Fall Lawn Care

With winter weather fast approaching, now may not seem like a very important time to be performing much in the way of lawn care. However, it is in fact very critical to continue lawn care all the way through the fall months, as the cool and moist weather of fall help grass roots to develop far better than in the hot summer. Taking advantage of this growth spurt through proper maintenance now will help ensure a healthy start for your lawn when spring arrives. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the fall season.

Keep Mowing

Grass will continue to grow until morning frosts become regular. This means that you need to keep mowing your grass to its normal height until it is totally done growing: 2 to 3 inches for Midwest Bluegrass and 2.5 to 3.5 inches for Tall Fescue. Contrary to popular belief, taller grass does not protect turf from cold temperatures. Keeping grass too tall during winter months can actually promote diseases like snow mold, as well as increased vole activity.

Seed Bare Spots

Hot summer months can cause patches of your lawn to die, no matter how vigilant you are about watering. Now is the perfect time to fill in those areas with new seed, in order to give your lawn a head-start for spring. Make sure that the seed sits directly on top of the soil, and give it time to start growing in before the first frost.

Keep Watering

Fall showers don’t always provide all of the water that your lawn needs. Supplementing water as needed is important, even with cooler temperatures, so as not to stress your grass. A rain gauge can help you monitor how much rain water your lawn is getting, and whether or not extra watering is in order.

Consider Aerating

Watering, traffic, and heat all contribute to the compaction of your soil, which can cause browned or thinning grass in your lawn. Aerating your lawn involves removing plugs of soil in order to allow water and nutrients to get down deep and improve soil quality. It can be a big job depending on the size of your lawn, which is why we offer core aeration services. Simply call our office to set up an appointment for a free estimate.

Apply a Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer

During the fall it is essential to fertilize your lawn, as it not only helps grass survive its dormant period, it also helps it to grow stronger in the spring. Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to your lawn after temperatures have become mild, but before the winter cold sets in. If you are going to aerate, wait until the process is complete before applying fertilizer in order to maximize the positive effects of both.

Keep Up on Pest Control

While winter temperatures may kill mosts pests that may be lurking in your lawn, the same cannot be said for their eggs. Most insects lay their eggs in soil, which insulates the egg so that it can hatch in the spring. That is why it is important to treat any pests that are present as part of your fall lawn care routine. The same is true of weed control, as seeds survive the winter as well. If you aren’t sure what is causing damage your may see in your lawn, we are happy to help you identify and properly treat any pest problem.

Consider Dormant Lawn Seeding

Seeding your lawn after it has gone dormant is often referred to as over seeding, and is a tactic typically employed by golf courses in order to ensure a lush fairway in time for golf season. Frost and snow will not harm dormant grass seeds, and the freeze-thaw cycle of fall and winter will help the seeds settle in to the topsoil. Come spring, the seeds will germinate and help to fill in your lawn. This is a service that we perform often, and we are happy to provide you with a free estimate for your lawn.

Remember to Rake

While a leaf blower may seem like a fast and convenient way to remove leaves from your yard, it doesn’t perform one of the most basic functions of a good old fashioned rake: dethatching. Thatch builds up naturally over time in your lawn, and loosening it up is an important part of lawn health and maintenance. Using a traditional rake on occasion helps to break up thatch, and allow better water and nutrient flow to your grass’s roots. This is very easily done during fall leaf clean up. For those of you who have booked a Fall Cleanup Service with us, we will endeavor to have all clean ups completed before Thanksgiving so that your yard is neat and tidy for holiday guests.

Following these tips will help your lawn be as healthy as possible when it goes into dormancy, and to be able to come back just as strong when the snow melts. Above all, the most important aspect of proper fall lawn care is consistency, and keeping a regular maintenance schedule. Proper timing of fertilizing, watering, aeration, and seeding is imperative to the sustained health of your lawn. If you’re having trouble finding time to schedule these lawn care tasks, our professional staff is always available to provide you with personalized quotes on services that your lawn needs.

Magnolia Scale

Magnolia scale may not look like much at first glance. Initially, many homeowners don’t even realize they are looking at an insect!

Magnolia scale may look innocuous enough, but they can be deadly to magnolia trees. Luckily, magnolia scale can be effectively treated during your annual lawn maintenance.

Magnolia Scale Life Cycle

There are two main species of scale: armored (hard body) and non-armored (soft body).

Magnolia scale is a soft body insect, which can make the process of tree maintenance treatment slightly easier because this type of scale is more vulnerable.

However, it is important to properly identify the pest as early as possible for treatment to have maximum effect. To help, here is a brief overview of the magnolia scale life cycle.

Winter: scale goes dormant.

During the winter season, magnolia scale goes dormant. The insects typically spend the winter in nymph form encased in soft protective wax on the undersides of tree leaves and branches.

Spring: mating and incubation.

In the spring, the adults emerge and mate. The male dies off and the female begins to incubate the young as eggs she lays right underneath her own body.

Summer and fall: birth and feeding.

The adult female covers the eggs with her body until the live young emerge. The young at this stage are called “crawlers.” But the young crawlers only crawl around for as long as it takes to locate a suitable place to sink their sharp mouth parts into the tree branches and start sucking the sap right out of them.

By this time, the cold season is rolling in again, and the now-stationary crawlers enter the nymph stage for the winter right where they sit. Then in the spring the whole life cycle will start all over again.

How to Spot Magnolia Scale

The first thing to know about magnolia scale is that it doesn’t behave like a typical insect. It only moves during spring when adults mate and crawlers are born. Then it stays immobile for the remainder of its life cycle.

For this reason, many homeowners who schedule tree maintenance initially report that their magnolia trees appear to be growing “mold” or have an “ant infestation.”

Magnolia scale often does look a lot like mold or mildew once it settles in to feed on tree branches. It is bumpy and white with a waxy, semi-soft appearance that looks like nothing so much as the early stages of mold rot.

But inside and underneath this “mold,” the now-immobile feeding crawlers are busy feeding on the amino acids in the tree sap. Along with the amino acids they need, the crawlers take in plenty of sugars they don’t need. So they discard the carbohydrate-laden sugar in the form of a sticky substance called “honeydew.” This honeydew in turn attracts ants, wasps, flies, bees and molds that recognize a feast when they see it.

For this reason, sometimes the first indication of a magnolia scale infestation is the honeydew itself. This is especially the case if the infested tree overhands a deck, set of patio furniture, vehicle or walkway. Honeydew is incredibly sticky and corrosive. It will turn anything it lands on sticky. It stains and is very hard to remove.

The presence of honeydew is confirmation of a magnolia scale infestation nearby.

When to Treat Infested Trees for Magnolia Scale

While healthy magnolia trees can generally withstand small, localized attacks of magnolia scale, these pests generally do not go away on their own. Over time, undetected and untreated magnolia scale can kill a tree by draining away its nutrient supply.

Luckily, there are a number of insecticide products that are effective against magnolia scale if they are applied correctly at the right time.

Here, learning about the magnolia scale life cycle is key to successfully terminating an infestation.

The crawler stage (whether mobile or immobile) is the time in the life cycle when magnolia scale are most vulnerable. The adult females give birth in late summer – anywhere from July to September depending on where you live. So this is generally the best time to apply insecticide to treat magnolia scale.

How to Treat Infested Trees for Magnolia Scale

The optimal treatment approach will maximize damage to magnolia scale while limiting damage of surrounding foliage and beneficial insect life.

Here, it is vital to select a lawn maintenance professional to apply treatment to avoid harming nearby lawns, shrubs and unaffected trees.

The first step is to identify the scope of the infestation and the part of the life cycle the scale is currently in.

Summer and fall treatment.

For a small-scale active infestation, it may be possible to simply prune back the affected tree branches and treat just the immediate surrounding branches to ensure it does not spread.

For large-scale infestation limited to one tree or affecting multiple trees, spray insecticides containing horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps can effectively treat magnolia scale in the crawler stage.

Winter and early spring treatment.

Once magnolia scale has entered the dormant stage, treatment requires a different approach.

There is a dormant oil product that can be applied directly to the dormant scale that must be applied before the bud open up in spring, which can happen as early as March in some areas.

Systemic insecticide products can be used to treat the soil surrounding the tree itself. When applied during the winter dormant period, these insecticides will have time to be absorbed into the tree and taken into the sap so it will kill the crawlers when they emerge in the spring.

By understanding what a magnolia scale infestation looks like at different times of the year, it is possible to make a positive identification earlier in the life cycle when the scale are at their most vulnerable.

By identifying magnolia scale accurately and early, a number of effective tree maintenance treatments exist to eliminate infestation and restore tree health.

Fall Webworm (a.k.a. Tent Caterpillars)

Fall webworm is often nicknamed “tent caterpillars” because of the soft white nests (“tents”) that they build at the tips of the branches of infested trees.

Unfortunately, the tent caterpillars are not very picky about their host trees and will readily move into the leaves and limbs of more than 200 different varietals of trees and shrubs.

While the fall webworm isn’t shy about announcing its presence at the larval stage while building its protective tents, for most of the rest of the year it lurks mostly undetected in and around the host tree. So it can be quite a surprise for homeowners to suddenly witness the formation of their trademark silky web-like nests.

Understanding the Fall Webworm Life Cycle

As with many similar pests, understanding the tent caterpillar life cycle is an important key to effective lawn maintenance.

Tent caterpillars are called “fall webworm” for a reason – fall is when the worms typically reach maturation.

While the fall webworm typically isn’t fatal for an infested tree or bush, when garden maintenance is neglected it can affect the ornamental value of the tree. Over time, repeat infestations that are left untreated can weaken and even kill a host tree.

Winter and spring.

Winter is the dormant season for the fall webworm. While you might not see them while doing your normal lawn care, their cocoons are typically located right in the soil or leaf litter that surrounds the selected host tree.

They will stay inside their cocoons as they mature all throughout the spring.


In the summer, the adults emerge from their cocoons at last and are ready to mate. After mating, the females will get to work laying their eggs on the leaves of the nearby host tree. Often the females will lay on the undersides of the leaves so they are harder to spot.

The larvae begin to hatch in a matter of days after the eggs are deposited. Immediately, the larvae begin to do two things: feed on the surrounding leaves and spin a web around themselves for protection. The more they eat, the bigger the web gets.


Because the webs start out small, most homeowners don’t even realize they have an infested tree until late summer or even early fall when the caterpillars and their webs are much bigger.

Getting close to the webs can help make a positive identification. Fall webworm caterpillars are typically tan, green and pale yellow in color and are covered with small spiky fine white hairs.

What Are the Most Common Host Trees for Fall Webworm?

While fall webworm infestations have been documented on more than 200 tree and shrub species throughout the country, the caterpillars do have their favorites. The webworm feeds on the freshest and most tender leaf parts so their choice of host tree can also vary depending on when they hatch.

Cottonwood, redbud, elm, walnut, sweetgum, poplar, willow, crabapple, maple, hickory, birch and cherry trees are common targets for the fall webworm.

Many of the fall webworm’s favored host trees are also popular fruit and nut-producing trees. Without active and vigilant garden maintenance to protect these trees, the annual harvest may be reduced or destroyed by the fall webworm caterpillars.

Fall webworm may only breed once in some parts of the country, but may breed twice or more frequently in other parts of the country depending on climate and local weather patterns.

When to Treat Trees for Fall Webworm

While fall webworm does have natural predators, including birds and other insects, a single tree can often play host to multiple nests and each nest can contain hundreds of maturing caterpillars. So inevitably, some of the caterpillars will survive to overwinter and re-infest the following year.

The best time to schedule lawn maintenance to treat for fall webworm is when they are at their most vulnerable – in the larvae/caterpillar stage.

The best timing for lawn care treatment may differ depending on how early or late in the summer/fall season the caterpillars hatch. For best results, time the treatment when the webs are just beginning to form and the larvae inside are very small. In most cases, this will mean treating in early to mid summer.

How to Treat Trees for Fall Webworm

For very small and self-contained infestations, it may be possible to treat simply with judicious pruning. Because the webs are built at the tips of the branches, it is even possible to remove them manually from young trees. Pole trimmers can be useful to remove webs on higher limbs and branches.

A lawn care professional can examine the infested tree and decide whether this approach will be sufficient to guard against a re-infestation later in the year or the following year.

For larger infestations on a single host tree or developing infestations that are impacting multiple trees and/or bushes, it is typically best to apply insecticide directly to each web to treat the problem. Here again, this is slightly easier because of the location of the webs.

The best approach for chemical treatment is to spray the insecticide directly within the webs. This not only provides targeted treatment directly to the source of the problem but also guards against inadvertently damaging surrounding foliage and to beneficial insects, including natural predators of the fall webworm larvae.

As well, part of the protective nature of the webs is that they become somewhat water-resistant once established. The earlier the insecticide is applied to webs, the more easily it will penetrate to the interior to ensure none of the larvae survive.

While fall webworm is not likely to be the most damaging tree infestation most homeowners will face, persistent infestations can severely damage trees’ appearance and even kill young, fragile trees.

A lawn maintenance professional can be an important ally to preserve your home’s “curb appeal” and ensure small fall webworm infestations do not ever pose a serious threat.

Importance of watering your plants and lawns

If you are a homeowner with even the tiniest of yards in the back or in the front, then you are probably already aware of the fact that lawn care or lawn maintenance is no mean feat. Plants and landscape plants are much like children and require very close attention from their caretakers or they will suffer a terrible fate. One of the most important things to be included in your lawn maintenance or lawn care routine is the process of watering the plants. But while this is the most obvious and intuitive process because we are all aware that all living things on earth need water to survive it is also the most commonly misunderstood process as watering the plants is not as simple as splashing them every day. There are intricacies to this process that every lawn owner should be aware of.

While a lot of people may think that watering your plants on a hot day is what’s really important and it is but the benefits of getting that H2O on a relatively cooler day is far more than most people realize. Here are all the reasons why you should tend to your plants during those cooler temperatures.

To begin with, on hotter days the high temperatures will turn most of the water that you sprinkle onto your lawn into vapors that will rise into the air and provide little to no benefit to your lawn and hence your plants and landscape plants will require a lot more water to keep themselves growing and healthy and stabilized.

Contrary to which during the Cooler temperatures the air will lose its ability to hold extensive amounts of water vapor which means that very little water will be lost to evaporation and hence a relatively smaller amount of water will be more than enough and your plants will reap the maximum benefits that they can from the fixed amount of water as all of will be absorbed without loses in the form of vapors.

Another benefit of these phenomena relates to diseases of plants. Diseases of plants and landscape plants are generally bacterial or fungal in nature meaning they are caused by organisms known as bacteria or fungi. Both of these organisms thrive in the presence of any form of moisture, and this is just another reason to water your plants and landscape plants on a cooler day or maybe in just some cooler parts of the day. How so? During the higher temperatures most of the water tends to turn into vapors and provide no benefit to your plants and landscape plants which will lead you to use more water increasing the overall moisture in the region drastically which eventually gives life to fungi and bacteria and in turn to fungal and bacterial diseases that will damage your lawn drastically. In contrast, when temperatures are lower, there is much less water lost to evaporation, and you do not feel the need to add more and more water, which reduces the overall moisture in the region. Hence the lack of moisture in the region provides the bacteria and the fungi with a much less friendly environment to grow in ultimately inhibiting the growth of bacterial and fungal diseases.

The next benefit of watering your plants on cooler days relates to you more than your plants and landscape plants. The benefit is simple and intuitive, because of lower temperatures the total water lost into the air in the form of water vapors is reduced greatly, and much less water is wasted. On a hotter day, most of the water will escape into the environment and be completely wasted, but by watering your plants on a cooler day, you will prevent this phenomenon. So if you are concerned about saving water, as all responsible citizens of planet earth should be this is all the more reasons to water your plants on a cooler day.

If you have trees planted in your front lawn or back while tree care is different from landscape plant care, it can reap all of these benefits as well. Tree care involves proper watering techniques, especially if your tree is recently planted as during the early years a tree required maximum but also delicate attention in terms of provision of water. In such circumstances your tree care regime can benefit greatly from the fact that you can accurately measure the amount of water you are supplying to your tree which is made possible in cooler temperatures only as in warmer temperatures there are massive losses in water in the form of evaporation which makes the measurement of water provision very difficult.

All in all, in the coming days when the weather will be relatively on the cooler side your plants and landscape plants and trees will be in need of your careful attention and in this period you can provide the maximum benefit possible to your plants.

Japanese Beetles Have Hatched

If you’ve noticed small beetle eggs, grubs or adults living in your outdoor greenery, they will continue to thrive until the consumable mass of your greenery is diminished significantly. These particular beetles have a large appetite and will consume trees, shrubbery and grass life. The Japanese beetles will impede in your lawn care if not properly addressed.

We have three vehicles spraying for this particular insect from 8 am to 6 pm every day this week. We will continue to spray at homes that call us and will provide excellent service until the phone stops ringing.

Continue reading below for helpful information on the problem these insects pose and the maintenance solutions you can follow to resolve the issue.

Japanese Beetles: The Problem

This type of beetle attacks and consumes over forty different types of common lawn and tree species. When it comes to the care of your lawn, these pests can cause brown patches of dying areas of grass to form. Brown patches of lawn often lead to a more severe problem as it spreads through the flat grass surface.

In larger numbers, this species of beetle can even kill the toughest of turf grasses. When a patch of grass or entire spread of lawn needs to be revived, one of the most common fixes require the use of turf grasses. These durable materials are normally very resistant to weathering. However, these pests can destroy turf grasses when an infestation occurs. To prevent this in your turf grass, read below to learn how to identify and eliminate these beetles.

Identifying the Pest

When mature, these beetles are about half an inch in length. They have metallic blue heads, a copper tone back, tan wings and small white hairs lining the sides of their abdomen. You can easily recognize this unique looking insect as an adult. It is also beneficial to recognize other life stages of the beetle. If you catch an infestation in the early stages, you are more likely to save your shrubbery from major damage.

These beetles lay their eggs in fertile soil during the early weeks of June. These eggs develop into tiny white grubs. The grubs are a milky white color, have brown heads, six legs and measure up to an inch lengthwise. During the summer months, the grubs remain underground to feed and mature. After about ten months, the grown grubs begin to emerge from the soil. This springtime emergence of beetles is one way to identify this species of beetle in your yard.

During the spring and summer months, the mature beetles begin feeding in late June. When the beetles consume plant matter, they usually feed in small groups. This means that the beetles are attacking plants in groups, which escalates the amount of damage they can inflict. Entire lawns and trees can be wiped out with one infestation from this beetle.

Recognizing the grubs and mature beetles can help you move forward with remedying the situation. If you know you have an issue, the best time to act is immediately. Because your neighbors are likely getting their yard maintained, it would be beneficial to complete as many houses on the block as possible to prevent cross-infestation.

Maintenance: The Solution

Once the beetles have hatched, they are ready to begin a rigorous feeding season. If you recognize the metallic heads of these beetles or think that you may have grubs in your soil, controlling the beetle population with a spray treatment can be highly beneficial.

The spray treatment is one of the most effective ways to control the beetle population in your yard. Some gardeners become frustrated because the size of these beetles makes them an apparent infestation on their plants. These beetles are easily removed by hand-picking them off of leaves and stems. However, in order to properly deal with an infestation, an effective spray at the onset of an attack can help prevent a full-blown infestation.

Spraying for beetles at the first sign is a good way to ensure your plants are healthy next year. Even though some of the telltale signs of damage will be apparent this year, you can eliminate the beetles in your soil to help promote healthier plants for next year.

There are benefits to your plant life that are included in the beetle-fighting spray service. The beetles are often controlled with sprays that are meant to prevent them from feeding on plant life. This spray often includes active ingredients that fight off other threats to your garden and trees.

Spray components effectively eliminate beetles and the grubs in your soil. Other threats that can be controlled include other insects and pesky bugs. Many insects can be reduced through the use of a professional spray service, including: sawfly larvae, lace bugs, cabbageworm, leafhoppers, mealybugs and spider-mites. Because insecticides work to optimize your plant environment, it is a fantastic way to increase the appearance of your property for years to come.

On a related note, addressing potential beetle infestations will help maintain the health of trees and large plants on your property. Tree care can be an arduous task for any homeowner. Because these pests attack and consume plants in a group, they are powerful enough to kill large trees. Keeping up with tree care is essential because unstable trees pose a threat to the integrity of your home. Fallen trees account for a great number of insurance claims every year. Protect the integrity of your outdoor trees by investing in a thorough insect spray.

The lawn care of your home can have aesthetic value to your property and allow for a good play area for younger children. Because a lush, green yard is a fantastic place to play with your family, keeping the bugs out is essential. Propagating a healthy environment for next year includes addressing pests in your yard. If you have identified a beetle on your plants or a beetle grub in your soil, consider a professional spray service. These experts will perform the best control measure for these pests.


Identifying Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer has an exotic name for such a tiny insect. Measuring barely one-half inch long when fully grown, Agrilus planipennis has become one of the most invasive threats to ash trees worldwide.

This beetle, sometimes nicknamed EAB, can be traced back to the continent of Asia. How it managed to travel around the world is still a matter of speculation, but the most likely culprits are shipping boxes made of the beetle’s favorite food – ash trees.

Today, the EAB is a documented invasive species that is catalogued in the federal government’s National Invasive Species Information Center.

According to recent reports, the emerald ash borer has a documented presence in 35 out of 50 US states and six out of 10 Canadian provinces in North America. The beetle has already killed up to 100 million ash trees throughout the continent and shows no signs of stopping.

Are there any tricks to identifying emerald ash borer? What type of emerald ash borer treatment is available if your ash trees become infested? Read on to find out!

Tips for Identifying Emerald Ash Borer Beetles

This diminutive beetle actually causes the least amount of damage in its adult lifestage. When the beetle is really devastating is when the EAB is in the larval stage and is feeding like mad on the inner bark of the ash tree trunk, literally destroying the tree from the inside out.

Not surprisingly, it can be hard to identify the beetles when they are in the larval stage. If the adult beetle is tiny, the eggs are even tinier – each one measures barely 0.25 inches in length.

However, there are distinctive patterns that begin to appear as EAB larvae start feeding on ash tree bark. You can look for each of the following:

– Outer bark splitting open vertically.
– S-shaped formations in the bark called “galleries” that snake one way and then the other, up, down or side to side across the bark surface.
– Plenty of brown dusty substance called “frass” that the larvae leave behind while feeding.
– D-shaped holes that the adult beetles make when they emerge from the inner bark.
– The upper canopy of your ash tree begins to look sparser and this intensifies as time passes.
– You see odd branches and shoots called “suckers” start to grow out from around the lower portion of the trunk and these are covered with larger-than-normal leaves.

This graphic may also help you decide if what you are seeing may be an EAB infestation.

Another possible sign that EAB’s have moved in happens when your ash trees start to attract more woodpeckers, who love to hunt the larvae. Woodpeckers can also cause tree damage, and just seeing woodpeckers does not necessarily mean you have an EAB infestation.

But if you see both the woodpeckers and some of the signs mentioned earlier here, it is time to call out the pros for an evaluation.

Once you have succeeded in identifying emerald ash borer issues, it is time to move on to your treatment options.

Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Options

The ash borer beetle represents an active and growing threat to ash trees throughout North America.

In Nebraska and elsewhere, areas of quarantine have been established and are adjusted as necessary. The quarantines help to prevent EAB infestations from spreading by preventing removal and/or export of infected ash trees or ash products (firewood, et al) into new areas.

You have two basic options for treatment once you have a confirmed infestation on your hands. The first option is treatment with chemicals. The second option is tree removal. In all cases, the earlier you confirm an EAB infestation, the more likely you will be to find success in taking a treatment and remediation approach.

Tree removal.

If your ash tree is currently 14 inches or less in circumference around the widest part of the main trunk, we typically recommend removing the tree.

Not only does this follow the official U.S. Department of Agriculture EAB infestation tree removal guidelines, but it can also save you time and money as young ash trees have less resilience in the face of EAB infestation.

However, if your ash tree is greater than 14 inches in circumference and/or represents a significant value to your property, or if you are currently situated in an EAB quarantine area where other trees are being actively treated, you may wish to try to save the tree.

In this case, your main option is treatment with chemicals.

Treatment with chemicals.

Currently, there are two main treatment systems in use to combat ash borer infestations in North America.

The first treatment system is called the Mauget system. With this system, the chemical treatment is injected into the interior of the tree. The treatment consists of capsules filled with a chemical insecticide called Imicide.

One positive aspect of the Mauget system is that the treatment is environmentally friendly and has a 50-year history of success in treating infestations.

However, the Mauget system is usually only recommended for smaller ash trees.

The second treatment system is called the TREEage Arborjet system. With this system, the chemical treatment is infused into the interior of the tree and straight into its arboreal vascular system by means of an I.V. filled with Emamectin Benzoate.

This treatment is typically recommended for larger ash trees.

In addition to injectable and I.V. options, there are also options to spray the tree and soak the surrounding ground with the appropriate insecticide.

What to Do If You Suspect an EAB Infestation

The first step is to have your ash tree evaluated by a professional licensed arborist for the state of Nebraska. We come to your property, measure the circumference of your ash tree, evaluate its overall health and estimate the scope of the emerald ash borer infestation.

We then provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for removal versus treatment.

Rhizosphaera Needle Cast

Rhizosphaera needle cast is a type of fungus that primarily affects spruce trees. The term Rhizosphaera refers to the species of invading fungus, while the term needle cast refers to how the disease progresses as the spruce “casts off” infected needles.

Not all spruce varietals are susceptible to Rhizosphaera needle cast disease, which can aid in landscaping decisions. Colorado blue spruce, Oriental spruce and white spruce are known to be susceptible to this fungal infection, while Norway and red spruce are more resistant.

If you are caring for spruce trees at your home or workplace, it is important to learn the signs of needle cast infestation. The earlier you catch a fungus like Rhizosphaera, the more successful treatment is likely to be.

In this post, learn what Rhizosphaera needle cast is, what it looks like, where it comes from, treatment options and prevention tips.

What Is Rhizosphaera?

The term Rhizosphaera actually represents more than one fungal species, although the species R. kalkhoffii is most frequently implicated in spruce infestations.

This type of fungal infestation is actually rather common in spruce trees, especially among those that are planted in areas where they are not a native species. Wet, cool conditions can speed up and worsen an infestation.

What Does Needle Cast Disease Look Like?

Needle cast disease can take some time to become evident. The amount of stress the tree is under can shorten the time period to less than one season. Evergreen trees like the spruce won’t replace shed needles, so over time as the disease progresses, the symptoms will become more evident as the tree grows increasingly bare.

In general, it takes 12 to 15 months before symptoms become easy to detect. The main symptoms include the following:

– While new needles grow in green, older needles become discolored, often turning brown or yellow.
– When observed closely, needles can be seen to have tiny black dots along their length that are fungal spores (black dots are diseased; white dots are normal).
– Needles that have grown discolored will be shed in the fall and will not regrow.
– As the infestation progresses, the tree will look increasingly bare or even “see through.”
– The most typical damage pattern begins with infestation on the lower limbs that consistently moves upward until only the topmost crown of needles remains.
– After a majority of needles have become infected, this can then cause the branch to die off.

What Causes an Infestation?

Unfortunately, the Rhizosphaera spores are quite difficult to kill even through the harsh winter season, where they overwinter on living or dead needles. When spring arrives and the snow melts, splashing water can infest nearby trees.

The overall health of the tree can make it less or more susceptible to an infestation. Trees that are already stressed out from lack of water or nutrients, a difficult winter, poor husbandry or other health issues may be more apt to become infected.

While the fungus prefers young needles, it will also infect older needles if the need arises.

What Treatment Options Exist?

For severely infected trees, especially if they are smaller spruce that hold little value to your property, the best option is often a simple tree removal.

Several fungicides have proven to be effective to save spruce infected with Rhizosphaera. Fungicide chemicals that contain chlorothalonil or copper as an active ingredient are typically the most effective.

It is important to understand that there is no “cure” for Rhizosphaera and re-infection can occur at any time. The goal of fungicide treatment is not to cure the tree, but to prevent further infection or spread of Rhizosphaera.

The optimal time for treatment is in the spring during new needle growth. It is recommended to space fungicide treatments three to four weeks apart, continuing throughout the spring growing period or the wet season as applicable.

Fungicide should be sprayed over the entire tree. It is very important to ensure all needles receive the fungicide treatment, which can become more challenging with very large spruce.

Is There Any Way to Prevent It?

The hands-down best way to prevent a Rhizosphaera infestation is to plant a resistant varietal of spruce such as Norway or red spruce. However, be aware that even these spruce varietals can become infected under the right conditions.

Always take care to only plant non-infected spruce and to avoid planting any new trees near already infected trees. When infected branches or needles fall, take care to dispose of them by burning (if allowed in your area) hot composting or burying.

Colorado blue spruce is the most vulnerable. But any spruce varietal that is planted in sub-optimal conditions or has ongoing health issues is a potential candidate for Rhizosphaera infestation.

One key to preventing a Rhizosphaera infestation is to practice proper husbandry. These tips can help to prevent fungal invasion:

– Be sure your trees are pruned properly to facilitate maximum air circulation – air is not a friend to Rhizosphaera, which thrives in damp, cool, close conditions.
– Keep proper distance between trees when planted to avoid overlap as they grow.
– Keep your tree base properly weeded and mulch only up to four inches depth and up to two inches away from the trunk itself to permit proper airflow.
– Do not use sprinklers that spray near spruce (soaker hoses are a much safer option).
– Avoid pruning during the wet season to prevent fungal spread.
– Have a preventative fungicide treatment done annually to protect new needle growth (this can be helpful even on previously infected trees).

What to Do If You Suspect Rhizosphaera

The first step is to have your trees evaluated by a tree care professional. We will come to your site to evaluate your spruce and make recommendations for removal and/or treatment.

We will then provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for tree removal or the treatment option of your choice.

Emerald Ash Borer Damage

An invasive species to North America, the emerald ash borer is a green jewel beetle that feeds on species of ash trees. Adults are generally a third of an inch long, .063 inches wide, and a bright metallic green in color. The wing covers tend to be a darker green but can have copper hues. This beetle can be identified from below when it is flying by the upper abdomen, which is bright red.

The exotic beetle was discovered in the summer of 2002 in Michigan, near Detroit. They probably came into the United States in cargo ships or airplanes from their native Asia on packing material of solid wood. As of late 2018, the beetle was found not only in 35 states but 5 provinces of Canada as well. Since its discovery, the borer has killed ash trees in the hundreds of millions in North America, caused quarantines to be placed on logs, trees, and hardened firewood in areas of its occurrence, and cost property owners, municipalities, forest products industries, and nursery operators money in the hundreds of millions.

Emerald ash borer damage appears on largely in green, white, and black ashes. Of the North American species of ash, the blue appears to be the species that is most resistant. The beetle, whose name is often abbreviated to EAB, can also be found feeding on white fringetree. Tree symptoms are typically noticed initially in the top canopy. In fact, by the time a homeowner notices a D-shaped exit hole at ground level from an emerging adult EAB beetle, that tree will probably have been infested by generations of the beetles. Damage is typically quite evident by this point and is visible by watching the upper tree canopy first dying back, followed within the next couple of years by the lower canopy.

Females of the emerald ash borer lay eggs in crevices in the bark of ash trees. Larvae then feed beneath the bark of the ash trees to emerge in one or two years as adults. They exit through D-shaped holes. Adult beetles nibble on the foliage of ash trees but do little damage. The immature stage, or the larvae, feeding on the inner bark causes the true damage. This disrupts the tree’s ability to manage the transport of nutrients and water.

Tree symptoms show as canopy dieback and thinning upon first notice, epicormic suckering and sprouting as the tree is girdled by insect damage, bark cracks and splits, and a high profusion of woodpecker damage as the birds feast on the insect larva. When trees experience stress, they sometimes attempt to grow new leaves and branches where they still can. This is suckering.

Infected trees display top-down dieback with one-third to one-half of branches dying upon first notice; the remaining canopy dies within the two years that follow. This tends to be followed by a great many shoots arising beneath the dead sections of large branches and the trunk. Trees may exhibit two- to four-inch vertical splits within the bark as a response to larval feeding.

Woodpecker predation of EAB larva is another sign of potential emerald ash borer damage in a tree. The splinters of wood from woodpecker feeding tend to be a different color when there is recent damage: a light orange-yellow. The damage will be first noticed in upper branches that have a diameter of three to four inches, but it can be discovered throughout the tree when the infestations are in the advanced stages. Winter is when the damage is particularly visible from the ground level when woodpecker activity is more prevalent. Splinters of wood become more weathered in appearance through late spring and following into the summer months. Extensive damage from woodpeckers is sometimes known as bronzing or flecking.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that these symptoms are not unique to the EAB beetle. Native insects, diseases, and environmental factors may be responsible for symptoms that look identical to those of the EAB. Often common diseases like fungal cankers and verticillium wilt are mistaken for symptoms of emerald ash borer damage.

Specific signs of EAB include D-shaped exit holes that appear in June and July where the adults emerge from the ash trees. The holes are about one-eighth inch wide and may be oriented in all directions. These differ from exit holes of native borers, which will be oval or round and can vary size-wise. Another sign is a series of distinct S-shaped, serpentine tunnels or galleries beneath the bark. The tunnels are about an eighth inch wide and packed with frass, which is a mixture of insect excrement and sawdust. As the larvae feed, trees try to create callus tissue around the galleries. This sometimes causes the bark to split vertically, revealing the galleries and larvae. The final sign of the emerald ash borer infestation is the actual sight of the adults, larvae, or pupae.

Emerald Ash Borer Treatment

A Guide to Emerald Ash Borer Treatment

The emerald ash borer is one of the most destructive species of insect to owners of ash trees. The small, green beetle wreaks havoc on these beautiful trees and it is important to apply comprehensive and effective treatments to properly eradicate them. Since infestation can be systemic causing the species to multiply rapidly, it is important to regularly inspect your ash trees and no what the signs are. If you are able to salvage your ash trees from the destruction, there are thankfully a number of treatment options available.

What Do These Insects Do?

The EAB is an invasive species of insect that primarily lives inside of ash trees, which is the insect’s food source. Discovered in 2002, this species originated in Asia and found their way to the United States where they have decimated all varieties of ash trees and have caused much stress for landscapers and homeowners. The mechanism of infestation begins when females lay their eggs underneath the bark of the trees and the hatched larvae feast upon the trees interior bark, causing the tree to rot from the inside out.

The insect has destroyed millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada alone. The repercussions have been devastating to local home and garden retail stores throughout North America due to wary consumers not wishing to deal with the severity of a possible infestation. Once an infestation spreads throughout the tree, it becomes difficult to salvage due to the destruction of its interior due to the insects feeding.

Treatment Methods: Insecticides

Insecticides are the most popular forms of treatment against invasive insects, however, it can be confusing trying to find the best product. If you have ever experienced the nightmare of cockroach, termite, or bed bug infestation, then you are no doubt aware that insecticides must evolve to keep up with the defense mechanisms of insects. Emerald ash borer treatment is a continuously evolving process and insecticides are at the forefront of that approach.

Treating ash trees with insecticide requires precision since the larvae of the insect maintain a pattern of eating underneath the tree bark. Insecticide treatment should be a two-pronged process where treatment of the adult beetles and the larvae are handled separately. Systemic insecticides are water-soluble insecticides whose mechanism of application involves injecting the soil around a tree or directly injecting the chemical into the tree trunk. Some of these insecticides can be used by homeowners while other types require professionals to administer.

Imidacloprid and dinotefuran are insecticides that can be applied to the soil surrounding the ash tree. These chemicals are absorbed by the tree and work by poisoning the beetles during feeding. Landscaping professionals can administer these chemicals with both accuracy and safety. These chemicals can be administered by spray or injection and offer a comprehensive line of defense against the insects.

Insecticides that are administered through soil or trunk injections are incredibly effective as this allows for the chemical to reach the insects much faster. This process can only be administered by a pest control professional, which is worth the cost if trees are visibly dying. To prepare for this service, it is a good idea to irrigate the ground surrounding the tree as dry soil can drastically limit the effectiveness of the product.

An insecticide spray is a good idea to apply to ash tree foliage to kill adult insects on contact and maintain the killing process through a residual coating. This is the quickest and easiest way to treat ash trees–however, it is perhaps not the most effective. The spray will coat the exterior of the tree and foliage but will take a long time to kill all of the insects, especially the larvae underneath the bark.

Treatment: Tree Removal

The results of insecticides in the treatment of ash trees against these insects have produced mostly positive results. The efficiency of emerald ash borer treatment is dependent upon how bad the infestation is upon discovery and how efficient the homeowner is in providing the most effective course of treatment. The larvae can also feed upon the interior of the tree making patterns where insecticide cannot reach them. Sometimes, alternative methods need to be considered.

Due to the genetic makeup of insects, it is only a matter of time before they develop resistance to popular pesticides. In most cases, if emerald ash borer infestation is caught early, pesticides will adequately save the tree. If the damage has been done, it may be cost-efficient to have the tree removed and start again. Always consult with a landscaping professional to decide the best course of action–since treatment may be a possibility. If needed, they can also remove the infected trees with ease and discuss new options.

If you choose to cut your losses with tree removal and want to start over with new ash trees, start preventative treatment early. Regular inspections of ash trees will alert you to any signs of infestation and will ensure that early detection will help to save your tree. Regular chemical injections by a landscaping professional, either by soil or trunk once per year will keep your tree insect free. Regular inspections by your landscaping company can add to your inspections by also providing preventive and active treatment against any insects found.

In Summary

The ash tree is a beautiful tree that brings joy to homeowners all over North America and even though they are susceptible to these voracious insects, their beauty should be protected. Professional landscaping services offer protection for your trees and can ensure they remain protected with regular maintenance and inspections. Through a selection of chemicals that maintain safety for trees and provide toxicity to the insects, landscaping professionals can combine their experience with the most effective treatment options that will get rid of insects and keep them away. This beetle is moving to more and more states in the country,

Treatment Options for an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

There are two primary options when it comes to dealing with an Emerald Ash Borer infestation. The most drastic choice is removing the tree altogether. This is usually only recommended if the tree is so irreparably damaged that it is dying and becoming an eyesore or is a threat to other trees, nearby power lines or structures.

Often, the most affordable Emerald Ash Borer treatment is chemical insecticides. If keeping the tree in place is important to you, this is the best option. These treatments should be done between March and mid-June to properly kill the Emerald Ash Bore larvae. Depending on your situation and personal preference, you can choose between insecticides that are injected into the tree trunk, soaked into the ground around the trunk, or applied with a sprayer on the entire tree. These treatments need to be repeated to be as effective as possible, so you will need to remember to apply the treatment every year or two to keep the Ash Borers from coming back.

EAB Insecticides used:

#1. Mauget System for smaller trees: Inject and using Capsules filled with Imicide insecticide

#2 TREEage Arborjet System for larger trees: Injection using IV pressurized system with Emamectin Benzoate insecticide

#3 Emamectin Benzoate is a new product which claims to provide up to 3-year protection against the EAB. While still relatively new to our area, this new insecticide has shown good results in eastern US states.

At Liberty Lawn & Landscape, we pride ourselves on using the best and most updated products on the market but at the same time we are very leery about using our customers as “Guinea Pigs” for new products. We will use the Mauget Injection System again in 2019 and if test results for Emamectin Benzoate come back positive in eastern Nebraska in 2020 we will be switching treatment programs accordingly. I am told the costs per application may be slightly higher using this new system, but the overall cost will be much less.

If you think you might have an EAB infestation, here’s what you do:

Have your tree(s) evaluated for their current health.  It is important to have an expert evaluate the condition of your trees and determine the source of your concern.  The experts at Liberty Lawn and Landscape will do the evaluation free of charge.

Assess the importance of the tree (or trees) to your overall landscape design.  If it’s determined that the tree (or trees) in question don’t add value to your outdoor space, it might make more sense to opt for removal. It makes no sense to treat a tree that has no relative value to the property.  Again, the certified professionals at Liberty Lawn and Landscape have years of experience and will help you evaluate your project and make recommendations as to the best course of action.

The USDA makes the following recommendations on their website:

  • Don’t move firewood. EAB larvae can survive hidden in the bark of firewood. Remember: buy local, burn local.
  • Inspect your trees. If you see any sign or symptom of an EAB infestation, contact your State agriculture agency.
  • Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers about EAB and what they should be aware of on their trees.
  • Ask questions. If you receive ash nursery stock or firewood, know its point of origin and your supplier, as larvae could be hiding under the bark.
  • Know State and Federal regulations. Make sure you understand regulations that govern your state and those you may visit.
  • Know the quarantines in your area and learn to leave hungry pests behind

Liberty Lawn & Landscape Inc will:

#1 Evaluate the health and viability of the Ash Tree(s)

#2 Measure the circumference of the ash tree and produce treatment estimate

#3 upon approval of estimate, treat the ash tree(s)

If you have ash trees in Lincoln, Nebraska, early detection and prompt treatment can save your trees before they die. At Liberty Lawn and Landscape, we have professional licensed state of Nebraska Arborists who can evaluate your trees and let you know more about treatment options for your unique situation. Contact our team of professionals today to schedule a free evaluation of your property.