Friday, May 10th 2013
Managing Drought Stress: Facts and Management
By Kate Tuttle-Sniecinski ISA Certified Arborist Virginia Tech Forestry
As many have noticed in the mid-west, 2012 was one of the most stressful year for plants, woody plants and trees on record. According to the National Climatic Data Center, it was the most expansive drought in nearly 50 years, with 54.6% of the US having drought conditions by June. Last year’s drought was the 6th worst drought since 1895 in terms of affected land.
Like most living things, plants are made up of 90% water, not only do they need this in order to stay rigid, they need it for temperature control. 95% of the water a plant takes up is transpired to keep the plant cool, but most importantly it is vital in the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis requires Carbon Dioxide. This enters the leaves through itty-bitty openings called stomates. This is where a plant is in a pickle, they need the stomates open in order to receive Carbon Dioxide. If the stomates are open too long on a hot day, they lose too much water and become drought stressed.
Trees often, have Preclinical symptoms, which occur before we can see them. As professional arborists in the field, we know that conditions like these weaken the tree so that secondary pests (pitch mass borer, bark and conifer beetles) and pathogens can invade a susceptible specimen.
So, what can we do as property owners about this???
Fortunately there are several options as arborists to handle drought stress challenges. Proper watering would be my first tool. Five minutes of sprinkler time per inch of diameter once a week during summer. For example, for a 12” tree, you would need to run the sprinkler for an hour once a week. While this is helping to keep trees healthy, adding mulch will also help. This significantly improves tree roots by:
- increasing soil aeration
- retaining moisture
- increasing nutrient availability
- Removing the highly competitive grass that is gaining the same water resources.
As mentioned before, stressed trees are highly susceptible to secondary invaders. Systemic treatments are available through Branch Tree’s IPM (Integrated Pest management). These are fast acting treatments for times of low moisture. Another helping hand that we use in the field are growth regulators. A slower growing tree will put more energy into root production than shoot production thus being more responsive to urban tree stress conditions.
The good news is with the help of tree care professionals at Branch Tree and educated property owners, drought stress can be managed properly. Bad news is, count on another dry year probably, keep your eyes on your trees and most importantly, BE PROACTIVE! Everyone should give their plants and trees a little extra TLC this season and call Branch Tree for help with your highly valued landscape trees.
Monday, May 6th 2013
Euonymus: A Fungus Among -Us?
A quick report on dying euonymus that has been noticed area wide. What we have found to be the problem and what to do about it.
The opportunities for using euonymus in the landscape are unlimited. They make excellent hedges, groupings, borders, and screens. the vining euonymus plants can be used for ground covers, wall covers, screening and on trellises. Euonymus plants are easy to grow and they tolerate most soils, except boggy waterlogged locations. They are quite adaptable to shady areas and they can withstand heavy pruning.
Branch Tree Certified Arborists have noticed that recently there has been some widespread dieback in the area and have decided to investigate and solve this problem. Because o f the recent wet weather it make for certain pathogens to emerge if conditions are right.
We have narrowed it down to a fungus. Wet weather and poor aeration/sunlight is very favorable for this pathogen. In addition to these site conditions the weather in southern Michigan this winter and spring has been a wet one.
To prevent this from happening, make sure your irrigation is attended to and scheduled properly. Branch Tree Service can help by treating the plant for certain fungal infections. Personalize examinations are recommended and we can have our plant health care experts come out to inspect diagnose and treat. for smaller outbreaks simply prune out infected areas and destroy them via burning or disposing them in the trash receptacle. Make sure you sanitize your tools properly with rubbing alcohol.
Thursday, April 25th 2013
Keeping Dogwoods Healthy Through Timely Plant Health Care Management
DOGWOOD ANTHRACNOSE: In the spring, leaves develop brown spots then fall off and cankers on twigs cause branch dieback. These symptoms begin on the lower crown.
Cultural Considerations: Maintain health by watering during drought months; avoid overhead watering. Selective pruning can assist air flow. Rake and destroy fallen leaves.
Professional Care: Treatment is scheduled during leaf expansion in the spring.
Fungal diseases can be controlled through Branch Tree Service’s timely plant health care management. Infection levels are contingent on weather patterns-spring rains, summer droughts. Professional, seasonal monitoring of tree growth and development determine our treatment recommendations.
Friday, April 22nd 2013
Common Sense Tree Care Tip
Tree Staking: Although a necessary part of transplanting, tree staking can also retard the development of stem taper and can girdle the trunk. Generally, stakes should be removed within the first year. Consult Branch Tree Service for the proper time to remove tree stake for new plantings. Guy wire supports for mature trees are exceptions.
Tree Wrapping: Wrapping the stem of young trees after transplanting is not recommended. It has not been proven to prevent sun scald or frost cracks. It does inhibit photosynthate productions and provides a favorable environment for insects, especially bores and several diseases.
If you have any questions about these practices within your landscape, call Branch Tree Service for a professional diagnosis. These simple practices can help eliminate future costly treatments or removals.
Call our professionals for free information about all your tree, shrub & plant care needs.
Friday, April 12th 2013
Common Sense Tree Care Tip
Burlap and Wire Cages: The root balls of new landscape material are contained in burlap or wire cages to hold the roots together until planting. In most cases, the bottoms of these containers need to be kept in place. However, it is critical for the establishment of the root system that the top portion of all burlap and wire cages be removed at planting, as well as all cords.
While it is true that untreated burlap will deteriorate in time, if it takes one year it is one year that the feeder roots are not coming into contact with the soil for needed nutrients and growth. In addition, burlap that extends above the planting area wicks irrigation water away from the feeder roots.
Call our professionals for free information about all your tree, shrub & plant care needs.
Friday, March 29th 2013
Common Sense Tree Care Tip
Use mowers and string trimmers carefully around your trees and shrubs. Routine lawn care can cause high-impact damage to the protective bark of trees and shrubs. A tree’s life support system of conduction tissues is located directly under the bark. Wounds can stop the flow of nutrients, invite invasive insects and diseases and ultimately cause the tree to decline. Protect the bark area with two to three inches of organic mulch, taking care not to place it directly against the trunk.
Monday, March 22nd 2013
Expect increased threat from invasive insects in 2013
The 2012 drought will greatly impact landscapes this year. Scouting reports indicate there will be a rise in wood boring and bark beetle insect outbreaks. These are both “hard to control” families of insects with the ability to kill your trees in a very short period of time.
Scale insects are once again expected to be abundant and we strongly suggest the first point of managed care for these numerous types/families of scale is with our Spring Horticultural Oil Treatment.
Spruce trees are considered one of the most desirable trees in landscapes. Up until the past few years they have been relatively healthy plants with minimal special needs. However, we are in a cycle of disease movement that has and continues to be very aggressive. It is causing considerable damage to our spruces if not total death. We highly recommend your spruce trees be given special attention this year. Rhizosphaera Needle Cast disease is just one of many challenges all across Michigan., There are several ways, methods, and times to address these problems. At the very least your spruce trees should be target sprayed in May and again in June.
Monday, March 18th 2013
What Will Your Landscape Look Like After A Hard Winter?
Heavy snow falls, ice damage, high winds, deep freeze, I think we’ve had what many of us would describe as a good old fashion “Hard Winter”.
You’re likely to see a considerable amount of burnt looking, dried out or totally dead evergreens as we transition from winter to spring. Although rock salt is great for keeping our roads dry and safe most conifers and evergreens feel the burn placed on their stems and roots. As the ground begins to thaw excess residue from deicing materials begin to leach down into the soil creating chemical burn to plant root zones.
Large shade trees and selective ornamental trees, (including ornamental fruit trees) will not escape the impact of this hard winter either. Don’t be surprised if during a nice June or July day your beautiful tree shows signs of die-back on one side or the other or you see leaves laying all over the ground that weren’t there the day before. Salt damage to deciduous trees and shrubs is a good possibility.
There are other impacts from winter as well. A deep freeze will certainly hurt plants that are not native to our growing zone. Heavy ice and snow on branches will cause limb fractures that may be noticeable later in the summer. Large evergreens may be uprooted and/or lean after dealing with ice, wind, snow and early spring rains. Pest threats may be way up, about the same, or way down from other years. It’s hard to outguess pests from one year to the next so I’ll not offer any forecast since I’ll probably be wrong. And, yes we can all expect lots of grass, outdoor lighting, and sprinkler repairs due to the grueling task of plowing, shoveling, blowing and pushing snow.
Be cautious with how you take care of your battered landscape this spring. Rushing to prune out fractured branches and doing it the wrong way will simply create another challenge. Fertilizing with the wrong material can certainly do more harm than good to many conifers and evergreens already suffering from rock salt damage.
Your trees and shrubs are an extremely important part of your landscape. Before you start reacting to possible winter damage we invite you to call and let our experts share with you the facts about your particular issues. At absolutely no obligation to our readers we will review your entire landscape and offer helpful suggestions of how you can retain a healthy and beautiful landscape again this year.
Monday, October 1st 2012
What’s Happening to my Spruce Trees?
Phomopsis Canker, Rhizosphaera Needle Cast, Stigmina,Cytospora Canker, Diplodia, Spider Mites, and Drought Stress. Do any of these sound familiar to you? If you’re the proud owner of spruce trees and you’re not familiar with these terms yet you should be. These are some of the major health related threats attacking and infecting spruce trees all across Michigan. If your tree has one of these conditions then most likely it may have some of the others. Go to Michigan State University’s Extension website (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/) or any other reliable resource for a more extensive study.
Threats move quietly, quickly and aggressively and can travel from one tree to another. Treatments vary in when, how, and why. Every tree should be inspected at your location for proper examination and care. DO NOT take a cut limb to the local store or accept a diagnosis over the phone; this may lead to improper care.
Things You Can Do:
• Water around the root zone. Avoid blasting irrigation up into the branches.
• Provide approximately 20 gals of water (in a drip for 6-8 hours) once a week at the root ball.
• A Balance Food Diet Is A MUST; fertilizing will help improve vigor.
• Apply preventive and active treatments. This may include target sprays, injections or a combination of both.
• Rake out old needles in the fall or schedule “crop cleanup sprays”.
• Properly prune out diseased, infected and dead limbs.
• Apply 2-3 inches of mulch out to the branch drip edge.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOTHING?
Proactive as opposed to reactive care will offer everyone better management of many of these pests. Spruce trees are major plants in our landscapes as well as a vital industry for nursery and Christmas tree growers. The long term outlook is that most of these threats are not going away anytime soon on their own. It is a better to service these wonderful trees as opposed to losing them.
Plan ahead, call BRANCH TREE SERVICE, INC. NOW, don’t
wait until it’s too late. Working together we will provide safe,
sensible and managed solutions for your trees both for now and
in the future.
Monday, June 4th 2012
Borers, Scale, Drought! The Biggest Threat to Trees and Shrubs This Summer
As our arborists anticipated, a mild winter combined with an unseasonably dry and warm spring, has opened the door for an enormous outbreak of unwelcome insects invading our plant life in Southeast Michigan. Our early scouting reports reveal that many trees and shrubs have been weakened and are experiencing drought stress. They have become increasingly vulnerable to both Borer and Scale insect attacks. Both Borer and Scale insects are life threatening problems for a large variety of trees and shrubs. Remember, any plant that is struggling just to survive is already compromised in it’s ability to fend of these dangerous pests.
Just like people, we want to keep our trees and shrubs as healthy as we can. A healthy landscape is rewarding to everyone. Scouting and examination by specially trained experts is the safe and sensible way for caring for your landscape. Only a trained arborist will be able to identify pests in their earliest stages and recommend proper care to ward off the potential loss of your trees and plants. Depending on the species and current condition, your trees and shrubs may need to be treated with a growth hormone to help fight off stress and root decline.
If you’re landscape is already looking weak or if you’re seeing more insects in the shrubs than normal, we suggest you call 586-756-7737 and ask for a consultation or review with one of our trained arborist.