Common plant problems in the Atlanta area
PESTS, PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS
Atlanta’s growing season provides plants with almost year around growth. Because of this long growing season pest populations can build to thresholds where plant damage can occur. The natural and man-manipulated environment in Atlanta can also cause stress and eventual decline in our landscapes and forests. The following is a list of some of the more common pests, cultural problems and environmental problems we may encounter year to year.

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What's Wrong With My Lawn ? - Here is a growing collection of photos which show some common turf problems.  Click on the one that looks like your issus and it will whisk you to an informational web page! Under Construction more...
Aeration for Turf - core aeration should be done each spring more...
Ambrosia Beetle - is a wood infesting beetle of numerous species of plants. more...
Annual blue grass - also called Poa annua more...
Aphid Farming by Ants - have you ever noticed ants running up and down the stems of your trees or plants? This is a very unique activity of the ants where they actually utilize the aphid excretions for food! more...
Arborvitaes browning? - Are you seeing a lot of internal browning on your arborvitae this fall?  Though it appears to be pest related it is actually associated with hot summer weather. more...
Army Worms Update! - The 2010 army worm attack had been the worst in 25 years.  But 2016 has been pretty bad too! Will Hudson, with UGA, has written a great informational sheet on these rascals! more...
Azalea - reduced blooms can be a result of late freezes more...
Azalea lace bug - This can be a serious pest of many plants including azaleas more...
Azaleas with spongy leaves - In the spring you nay see large spongy leaves on your Azaleas and Camellias. This is Exobasidium leaf gall. more...
Bermuda Turf Problems During High Temperature Summers - Heat related dieback can occur during periods of high heat, no rainfall and improper watering. more...
Bermuda Winter Patch - These large circles are caused by Rhizoctonia fungus more...
Boston Ivy Leafspot - Boston ivy is very susceptible to various leafspots especially cercospora. more...
Botryosphaeria Canker - Botryosphaeria Canker is a stress related disease more...
Boxelder Bugs - Boxelder bugs are basically a nuisance pest not causing any real harm to plants. more...
Boxelder Bugs versus Bordered Plant bug - These two insects are very similar but actually easy to tell apart. more...
Boxwood Blight - Boxwood blight has been identified in Atlanta landscape in June 2014. Click here for Dr. Woodwards Update. more...
Boxwood Blight 2016 UPDATE - As of 2016 the disease is becoming increasing aggressive and there is no cure at this time. more...
Boxwood Blight Photo Archive - Copyright 2016 Patrick G. Mawhinney more...
Boxwood bronzing - usually occurs during the winter more...
Boxwood leafminer - a common pest of boxwoods more...
Brown Patch lesions - on Fescue turf more...
Brown spots in turf - Is it Disease or Dry? more...
Browning in Conifers - If you are seeing browning in your leyland, cryptomerias or Italian cypress it may be the result of various problems from poor drainage to inadequate irrigation to improper plant for our area. more...
Camellias with spongy leaves - see exobasidium leaf gall more...
Cherry Tree Issues - Diseases such as Botryosphaeria canker are very common on flowering cherry and can cause serious disease. more...
Chipmunks - A cute, adorable nuisance in many cases! more...
Circles In Your Turf? - If you are seeing circles in front of your eyes on your warm season turf the culprit is probably your lawn mower. more...
Compacted Turf Soils - Compacted soil reduces the effectiveness of your lawn care program resulting in poor quality turf and recurring weed problems.  Cultural practices such as sanding and reel mowing can further increase compaction. more...
Compacted Turf Soils - Photos of problems related to compacted reel mowed turf more...
Core aeration - should be done each spring for Warm Season Turf more...
Cottony Maple Scale - Cottony Maple Scale actually can attack various hardwood trees including dogwoods.  It is quite showy and should be treated, eventhough it is not an aggressive spreader. more...
Crown Cleaning - One very important but often overlooked spring chores is the clearing of debris from around the crowns of your shrubs. more...
Cryptomeria - The cryptomeria can grow to more than more...
Cryptomeria Cold Damage - Severe cold winds can damage Cryptomerias more...
De-icer - We don't get much snow or ice in the South but occasionally we have to deal with some icy sidewalks.  Many snow melt products are not good for plants, pets, concrete or metal.  Avoid using NaCl (rock salt and table salt) especially.  If possible use one of the newer "environmentally friendly" products such as more...
Deer, Rabbit and Goose Management - These critters can really wreak havoc on your landscape plants, more...
Dieback In Landscape Plants - Your landscape plants seem fine one day then suddenly they die or decline severely.  Does this sound familiar? more...
Dirt Mounds Showing Up In The Turf and Beds - Ground Bees , Cicada Killers and Earthworms May Be The Culprit more...
Disease or Mower Scalping? - If you are seeing circles in front of your eyes on your warm season turf the culprit is probably your lawn mower. more...
Dogwood leafspot - Spring rains bring more than jsut flowers!   Plant diseases find the environment ripe for attack on many plants. Dogwoods are very susceptible to various leafspots and in the Spring the leaves can become very distorted. more...
Dogwood with Cottony Maple Scale - Cottony Maple Scale actually can attack various hardwood trees including dogwoods.  Though quite showy and should be treated, it is not an aggressive spreader. more...
Dogwood with Powdery Mildew - Dogwoods are very susceptible to various diseases.  Powdery mildew usually infects dogwoods at the beginning of the growing season. more...
Dollar Spot - is a disease of warm season turf. more...
Dove Weed - This weed is easily confused with Virginia Buttonweed. more...
Drill/Soil Aeration - Drill/Soil Aeration is used around the base of large trees more...
Drought - surviving drought conditions more...
Drought damaged turf recovery watering regimen - If your turf is showing drought stress or hot spots use these guidelines for recovery and on going water maintenance. more...
Drought Photos - A collection of turf photos featuring drought stress. This is a very large file! more...
Dry spots or disease? - Hot weather can result in dry burned areas in the lawn. more...
Emerald Zoysia - Late Green Up Problems more...
European Hornet Nest Building Activity - The European hornet excise small strips of bark more...
Exobasidium leaf gall - makes your camellia or azalea leaves look like sponges. more...
Fairy Ring - This disease is caused by a fungus more...
Fall Color - Winter and Spring is the time to plant your fall color trees and shrubs more...
Fall Fertilization - Our proprietary mixture aids the plants in recovery from the harsh summers. more...
Fall fescue seedings face many challenges - Excessive rainfall can cause saturated soil conditions which can lead to disease activity. more...
Fall Pruning - You can prune in the fall but do it gently and correctly! more...
Fall Tree And Shrub Planting - Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. The cool fall weather allows them to become established without the stress of the summer heat. more...
Fescue - Why is my winter fescue not dark green? more...
Fescue - Why isn't my fescue growing? more...
Fescue Brown Patch - Summer brings heat and stress to turf. With a cool season turf like fescue disease is usually inevitable! more...
Fescue Core Aeration - must be done each year. more...
Fescue slow green up - cold soil temperatures more...
Fireweed - appears in late spring. more...
Freeze Damage - Freeze damage does not always appear as brown or black leaves.  In may cases it can mimic disease. more...
Freeze Damage - From the Mid -March freeze in Atlanta more...
Freeze Damage on Indica Azaleas - If you are seeing poor blooming on your azaleas it may be freeze damage versus poor nutrition more...
Girdling roots - Girdling roots can kill a tree or shrub over time. more...
Girdling Twine or Straps - girdling twine or straps left on newly planted trees or shrubs can kill them within three years. more...
Goose, Deer and Rabbit Management - All these critters can be a nuisance more...
Gray Water - Trying to figure out what exactly is "gray water" and can it be used to water your plants?  Here is an excellent website. more...
Green up slow on some turf, especially Zoysias - There are multiple factors that can cause turf to be slow to completely green in the spring. more...
Ground Bees , Earthworms and Cicada Killers ..Oh My! - We have several critters that make mounds of dirt in your turf. more...
Gypsum - Commonly believed to increase soil drainage, structure, and pH and decrease compaction it must be understood that this only happens in some soils. more...
Hawthorne - dwarf hawthorne is extremely susceptible to leafspot more...
Heat Related Dieback In Warm Season Turf - This is a heat related problem in our warm season turf but mainly associated with bermuda. more...
Heat tolerance - Though many cold hardy plants are listed for our planting more...
Hemlock problems - Hemlocks face several problems. more...
Hickory or pecan leaves and stems being attacked? - This is most likely the work of the Phylloxera gall insect. more...
High Temperatures and No Rainfall And Incorrect Watering! - This is a recipe for problems with your landscape if you are not watering enough or not watering correctly.  If you are seeing brown leaves or leaf drop you are in trouble but there is hope! more...
Holes In The Trunk Of Your Tree? - This could be the work of your local Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! more...
Ice Melt - We don't get much snow or ice in the South but occasionally we have to deal with some icy sidewalks.  Many snow melt products are not good for plants, pets, concrete or metal.  more...
Irrigation problems - dry spots more...
Italian Cypress - This is a beautiful conifer but DOES NOT BELONG IN ATLANTA! more...
Japanese Beetles - these beetles have a ravenous appetite for your trees and shrubs. more...
Jumping Oak Gall - This gall appears on oaks in the early spring.  Though only cosmetic it can cause heavy defoliation. more...
K - Potassium , Potash - K is the elemental symbol for potassium.  more...
Keeping Your Plant Crowns Clean. - One very important but often overlooked spring chores is the clearing of debris from around the crowns of your shrubs. more...
Lace Bug - pest of trees and shrubs more...
Lawn Pests - Our common lawn pests more...
Leaf Galls - There are a myriad of agents that can cause galls on the leaves of our plants.  Very few cause much damage and actually need to be treated. more...
Leaf Spot Diseases - can be hard to control more...
Leafspot Damage on Hawthorne - Leafspot disease on Dwarf Hawthornes routinely defoliates the plants.  Unfortunately there is no economical cure but there are tactics that can reduce the leafspot! more...
Leyland Cypress dropping needles? - If your Leylands are showing yellow needles that gradually turn brown and then drop it is a clear sign that you are not giving them adequate moisture. Check your soil moisture. more...
Leyland Cypress: Seiridium Canker Reduction - Simply watering your Leyland Cypress can virtually eliminate canker development. more...
Lichen on bark - If you have patchy growths on the bark of your tree or shrub it is probably lichen. more...
Lightning Damage To Trees - Lightning can strike trees anytime of the year but especially during violent summer thunderstorms. more...
Liming - adjusting pH more...
Magnolia Yellow Leaves - See Yellow Leaves on Magnolia more...
Maple Leaf Spot - Maples tend to develop many different leafspots during the spring and summer, none of which are fatal. more...
Mawhinney Garden - A few garden shots! more...
Mid-March 2017 freeze damaged many plants! - Wait until after Easter to do any corrective pruning. More photos coming soon! more...
Moles - Moles are small animals of various sizes more...
Moss - Moss can be a persistent problem in lawns more...
Mowing - Weekly Mowing Is A Must Especially for Warm Season Turf more...
Mowing Guidelines - There are basic mowing guidelines which should be utilized more...
Mowing height - for warm hybrid, bermuda and fescue more...
Mulching - Proper mulching is essential for producing and maintaining healthy plants more...
Mushrooms - there are a myriad of mushroom species more...
Nitrogen - Nitrogen is one of the essential elements for plant nutrition. more...
Pecan or hickory leaves getting attacked? - This is most likely phylloxera gall. more...
pH - do you need lime? more...
Plant Die Back - Occasionally one of your landscape plants will suddenly die.  The suspected culprits are many! more...
Poa annua - also called annual blue grass more...
Potassium - Also known as potash. more...
Problems Related To Poor Cultural Practices - Mowing your warm season turf short is acceptable as long as certain guidelines are followed. more...
Proper Shrub And Tree Nutrition Is Essential For Healthy Plants - Without a proper and timely nutrition program plants become weak and more susceptible to agents of decline. more...
Proper Shrub and Tree Watering - more...
Pruning - Pruning can really be an art form.. more...
Pruning and mulching - correct timing more...
Pythium in fescue - Pythium is a fungus which can cause "melting out" in turf, especially seedling fescue stands. more...
Quercus - Quercus is the genus for oak trees.  We have over thirty oaks indigenous in Georgia.  Most of these trees grow in very specific habitats. more...
Rabbit, Deer and Goose Management - All these critters can cause significant damage to your landscape. more...
Rhizoctonia - blight on Hybrid Zoysia. more...
Rhizoctonia blight - on Hybrid Bermuda more...
Rhizoctonia blight - on fescue more...
Rhododendron Problems - Update soon more...
Rodent damage to plants. - Rodent gnawing can cause severe, irreparable damage to plants. more...
Rose Leaf Skeletonizer - The damage to the leaves usually results in some defoliation but plants recover quickly after treatment. more...
Rose Leaf Spot - roses are extremely susceptible to leafspot. more...
Rose Rosette Disease - Rose Rosette disease is a fatal viral disease infecting our Knock Out roses.  This disease is spread by a mite and possibly other insect vectors and there is no cure at hand once the disease infects the plants.  more...
Sanding issues article from the AJC By Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee - Though the article is more about tree and shrub soil it also applies to turf. We constantly preach about the problems that develop when you top dress your turf with high levels of sand. Adding sand to clay planting soils causes problems also! Here is a great article that discusses the problems. more...
Sanding issues in warm season turf - Compaction + Reel Mowing + Sanding + Low Winter Mowing Height + Herbicide Resistant Poa = Uncontrollable Poa more...
Sanding/topdressing - you need to know the difference. more...
Sapsuckers - We see these beautiful birds in our landscapes but they really do not damage the trees! more...
Sasanqua with spongy leaves - see Exobasidium leaf gall more...
Scale Problems Worse During Droughts - Scale populations can explode during dry, mild winters and during drought conditions. more...
Seiridium Canker Reduction In Leyland Cypress - Simply watering your Leyland Cypress can virtually eliminate canker production. more...
Seminars - Here is a list of various seminars in PDF Format.  Please re-use only with permission more...
Shade Tolerant Does Not Mean Shade Thriving - We are seeing a lot of new warm season turf being installed in situations where the shade level is to high to support the turf. more...
Shower Water - Shower water is just another form of gray water and can be used for watering your landscape plants. more...
Shrub and Tree Pests - Common pests of Atlanta shrubs and trees. more...
Slow Turf Green Up? - You may feel that your lawn is way behind in greening up compared to your neighbor but in actuality full green up of warm season turf in Atlanta usually is not attained until sometime in May. So the lawns are actually not really delayed in greening up but just not as far along as some other years or when compared to other yards with varying growth conditions such as more sunlight, adequate water, less compaction, etc. more...
Sooty Mold - Sooty Mold is the black coating you may see on leaves. more...
Spider Mites or Spiders - Especially during the summer we receive many calls about "spider mite" webs on shrubs. more...
Spring Dead Spot - These spots can appear in warm season turf in the spring. more...
Spring Warm Season Turf Scalping - is essential to healthy turf. more...
Sprinkler Overthrow - problems with irrigation heads more...
Stem Blight - can occur on may plants. In most cases, more...
Stem Canker - usually caused by fungal activity more...
Sudden Dieback In Landscape Plants - Causal Agents for these sudden diebacks are varied. more...
Sweetgum defoliation - brown or stripped leaves may more...
Top Dressing/sanding - of warm season turf more...
Tree and Shrub Watering - more...
Tree Leaf Galls - Galls on the leaves of our trees are very common.  Though they appear severe no permanent damage is done to the leaf. more...
Tree Problems: Yellow leaves in summer? -   If you begin to see yellow leaves and leaf drop on your trees in the summer it has to do with lack of water. more...
Tree problems: Leafspots, burned leaves? - When we have rainy, cool springs we see an abundance of leafspot on many of our trees, especially, oaks, maples and beeches.  These leafspots many times coalesce into large areas that appear burned, shriveled, blackened or distorted. more...
Turf Disease: Why Do I Have It? - Though it can simply be due to the weather pattern we are experiencing, improper cultrual practices will always result in disease development. more...
Verticillium Wilt - This is a vascular wilt, similiar to Fusarium Wilt, that is encountered occasionally in trees and shrubs.  It is usually not a problem with woody ornamentals but can be quite vexing for vegetable crops such as tomatoes. more...
Volcano Mulching - We've all seen it!  Large mounds of mulch piled up around the base of a tree in the form of a volcano! more...
Voles - These are small mouse like rodents that grow to 3-7 inches.  Unlike moles, which are meat eaters, these creatures are omnivorous eating both dead animals and plant roots. more...
Water Stress - can mimic disease. more...
Watering guidelines for drought damaged turf - Use these guidelines for correcting watering deficiencies in your turf and correctly watering your turf. more...
Watering Guidelines For Trees and Shrubs - Correct Tree and Shrub Watering is Essential for Maintaining Healthy Plants more...
Watering guidelines for turf - Proper watering is critical. more...
Webs on the shrubs - are usually the result of spiders not mites. more...
Weekly Mowing - Is An Essential Practice Especially for Warm Season Turf more...
Winter patch - usually occurs in warm season turf. more...
Yellow Leaf Drop On Magnolia - If you are seeing yellow leaves develop on your magnolia, do not fear. This is normal for magnolias as they transition from spring to summer.  Do check your watering schedule to be sure they are receiving adequate water. more...
Yellow Leaves And Leaf Drop A Yearly Occurrence - As we move into late July, we always see quite a lot of yellow leaves, especially on flowering cherries, poplars, birches, dogwoods, sycamores, sweetgums and even pines. more...
Zoysia Late Green Up Problems - Emerald zoysia problems more...
Zoysia Winter Patch - These large circles in the turf are caused by Rhizoctonia more...