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  • Spaeth Property Service

UMASS Landscape Update


Pioneer Valley (Amherst)

General Conditions:

June has arrived, and this month is all about celebrating the sun. As we approach the solstice, this is a good time to assess exactly how much direct sunlight trees and shrubs in the landscape are receiving. Plants that once received full sun may be receiving far less as a landscape matures and neighboring canopies encroach and converge. Insufficient sunlight is a chronic stress that can contribute to a thinning canopy or increase in disease issues.

It’s been a warm and dry week, but the long-term forecast calls for cooler temperatures and scattered showers. Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), the Commonwealth’s most abundant tree species, is shedding huge volumes of pollen at this time. Like most forest trees in New England, white pines are monoecious (male and female reproductive parts on the same plant). However, the male flowers (strobili) that disperse pollen tend to occur at the base of new shoots on older lateral branches in the lower canopy. The female flowers (which develop into cones) occur in the upper canopy towards the ends of larger branches. It takes over a year for cones to fully mature, typically late summer to early autumn of the second year.

Crickets and grasshoppers have joined the summer soundscape and lightning bugs are visible at night. Lady beetle larvae are abundant and typically bear little resemblance to the adults. Educate clients on their appearance so they aren’t inadvertently killed under the assumption they are plant pests.

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