Yesterday’s Rain

The college weather station was down yesterday, related to the couple of power failures over the weekend. (One power failure at 3 in the morning, then 2 hours Sunday afternoon for an insulator repair) So, for those of you keeping track, my house in Weybridge (7 miles away, close enough) got 1 3/4″ of wonderful rain. Sorry it came on a weekend, but did we ever need it.

Black Maple

The leaves are starting to turn on campus, and one of the first species is also one of my favorites. Black Maple, Acer nigrum, is a tree I didn’t even know about before I began working here.

Black Maple Fall Foliage Color

Black Maple Fall Foliage Color

It’s hard to beat the bright gold color of this tree-in my mind brighter than any self respecting Sugar or Red Maple. It also turns a little sooner than the other trees around it, like it needs to jump ahead of the pack and show off. Fine by me. Continue reading

Early Fall

Starting to feel like fall in the morning, and certain trees are starting to look like fall. Here’s another tree to drop everything to go look at while it is still in full fall color. It’s a Katsura Tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum. Presumably the leaves smell like cotton candy when they turn and start dropping, but, like those Magic Eye posters, it doesn’t work for me. Katsura Leaves

Fall Webworm

Those disgusting silky web cocoons on branches on the sides of the road you’ve been seeing? Fall Webworm, (Hyphantria cunea (Drury)). I’ve been getting asked about it quite a bit, that’s why I bring it up. They were a random little unidentifiable white moth in May¬† and June, with the females laying their eggs on the undersides of the leaves. The webs form on the tips of the branches, as the caterpillar eats its way down the branch. Many larvae may be seen in one web.Pupation occurs in the ground or in the leaf litter beneath the tree. They are quite prevelant in Crabapples, cherries, Birches, and Lilacs, but I’ve even seen them in Elms along the road.

Control? Pesticide? Nah. Being this late in the year, the leaves are beginning their shutdown/fall off routine, aren’t providing much in the way of food for the tree anymore, so if some fall or get eaten prematurally, I don’t sweat it. I’ve always heard an organic control is to take a stick and tear apart the web, exposing the caterpillars to passing birds for a quick take-out meal, but I’ve never seen a bird indulge. Maybe someone (not me) that knows birds could shed some light here.