FAIRBANKS — As the new Tanana District agronomics and agronomics addendum agent, one of the best absorbing aspects of my job is the array of questions I receive. However, there are two questions I accept been asked repeatedly: “What is activity on with the besom trees?” and “How do I get rid of bird vetch?” So, I anticipation I would acknowledgment both of these questions here.
First, let’s alpha with besom trees. There has been an beginning in Fairbanks of the amber-marked besom blade miner (Profenusa thomsoni), an insect that came to North America in the aboriginal 1900s and accustomed in Fairbanks by about 2002. Blade miners overwinter in the arena as pupae and appear as adults in the spring. The adults lay eggs at the tips of adolescent besom leaves. The eggs bear into larvae (small caterpillars) that eat the abdomen of the leaves, abrogation chicken areas broadcast with nuggets. Afterwards a few weeks, the larvae abatement to the arena and pupate. The leaves that were mined about-face brown. Besom copse can abide a lot of blade loss, and healthy, well-watered copse can abide added blade accident than fatigued besom trees.
The U.S. Backwoods Service has an accomplished advertisement on this insect. Go to www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r10/forest-grasslandhealth/?cid=fsbdev2_038906 to download a copy.
At present, the best way to accord with this beginning is to accumulate your besom copse watered and conceivably administer some fertilizer in the spring. There is an insecticide that can be injected into the copse to accommodate protection. In 2011, the USFS, with the universities of Alberta and Massachusetts, alien a baby abject wasp to Fairbanks that attacks the larvae central the leaves. If the wasps are successful, conceivably they will accumulate the besom blade miners from acceptable a added austere problem.
The additional catechism apropos bird vetch (Vicia cracca), a bulb called by Carolus Linnaeus, the ancestor of taxonomy. This is the bulb with the purple-blue flowers that is growing up fences, baby trees, undisturbed backwoods sites and apathetic cars all about town. The bulb breed was brought to Alaska years ago by scientists, aloof as it was brought to Canada a hundred years afore as a abeyant augment for cattle.
Everyone wants to apperceive how to get rid of it. Soon, there will be a Cooperative Addendum Service advertisement that you will be able to aces up at your bounded office, but until then, actuality is how to administer it:
Its anemic point is that the seeds alone alive for about bristles years. Knowing that, the key to accepting rid of bird vetch is to not let it aftermath berry for at atomic six years. This can be done by mowing (have you noticed the Alaska Department of Transportation mowing roadsides beforehand in the summer?), affairs and accent afore it produces seed. These plants die aback to the roots every winter, and it is absurd to cull the roots out of the arena (they breach off actual easily).
Depending on the weather, echo this affairs and acid every few weeks. I do it in my backyard whenever I see that flower. Afterwards six years of abiding affairs accept elapsed, the seeds should be gone.
To annihilate the roots, articles like Weed-B-Gone will assignment if activated afore beginning (about mid-June here). The plants appear up at assorted times, so one analysis will not be enough; you charge accumulate afterwards it and get those that were missed. Spraying afterwards beginning is crumbling time and money. Remember, apprehend the herbicide characterization anxiously and chase the directions.
If alone we had kept the amber-marked blade miner and bird vetch out of North America in the aboriginal place. Prevention is so abundant easier than control.
Steven Seefeldt, Ph.D., is the Tanana District agronomics and agronomics abettor for the Cooperative Addendum Service, a allotment of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, alive in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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