NCERA224: NCR-193: IPM Strategies for Arthropod Pests and Diseases in Nurseries and Landscapes

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

NCERA224: NCR-193: IPM Strategies for Arthropod Pests and Diseases in Nurseries and Landscapes

Duration: 10/01/2012 to 09/30/2017

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

Members of NCERA-193 focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies for insect and disease pests of ornamental plants in nurseries, landscapes, and urban forests. Key research and technology transfer goals of members include development, evaluation, and integration of the cultural, chemical, and biological control tactics that are the foundation of IPM programs. To address these goals, specific research objectives have focused on biology of key pests (e.g., Mittapalli et al. 2010; Weston et al. 2008; Weston 2008; Drees et al. 2007), approaches to pest monitoring and prediction (Ranger et al. 2011), assessment of new pesticide chemistries and application technology (e.g. Herms et al. 2010, 2009, Rhainds and Sadof 2009) stress factors predisposing plants to pest attack (Ranger et al. 2010), evaluating plants for pest resistance (e.g., Nielsen et al. 2011; Rebek et al. 2008), elucidating mechanisms of host plant resistance (Wallis et al. 2008; Eyles et al. 2007), cultural practices to enhance plant health (Lloyd et al. 2006), implementation of biological control (Weston and Desurmont 2008) and decision making (Sadof et al. 2011).

NCERA-193 was formed in 1997 through the merger of NCR-98 and NCR-43. The directive provided a highly successful forum for plant pathologists and entomologists to discuss IPM programs for insects and diseases of ornamental plants, exchange research results and extension information, formulate complementary research objectives, establish interdisciplinary, multi-state collaborations, and avoid duplication of effort. This merger has fostered communication and facilitated interactions of entomologists and phytopathologists throughout the country, promoted awareness of regional and inter-regional arthropod and disease pest problems, fostered research collaborations to understand their potential impact and develop mitigation tactics and strategies, and resulted in workshops and other inter-state outreach programs for green industry professionals. These impacts are documented in the outcomes section of the proposal.

A great benefit of NCERA-193 is that it provides a pre-positioned organizational framework necessary to generate a multi-state, collaborative research and outreach response to unforeseen and unpredictable emergence of key pests. For example, sudden oak death and emerald ash borer were unknown to science 10 years ago, but have come to dominate the research and outreach efforts of several members of NCERA-193 (including several collaborative multi-institutional research projects and a coordinated, multi-state, multi-agency outreach partnership between Michigan State University, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin, USDA FS, USDA ARS, and USDA APHIS).

The annual economic contributions of the green industry (nursery, landscape, turfgrass, and floriculture) was estimated at $175 billion in output revenue in 2007 (Hodges et al. 2011). In the past two decades, public interest in ornamental plants and the demand for high quality nursery stock has more than tripled. The nursery and floriculture industry is the fastest growing segment of US agriculture. In 2007, $176 billion was generated in sales revenues in the U.S. green industry. The economic contributions for horticultural services was $192 billion in 2007, an increase of more than 40% from 2002. In 1999, over 21 million households spent over $16.8 billion on professional landscape, lawn and tree care services. The livelihood of over 1.95 million horticulturists, nursery growers, landscape architects, arborists, garden center operators, pest control specialists, urban foresters, and many others is tied directly to the ornamentals industry.

The value of landscape plants extends far beyond the substantial economic activity generated by their sale and maintenance. They are an integral part of, and provide critical services to, the human environment. Properly placed and maintained plants can reduce energy costs, absorb noise and air pollutants, purify water, reduce soil erosion and flooding, increase ecological stability, and provide wildlife habitat (McPherson 2006). Landscape plants are integral to the human outdoor experience, whether relaxing in the yard, playing a round of golf, or walking in a park. Ornamental plants increase property values and foster community pride. The health, aesthetic quality, and utility of landscape plants are decreased by a wide diversity of arthropod pests and pathogenic disease organisms, which stimulates widespread interest and activity in mitigating the negative influences of these problems.

Nurseries, homeowners, landscapers, municipal governments, and tree care professionals strive to grow and maintain healthy and aesthetically pleasing plants, while reducing the use of conventional pesticides by embracing integrated pest management (IPM) programs. As the ornamentals industry has expanded, so has the complexity of managing disease and insect problems. Many of these problems are national rather than local in scope as widespread shipment and planting of ornamental plants has resulted in regional, national, and international distribution of key pests. Furthermore, the great diversity of ornamental plants produced in nurseries and planted in landscapes, each with their own complement of pest problems, means that no individual researcher or state can hope to address them all. Interactions, collaborations, and complementary objectives resulting from NCERA-193 meetings have allowed entomologists and plant pathologists to address a much wider variety of key problems more efficiently and quickly, while avoiding duplication of efforts.

The implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 has resulted in cancellation of registrations of key broad-spectrum insecticides formerly used to manage pests on ornamental plants. However, a number of new-generation insecticides have emerged to replace these, but their range of activity tends to be much more specific and their residual activity much shorter. EPA has also increased emphasis on registration of biologically-based insecticides. Increased emphasis on reduced-risk pesticides creates significant opportunities for incorporating these products into IPM programs. However, detailed information about pest biology and ecology, pest response to these products, and effective technology transfer to pest managers will be required in order to do so effectively.

Exotic insects and pathogens continue to threaten North American forests and urban landscapes. Research efforts directed towards previously introduced invasive pests (e.g. emerald ash borer, Phytophthora ramorum) continue even as additional exotic pests such as viburnum leaf beetle, southern pine beetle in Ohio, hemlock shoot blight, brown marmorated stink bugs and Japanese apple rust have been added to the pest complex. The spread of invasive organisms has been facilitated at times by accidental shipment of infested nursery stock, resulting in quarantines that have negative economic impacts on nurseries. Furthermore, urban environments have been the site of major eradication and suppression efforts for invasive pests such as emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and Asian longhorned beetle. The rapid response to emerald ash borer and sudden oak death emphasize the benefits of NCERA-193, as its members have played key roles in developing and implementing coordinated multi-state research and outreach programs. The projects of Smitley, Sadof, Williamson and Herms have coordinated and integrated the emerald ash borer outreach programs for Michigan State University, Purdue, University of Wisconsin, and The Ohio State University. As the geographic scale and impact of insect and disease problems of ornamental plants continues to expand as the green industry continues to grow, so does the significance of outcomes and impacts provided by NCERA-193. The need to coordinate regional and national research and outreach programs to address these problems is at an all-time high, and NCERA-193 plays a key role in facilitating these efforts. This interdisciplinary committee has proven to be an invaluable forum for developing coordinated, complementary programs needed to address a great diversity of pest problems, while avoiding duplication of efforts, in an era of increasingly limited resources, as well as facilitating collaborative, interdisciplinary, multi-state collaborations necessary to address problems of regional and national significance.

Our objectives focus more on the conceptual rather than specific in order to develop generalized frameworks from which we can address the great diversity of pest management issues that emanate from hundreds of host species, several times as many pests (across multiple kingdoms), all interacting in vastly different management systems, including nurseries, landscapes, urban and natural forests across all regions of the country. By necessity, we focus on complementation and avoidance of duplication of effort, which has dramatically improved our ability to address the great diversity of pest issues our stakeholders must confront.


  1. New and emerging pests (including invasive species and climate change-induced range expansion): Investigate detection methods, biology, and management of new and emerging pests.
  2. Pesticide technology development: Evaluate effectiveness of reduced-risk pesticides, biopesticides (i.e., bacterial, fungal, and viral), new and novel chemistries, and application technologies for control of key disease and arthropod pests of landscapes, nurseries, and Christmas trees.
  3. Pesticide alternatives: Develop management strategies for key pests based on classical biological control (i.e., predators and parasitoids), host plant resistance, and cultural control.
  4. Technology transfer: Develop and deliver science-based educational materials focused on management of key pests through outlets such as mass media, publications and fact sheets, and social media.

Procedures and Activities

Our specific objectives will be addressed through the following research and outreach projects.

Objective 1, New and emerging pests (including invasive species and climate change-induced range expansion): Investigate detection methods, biology, and management of new and emerging pests. Members of NCERA-193 will:

Conduct multi-state investigations of the distribution, spread, and biology of Phytophthora ramorum. Use visual and detection surveys and remote-sensing approaches to investigate distribution of emerald ash borer populations and impact, and quantify rate of spread. Investigate distribution, biology and management of native and exotic bark beetles. Investigate other native and exotic invasive insects and pathogens such as, white pine blister rust, thousand cankers disease of walnut, citrus greening, Dothistroma needle blight, emerald ash borer and viburnum leaf beetle. Coordinate inter-state interactions within National Plant Diagnostic Network to facilitate rapid response to detections of emerging pests. Investigate incidence and distribution of pests in relation to climate change.

Objective 2, Pesticide technology development: Evaluate effectiveness of reduced-risk pesticides, biopesticides, new and novel chemistries, and application technologies for control of key disease and arthropod pests of landscapes, nurseries, and Christmas trees. Members of NCERA-193 will:

Assess new and novel products and application methods for control of wood-borers, bark beetles, scales, soil infesting insects, and mites. Develop insecticide-based strategies for protecting ash from emerald ash borer. Evaluate treatments for diseases such as bacterial leaf scorch, thousand canker disease, Phytophthora ramorum, Stigmina needlecast, Diplodia shoot blight and stem canker, Pierces disease, and other key pathogens.

Objective 3, Pesticide alternatives: Develop management strategies for key pests based on classical biological control (i.e., predators and parasitioids), host plant resistance, and cultural control. Members of NCERA-193 members will:

Develop biological control programs for key exotic pests such as Japanese and other scarab beetles, viburnum leaf beetle, and scales. Coordinate the National Elm Trial to evaluate resistance to key insect and disease pests. Evaluate host resistance to key arthropods and pathogens such as Phytophthora spp., emerald ash borer, X-disease and Diplodia. Evaluate effects of cultural practices and environmental stressors on key pests including drought, fertilization, mulching, composting, and pruning.

Objective 4, Technology transfer: Develop and deliver science-based educational materials focused on management of key pests through outlets such as mass media, publications and fact sheets, and social media. Members of NCERA-193 will:

Develop and deliver coordinated multi-state outreach programs and action plans for key native and alien pests. Develop multi-state eXtension resources, fact sheets and bulletins on key pests. Develop and maintain internet based list-servers (such as Ornaent) and websites to disseminate information on key pests. Ensure regular contact with county agents (e.g. Horticulture/Forestry Conference Calls) to provide the most current and up to date information. Liaison with federal and state regulatory and management agencies to help develop, deliver, implement, and assess action plans for key insects and diseases such as Asian longhorned beetle, citrus root weevil, red imported fire ants, emerald ash borer, Sirex wood wasp, bacterial leaf scorch, and sudden oak death. Organize symposia and outreach programs of interest to entomologists, plant pathologists and stakeholders.

The roles covered by different states in relation to the objectives are summarized below:

State - Objectives - Key Pests/Diseases:

CO - 1, 2, 3, 4- Thousand canker disease of walnut, white pine blister rust, emerald ash borer, Dutch elm diseases
DE - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Redheaded flea beetle, brown marmorated stink bug
IN - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, leafhoppers, scales, spider mites
IA - 1, 3, 4 - Japanese beetle, emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug
KS - 1, 3, 4 - Thousand cankers disease of walnut, pine wilt
MN - 1, 2, 3, 4 - emerald ash borer, Japanese beetle, gypsy moth, Cooley spruce gall adelgid, scales, spider mites, pollinators, biocontrol agents
ND - 1, 3, 4 - Dutch elm disease, Stigmina needlecast of spruce, Dothistroma needle blight of pine, X-disease phytoplasma
OH - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Asian longhorned beetle, viburnum leaf beetle, hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, ambrosia beetles, Japanese beetle, sudden oak death, Diplodia tip blight
OK - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Japanese beetle, aphids, leafhoppers, scales, spider mites
PA - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Viburnum leaf beetle, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, gypsy moth, armored and soft scales, Sirex wood wasp, thousand cankers disease, Dutch elm disease, elm yellows
SC - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Bark and ambrosia beetles, Japanese beetle, scale insects, flea beetles
TX - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Oak wilt, sudden oak death, citrus greening, bacterial leaf scorch, Pierces disease, red imported fire ants, rasberry crazy ants
WA - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Sudden oak death, Phytophthora root rot, diseases of conifer nursery stock, Christmas trees, ornamental bulb crops, and Pacific madrone.
WI - 1, 2, 3, 4 - Brown marmorated stink bug, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Japanese beetle, sudden oak death, Diplodia tip blight

Different research and Extension networks will help execute the objectives. Research and technology transfer is facilitated by the coordinated structure of the group. For example, entomologists in NCERA-193 from the states with active emerald ash borer infestations used the NCERA-193 structure to coordinate research objectives and protocols in various states to evaluate insecticides for control of emerald ash borer. They were then well positioned to develop consensus recommendations for managing emerald ash borer, which were subsequently published in highly-cited multistate NCR-IPM bulletin Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer. More generally, members of NCERA-193 provide information, as appropriate, to clientele and stakeholders through face-to-face meetings, newsletters, CEU trainings and professional society meetings such as Branch and National Entomological Society of America meetings. Many of the same pests occur in several of our states, so avoiding duplication of effort is critical. Members take NCERA-193 information back to their states where they deliver extension programming through various networks - state tree organizations, Departments of Agriculture of Forestry, horticulture "focus teams" of county agents, and their own personal extension programming.

Here are examples of how individual members use different research and Extension networks to execute the objectives:

1. In Indiana, our members conduct webinar series to update individuals on emerging forest pests, such as the Asian longhorned beetle, thousand cankers disease of walnut, and the emerald ash borer (e.g., the EAB University)
2. In Wisconsin members conduct webinars on the brown marmorated stink bug and the spotted winged drosophila
3. The Colorado representatives are active in the master gardener training, local, and regional ISA, pesticide training updates, firewood and emerging pest task forces, and in hosting regional research and outreach forums such as the Central Rockies White Pine Health Working Group each year and Great Plains Tree Pest Council.
4. In the state of Washington the representative is active in organizing/hosting and participating in regional workshops, conferences, webinars, and field days for stakeholders relating to sudden oak death, ornamental bulb crops, Christmas trees, and Pacific madrone. The representatives also hosts web sites ( that update individuals on emerging pests, research, and outreach activities. These sites also provide information on opportunities for community members, high school and undergraduate students to be involved in research and community-based programs, such as the WSU Puyallup sudden oak death community-stream monitoring program for invasive plant pathogens.
5. The representative from South Carolina works with state, federal and university colleagues from other southeastern states as well as Virginia and Ohio, with networking and promotional supports from American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) and state nursery growers and landscape professionals associations, to offer multiple sessions of ambrosia beetle and/or scale insect detection and management workshops for nursery growers and landscape professionals. New information and technology is also transferred to the stake-holders through the monthly Southern Ornamental IPM Webinar series currently hosted through NCSU.
6. As specialists in the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the Texas members actively participate in workshops, county programs, homeowner meetings, master gardener trainings, and other educational venues. A variety of websites are supported in Texas to further insure research and demonstration results are made available to clientele, such as (for turf and ornamental pest information in Texas), (for imported fire ants nationally), (for rasberry crazy ants), and related social media outlets such as the Fire Ant Info Facebook deliver technical information and management guidelines.
7. The Oklahoma representative relies on information generated from other research and extension outlets such as listserves and newsletters to help him keep the green industry of the state current on effective pest management strategies. These outlets are associated with professional societies (e.g., Entomological Society of America) and collegial networks established from research and extension collaborations spanning several scientific disciplines and geographic boundaries.
8. In Iowa, the representative is recording extensive data on performance of 19 elm cultivars and species annually as part of the National Elm Trial. He is also working with extension clientele in Iowa to begin planting the best-performing elms in urban locations in the state. Furthermore, he is monitoring statewide for emerald ash borer after the first sighting of the insect in 2010, and monitoring for establishment of gypsy moth in the eastern half of the state.
9. The Minnesota representative regularly delivers workshops that discuss reduced risk pesticides to preserve pollinators and biocontrol agents in plant production, landscapes, and home gardens. She also evaluates effectiveness of reduced risk insecticides on Japanese beetle grubs and adults, mites, Cooley spruce gall adelgid, pollinators, and biocontrol agents.
10. In Pennsylvania, the representative provides information to green industry clientele and stakeholders through face-to-face meetings, green industry trade association conferences and workshops, phone conversations, emails, newsletters, and web sites. The web site used in the delivery of this information is

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • New and emerging pests: Knowledge of new detection methods, biology, climate change effects and management of new and emerging pests, including invasive alien species.
  • Pesticide technology development: Replace broad spectrum pesticides with reduced-risk pesticides, biopesticides, new chemistries, and application technologies for control of key disease and arthropod pests of landscapes, nurseries, urban forests and Christmas trees.
  • Pesticide alternatives: Adoption of management strategies for key pests based on classical biological control, host plant resistance, and cultural control.
  • Technology transfer: Deliver science-based educational materials focused on recognition and management of key pests.
  • These outcomes will lead to decreased pesticide use; enhanced environmental, public, and worker protection; more cost effective pest management for the green industry to increase profitability; urban reforestation with pest resistant trees, thereby maintaining environmental services provided by the urban canopy; and decreased risk of spread of invasive alien pests.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

Where appropriate, we will work with stakeholders through their professional societies (e.g. International Society of Arboriculture, Entomological Society of America, American Phytopathological Society) to produce relevant manuals and conduct educational meetings. Regional recommendations will be posted on the web and advertised in trade shows as appropriate. Further details regarding the Educational Plan are detailed in the Procedures and Activities section under Objective Four.


The recommended Standard Governance for multistate research activities include the election of a new Secretary each year. Leadership succession is by transition from Secretary, Chair to Past-Chair. Administrative guidance will be provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a CSREES Representative.

Literature Cited

Drees, B. M., B. Summerlin, and S. B. Vinson. 2007. Foraging activity and temperature relationship for the red imported fire ant. Southwestern Entomologist 32(3):149-156.

Eyles, A., R. Chorbadjian, C. Wallis, R. Hansen, D. Cipollini, D. Herms, and P. Bonello. 2007. Cross-induction of systemic induced resistance between an insect and a fungal pathogen in Austrian pine over a fertility gradient. Oecologia 153: 365-374.

Herms, D.A., D.G. McCullough, D.R. Smitley, C.S. Sadof, R.C. Williamson, and P.L. Nixon. 2009. Insecticide options for protecting ash trees from emerald ash borer. North Central IPM Center Bulletin. 12 pp.

Herms, D.A., D.G. McCullough, D.R. Smitley, C.S. Sadof, R.C. Williamson, and P.L. Nixon. 2010. Professional options for treating EAB. Lawn and Landscape 31(5):88-92.

Hodges, A.W., Hall, C.R., and Palma, M.A. 2011. Economic contributions of the green industry in the United States, 2007. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin 413. Online at

Lloyd, J.E., D.A. Herms, J.V. Wagoner, and M.A. Rose. 2006. Fertilization rate and irrigation scheduling in the nursery influence growth, insect performance, and stress tolerance of Sutyzam crabapple in the landscape. HortScience 41 (2):442-445.

McPherson, E. G., J. R. Simpson, P. J. Peper, S. E. Maco, S.L. Gardner, S. K. Cozad, and Q. Xiao 2006. Midwest Community Tree Guide.: Benefits, Costs and Strategic Planting. USDA FS Pacific Southwest Research Station General Technical Report PSW-GTR-199. 100 pp.

Mittapalli, O., X. Bai, P. Mamidala, S.P. Rajarapu, P. Bonello, and D.A. Herms. 2010. Tissue-specific transcriptomics of the exotic invasive insect pest emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). PLoS ONE 5(10)1-12.

Nielsen, D.G., V.L. Muilenburg, and D.A. Herms. 2011. Interspecific variation in resistance of Asian, European, and North American birches (Betula spp.) to bronze birch borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Environmental Entomology 40:648-653.

Ranger, C.M., M.E. Reding, A.B. Persad, and D.A. Herms. 2010. Ability of stress-related volatiles to attract and induce attacks by Xylosandrus germanus and other ambrosia beetles. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 12:177-185.

Ranger, C.M., M.E. Reding, K..J.K. Gandhi, J.B. Oliver, P.B. Schultz, and D.A. Herms. 2011. Species dependent influence of (-)-±-pinene on attraction of ambrosia beetles to ethanol-baited traps in nursery agroecosystems. J. Econ. Entomol. 104:574-579.

Rebek, E.J., D.A. Herms, and D.R. Smitley. 2008. Interspecific variation in resistance to emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) among North American and Asian ash (Fraxinus spp.). Environmental Entomology 37:242-246.

Rhainds, M. and C. S. Sadof. 2009. Control of bagworms (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) using contact and soil applied systemic insecticides. J. Econ. Entomol. 102:1164-1169.

Sadof, C. S., L. Purcell, F J. Bishop, C. Quesada, and, Zhang, Z. W. 2011. Evaluating restoration capacity and costs of managing the emerald ash borer with a web-based cost calculator in urban forests. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 37:74-83.

Wallis, C., A. Eyles, R. Chorbadjian, B. McSpadden Gardener, R. Hansen, D. Cipollini, D.A. Herms, and P. Bonello. 2008. Systemic priming of phloem secondary metabolism and induction of resistance to a canker pathogen in Austrian pine. New Phytologist 177:767-778.

Weston, P.A. 2008. Plant Defense Elicitors Fail to Protect Viburnum dentatum from Herbivory by Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 101(4): 1466-1470.

Weston, P.A. and G.A. Desurmont. 2008. Pupation by Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae): Behavioral Description and Impact of Environmental Variables and Entomopathogenic Nematodes. Environ. Entomol. 37(4): 845-849.

Weston, P.A., G.A Desurmont and M.D. Diaz. 2008. Ovipositional Biology of Viburnum Leaf Beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Environ. Entomol. 37(2): 520-524.


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