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Branching Out—An Integrated Pest Management Newsletter for Trees and Shrubs 2000

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Project Leaders: G.W. Hudler and D.D. O’Brien, Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell Univ.


Branching Out - An Integrated Pest Management Newsletter for Trees and Shrubs was published bi-weekly from mid-April through mid-July and tri-weekly from July through September for a total of 11 issues in the 2000 season. About 625 people in the Northeast subscribed to Branching Out. Their $35.00 subscription fees, together with grants from the New York State Arborists Assoc, the Long Island Arborists, Alpine - The Care of Trees® and the NYS-IPM program allowed us to pay the bills and keep the program going. An additional 80 copies of each issue were distributed free of charge to cooperating scientists in the Northeast and Cooperative Extension offices in New York State.

Each issue contained a scouting report - comprised of results of our own scouting in sites from Farmingdale, Long Island to Rochester together with reports from county Cooperative Extension agents, Cornell's Insect and Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, and knowledgeable tree care professionals throughout the state. We also reported growing degree days and phenological observations and chose one pest or group of pests for the subject of an in-depth feature article. And, we published regional reports prepared by Cornell Cooperative Extension educators and members of the IPM program staff. Occasionally, an item that we thought was especially important for our readers to know about was published under our "Miscellany" category.

In 2000 , Branching Out subscribers were especially well-prepared to deal with insect and disease pests as well as numerous drought-related tree problems that came to their attention. Unusually wet weather from budbreak through late July would normally have provided ideal conditions for leaf diseases but because of drought the previous year, there was very little primary inoculum to initiate foliar disease epiphytotics and little reason to apply fungicides for those diseases with a single cycle per year. We were able to convey that message to our readers and thereby discourage excessive fungicide use. Readers were also kept abreast of the latest developments in Asian longhorned beetle and viburnum leaf beetle locations and were introduced to the Japanese cedar longhorned beetle. - a potentially new threat to landscape ornamentals.

Our own discovery of a less expensive means for publishing color photos allowed us to greatly expand our use of color and in almost every issue we included color supplements to the scouting report or feature articles. In one issue we developed a quiz that challenged readers to match insect larvae to their respective egg cases.

In our feature articles, we highlighted the following additional topics:

The Branching Out staff also expended considerable effort to put the newsletter on the World Wide Web. The web version contained many more color illustrations as well as links to relevant information about pest and pathogen biology and least toxic means for dealing with those pests.

Subscribers to Branching Out continue to welcome the information conveyed in it. Most who read it report that it improves their scouting activities and helps them to make judicious decisions about what and when to treat. Volume 8 will be published in 2000.