Blasts of polar air across Kentucky made this winter one to remember for many, but experts say the eastern tent caterpillar probably didn’t take notice.This insect spends the winter as tiny, fully developed caterpillars in distinctive egg masses that encircle twigs of wild cherry and related tree species. The eastern tent caterpillar is one of the first insects to become active in the spring and is well adapted to survive Kentucky’s often erratic winter and early spring weather.
It’s been a hard winter on Kentucky’s trees. Though the state hasn’t suffered a catastrophic ice storm this year, there has been enough ice to cause significant damage to both woodland and urban trees in some areas.
“It was particularly onerous on some of the pines, particularly Eastern white pine,” said Jeff Stringer, referring to an icy storm that struck the Bluegrass a couple of weeks ago. Stringer is an extension professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Article courtesy of the Farm Service Agency
The USDA Farm Service Agency's Crop Disaster Assistance Program provides financial assistance similar to crop insurance to eligible producers affected by natural disasters. The upcoming deadlines to file an application for natural disaster protection under the NAP are March 1 and March 15.
The crops for March 1 deadline are: alfalfa, clover, grass, millet, mixfg., teff
A few weeks ago on Ira Flatow’s Science Friday there was an interview with research biologist Rob Venette from the U.S. Forest Service in Minnesota that addressed the effect temperature has on certain insects. The ability of insects to survive winter- when so many of them thrive in summer- has always fascinated me. While we would most certainly root for the bees and butterflies my enthusiasm would wane for fleas and ticks.
Plant and seed catalogs will be jamming the mailbox any day now. I always feel like January ushers in a clean slate for the garden: optimism abounds among fresh ideas and promises never to repeat a crop busting mistake are sharp in my memory. Sometimes the slate stays clean; sometimes it doesn’t. Either way the next couple of months can be used to plan and prepare for the next growing season. Don’t get overwhelmed by (or over indulge in) all the catalogs until you actually decide on what you want to accomplish for the year.
As I write, we are getting flurries and the forecast calls for some frigid temperatures (by now we are experiencing them!). We have called to have our old furnace serviced to hedge our bets against frozen pipes as the heat pump struggles to keep up with single digit temperatures. The firewood is stacked and ready to stoke the Buckstove for overnight; and if the sidewalks get slick we have a stash of de-icing agents. As the winter season unfolds, consider the effect that de-icing agents have on your plants.