WeevilTrak 2017 is officially “open for business.” Although it stirs discussion, it should really come as no surprise to anyone in the mid-Atlantic that the weather has been anything except consistent.
We hurdled into March at a seemingly record setting pace, accumulating growing degree days (GDD) and watching phenological and insect activity respond accordingly. Then came March 10th. This was the first major turn for the leadup to spring. Temperatures plummeted, GDD’s stopped accumulating and it appeared every ABW Adult went back into hiding. All the Forsythia, that was such a prominent yellow on March 2nd, began it’s decline and within a week was senescing. As of late last week, we were visibly behind where we were at the same point in 2016, according to this measure. Despite a slight resurgence over the weekend, based on this major setback, I don’t forsee Forsythia as being as reliable an indicator as it has in previous seasons.
Forsythia March 24, 2016 vs. March 24,2017
Forsythia March 2, 2017 vs. March 24, 2017
Soil temperatures are something we are monitoring more closely this season. As shown below, we had the same flourish in early March, followed by a steep decline and more season-like measures by last week.
Soil Temp March 7, 2017 vs. March 24, 2017
Throughout this roller coaster ride, adults have remained present, but not necessarily active. In the below photo, using warm water for a soap flush coerced a significant number of adults out of a CBG fairway despite the 45° air temperature.
Soap Flush March 24, 2017
This isn’t necessarily a cause for concern at this point, more so a reminder to stay diligent with your scouting as we approach the inevitable flourish of activity, a critical massing of adults on to fine turf and the accompanying mating season. These activities should still be what adult targeting applications should hinge on. Most of the adults I’m finding are within 5 feet on either side of fairway/rough interface. I am still able to vacuum a small number of adults up on the edges of wood or natural area/fescue lines as much as 15-20+ yards from the fairway.
Finally, there is the ever controversial, unpredictable, sometimes unbelievable weather forecast. It is anyone’s guess on how things will shape up over the next few weeks, but if I were to hedge a bet, I would guess after all the recent stop and go, we will be more go than stop from here on out.
As others have mentioned in their blogs, if you compare previous years and Weeviltrak Stage 1 activation dates, you will find they generally fall within just a few days of each other. I would say furthermore, if you compare the first 3 stages or Overwintering Adult Generation across the 3 mid-Atlantic sites, you would find very little departure for any one of these stages and their activation dates over the past 3 years. This includes comparing against each other.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks and be prepared to be patient, but ready for that flurry of warm days that will set (and keep) things in motion for 2017.
About the author
Sam Camuso is a Syngenta Turf & Landscape Territory Manager located in the Northeastern US. You may also follow Sam on Twitter: