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Elements of IPM for Christmas Tree Production in New York State

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This set of basic elements, of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) may assist growers and in implementing an IPM approach for Christmas trees grown in New York. Not all growers will use all elements as managing pests is an individual and dynamic process influenced by field size, trees grown, weather and new knowledge.

The Elements for Christmas Tree IPM in New York State are designed as a self-evaluation tool for growers already implementing IPM or as an educational tool for growers new to the concepts of IPM.  If you have comments, questions or suggestions please contact Brian Eshenaur or Elizabeth Lamb




Pre-Plant (Re-Plant) IPM Considerations

Activity Check if done
Create and/or update field maps with information such as soil type, drainage patterns, problem weeds and Christmas tree species  
Match appropriate Christmas tree species to the site conditions, especially considering soil pH and drainage characteristics  
Plan plantings so blocks of land will be open to rotation and do careful weed management between plantings  
Determine tree spacing to allow good air movement and to allow enough room for equipment  
Inspect plants upon arrival and discard those with signs of disease infection or insect infes­tation or poor vigor/root system  
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Pre-Growing Season IPM Considerations

Activity Check if done
Maintain an inventory of pesticides  
If the plans for the year include restricted use pesticides, make sure pesticide use license is current and seek re-certification training as needed  
Ensure all personal protective equipment is clean and stored properly  
Inspect and clean pesticide storage and mixing areas  
Calibrate pesticide application equipment annually  
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Crop Management

Activity Check if done
Use soil analysis, to determine appropriate fertilizer pro­grams  
Keep complete records of soil test results and fertilizer applications (rate and timing)  
Record dates of budding, and significant weather events  
Use growing degree days to schedule your pest management  
Test water source(s) used for pesticide mixing for pH and alkalinity  
Adjust tree species grown as pest pressures dictate  
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General Pest Management

Activity Check if done
Have a plan for pest management based on time of season, pest biology, pest thresholds, and available management options  
Scout regularly for insects, diseases and weeds, using a plan that covers all tree species and planting areas  
When scouting, inspect trees thoroughly, including the interior needles and lower branches.  
Identify all insect, weed and disease problems  
Maintain scouting and pest control records in order to predict pest problems  
To assist in pest scouting, use resources, such as Branching Out or regional pest updates  
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In-Season Insect Management

Activity Check if done
Remove and destroy infested plant parts prior to insect emergence for insects such as white pine weevil and spruce gall adelgids  
Plan to harvest or carefully remove trees and those surrounding if damaged by insects such as balsam wooly adelgid  
Use insecticides only when pest populations reach potential to damage crop  
Choose insecticide products carefully so beneficial insects are not killed when pests are being controlled, and rotate pesticides to reduce the chance of pesticide resistance developing  
Keep accurate spray records for legal requirements, gauging efficacy and year to year comparisons  
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In-Season Disease Management

Activity   Check if done
Prune and remove trees as needed to maintain adequate spacing for good air circulation  
Remove individual trees severely damaged by diseases such as needlecasts  
If records indicate that a disease is likely to occur, apply fungicides at the appropriate time, rate and frequency based on environmental conditions and the product label  
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In-Season Weed Management

Activity Check if done
Use groundcover management techniques that reduce help control weeds, soil erosion, nutrient runoff and herbicide use  
Manage weeds in vacant fields and land bordering production area to reduce weed, disease, movement into Christmas trees  
Clean equipment before moving to a new location to prevent movement of weed seeds or vegetative portions to new field  
Use mowing and/or effective herbicides at the recommend time of year for dominant or difficult to control  weeds  
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Nuisance Wildlife Management

Activity Check if done
Practice good groundcover management at a height low enough to reduce problems with moles, rabbits, and groundhogs  
Use control measures other than pesticide baits for groundhogs, mice, moles, rabbits, and voles  
Follow all wildlife management laws, and get appropriate permits for nuisance deer management  
If deer pressure is high enough, use fencing  
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Grower IPM Education

Activity Check if done
Train employees in IPM practices  
Participate in educational events to learn more about pest management  
Learn more about the life cycle of the most important insects, weeds and diseases in your plantings  
Learn to recognize beneficial insects and/or predators/parasitoids that naturally control pests  
Have a current year's copy of Cornell's Pest Management Guide for Commercial Production and Maintenance of Trees and Shrubs  
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Major Pests of Christmas Tree Species

Major Pests of Fir

Insects Diseases
Balsam Twig Aphid Phytophthora rootrot
Balsam Woolly Adelgid Fir—Fern Rust
Elongate Hemlock Scale Current Season Needle Necrosis
Spruce Spider Mite  
White Grubs  
White Pine Weevil  
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Major Pests of Douglas Fir

Insects Diseases
Cooley Spruce Gall Adelgid Swiss Needle Cast
Cryptomeria scale Rhabdocline Needle Cast
White Grubs Diplodia Tip Blight
White Pine Weevil  
Pine Shoot Borer  
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Major Pests of Pine

Insects Diseases
Pine Needle Scale Diplodia Tip Blight
White Pine Weevil Cyclaneusma and other Needle Casts
Pine Shoot Borer  
Zimmerman Pine Moth  
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Major Pests of Spruce

Insects Diseases
Cooley Spruce Gall Adelgid Rhizosphaera needle cast
Eastern Spruce Gall Adelgid  
Spruce Spider Mites  
White Pine Weevil  
Elongate Hemlock Scale  
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Major Weeds of Christmas Trees

Annuals such as: Pigweed, Foxtail,  Ragweed Crabgrass, Horseweed (Marestail), Lambs Quarter
Biennials such as: Queen Anne's Lace, yellow rocket
Perennials such as: Horsetail, Quackgrass, Johnsongrass, Canada Thistle, Goldenrod, Swallowwort
"Climbing" weeds such as: Poison Ivy, Virginia creeper, Wild Grape, Wild buckwheat, Field Bindweed, Catchweed Bedstraw
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