Monday, June 24, 2013

Be on the Lookout for Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are back already!

It seems a little too early to talk about this, but we've already had one customer call us about their Japanese beetles.

If you're not sure if you have Japanese beetles, these pests are oval in shape and have metallic green bodies with copper looking wings. They can be up to 1/2 inch long.  They also appear to have five white spots along each side and two additional white spots behind their wing covers. The spots are actually tufts of white hair.

Adult beetles find it easy to thrive in nearly any yard as they feed on nearly 300 different species of ornamental plants. Their favorite plants to munch on are roses, crabapples, cherry trees, grape vines and linden. They feed on leaf tissue between veins, resulting in skeletonized leaves.

Severely infested plants may be almost completely defoliated.

Japanese beetles overwinter as larvae (grubs) about four to eight inches beneath the soil
surface. In spring, about mid-April, as the soil temperatures warm to about 55° F, the grubs move upward through the soil to pupate. Adults normally emerge from late June through July. But this year they have arrived early. Within a few days after emergence, the females mate and burrow into the soil to lay eggs. Nearly all eggs are laid by mid-August. In sufficiently warm and moist soil, eggs will hatch in about ten days. Last year’s drought may have made egg-laying more difficult. We’ll have to wait and see what size population emerges.

The grubs feed on plant roots until cold weather forces them to greater depths in the soil for the winter. There is just one generation of this beetle per year.

In attempt to manage the adult Japanese beetles, you should try to handpick them. It is easiest to catch them by placing a soapy-water filled container directly under the leaf that they are chewing on and then shaking the leaf. The soapy water ensures that the beetles die while you’re collecting them. The beetles generally fly straight down into the collecting container. Sometimes Japanese beetle pheromone traps are used to trap them. This is not recommended as you will be attracting even more beetles to your property (more than the trap can collect). 

Insecticides can be used in the case of valuable plants. Our arborists can help you control the Japanese Beetle population in several ways. Contact Trees "R "Us, Inc. to learn about your options when in comes to controlling the Japanese Beetle infestation.

Japanese beetle grubs have a different management strategy. Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. for details on how to manage the grubs if you feel you have them and especially if you have area of turfgrass dying. 

The Arborists at Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be reached through our website at or 847-913-9069.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Sustainable Food Forest is a Great Option for Everyone

Have you heard of the sustainable food forest? This is a concept that everyone should at least be aware of, if not actively participating in. The practice of transforming backyards, side lots and open fields into areas filled with trees for fruits and nuts as well strawberries, raspberries and several other smaller fruit plants  is known as the sustainable food forest.

While often times vegetable gardens are labor intensive and according to gardening magazines require artificial fertilizers and watering on a regular basis the sustainable food forest is generally much less involved and really cares for itself. 

In our vegetable gardens, we add compost to the soil improving it’s structure, we then turn over our plot aerating and loosening compacted soil before introducing rotating crops in sectioned gorgeous rows. While there is nothing wrong with this practice, and some people actually take solitude in the work they do tending their vegetables, this is still a time consuming task that turn many away that would like to take a whirl at the usual summer-time veggie garden. These gardens also generally return good yields and there is a level of satisfaction by the gardener from growing food in this manner.

A food forest, however, is completely different. A forest of food operates similar to a natural forest, it has its own eco-system which given time provides for itself and reduces the labor involved in growing food to minimal effort on our behalf. When we look at a natural forest nobody is tending to it’s needs and it has reached a balance which is sustainable for long periods of time all on its own.

The same thing happens with sustainable food forests. Food forests reach a balance over time. All the hard work, time, and attention that we once gave to our little vegetable garden is not required here. We no longer have to 'work' to grow food which becomes very beneficial to the living standards of today.

Food forests are a grouping of plants which harmonize together as a forest. As a result there is no need to dig soil, nor add fertilizers. And yes, these forests can incorporate animals. In the sustainable food forest there are fruiting trees, edible bushes and ground covers all working together to maintain an ecology coherent to growth and good healthy food.

Food forests are perfect for our modern urban lifestyles. Many of us have minimal space to grow food. A forest of food can be grown in a small space using dwarf stock fruit trees and growing plants vertically. Keep in mind that it is more about the plants working together to improve the soil and planting the correct species for an environment to form than space. If you need assistance in getting a food forest going, talk to your local Arborist. He/she will be able to assess your space and suggest good combinations of trees and plants to get you started.

It is a great thing when you can reach down and pick fruit or berries,or snip herbs for your evening meal that you are cooking. Even use the food forest to teach your children about nature, planting, and nutrition.  Your children will adore hanging in the garden and can enjoy planting and watching their own plants before picking and eating. What better way is there for them to learn about vegetables and the benefits which come from them.

Try out a food forest in your yard.  Whether your have 1/4 acre or 4 acres a food forest is a better alternative to the traditional vegetable garden.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plant the Right Tree

Planting the right tree is one of the most crucial decisions you'll make when planting. 
It is important that from the beginning you plant a tree that will have a good chance at a long, healthy life. The team at Trees R Us, Inc. can help you select the right trees and shrubs for your home or business taking into account the soil type and light levels.

This lovely Prairie State we live in enjoys a relatively temperate climate. We have hot, humid, wet summers and winters that are not only cold, but frigid at times. The sharply defined seasons mean a big difference in temperature with average temperatures in the colder months reaching 22 degrees Fahrenheit in the north and 37 degrees in the south. During the summer, northern temperatures will reach 70 degrees in the north with an increase of 10-15 degrees in the south. Temperatures, rainfall, light and soil conditions all will affect the life of your tree and it is important to choose a tree what will adapt easily to your area.

As the hot, humid days of summer slink upon us, we long more and more for the cooling shade of a mature tree. Shade trees are a must for the Illinois summer. The Trees "R" Us, Inc. staff recommends the Hybrid Poplar, which is one of the most attractive and fast growing trees around or the American Beech which provide dense shade.
If it is a fruit tree you're longing for, these 2 varieties will grow well and quickly though Illinois. The Nules Clementine, Despite its small size, soon becomes loaded with fruit each summer and the Red Haven Peach tree is fast growing and has a delicious flavor and provides an abundance of fruit very quickly. 

If your looking for trees to create a privacy border, there are some quick growing evergreens that generally do well in Illinois. Thuja Green Giant is the most popular evergreen in the United States and grows at an incredible rate of up to 5 feet per year. Other hardy alternatives are the Willow Hybrid and American Holly.

One of our favorite trees to plant is the White Oak.  It is the Illinois State tree. Also, a favorite to plant is the Illinois state tree, the White Oak. This tree can grow 60 to 100 feet. This tree will produce small green acorns. 

The soil in Illinois generally does not drain well.  It is called Drummer soil and tends to be very dense and deep. If your soil seems like Drummer Soil, then your will need to add organic matter and fertilizer to ensure your trees grow to their full potential.

There's a Large Variety of Trees for Illinois
Wherever your Illinois location, there are many trees to choose from.  For additional advice, please feel free to contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. and we would be happy to assist you in your tree choices as well as tree planting, care and maintenance.  Proper tree care, especially after planting is essential to the tree's vitality.  The Trees "R" Us, Inc. Plant Health Care Division is highly qualified and certified to give your trees the proper care they need during their life cycle.

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 or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Gypsy Moth is Back (Chicago's North Shore and Northwest Suburbs)

It's time to start protecting trees from the invasive Gypsy Moth especially on Chicago's North Shore and in the Northwest suburbs.

The gypsy moth is an invasive forest pest from Europe and one of the most damaging tree defoliators in the United States. Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on leaves of many kinds of trees, although they like oaks and maples the best. This spiny-haired, spotted deadly moth is expected to hatch soon in and around the suburbs of the North Shore.

It is important to try to ward off these villains as they are responsible for defoliating hundreds of thousands of acres in the Northeast. In addition, these little buggers have cost us hundreds of millions of dollars to control since 1980 and have caused financial losses in the tourism and forest products industries.

In addition, according to an Illinois Department of Agriculture website, Gypsy moths don’t belong in North America. They are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa and were first brought to the U.S. in the 1860s by a French scientist named Trouvelot. He wanted to breed gypsy moths with silk moths with the hopes of creating a lucrative silk market in this country.

Over time, it is apparent that the gypsy moth is going to become established and very common among the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago.

The gypsy moth is migrating west, and it has established itself in Illinois. Lake County, Illinois was quarantined in 2000. The counties of McHenry Cook and DuPage were added in 2007. A quarantine requires all nursery stock and firewood being shipped out of the affected counties to be inspected and certified, a difficult and time-consuming procedure. All nurseries and nursery dealers are also required to treat their property and/or stock, and persons leaving quarantined counties have to have all of their outdoor equipment inspected.

It is very important to try to control Gypsy Moth infestations. These moths feed on the leaves of any tree but prefer oaks and maples. They feed on leaves just during the caterpillar stage. They are gross looking hairy caterpillars with spines. People are often disgusted with their appearance, especially when there are many of them on one tree. If you see them on the tree it is important that you don't ignore them, but instead call your local arborist or tree service to treat the tree and caterpillars.

The caterpillar stage lasts for about 6 weeks when it pupates. In early July its metamorphosis is complete. The caterpillar is now the moth. The moths die off in August, but not without leaving behind eggs for next year. Each female leaves behind about 1200 eggs.

Interestingly, only the male moths can fly. So once the male moths start turning up in traps set up by professional arborists, then you know you have a problem and a spray schedule is set up to rid your trees and property of this invader.

Aerial spray treatments have been conducted in Illinois annually for about 30 years. Applications are generally limited to forested areas, and residential and agricultural areas with significant tree density, avoiding all other land and water designations.

If you suspect Gypsy Moths are affecting your trees, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. We specialize in plant health care, so we are very equipped to help you keep all your trees healthy now and for years to come.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. - 847-913-9069 •