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Report From PIA – March 31

I am watching the buds on my trees closely, because they can indicate the hatching of one of this area’s nemeses, the winter moth caterpillar. Soon they will emerge and start eating our maples, blueberries, apples, oaks and other trees. They can defoliate plants in a couple of moths, and many local trees have been weakened and killed by this pest.

Timing is everything when it comes to the winter moth. The larvae can chew into swelling buds so that when the leaf finally unfurls it is already filled with holes. If the leaves aren’t treated promptly, the growing caterpillars will continue to eat the foliage until nothing is left. I advise homeowners to spray their trees with Spinosad when the buds are almost ready to burst, and again at least once after the leaves have opened.

In life, timing is even less exact. We all desire to be at the right place at the right time, or on the cusp of the new, new thing. I know that as a garden communicator, I want to be writing and speaking about the topics that people are interested in, conveying information that they need to know right now. I want to be current, and helpful…don’t we all? Maybe this has roots in our desire to live a life with meaning.

The thing about perfect timing is that it often seems totally out of our control. Maybe some people are just lucky, and happen to be in doing the perfect thing at the correct time. And yet, if we are following our hearts, and living a life that has meaning to each of us as individuals, then perhaps the timing is always ideal. So I guess the thing to do is to pay attention to timing in the garden, but focus on following our hearts and core values in our lives.

They silver buds on my Stewartia draw my attention not because they are prone to winter moth damage, but because they area so beautiful.

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