Saturday, June 30, 2012

To continue my series on tree decay, I've prepared some facts about potential tree decay indicators versus positive tree decay indicators. This is very useful information on decay and what to do about your tree decay.


Potential Decay Indicators

The number of potential indicators is considerably larger than positive indicators because they are based on the biology of decay in living trees and decay impacts on structural health. Potential indicators are important in decay assessment because relatively few trees with decay have positive indicators. In my research on decay, more than half of the trees I identified to have decay in the lower trunk, yet only very few had positive decay indicators. Therefore, it becomes necessary to rely on potential indicators to help identify trees that might have decay, but do not have positive indicators. 

Potential indicators typically require an additional assessment to confirm if decay is present in the tree. Potential indicators can be placed into two broad categories. 

The first group is the presence of wounds or other damage that has exposed the sapwood or heartwood, such as pruning wounds, loose or missing bark, lightning strikes, or cankers. Wounds are common infection sites for decay fungi, and most wound infection occurs via airborne spores that are released from conks or mushrooms. Most small wounds can be sealed over by a tree before they become infected. Larger stem wounds are twice as likely to become infected and decayed than the smaller wounds.  Oozing sap or liquid in deciduous trees or resin flow in conifers may also be a potential indicator of decay because they identify sites of old wounds. 

The second group of potential indicators is symptoms associated with the loss of wood strength, such as partial wood failure and response growth patterns. Cracks in the bark or sapwood due to wood failure, and ribs that originate in decayed wood are common in trees weakened by decay. A more subtle indicator is response growth that results in bulges or swelling in branches or the stem. Response growth is a mechanical and physiological process where a tree reacts to the loss of wood strength and movement at the cambium. Response growth may result in an increased quantity and quality (strength) of wood being produced by the cambium. 

Another decay indicator is the exposure of the inner bark from increased secondary response growth similar to that which occurs on young trees that are increasing faster radially than the outer bark is expanding.  See the picture below for an example.

Indicators for Root Decay

Positive indicators for fungi that decay larger tree roots are primarily the same as those seen in stems, except the fungal fruiting bodies are attached to the roots. Cavities, conks, or mushrooms at the base of a tree often indicate root decay, because many of the fungi that cause butt rot also decay roots. A few decay fungi may fruit on woody roots at an extended distance from the tree trunk, but in all cases they are attached to a woody root.


 Arborists should be aware that many non-pathogenic fungi also fruit as mushrooms from the soil near the base of trees, including beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. Potential indicators of decay or loss of woody roots are inherently different than the decay indicators in trunks and branches. Poor tree crown health can be an indicator of the presence of root decay. Symptoms include chlorotic, sparse, or undersized foliage, small and/or large branch dieback, and reduced growth rates. Because root decay fungi can spread from root-to-root contact and vegetative fungal growth through the soil, root decay centers may develop. These root decay centers may result in clusters of trees that have failed as a result of root and butt rot, and indicate that adjacent trees may also be affected. Response growth patterns at the base of a tree, such as swellings, bulges, or absence of normal root flare development, are common in trees affected by butt and buttress root decay. These changes in normal trunk taper are more common in large diameter older trees.

Physical changes on the site that have wounded or damaged roots are another potential indicator of root decay. Evidence of fill or grading around trees, the lack of a normal basal root flare, or the wounding of exposed roots may suggest root loss or decay. Visually evaluating buttress and larger diameter roots is challenging, even if the tops of roots are exposed, because most root decay develops from the bottom of roots.


If you are concerned about the condition of your trees, it is best to consult a professional.  Your local tree service or a certified arborist will properly assess your trees.  The professional staff at Trees "R" Us, Inc. is highly qualified in tree care and maintenance.  We have 4 certified arborists that have been trained in identifying tree decay and will provide you with the best, most accurate advice about your plants and trees.

Stay tuned for information on the severity of decay and what to do about it.


Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick






Friday, June 29, 2012

Indicators of tree decay

Tree decay is never a good thing, but it doesn't always mean you can't still help your tree.


Decay indicators are symptoms and signs associated with the fungal deterioration of wood in trees. Symptoms of decay are deviations in normal growth patterns, while signs are evidence of the decay’s causal agent, including fungal conks and mushrooms. Decay indicators have been used for a long time to assess trees for decay. Some indicators are species specific, while others apply to a wider range of tree species. Here I will provide information on the concept, importance, and use of decay indicators in tree evaluation.  During the next few days I'll cover potential decay indicators in comparison to positive decay indicators; all great information for municipalities and homeowners concerned about the health of their trees.

As a certified arborist, I've been trained to identify trees in trouble. Decay indicators can help arborists evaluate trees for decay in several ways. They can help determine if decay is present, and if so, the severity of the decay. Indicators can also help determine arborist’s application of assessment is needed. Finally, they can guide the arborist where to apply advanced assessment methods to quantify decay.  Our certified arborists at Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be trusted to properly assess your trees and determine plan of action that is safe, healthy and environmentally responsible.

The decay indicator concept has been expanded to include potential and positive indicators of decay. Potential indicators suggest decay may be present in the tree while positive indicators mean the tree has decay. 


Positive Decay Indicators

Positive indicators of decay include:
• fungal conks (perennial or persistent annual fruiting structures that are tough or leathery) and mushrooms attached to trunks stems or roots cavities or external openings caused by wood deterioration and loss


• visual evidence of decayed wood without the formation of cavities


• carpenter ant colonies or sawdust pilings on stems or at the base of a tree

• the presence of nesting holes of insects, birds, or mammals


I Have a Tree with Positive Indicators of Decay, Do I Need to Remove the Tree?


Not Always.  Conks and mushrooms of wood decay fungi are positive indicators that mean a tree has internal decay, even if other outward symptoms of decay are not present. The presence of one or more conks means the tree has decay in its heartwood and/or sapwood. Identifying the species of a fungal conk can sometimes provide additional information on the severity of internal decay. Conks or mushrooms are not in and of themselves evidence that tree removal is necessary, anymore than the presence of other positive indicators, such as a cavity or carpenter ants, suggest removal is always necessary. When positive indicators are present, more rigorous visual evaluation or other evaluation methods may be required to ascertain the severity of the decay and to help determine an appropriate management recommendation.

Fruiting structures associated with sapwood decay are positive decay indicators as well.  Most sapwood rot fungi produce numerous, small-sized fruiting structures on the face of infected and decayed wood. However, sapwood rot can be present without fruiting structures being present. Sapwood decay fungi typically become established in living trees on dead branches, or on large areas of bark or sapwood damaged by lightning strikes, ice, sunscald, or other injuries. In large wounds, sapwood decay fungi decay can subvert many of the defense mechanisms, normally present in living trees, and invade from the outside of the stem towards the center of the tree. This can result in a substantial loss of stem strength even when relatively small amounts of decay are present in the outer rings. Some sapwood rot fungi can also attack healthy bark and cambium once they become established in large wounds.



Please stay tuned for my next post on potential versus positive decay indicators and what to do about them.



Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick




Thursday, June 28, 2012

watering your tree with a garden hose

Did you know that the average garden hose will flow 8 gallons of water per minute.  To determine the number of minutes to water with a hose, divide the number of gallons by 8.  Distribute the water slowly and evenly throughout the rot zone.  Add 5 minutes if the root zone is covered by turf grass.


Good to know these things when you are faced with drought conditions like we are here in Chicagoland.  no rain in days, well no, more like weeks.  Top that off with 100 degree temps and Mother Nature has made some brutal conditions for our plants and trees.  Remember to water your trees.  We always think of watering our grass, gardens, flowers, but too often our trees are overlooked.


Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to properly water and mulch a tree.

Contrary to common belief, most of a tree's water-absorbing roots are within the first few inches of soil and extend 1.5 to 4 times wider than the width of the tree's canopy.  Roots do not mirror the above-ground portion of a tree.  Supplemental waterings should cover as much of the root area as possible.  As a general guideline, water the entire area below a tree's canopy, also called the drip line of a tree.  This are may extend several dozens feet away from the trunk for larger trees.  Avoid repeatedly wetting the trucks of trees or keeping tree trunks wet for prolonged periods.

Mulching trees is one of the best ways to keep trees healthy ad drought resistant.  The benefits include improved water percolation into soil, decreased water evaporation, soil temperature moderation, and reduced competition with turf.

Add a 3 inch layer of organic mulch to the entire root area of a tree.  Do not place mulch against the trunk.  For the best organic mulch in the Chicagoland area, visit http://www.organicsolutionsinc.net or call us at 847-366-8869.  We offer the best mulch at the most competitive prices.

For more information about tree care, or other information about Chicago's premier  tree service to the North Shore, North suburbs and Northwest Suburbs, visit www.treerusinc.com.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service offering a wide range of services including our newly added plant health  care division.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. is proud to have 4 certified arborists on staff to assess your tree care and maintenance needs promptly, accurately and safely.  Give us a call at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drought conditions not good for our trees.

Our lack of rain here in Illinois, is really not very good for our precious trees!  Trees need water like all other living things.  A lack of available water to trees' roots can cause drought stress, making a tree more susceptible to death, disease and insect attack.  Trees growing in an urban environment face additional stressors, like soil compaction, competition from turf grass and pollution.  Evan adapted native trees, such as live oaks, cedar elms, and pecans can succumb to drought stress.

Supplemental water, provided as little as once every two weeks, can  keep a tree healthy during dry spells.

Shallow, frequent waterings such as those provided by lawn sprinklers, do not reach tree roots.  Long-duration, deep watering are best.  Consider using a soaker hose.

Use the information below to determine water quantity:

Size of the tree in diameter  /  Water needs in gallons per week:
0-5                                           1-5
6-10                                          10-20
11-15                                        30-45
16-20                                        60-80
21-25                                        100-125
26-30                                        150-180
31-35                                        210-245
36-40                                        280-320
41-45                                        360-405
46+                                           450+

Stay tuned for more information to come on how our drought will effect your trees and what you can do about it.  I'll be blogging about this topic for the next few days, so follow closely!

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is committed to proving its customers with quality tree service at competitive prices. We are proud to educate the public for the better good of the environment and the people of our communities.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. employs highly educated staff and strives to be the best in the tree care and maintenance industry.  For more information on Trees "R" Us, Inc. visit our website at www.treesrusinc.com or call us at 847-913-9069.  I'm Nick, the owner and I'm only an email away: nick@treesrusinc.com.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. services the north shore, north suburbs, and northwest suburbs of Chicago.  We are a full service tree company providing quality tree care, tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, and plant health care by certified arborists.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Monday, June 25, 2012



Sycamore lacebug
sycamore lacebug on plate
Figure 5 Sycamore lacebug adult
Sycamore lacebug (Corythucha ciliata) (figure 5) have been found feeding on American
sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). Lacebugs are a common pest of ornamental trees and shrubs, and most lacebug species are host specific. An exception is the hawthorn lacebug (C.cydoniae) that attacks several species within the Rosaceae family including cotoneaster, flowering quince, crabapple, mountain ash,Pyracantha, and hawthorn. Most lacebug species have two or more generations per year. The hawthorn lacebugs have only one generation per year.
The sycamore lacebug overwinters as an adult under loose bark of its host and becomes active in early spring as leaves begin to develop. Soon afterwards, the female lays eggs on the undersides of leaves. Eggs hatch within a few days and spiny, wingless, black nymphs begin feeding. Within 4 to 6 weeks the nymphs pupate, and the next generation of adults emerge (this is the generation we are now seeing). Adults are 3 to 6 mm long (1/8 to 1/4 inch) with lacy wings.
Sycamore lacebug adults and nymphs live on the lower surfaces of leaves and feed on leaf sap causing yellow and white stippling on the upper leaf surface. As the insects feed, they deposit a brown varnish-like excrement on the underside of leaves. Heavy infestations may lead to complete stippling of the leaf and premature leaf drop.
Management: There are several naturally occurring predators including green lacewings, mites, and assassin bugs. A forceful spray of water will dislodge newly hatched nymphs, and they will often die before they find their way back to suitable leaves. Plant site selection is also important as lace bugs prefer bright, sunny locations. Insecticides generally are not necessary except for severe infestations. Avoid using insecticides if natural predators are present.
Good website:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/Gardening-Handbook/PDF-files/GH-023--sycamore-lace-bug.pdf

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in347



 At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers.  It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What To Do With The Woolly Alder Aphid



Woolly alder aphid
woolly alder aphid april 2003 resized
 Woolly alder aphids
Woolly alder aphids don't harm your trees too much, but it is best to try to get rid of them. 
The aphids were found in colonies on the branches of European alder (Alnus glutinosa). Aphids are small (about 1/12 of an inch long) and are identified by their sucking mouthparts, long, thin legs, long antennae, pear-shaped body, and pair of tube-like structures (called cornicles) emerging from their abdomen that look somewhat like tailpipes. Two hosts are needed to complete their life cycle: alders and silver maples. The eggs are usually laid in fall in the bark of the maples. When the young hatch in spring, they collect on leaves and reproduce. Their offspring fly to alders and collect on the twigs where new generations develop. They are small and covered with white waxy hairs. In fall, they will fly back to the silver maples to lay eggs. They do little damage.
To manage an infestation of aphids is a rather easy task.  Aphids can be dislodged from plants using a strong jet of water from the hose. Doing this periodically will keep the aphid populations low and allow the parasites and predators to build up to effective control levels.
Here are a few good websites for more information:


At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers.  It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick

Cut It Out!



Ailanthus webworm
ailanthus webworm closeup resized
Figure 4 Ailanthus webworm larva
Cut those caterpillar nests out of your trees!
If you've gpt Ailanthus Webworm, then you've got nests looming in your trees, probably on your corkwoods.

To identify the caterpillars, they have sparse light hairs, a broad stripe down their backs that has been described as olive-green, and alternating black and white stripes along their sides. They cluster together in a loose web and feed on leaves from within the web. This insect is usually seen on tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), one of our least favorite trees. This is the well-known tree in the popular book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. But tree-of-heaven is a weak-wooded, weedy, smelly tree.
To get rid of these pests, cut the nests out of the tree. Bacillus thuringiensis var.kurstaki (Btk) could also be used to control young larvae, but the spray needs to penetrate the nest to be effective. Btk is not as effective against older larvae. Although ailanthus webworms are capable of defoliating their host, they rarely do.

At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers.  It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick

Do you know what a gall is? You should!



Eastern spruce gall
A gall is defined as an abnormal growth formed in response to the presence of insect larvae, mites, or fungi on plants and trees, esp. oaks.
A common gall her in Illinois is the Eastern Spruce gall, which is really just a type of aphid.  They love to host on Norway and white spruces, but will attack any spruce.
The pineapple-shaped galls greatly stunt the growth of new spruce shoots. Trees demonstrate a wide range of susceptibility, some have many galls which kill the branch and others having few galls which allow for continued branch growth.


The aphid-like insect called an adelgid (Adelges abietis) makes the gall. These insects were active in the spring and caused the gall to begin forming at that time. These galls are often mistaken for small cones. With Eastern spruce gall, the gall forms at the base of the new growth. (There is another gall known as Cooley spruce gall which has a similar shape, but forms on the tip of the new growth). The galls mature in midsummer and slits appear that allow the mature adelgids to leave the gall.
Management: While the galls will kill the new growth on which they form, infestations in our area are seldom heavy enough to require any type of management. Galls can be removed by hand before the slits open. Insecticides are seldom warranted but can be applied in early spring right before bud break or in late September and October.
The life cycle is completed on a single suitable host plant. Well timed sprays are generally the most effective controls, if control is really needed.
Strategy 1: Use of Resistant Varieties - Black, red and Englemann spruces are generally less susceptible to this pest. However, certain cultivars of Norway and white spruces have demonstrated some resistance. Try to select uninfested nursery stock which has not been sprayed regularly for control of this pest. Trees lacking galls are more likely to be resistant.
Strategy 2: Dormant Oil Sprays - Dormant oil, applied in October and November or in April, is very effective against this pest. Be sure to use a good quality oil and spray before buds have doubled their winter size. Glaucous (bluish blush) trees will turn dark green when sprayed with oil.
Strategy 3: Fall Insecticide Sprays - Insecticides can be applied in September and October to kill the alate non-migrans and overwintering fundatrices. See Bulletin 504 for the currently listed insecticides.
Strategy 4: Spring Insecticide Sprays - Insecticides can be applied in mid-April before the fundatrices mature and lay eggs. This is usually before the bud sheaths become loose. See Bulletin 504 for the currently listed insecticides.



For additional information on the Eastern Spruce Gall: Good websites: http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/homegrnd/htms/59spgall.htm

At Trees "R" Us, Inc. we take pride in not only our professional tree care services, but also educating our customers.  It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick