Gardening - Hot Topics

Gardening - Hot Topics

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European pine saw fly.  Photo credit:  Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service,

Pest of the Month:  European pine sawfly

In May homeowners are often startled by the appearance of clusters of caterpillar-like larvae on several species of pines.  They are the larvae of the European pine sawfly.  These caterpillar-like larvae feed on the older needles of Scotch, Austrian, red, jack and Japanese red pines giving the plant what is humorously referred to as a “poodle haircut”.  For information on the life cycle and management of this pest see:

MSU Extension News, "Check Pines Now for European Pine Sawfly Larvae"

Identification and Management of European Saw Fly, Extension publication E-2694

Frequently Discussed Topics

Following are publications that answer the most frequently asked questions the Plant & Pest Hotline staff receive this time of the year. Please call or contact us with your questions at 248-858-0902.  See our hours.


Fertilizing Home Lawns to Preserve Water Quality

Grasses for Michigan Lawns

How to choose and when to apply grub control products for your lawn

Lawns in Shade

Moss, Algae and Slime Molds in Lawn

Mowing Lawn Turf


Apple Scab in Crabapples

Spray Schedule for Pest Control on Apples, Crabapples, Quince and Pears

Spray Schedule for Pest Control on Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Cherries and Plums

Spray Schedule for Pest Control on Brambles (Blackberries/Raspberries)

Spray Schedule for Pest Control on Strawberries

Spray Schedule for Pest Control on Blueberries

Spray Schedule for Pest Control on Grapes


Carpenter Ants

Plants and Landscape

May Landscape Guide

Deer Resistant Plants for Homeowners

Don’t Pick Poison when Gathering Mushrooms for Food in Michigan

Fertilizer Basics for the Smart Gardener

Spring/Summer Houseplant Care

Soil Management

Don't Guess, Soil Test

Trees and Shrubs

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

European Pine Sawfly

Gypsy Moth in Michigan: A Homeowner’s Guide

Maple Petiole Borer

Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Scale Insects

Spruce Decline

Tree Wound Dressings are Cosmetic


Organic Vegetable Production



Reduce Lawn and Garden Damage Caused by Moles, Skunks & Raccoons

Seasonal Resource for Current Conditions and Plant/Pest Problems

An excellent resource for current conditions and plant/pest problems is the MSU Extension News web site, written by MSU faculty and MSU Extension staff.  These seasonal electronic articles offer Lawn & Garden pest management advice regarding a variety of topic areas such as Community Gardening, Composting & Recycling, Home Gardening, Landscaping, Pest Management, Turf, and Water Usage.  You can subscribe to various topics and have updates to their web site sent to you automatically.

Food donation fact sheet available from MSU Extension’s Michigan Fresh

Hungry people need good food – and gardeners can provide safe, nutritious food to those who might otherwise go without. Learn how community gardeners can donate extra produce to food pantries with Michigan State University Extension fact sheet “Fresh Produce Donation Guidelines for Gardeners.”  This fact sheet includes recommended ways to handle and prepare the produce, information about the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, and more.  
Fact sheets – on topics from apples to winter squash – are also available on the Michigan Fresh website at


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