they like moist, well-drained soil containing organic matter with a slightly acid Ph. So before you run out and buy that beautiful white or pink dogwood, ask yourself, is this the right plant for the right place. Dogwoods that are under stress will deteriorate over time.


They can get borers, sunscald and cankers. Most of these will be a greater problem when the tree is grown in full sun and suffers drought in the summer, which can lead to leaf scorch as well. Be kind to some of our favorite dogs (Dogwood).


Just consider right plant, right place.