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Spruce aphid hatch; Country Living Series

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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January is the time to check your spruce trees for signs of spruce aphid. Spruce aphids are hatching now, just when the home gardener is inside their warm and cozy homes.

It is just this reason why spruce aphids can get a hold on your tree and cause damage. This aphid is very, very small, measuring just 1/16 of an inch long. Its small size is made up in sheer numbers and has a voracious appetite.

Because they are light intolerant, most of the damage occurs on the inner needles of the branches on the lower shaded portions of the tree.

They are active from late January through early March. Look for the presence of a shiny, sticky substance on the spruce needles. This is called hon-eydew and is produced by the aphids. It can give the tree a "glistening" appear ance from a distance.

Yellow or brown needles quickly turn black and fall off, leaving brown bare centers that become camouflaged by the new growth.

Because of the timing of this pest, the damage has been done by the time a gardener notices and the pest is long gone. If this occurs year after year, the tree can become weakened and die.

An easy control for the spruce aphid is the wash them off with a strong stream of water. Once they are on the ground they will not re-infest the tree.

The Master Gardeners have been busy planning the 2012 Country Living series. Each class will be held on the last Saturday of the month at Memorial Hall beginning in January and ending in June. The morning session begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at noon. The afternoon session begins at 1 p.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. The class topics are varied and the option of purchasing a season pass and/or coming with a friend gives participants the opportunity for quite a bargain.

Jan. 28 - Basic Vegetable Gardening

A.M.: WSU MG Bonnie Day-Orr covers vegetable gardening basics, including planning, choosing a site and seeds, starting seeds, season extenders and more.

P.M.: WSU MG Evon Masteller gets you excited to raise worms with her vermicomposting demonstration. WSU MG Lou Schmidt shares her experience with vegetable garden success and ways to avoid failures. Schmidt will be back in April for even more vegetable gardening tips.

For more information and the complete list of topics, please visit Click Jan. 28 on the calendar and then you can open the brochure with details of all classes, cost, dates and times or call R. Jeanne Rehwaldt at 427-9670 Ext. 688. I hope to see you at one or all of these classes.

Copyright 2012 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 19, 2012

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