Category Archives: Turf and Ornamentals

Asiatic garden beetle monitoring–May 23, 2024 update

In 2023 there were multiple, scattered reports of severe defoliation and/or death to cotton seedlings caused by Asiatic garden beetle (AGB) in Virginia and northeast North Carolina. Infested cotton areas varied in size, with some reaching 10 acres. AGB feed on roots (as grubs) and foliage (as adults) of many different host plants. The adults hide in the soil during the day and feed at night. AGB prefer sandy soil over heavier soil. When we visited the infested cotton fields, we often found AGB in the soil below weeds (e.g., marestail) and volunteer soybean plants.

Asiatic garden beetle injury to seedling cotton, 2023 season, Sussex County, VA.

This April the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s entomology program began sampling field “hotspots” from the 2023 season using soil samples, pitfall traps, and a black light trap. We found AGB grubs in soil samples from fields in Wakefield and Sussex County, VA, but did not find them in a northeast North Carolina field infested last year. AGB grubs can be differentiated from other white grubs by their “puffy cheeks.”

Soil samples (about a shovel full) to monitor for Asiatic garden beetle grubs.

The black light trap is being operated in Sussex County, VA; it had a peak of 114 AGB adults (total per 3 nights) on May 9, 2024, followed by a sharp decline in captures. Other states have reported a single generation of AGB per season, but we plan to keep monitoring for several more weeks. We are still finding grubs and pupae in our soil samples. Pitfall traps placed in the field, designed to capture crawling adults (not flying due to cool temperatures), have not captured any AGB so far.

Asiatic garden beetle adult (size is similar to a coffee bean). Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

Cotton infestations and seedling injury from 2023 may have been due in part to cool May temperatures, keeping AGB adults on the ground, feeding in the cotton fields where they emerged; the cooler weather also limited cotton seedling growth.

We’ll provide further updates as we learn more. If you suspect an AGB problem in your seedling cotton, please feel free to reach out to me, or contact your county Extension Agent.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful for the financial support provided by Cotton Incorporated and the Virginia State Cotton Support Committee, and for the assistance provided by local cotton growers.

Video tutorial on how to scout for Japanese maple scale crawlers

Crawlers are the most vulnerable stage to control the Japanese maple scale under nursery conditions. Monitoring crawler activity throughout the growing season will aid to refine the timing of deployment of any control tactic.

Graduate student Mollie Wyatt (Virginia Tech, Entomology Department) took the lead on creating a video showing us the step-by-step process on how to do the ‘tape method’ for monitoring crawler activity for this pest in ornamental trees.

You can click on the link below to access to a short version of this video. You might need an actual computer to watch that clip. The full version will be posted soon on our VCE website. Stay tune! Funding to support this project was provided by the Southern IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

Registration is open for the Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School.


November 15-17, 2016
Princess Royale Hotel in Ocean City, MD

Registration is open for the 22nd annual Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School. This year’s school will feature 2 ½ days of timely presentations in the areas of crop management, nutrient management, pest management, soil and water management, and climate. This year, the school will also feature the popular Crop School on Wheels field tour (limited to 50 participants). Nutrient management (VA, MD, DE, PA), pesticide, and certified crop adviser (CCA) credits will be available. Register early for the best selection of sessions.

The session schedule is online at:

Registration information is posted at:

Contact Amy Shober ( or Jarrod Miller ( with questions about the school. We look forward to seeing you there.

The Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School is organized by Extension Specialists from Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland featuring speakers from across the nation.

Update on Boxwood Blight in Virginia

English boxwood defoliated by the boxwood blight pathogen following introduction of infected container plants on the patio. (Photo by A. Bordas)

English boxwood defoliated by the boxwood blight pathogen following introduction of infected container plants on the patio. (Photo by A. Bordas)

Recent outbreaks of boxwood blight, caused by the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata, are causing concern in Virginia. Boxwood blight can cause severe defoliation of susceptible boxwood, including English and American boxwood, and is of serious consequence to nursery growers, landscapers and homeowners. All diagnoses of boxwood blight in home landscapes made by the Virginia Tech Plant Disease Clinic since last fall are linked to new boxwood purchased from several Virginia locations of one national retailer, and new cases are likely to emerge. (See news article at:

We strongly recommend that growers purchase boxwood from a nursery or retail outlet that has purchased boxwood exclusively from a boxwood producer in the Boxwood Blight Cleanliness Program ( These producers follow stringent practices to avoid the introduction of this disease to their nurseries and are subject to followup inspections by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Black streaking on green stems of boxwood plant with boxwood blight.

Black streaking on green stems of boxwood plant with boxwood blight. (Photo by A. Bordas)

Symptoms of boxwood blight include leaf spots, black streaking on stems and severe defoliation. Other diseases of boxwood, such as Volutella blight and root diseases, can be confused with boxwood blight; therefore, laboratory confirmation is necessary. Learn to recognize symptoms of boxwood blight by viewing the image gallery on the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force web site ( Information on best management practices, resistant boxwood cultivars, and sanitizers for cleaning tools is also available on the web site.

In all the cases of boxwood blight diagnosed by the VT Plant Disease Clinic in home landscapes, the disease was introduced on infected boxwood plants. The fungus has sticky spores and is not adapted for movement on air currents; however, spores may stick to and be transported by spray hoses, tools, clothing, shoes, and vehicles. The fungus can also be transported in soil and likely by animals moving through infected plants, e.g. deer, dogs. Infected boxwood may also be present in holiday greenery.

If you suspect boxwood blight, collect symptomatic branch samples with at least a few green leaves still attached. Double bag the samples in sealable bags and take them to your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office ( Samples will be forwarded to the Virginia Tech Plant Clinic for diagnosis.

Boxwood Blight on Boxwood Holiday Greenery

Boxwood blight has been present in Virginia since 2011 and has since spread from its original location in Carroll County to a number of other counties around the state by movement of infected plants. Because much of Virginia’s greenery production industry is located in areas where boxwood blight is known to occur, the potential for spread of the disease on boxwood greenery also exists. Last year we notified agents regarding the potential for spread of the disease via holiday boxwood greenery. Now that potential has become a reality in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently discovered boxwood blight in holiday boxwood greenery sold at several retail locations in North Carolina. Although the fungus that causes boxwood blight is not active at cold temperatures, it produces structures that can survive on plant debris over the winter. The fungus could potentially infect nearby susceptible plants in the landscape when favorable weather conditions return. Therefore, it is very important that boxwood greenery be properly disposed after the holidays by double-bagging and removing to the landfill. Do not compost boxwood greenery and do not leave it in cull piles in the landscape. Inspect boxwood greenery carefully for symptoms of boxwood blight before introducing it to a site containing susceptible boxwood plants and discard symptomatic greenery as described above. Symptoms of boxwood blight include brown leaf spots with dark border, black streaks on green stems, and leaf drop. Be aware, however, that even asymptomatic greenery could potentially harbor the pathogen. If clientele have highly valued boxwood in their landscape, they may want to avoid introducing boxwood greenery altogether.

For more information on the North Carolina situation, refer to the NCSU Plant Disease and Insect Clinic blog at:

For more information on boxwood blight in general, including Best Management Practices for the greenery industry, landscapers, home growers, and retail and wholesale nurseries, visit the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force web site at:

Please make sure that property managers of historic sites in your area are informed about this update.

Leaf spots on boxwood caused by the boxwood blight pathogen (photo by A. Bordas)

Leaf spots on boxwood caused by the boxwood blight pathogen (photo by A. Bordas)

Black streaking on boxwood stems caused by the boxwood blight (photo by A. Bordas)

Black streaking on boxwood stems caused by the boxwood blight pathogen (photo by A. Bordas)


Virginia Issues Fire Ant Quarantine in 11 Localities

The following advisory is being sent on behalf of Dr. Pete Schultz, Entomologist and Director of the Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued a temporary state quarantine for 11 localities in southeastern Virginia. Details as to the locations and regulated articles are available at their website (copy and paste address into your browser):