A number of calls locally have centered on "What is wrong with my pine tree?" Many have blamed the recent drought. Others have questioned the effect of the April late spring freeze effect. One issue that many forget is extensive wetness that occurred during the late winter and early spring period. White pine is intolerant of low oxygen, water saturated soil. At this point, local weather rates about average for the year, despite extremes when averaged on a monthly basis within the year.
Last Friday, the Purdue Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory issued its latest "What's Hot?" bulletin http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/hot07/6-... and white pine was in the bull's eye. Apparently the rest of the state has been experiencing the same issues that the local Clay and Owen County area has been seeing with white pine.
To this point, the visits I have made have not shown any evidence pine weevil boring in the twig. The trees are simply suffering from environmental stress. Many of the trees impacted most are trees that have been planted during the last 3-5 years where root systems have not become established and the addition of transplant shock is additional concern. Dr. Rosie Lerner at in the Horticulture Department at Purdue made a very strong impression on her audience during a presentation last fall. She showed a series of pictures of a white pine tree from November to May. The tree started turning pale in early April and finally became yellow to brown and obviously dead by late April or early May. Individuals in the audience were guessing and theorizing the demise of this particular pine tree. Weather, bugs and diseases were all being bantered about as causal agents. It was a fun CSI of the tree. The audience was aghast to learn that the tree they had observed in the photos was really a Christmas tree that had been staked in her back yard. It had been cut in November and due to being well kept in the home with water and then placed outside during the cool months of January through April, it had not lost much color or shed needles. This exercise really struck the audience with how difficult it is to diagnose tree problems as typically the cause or causes of tree death happen many months and in some cases several years prior to one seeing the symptoms of tree problems or death. So we are likely just now seeing the effects of the long wet spring.
Otherwise, numerous insect, garden and plant questions come to the office. If you miss this column or want to check out a recent column, you can now find it on the local Extension office website. Additionally, the Agriculture and Natural Resources program area is making attempts place resource material related to current local issues on the website for both Clay and Owen County. There will be links to publications that will help in the management or control of the concerns based on calls to the office. This is a process so keep checking in with us from time to time. To visit the website of a local county Purdue Extension office, go to http://www.ces.purdue.edu/ and click on "county offices" at the top left of the page. A map will pop up and from there click on the respective county. The specific website for Clay County is http://www.ces.purdue.edu/clay/ while it is http://www.ces.purdue.edu/owen/ for Owen County.
You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 829-5020 x14 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or publication copies regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While most publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
July 8-14 Owen County 4-H Fair
July 10 DNR Private Forestland Public Input Meeting, Indianapolis, 6 p.m.
July 12-13 Indiana Master Naturalist Statewide Gathering, Brown Co. State Park
July 12 Ribeye Steak Brazil Community Blood Drive @ Kroger's 2-6 p.m.
July 12 DNR Private Forestland Public Input Meeting, Bedford, 6 p.m.
July 12 Irrigation Workshop, Pinney Purdue Ag Center, 10:30 a.m.
July 17 Water Education for Teachers (Project WET), Bloomington
July 18 Poison Prevention Workshop, Methodist Hospital, 12:30 p.m.
July 20-27 Clay County 4-H Fair
July 21 Growing Quality Trees Field Day, Putnam Co., 9:30 a.m.
July 24 Start Your Own Business Workshop, Spencer, 6 p.m.
August 2-5 National Trappers Association Convention, Goshen
August 23 Poison Prevention Workshop, Methodist Hospital, 12:30 p.m.
September 5 Farm Bureau Drainage School, Indy, 9 a.m.
September 18 Riverwatch Training, Bloomington
September 19 Poison Prevention Workshop, Methodist Hospital, 12:30 p.m.
September 27-29 State Master Gardener Conference, Evansville