Timothy mite is becoming an increasingly nagging problem for many timothy growers in Pennsylvania, reports John Tooker, entomology specialist with Penn State University Extension.
Also called cereal rust mite, the cool-season pest has been especially active in the southeastern region of the state, reducing growth and crop quality.
When scouting for the mite, look for leaf blades that are rolled up tightly rather than blades that are flat and normally expanded, Tooker recommends. “The feeding of the mites causes leaves to roll up, presumably to provide (them) with better protection and microclimate. The mites are microscopic and challenging to see even with good magnification.”
Treatment is advised if 25% of tillers show leaf curling within several weeks of green-up. Chemical options are limited, but Sevin XLR has a supplemental label allowing its use against mites on timothy in Pennsylvania. Applicators need to use high pressure to force the material into the leaf rolls. For more information, check out Penn State’s Cereal Rust Mite fact sheet.
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