Pear thrips surfaced as a new pest of sugar maple, Acer saccharum Marsh., in 1979. Damage from this insect occurs intermittently, and threatens the long-term health of maple trees throughout the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. A method for sampling forest soil to determine pear thrips populations is described that is suitable for sugarmakers. This method requires a minimum of equipment and time, and provides sugarmakers with a reliable estimate of the number of thrips in their sugar_bushes. By sampling and assessing damage annually, sugarmakers will gain an understanding of the relationship between thrips population levels and damage in their stands. Based on this information, potential damage in the spring can be estimated. Sample results are obtained before tapping so sugarmakers can adjust their management practices, such as the number of taps per tree, to minimize stress on trees when damage is likely.
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This study compared 141 ecologically relevant climate metrics to field assessments of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) canopy condition across Vermont, USA from 1988 to 2012. After removing the influence of disturbance events during this time period to isolate the impact of climate, we identified five climate metrics that were significantly related to sugar maple crown condition. While three of these are monthly summary metrics commonly used in climate analyses (minimum April, August and October temperatures), two are novel metrics designed to capture extreme climate events (periods of unusual warmth in January and August). The proportion of climate-driven variability in canopy condition is comparable to the proportion accounted for by defoliating pests and other disturbance events.