• Aphids

    Aphids may or may not have wings and have oval to pear shaped bodies that are from one sixteenth of an inch to one quarter of an inch long. Aphids produce several generations per year. They spend winter on the bark and needles as oval black eggs.  Aphids can be treated during dormancy and when active in early to mid-summer.

  • Borers

    Borers are the larvae of beetles or moths. Females lay their eggs throughout the summer season in the bark. The larvae tunnel through bark, sapwood and heartwood as they feed. This disrupts the flow of nutrients and water through the vascular system. Dieback in the canopy soon results. Trees stressed by drought, poor growing conditions, mechanical damage, etc. are particularly susceptible to infestation. Borers often kill the tree. Timing for treatment varies by species of borer.  New advances have been developed that are not only more effective, but also reduce the number of treatments, reducing costs.

  • Bradford Pear

    Bradford pears are a hybrid, designer tree that have a serious structural flaw. The critical attachment points where branches meet the trunk are shaped like a ‘V’ in contrast to stronger ‘U’ shape attachments. As the tree grows, both the trunk and the branch increase in diameter and eventually they begin to push against each other. Unfortunately, they also have a nasty reputation for breaking apart when they reach maturity. Within the tree industry, they’re known as the ‘self-destructing tree.

    Bradford pears clearly have no lasting value in the landscape.  Each year, they get exponentially bigger, and consequently will be more expensive to remove.  It’s my opinion that they should be removed as early as possible, under controlled circumstances, before they split apart unexpectedly, possibly causing damage to life or property.

  • Choose the Right Tree

    Trees can live for generations; therefore, it is important to choose the right tree for the environment in which you plant it. In general, native trees are a good choice because they have adapted to the local conditions over a period of centuries, but there are some “imports” that can enhance your landscape. Consider all the aspects of the tree before you make your choice. Make sure you allow enough room for the tree to grow to full maturity; the soil conditions are appropriate –including pH and moisture conditions; the sunlight is adequate; etc.

    The following categories include suggestions for various conditions and attributes: Flowering ornamentals, Shade trees, Wet area trees, Dry Areas, Shady location, Evergreen.

  • Cost of Tree work

    What does it cost to do my tree work? Why can’t they just tell me the price over the phone? These are fair questions. But the fact is, it’s simply not feasible to accurately tell a client over the phone how much tree work will cost without a site visit by the arborist.
    At the end of the day, most arborists will calculate the cost of tree work with a simple estimate that figures the man hours to complete the job, times the equipment, times the rate charged per hour. Most reputable companies will be happy to provide you with a real cost price estimate at no charge.

    Growing Earth can provide you with a free, no obligation estimate.

  • Developmental Pruning of Young Trees

    Many tree problems and hazards can be corrected or avoided with proper pruning. Has anyone ever recommended cabling or bracing your tree? That co-dominate stem could have been pruned at the nursery or after it was planted and the root system was re-established.Note: Newly planted trees need time to recover from root loss. A good rule of thumb is to wait 2 years for pruning other than broken limbs.
    Sometimes developmental pruning can be a 2-3 stage process depending on the species and location of the tree. Never remove more than 25% of the trees foliage during any growth season. In mature trees 25% can be too much.

    Many people don’t think about pruning trees until they pose some sort of a problem such as encroaching on the house or hanging low over the street. Developmental pruning of young trees is the most cost effective measure you can do for your trees.

    This article was originally developed by Dr. Larry Costello

  • Discula Anthracnose

    Discula anthracnose is a leaf fungus that attacks the vascular system.  The disease develops rapidly and may kill the tree.  Treatment is only preventative; there is no cure once the fungus is present.  The disease is responsible for killing countless native dogwoods throughout the eastern United States.

    Treatment options include Fungicide applications at bud swell in the early spring.

  • Giant Hogweed

    Do Not Touch This Plant!

    Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a Federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.

    Information taken from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website

  • Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

    Twigs and needles of heavily infested branches are white from the protective covering of the eggs.  Later the needles turn yellow and drop prematurely.  Large trees may be killed in three to four years without treatment. Woolly adelgid should be treated during dormancy and again in mid-summer when crawlers are present.

  • Imprelis Damage: Norway spruce and Eastern White Pine

    A new herbicide marketed as Imprelis, manufactured by DuPont, has been responsible for the apparent death of thousands of Norway spruces and eastern white pines, among others. The broadleaf weed killer was approved by the EPA in October, 2010 and was used by a number of landscape companies last spring.

    Almost immediately after widespread use, trees started to show signs of trouble that include browning and twisting of new growth. Trees with similar damage from chemical damage have survived in the long run. Michigan State University is recommending a “wait and see” attitude for tree owners on its website http://news.msue.msu.edu/news/article/what_to_do_with_imprelis_affected_trees.

  • Lyme Disease

    Ticks spread Lyme Disease. Ticks live at the edge of woodlines and on tall grass. They commonly travel by attaching themselves to mice and other rhodents. Without a plan to control ticks on your property, a simple walk through your backyard can lead to an outbreak of Lyme Disease.

    According to a government survey, 71% of the people infected with Lyme disease believe they were infected on their own property.

  • Mulch

    Mulch has many positive benefits for the health of your trees.  Trees in the forest produce a large volume of mulch naturally, but it’s rarely done effectively in the urban environment.  Leaves, twigs and branches, and other organic matter drop to the forest floor and recycle nutrients back into the soil over the root zone.  Soil in the forest contains the nutrients and organisms that are essential for optimum tree health.
    A new layer of mulch can be added every year or so, but only one to two inches deep, depending on how much remains from the previous application. The old mulch should be turned with a hard rake first, then the new layer placed on top.

    As a service to our local community, Growing Earth delivers free truckloads of woodchip mulch when we’re working in your area. Click here or call our office for details.

  • Plant Your Christmas Tree!

    Do you want to remember this Christmas for many years to come? Would you like to help the environment at the same time? Then consider planting your Christmas tree after the holidays.
    After the holidays, adapt the tree to the outside climate by first putting it in your garage or by a sheltered outside wall for a couple of weeks. If it starts out in the garage, move it to a sheltered outside wall for another week or two. Keep an eye on the long-range weather forecast. If there’s going to be a period of mild weather, plant the tree immediately.

    Plant the tree in a location that is protected from wind, preferably behind an existing evergreen tree. Remove the burlap from the trunk and root ball during planting. For more information on proper planting techniques, contact us today!

  • Soil and Roots

    Soil in the urban environment is subject to many factors that limit its ability to provide the proper nutrients, moisture and structure necessary for healthy trees to survive in the landscape.  Compaction, lack of organic material, insufficient pore space and other critical problems conspire to make a harsh environment for root systems.  During construction, top soil is scraped away, natural grades are changed, and the soil environment is radically altered.  Additionally, grass, which is in fierce competition for available water, tends to absorb most of the moisture before it has a chance to reach the trees’ root system.

    How do you enhance the soil surrounding your tree’s root system? Fortunately, there are new tools and procedures that allow arborists to do just that. The AIR-SPADE®, as shown in the picture, actually removes soil from the root systems without damaging the roots. Originally developed to safely uncover land minds, the AIR-SPADE® has been proven in numerous university studies to safely blow soil from roots with a supersonic blast of air, without damaging the roots.

  • Spider Mites

    More than one hundred and thirty species of spider mites can be found in the United States.  Several are general feeders and most common coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs can be attacked. Treatment varies, depending upon specific species.  Most are controlled in the spring and/or the fall.

  • Tree Pest Control, Tree Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

    Unfortunately, they’re out there. Tree pests and tree diseases can attack and create havoc. It’s important to diagnose a pest or disease problem correctly before attempting any form of treatment. Although specific trees tend to have specific pests and diseases that assault them, many of these problems affect a variety of species. Effective treatment targets particular pests detected on the specific species affected.

  • Tree Planting Tips

    Select the right tree for the location by considering the following: What is the purpose of the tree: screening, wind reduction, shade, or a prominent landscape feature (shape, color, flowers, size)? Is the ground saturated or dry most of the time? How much sunlight or shade is present? Is there enough room for growth to maturity?
    Select a healthy tree: Look at leaf color and size; branch structure (avoid broken, crossing & rubbing, dead & dying branches); trunk problems (cracks or sunscald); girdling & circling roots, planting depth, etc. You should be able to see a trunk flair where it meets the soil.

    Dig the hole correctly: Dig the hole 2-3 times the width of the root ball. Leave a pedestal for the root ball to sit on; the top of the root ball should be a couple of inches higher than the surrounding ground level. Adage: “Plant them high, they never die; plant them low, they never grow”.

    Plant the tree: Only use existing soil as backfill (don’t use amendments). Remove wire baskets, burlap (even if it’s biodegradable), ropes, etc. If necessary, stake the tree outside the root ball (for example, if the tree has a thick crown). If stakes are used, they should be removed after one year. The tree will develop a stronger trunk and have nice taper if it is allowed to move freely with the wind.

    Mulch: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of woodchip mulch, away from the trunk, as far out over the future root system, as possible. Plant trees together in shared mulch beds, but be sure to allow for mature growth.

  • Tree Pruning

    Tree pruning is a necessary part of tree maintenance in the urban environment.

    Tree pruning, tree cutting, tree surgery, tree trimming –whatever terminology is used, it all involves removing branches from the crown of a tree. Tree pruning is a necessary part of tree maintenance in the urban environment. There should always be a compelling reason for each branch that is pruned from a tree. Live branches should never be removed unnecessarily.

    Proper tree pruning technique is vital for the overall health and structure of the tree. Improper tree pruning can result in tree wounds thatmay permanently disfigure and structurally harm the tree, as well as give an opening for decay, disease and pest problems.

  • Utilities and Trees

    Trees and utilities compete for space above and below ground. Where the utilities are above ground often there are conflicts with limbs and wires. When the utilities are below ground there may be conflicts with the roots systems of trees.

    The best way to avoid conflicts is proper planning. Plant only low growing trees under or in close proximity to services lines. Plant trees with non invasive root systems where there are underground utilities. With mature landscapes preventative action could help avoid service interruptions that always seem to catch us off guard

  • Water your Trees this Summer

    How long would you last without water? Do you think you could go for a few days or maybe a week? Although we tend to not think about it much, trees also need water. In fact, they need it every bit as much as you do. A host of tree health problems are initially due to lack of water.

    Every living cell within a tree must have water in order for it to function, just like we do. Cells that lack water soon die. Additionally, the vascular system in trees use water to transport nutrients and perform other vital operations.

    Large, well-established trees should get a deep watering every 4-6 days during droughts. Smaller trees should be watered every 2-4 days. Deep watering, done on a less frequent basis trains trees to become more drought resistant. Frequent, shallow watering trains roots to grow towards the surface, where they are less effective and prone to become damaged by prolonged periods of droughts.

    So give your trees a nice long drink of water at the rates mentioned above. Watering trees is crucial to good health. Your trees will not only be healthier, you will enjoy them more.