JenREES 7/11/21

Resiliency and Rest: Resiliency is the ability to withstand hardship. As I was thinking this past weekend about the July 9th storms and various levels of damage, I was thinking how resilient people can be with the right tools. Tools such as purpose, perspective, positive relationships (talking/checking in with others), self-awareness, and faith can be of help. Another thing I’ll throw in here is rest. The sun, heat, and humidity have been intense and exhausting. Most people I’ve interacted with have been going hard trying to keep pivots going, scout fields, and/or deal with breakdowns of various sorts. We all need rest and I hope in some way, we all intentionally take some time for that, even if just a few hours. I did that too a couple afternoons to get out of the heat, which helped me.

I was also thinking how resilient living things in general can be…such as the corn plants that bent or leaned instead of broke. I don’t have much update right now on the extent of damage as each field will vary depending on growth stage, hybrid, wind and we will learn more as we spend more time in fields this coming week. For those tracking GDD for western bean cutworm moth, you can do so at: https://mesonet.unl.edu/page/data (Select “Western Bean cutworm GDD” from the drop-down menu). Right now it’s showing GDD accumulation to not be as advanced as the CropWatch article was predicting for moth flights (was predicting 75% moth flight for York on July 13th.

Tree Damage: For those with tree damage, be sure to use the ‘3 cut method’ when trimming branches from trees. Also, look for power lines before approaching the tree. You can see a picture of this method at jenreesources.com.

Japanese Beetles or ‘something is eating my plants’ was the primary question I received last week. I’m seeing less in my landscape after the windstorm, so perhaps that helped somewhat?

The adult beetle is ½” in length with a metallic green head and white ‘tufts’ that look like spots on its abdomen. Adults feed on 300 plant species, but their favorites are ones that are in many of our landscapes (roses, cannas, marigolds, grapes, Virginia creeper, and trees such as lindens, birch, Japanese and Norway maples, cherry, plum, peach, American elm). They also feed on soybean and corn crops. They love hot weather and full sun and feed on leaf tissue during the day (leaf tissue will look skeletonized or lacy and turn brown). Trees may be severely impacted with browning occurring from the top to bottom. Thankfully healthy trees will re-leaf next year since the underlying twigs and branches aren’t damaged-even if the entire canopy is impacted this year. It’s not recommended to remove branches or trees.

DO NOT use Japanese beetle traps!!! Research shows they attract beetles to the landscape and many homeowners I’ve talked with will attest to this!

Beetle Control: Organic control options: Wait till 7-9 p.m. then knock beetles off plants into a bucket of soapy water to drown them. This method of control takes diligence over several nights. You can also spray trees with water to knock them down to the ground and then drown in soapy water. With heavy beetle infestations, it’s not uncommon to literally have scoop shovels full of the beetles when removing from trees. Neem and Pyola are two organic sprays that will protect for 3-7 days. Applying these products regularly (once per week) can also be effective as a repellent.

For conventional control options, keep in mind that Japanese beetles often impact the same flowering plants that other pollinators visit. Use insecticide products correctly to avoid damage to pollinators. Avoid spraying insecticides on windy days or when pollinators are present (best to spray late in day near dusk) and be sure to read and follow all label instructions and harvest intervals (for cherries, plums, vegetables, etc.). Conventional insecticides can provide 2 weeks of control: pyrethroid products like Tempo (Tempo can’t be used on vegetables and fruits) and Bayer Advanced Lawn & Garden Multi-Insect Killer (cyfluthrin) or Ortho Bug B Gone (bifenthrin). Sevin (carbaryl) is another option although more dangerous for bees. You can buy these products in most any farm, garden, box store…it may not be the exact products listed here, but if the active ingredient is a pyrethroid or any of those listed in parentheses above AND the product is labeled for the plant you wish to apply it to, you can apply it. Just be sure to read and follow label instructions.

Corn and Soybean Thresholds: Soybean thresholds are 20% defoliation in the reproductive stages. Thresholds for corn are: three or more Japanese beetles per ear, silks have been clipped to less than ½ inch, AND pollination is less than 50% complete. Pyrethroids are very effective against beetles. If one is concerned about flaring spidermites, a product like bifenthrin can be used.


Wellbeing Tips:
(Adapted from: Gilbert Parra, PhD; Holly Hatton-Bowers, PhD, and Carrie Gottschalk, LMHP, MS)

How Much Time do You Have?
2 Minutes:

  • Breathe           
  • Stretch
  • Laugh
  • Doodle
  • Acknowledge one of your accomplishments
  • Say no to a new responsibility
  • Look out the window
  • (adapted) Faith based prayer

5 Minutes:

  • Listen to music
  • Have a cleansing cry
  • Chat with a co-worker, friend, or family member
  • Sing out loud
  • Jot down dreams
  • Step outside for fresh air
  • Go for a brief walk
  • Enjoy a snack or make a cup of coffee/tea 
  • (adapted) Read faith-based devotional

10 Minutes:

  • Evaluate your day, Write in a journal
  • Call a friend
  • (adapted) Meditate, Prayer, Devotional
  • Tidy your work area
  • Assess your self-care
  • Draw a picture
  • Listen to soothing sounds/music
  • Read a magazine

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on July 11, 2021, in JenREES Columns and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Since the July 22nd hail storm we’ve had our hail adjusters out on some fields from 30-50% defoliation at the 14 leaf there’s been good canopy since theres a lot of openness at the bottom half of plants.We we’re wondering if & when would be the time to seed turnips or radishes or something to help deter weed pressure & have some fall cow feed so it wouldn’t compete with the corn crop.

    • Wayne, thanks for the update and question. If you already have good leaf canopy, it may be best to wait till the corn leaves start scenescing (turning yellow) like late Aug/early Sept. We did try interseeding some covers in a field about 10 days ago but that was a situation with a lot of plants not recovering and minimal canopy cover. Would be happy to look at your situation with you if you’d like.

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