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17 Jun 2016

Wintermoth on the move

If your house is covered with small pale moths near your porchlights at this time of year, then you have a wintermoth population.

The wintermoth, which so many of you know by the little green inchworm caterpillars that eat your trees in the springtime, is now in its “adult form”. They ended their pupation about 2 weeks ago, and are now mating. Pupation occurs from early June, when the larval caterpillars drop from the trees and bury themselves in the soil, until this time of year. The moth itself is not harmful to your landscape, but their conspicuous presence at night is unmistakable.

This is a time of year where a “”do-it-yourself”” control can have some impact; the female moth is flightless, and must walk up the tree trunk to lay her eggs. You can trap her and prevent her brood from becoming the springtime nuisance by applying an effective bug barrier on your susceptible trees. This is accomplished by creating a solid, impenetrable barrier encircling the tree trunk- there are a few commercially available products at your local garden center or hardware store. To make the barrier most effective, apply a sticky substance to the barrier so the moth cannot move. One commonly available product is called tanglefoot. I have also seen some people use duct tape effectively as well. You will need to check your sticky barrier regularly too- if populations are high enough, you may need to reapply your sticker as the moths accumulate.

This will not be the answer to all your problems if you have had a significant wintermoth population in the past, but may be able to reduce populations a little bit. Foliar sprays still offer the best value and control for most landscape situations, but also emerging are microinjections. While this type of treatment may cost a bit more, it offers you the opportunity to address the problem in the fall, providing a better level of control in the spring. This is a great option for clients that are sensitive to chemicals, or have sensitive landscape areas such as vegetable gardens or koi ponds.

One last thing to remember, if you are looking for do-it-yourself options, be sure to select a product labelled for control of caterpillars, or lepidoptera. I have seen many people buy the wrong products at a garden center- always read the label! Products like horticultural oil will not control caterpillars once they have hatched. If you need to consult an arborist, we at Mayer Tree are always available to assist you.

17 Jun 2016

Winter Plant Health Care update

Spring in Massachusetts is almost here! We are working on the last steps to get our renewals out to our existing clients, where you will have the opportunity to prepay your Plant Health Care program and save money. Be sure to watch your mailbox, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you want to proceed with the recommended treatments for your landscape, please return the renewal to us in the enclosed envelope, or send us an email.

See you soon!

Jeff Bourque

17 Jun 2016

Trees in Flower

Spring starts in 2 days, and I have seen Silver Maples and Red Maples beginning to flower in the Boston North Shore area. If you have a witch hazel, it is likely in full bloom now also. Looks like the warm temperatures will be short lived, as we get back to highs in the 40’s, and lows below freezing again.

If you haven’t already, this is a great time to get into your yard to start assessing your landscape needs, from cleanups to lawn maintenance to tree care programs and pruning. You can always contact us for more information if needed.

17 Jun 2016

Trees and Hurricanes

Hurricane Irene is heading to New England this weekend, and early reports are saying we could have winds up to and over 100 mph and upwards of 10 inches of rain, depending on where you live. So what should you do?

It is likely too late now to take any preventative steps toward protecting your trees from damaging winds, but we should be thinking about the future. Once we get past this storm, have a certified arborist from Mayer Tree Service stop by to inspect your trees- we are trained to spot defects and hazards that may not be apparent to the average homeowner. Knowing where potential problems are in your landscape, and addressing them in a timely fashion, could save you money, time, and a lot of frustration should a storm really hit the area hard.

In regards to Irene, we are expecting a high volume of calls during and after the storm. The phones have already been busy with municipalities looking to have us on alert. If you have an emergency, such as a tree went through your house or is posing an immediate threat to human life, we will prioritize those calls. If a tree has fallen in your backyard and is is not in the way of anything, then those calls will be answered and dealt with after the higher priority emergencies are resolved. We want to be sure that we can satisfy all of our valued clients, so we will address highest needs as they arise.

We apprecite your business, and hope that this storm does not hit us as hard as some have forcasted, but should you need us, don’t hesitate to call!

17 Jun 2016

What is that growing on my tree?

I have heard that question a lot this year.

The answer is lichen, a fungal/algal growth that can be found growing on trees, rocks, sidewalks, roof shingles, and many other places that are relatively undisturbed.

Lichen does not root itself well, and can easily be displaced, which is probably why we don’t see it growing in more places. It likes an undisturbed environment, and does not tolerate pollution very well, which might explain why it grows ubandantly in a forest.

So why does it grow on my tree or roof? Well, it’s just a good place to grow.

Lichen does not cause any harm to your tree. It does not feed off the tree, not does it inject a toxin- it is purely a good anchorage point. I tend to see it more in shady areas- tree trunks, and rooftops that are under cover of tree limbs, as well as landscape rocks. Lichen is part fungus and part algae- while many lichens are a symbiotic relationship, some are saprophitic or parasitic.

I have also seen moss growing on trees as well. Like lichens, moss does not feed on the tree; however, there is the potential for large accumulations of moss to trap moisture against a tree, promoting decay or rot diseases. Moss is usually found in shady, damp areas of a property. Lately, moss has gained a lot of attention as a groundcover in the landscape- once it is established, it needs little to no maintenance, and lasts a long time.

If you are not sure of something that you find in your garden or see something weird growing on your trees, give us a ring!

Jeff

17 Jun 2016

Tips on Where to Use Vermicomposting for Optimum Organic Plant Health Care

Where to Use Vermicomposting for Optimum Organic Plant Health Care

Vermicomposts contains a mixture of decomposed or composted organics and worm castings. When used correctly, this nutrient-rich product delivers optimum organic plant health care for your gardens and landscape. Many homeowners wonder where vermicompost is best used, and how this additive makes a difference to their plants, trees and turf.

17 Jun 2016

Three Top Tasks to Maintain Optimum Tree Health Care

The health of your trees, turf and gardens determine the comfortable level and appearance of your property. These three tasks help homeowners to maintain optimum tree health care, using organic plant health care and the expertise of your tree service company.

# 1 – Monitor the Soil Condition

Plants of all sizes, from a majestic tree to newly planted grass, draw nutrients from the soil. Homeowners need to be sure that the soil remains in peak condition and full of those nutrients necessary for plant and tree growth.
Adding organic matter, such as compost or compost tea, helps to regenerate the soil. A regular application schedule works best. It’s wise to avoid products that can deter soil condition, such as de-icing salts and chemically-based fertilizers.

# 2 – Diagnose and Treat Disease Right Away

Catching a disease before it spreads too far will keep your property in prime condition. Monitor the trees in your yard and invest the help of your tree service company to inspect foliage, branches and trunk for signs of disease.
Treatment for tree disease depends on the condition and severity of the issue, but most often includes three steps:
* Removal of affected or infected portions
* Boosting the tree’s health with water and organic plant health care products
* Removal or avoidance of those conditions that triggered the initial problem

# 3 – Enforce Pest Control

Ask your tree service company to provide a list of potential pests in your region. Local media and neighborhood horticultural societies may also have this information. Watch for beetles, flies, bees and other bugs that feast on foliage, burrow into branches or inflict any other kind of damage on your trees. Use natural and organic products to deter pests, and research traps and other preventative methods before the pests arrive.
Mosquito and ticks can also present a problem in your yard, although they harm people instead of plants. Talk to your tree care company about ways to reduce or eliminate the mosquito and tick population, providing your family with a much more comfortable outdoor living space.

Optimal tree health care is within your reach. With regular inspection and organic plant health care, your trees and other plants will thrive and provide a lush environment for you to enjoy.

17 Jun 2016

Warm winter and tick season begins

It is now mid March, and temperatures will be in the 60’s for the next week or so. We have had very little snowfall this winter, temperatures were about 5 degrees warmer than average, and the ground never quite froze. Many people that enjoy ice fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing in Massachusetts were left with few options this winter.

What does this mean for the upcoming spring and summer? Many experts are predicting a heavy insect population this spring. When winter temperatures are normal or below normal, many overwintering insects will freeze and die, which helps to keep their populations in check. It was only about 6 years ago that we had a below normal winter that killed off an estimated 95% of our hemlock woolly adelgid population, and limited wintermoth populations as well. Pests that are at their northern edge of their temperature threshold, such as HWA and wintermoth, are very susceptible to extended freezing temps.

So this year has been well above normal, and we have been seeing crocuses, daffodils and other plants begin pushing through the ground for the past 2 weeks. Spring may come early this year, but never forget the April Fool’s day blizzard of 1997- anything can happen when you live in New England.

I also wanted to mention ticks. Since it has been so warm out, ticks have been very active. It seems that each time I walk through a clients property lately, when I get back into my car I am finding a deer tick walking on my lap or on my neck. Ticks are commonly found in wooded and brushy habitats, so if you are walking through any woody or grassy material that can brush up against your clothes, you may want to take precautions- wear a repellant with DEET, tuck your pants into your socks (no matter how bad it may look) and always tick check after. It takes 48 hours for a female tick to infect you with Lyme disease once bitten, so early detection is key.

If you are concerned with ticks at your property, consult your arborist at Mayer Tree Service. We can help by treating your property for seasonal control, or if you are planning an outdoor event we can treat the day before to keep your guests safe and comfortable. Works for mosquitoes too!

As for mosquito populations, that will be determined by our rainfall this spring more than by our winter conditions, so we will keep you posted!

Jeff

17 Jun 2016

The Endicott Pear

Last night I took part in the celebration of the Endicot Pear, a tree that is over 380 years old in Danvers, MA. Mayer Tree Service has been caring for the tree for several years now, and I am happy to be a part of it. The following news article from the Salem Evening News highlights the festivities.

This tree is reportedly the oldest living fruit tree in America, and has seen some difficult times, including hurricanes and vandalism. Today, the tree continues to thrive thanks to the efforts of Mass. General Hospital & North Shore Medical Center, as well as the Danvers Historical Society. Mayer Tree Service is proud to lend it’s expertise to the tree’s continued good health. Contact us if you would like to learn more.