Spring arrived early, we never had a frost warning, and almost everything has bloomed out. When I look at my lawn and garden I now wonder where to begin. Even with all my winter preparation there is still so much to do. This requires a to-do list.
First on the list would be pruning all flowering shrubbery such as quince, azaleas, spirea and forsythia after they have finished blooming. Next, checking shrubbery for tea scale, checking azaleas for lace bugs, and checking for bagworms on junipers, arborvitae, or cedars and then controlling infestations if necessary.
Tea scale is a small insect that attaches itself to the leaf and sucks plant juices. Applying insecticides so that they cover the bottom surface of the leaves is necessary. Repeat treatments may be needed with heavy infestations.
Lace bug damage first appears as spotted discoloration or bleaching on the upper surfaces of leaves. Plant leaves may even drop from plants. If discoloration is spotted on azalea leaves, look at the underside of the leaf. If discoloration is caused by the lace bug there will be black tarry spots caused by insect frass (insect poop). The undersides of the leaves may also be rusty in appearance.
Almost any available insecticide will kill lace bugs. For effectiveness, sprays must come in direct contact with the lace bugs.
Bagworm damage is easy to spot and will need to be controlled because it can kill trees or plants. Bagworm larvae create a bag around themselves as they feed. The bag is composed of silk and plant debris, and the bag grows to accommodate the body size of the bagworm. Bagworms eat plant and tree leaves and will cause substantial damage if not treated.
Bagworm control is easy because they are easy to kill. If bagworm activity is identified, treat as much of the plant or tree as possible, and also treat the surrounding foliage of other plants. Remember, early treatment will minimize damage.
If you have questions, call the Clemson University Gardening Information Center telephone number, 1 (888) 656-9988, and Web site, ghic.clemson.edu.
VICTORIA HALL, A NORTH AUGUSTA RESIDENT, HAS BEEN A MASTER GARDENER SINCE 2008.