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9 Scotts Way Essex, MA 01929
17 Jun 2016

Emerald Ash Borer found in Massachusetts

The emerald ash borer is here in Massachusetts, but not to the surprise of tree care professionals. This is a very destructive insect pest that is killing ash trees everywhere it is found. It will only kill ash trees, any variety of ash.

This invasive pest was first discovered in Michigan in 2002, and has since then spread to a total of 18 states in the northeast. It was discovered in Connecticut earlier this year, and the Massachusetts find was made August 30 in a specially designed purple EAB trap by a staffperson with the Dept. of Conservation & Recreation in Dalton, out in the Berkshires. The pest was found in eastern NY last year, so Mass. arborists knew it was only a matter of time.

What is the significance of the emerald ash borer? It will kill an ash tree in as little as 3-4 years. It is difficult to find a newly infested tree, as they prefer to start higher up in the tree’s canopy, and their exit holes are only about a quarter inch. By the time the pest becomes noticeable on the tree, it is likely already dying. But this would serve to be a warning that it is in your neighborhood, and if you have valuable ash trees, it would be time to begin treating them. Unlike the Asian Longhorned Beetle, the is no federal program to eradicate this pest, as eradication is not a practical means of stopping this pest. It will likely continue to spread and kill ash trees until there are none left unfortunately, making treatment the only viable option in the maintained landscape.

The bright green adult beetles can be found from June to August, and they will feed lightly on the ash tree’s foliage. Larvae will grow and feed in the phloem from July to November. Their mortality is not affected by cold, but woodpeckers do like to feed on them at this time through the winter. the adult will then emerge in June-July.

If you have a valuable ash in your landscape, watch the news of this pest- it doesn’t exist in the eastern part of the state yet, but when it does move in, you may want to begin protective treatments. Your Mayer Tree Service arborist can help you with that decision making process. If you would like more information about the emerald ash borer, visit emeraldashborer.info.

17 Jun 2016

Early spring weather and a freeze

Feels like summer out there, doesn’t it?

Well, not anymore. Last week (March 19-23) we had record warm temperatures, peaking in the 80’s. Every day as I walked about various landscapes, another tree species was blooming; red maples popped, then crabapples popped, then magnolias, then cherries. Forsythia is in full bloom, and several other shrubs started to leaf out or show their flowers. Wintermoth had also hatched, as was evidenced by the very fine silken strings left behind on the twigs of host trees, going from bud to bud where they are now feeding. I found a couple of larvae- they are smaller in diameter than a thread and about 1 millimeter long. But they are out there.

Monday night saw temperatures drop into the low 20’s. Not good for all these new flowers and leaves out there. This morning, I stopped to look at a star magnolia in Wenham- it was in full bloom, except the flowers were wilted over, and they felt like slush. Frozen. They likely will fall off the tree in the next day or so, barely enjoyed in such a brief glimpse of summer.

This cold snap may cause similar damage to many other landscape plants, but only time will tell. Like a plant getting defoliated by wintermoth caterpillar, it will need to reproduce foliage if it’s current leaves were frozen beyond repair. A healthy plant can handle this every now and then, but if your plant has been weak and had started pushing out new leaves before yesterday, the cells in tender young foliage may have been irrepairably damaged. A similar situation occured 2 years ago, when we were hit with a late frost in April- I saw many Japanese maples turn brown at their outermost branches. It was a temporary condition, but it did warrant a number of phone calls. I think I can expect the same this spring now.

Will this little freeze kill off winermoth? Not sure yet. The cold certainly does slow down insect activity- no bees flying about, or other insects moving very much today. Wintermoth overwinters as an egg on the trunk of a tree and can handle the cold winter, but not sure how a newly hatched larvae will handle it. Again, time will tell.

If you need an evaluation of your landscape, I am available, just contact me at jeffb@mayertree.com.

17 Jun 2016

Early leaf drop

This is a great time of year to determine the health of a tree.

Trees spend the spring pushing out new leaves, then twig elongation with more new foliage occurs. The tree is using a lot of it’s stored energy to do these things, and most trees can appear to be healthy and productive. As summer moves along toward fall, trees that are stressed or weakened may now begin to show signs of a problem.

If there is a question of a nutrient deficiency, it can be seen at this time. Certain missing nutrients can be observed by looking at particular discoloration patterns in the leaf. This is the time of year to perform a foliar nutrient analysis, if needed, by sending leaf samples to a diagnostic laboratory.

If your tree is looking like fall is already here, there may be a different problem. Trees that are stressed can start dropping their leaves in August, which is too early for “normal” fall abscission. A tree that is losing it’s leaves now is likely stressed- it has suffered from drought injury, disease injury, or some other environmental problem. These specimens should now be evaluated by a competent arborist to see if a cause can be determined, and get the tree on a program to lead it on the path to recovery, if possible. Possible solutions could include bio-stimulant treatments, fertilization, microinjections, as well as some cultural relief such as increased watering, mulching (or removal of excess mulch), pruning, or many other options. Where as there are several possible problems, some of which may compound other symptoms, there may be several solution recommendations.

In the North Shore, many trees I have seen dropping leaves were drought stressed from last summer. Some have had foliar diseases that have weakened the leaves due to the very wet and cool spring we had this year, which was very conducive to disease infections. A hurricane/ tropical storm can also cause a lot of desiccation of the leaf, which could also lead to leaf loss. Crabapples, birches, and sugar maples are three species I tend to see dropping leaves early every year due to these types of problems.

If you feel that your trees are in fall while you are still in summer, it might be a good time to contact your certified arborist for a routine evaluation. Seeing trees now that are stressed can lead to the implementation of a program to put them on the road to recovery.

Jeff

17 Jun 2016

DIY Organic Plant Health Care | Can You Make Compost Tea at Home?

Gardening is a true DIY hobby. Avid and hobby gardeners alike plant and care for perennials, annuals, veggies, trees and shrubs on their own, with support from a tree service company and other industry professionals. But when it comes to realizing the advantages of organic plant health care, experts agree that the DIY route could be fraught with dangers.

Understanding the Process of Making Compost Tea

Compost tea or manure tea is derived from compost or composted manure. The brewing process involves steeping, filtering and aeration in a controlled environment. Top quality material from a reliable source provides the ideal base, and proper handling of both the original organic matter and the finished compost tea ensures that bacteria and other elements do not overpopulate the mixture.

Some gardeners report the presence of E. coli in homegrown manure tea, possibly due to a lack of control during the brewing process. (link – http://gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/320/how-is-manure-tea-made-without-e-coli) While experienced gardeners with access to manure or vegetable compost may be eager to try their hand at the tea brewing process, they should fully understand the process and weigh the potential risks.

Benefits of Well Made Compost Tea

Studies show that properly made compost tea (from a controlled source and distributed in a professional manner) aids in tree and plant growth. Organic plant health care also helps plants to fight off disease and fungi, producing a more bountiful crop.

But should gardeners attempt to brew tea from a relatively unknown organic source, and in an uncontrolled environment?

A better solutions exists. Embark on organic plant health care with professionally made compost tea or manure tea.  Mayer Tree is a reliable source and offer application services to ensure your property and plants are well taken care of this season and into the future.

17 Jun 2016

Deer Ticks

There has been a lot of information in the media about ticks in the past few years, and I have observed high populations, and have heard similar reports from other landscape professionals this spring.

Ticks, primarily the deer tick, can carry and transmit Lyme disease. This disease can be quite debilitating to people and pets, causing many people to reduce their outdoor activities to reduce their exposure. At Mayer Tree Service, we can provide a solution for this pest.

Tretaments to your property can greatly reduce the tick population at your property. We have received several requests from new clients this year, so I want to continue to spread the word about treatment options. Traditional products will deliver a fast and effective knockdown, and we also offer organic options too for those that prefer more natural solutions, such as garlic juice and tick tubes.

Many people plan outdoor events during the spring, summer, and fall. Make your guests more comfortable by having a tick treatment done a day or two in advance of your party or wedding or cookout. These treatments are also effective where mosquitoes are a problem.

Mosquitoes can transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus, as well as just being an annoyance to your outdoor living space. Targeted treatments for mosquitoes will drastically their populations.

Contact Mayer Tree Service to discuss a tick and/or mosquito treatment program with a certified arborist today!

Jeff

17 Jun 2016

Carpenter Ants

Now that the warm and dry weather is here, the carpenter ants are now clearly visible to any homeowner that has them in their tree. When temps are cool, these ants tend to lay low, but since we are in the dog days of summer, their activity has taken a big upturn. They are usually noticed by their copious amounts af sawdust, or frass, piling up at the base of the tree under their primary exit holes. This frass may also be noticed speckled on the bark or in the piled up in the crotches of the tree. The ants are usually found crawling all over the lower stem of the tree, as they are out searching for food, coming from and going into their nest.

Carpenter ants do not kill trees. They eat dead or inactive wood, such as the kind of wood in the heart of the tree, or a dead tree laying on the ground, or your house. They will not eat through healthy, living tree tissue. For them to gain access into a tree, they need an opening, such as a cavity or an old pruning wound- with such an opening, they will tunnel into the middle of the tree to create a colony. Once inside the tree, they can be very difficult to remove. This is why homeowners call a professional arborist to deal with them.

In my experience, red oak and any cherry variety seem to be preferred hosts in this part of the state, while pine and other species can also be favored. Spraying the trunk is one method of trying to control these invaders, but can be minimally effective, as it will only impact the ants that are out on the surface. To control the colony, a bait gel is applied to the tree that the ants can take back to feed to the colony. This approach works very well, and is what Mayer Tree Service will recommend for your tree if you have this problem.

If the damage is minimal, the tree should be fine- as mentioned, carpenter ants do not kill trees. But what they can do is structurally weaken trees. If a tree has had years of uncontrolled feeding, the ants will have likely hollowed out the inside of the tree, which will make the tree more prone to failure. As they work the inside of the tree, secondary pests can begin to work the tree, such as woodpeckers looking to feed on the ants, or squirrels and other rodents looking to use the new cavities for nests of their own, enlarging the openings and the cavity itself. Not to mention, if ants are a problem in your trees, there is a good chance they could be a problem in your house or garage too.

Please feel free to call or email us if you would like more information regarding the potential damage and possible treatment soution for your landscape.

17 Jun 2016

Why Your Tree Service Expert Recommends Tree Injection

Dealing with an insect infestation or plant disease in your yard requires patience, planning and the help of a professional. Many tree service experts recommend tree injection to address these types of problem efficiently and effectively. How do homeowners know when this process is necessary?

Understanding How Tree Injection Works

Tree service professionals use a special tool to insert pesticide directly into the tree with this method. The injection site is then sealed with septum to avoid leakage, which often leads to environmental problems and poor results. Quality tree injection methods treat the disease or pest problem quickly and for an extended period of time, moving through the tree’s vascular system and straight to the source of the problem.

Less pesticide is required for this method of tree care due to the direct delivery method. And the eco-conscious design prevents leakage and reduces the risk of additional environmental problems. Your tree service company determines the amount of product required based on the tree’s diameter. In most cases the injection site goes about 5/8″” to 1 5/8″” deep into the trunk and is effective when located near the tree base.

When Should You Invest in Tree Injection?

This type of plant care works very well against the Emerald Ash Borer, a particularly nasty problem in New England and other parts of the United States. Application times range from May to October allowing the pesticide to travel with naturally flowing nutrients and water. If treated during this time with a quality tree injection product your ash trees stand a much better chance of withstanding an Emerald Ash Borer attack.

Homeowners faced with an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer can also take advantage of this method’s speed and potency. A tree service expert may be able to save your tree if tree injection is used soon enough and in the correct manner.

17 Jun 2016

Bud Break on the North Shore

So it is spring time, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet. Temperatures are still dipping below freezing at night.

I did see some crabapples, in a sunny southern exposure against a large brick building, that had broken bud, meaning it is starting to push out it’s leaves and flowers. Not many other trees are at this point yet though.

It’s not too late to prune your pome fruits (apple, crabapple, pear, etc) if you are trying to improve fruit production. Doing this now will encourage better flowers and fruitset.

Soon we will see wintermoth caterpillar larvae on newly formed foliage as other trees break bud. If your eyes are really good, you might be able to pop open some buds and find them inside. They are very tiny, so you must look carefully- let me know if you try this and have any luck!

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, which has been active since January, can now be easily seen in new cottony masses on the undersides of hemlock twigs. Having this pest does not mean you must remove these trees- it is treatable by several methods. Contact us to learn more. If left unchecked, this invasive pest will likely kill even the largest native hemlocks.

I am ready for spring, just maybe one more snowstorm later this week (please no more).

Jeff Bourque

17 Jun 2016

Asian Longhorn Beetle

The last couple of weeks have prompted several calls from people in the area, thinking they may have found the Asian Longhorn Beetle. This pest has been responsible for the decline of thousands of trees, primarily in the Worcester area, and has spread to some neighboring communities and was even found in Boston last summer. Unfortunately, once a tree has been confirmed to have an ALB infestation, it must be removed. Close to 100,000 trees have been removed from the greater Worcester area in the past 2 years.

So what are people finding on the North Shore that has prompted so many calls? A native insect, the Whitespotted Sawyer, has been active as summer has arrived. this pest is remarkably similar to ALB, but there are some key differences. If you think you have found ALB, please contact your arborist, tree warden, or a public official to get a confirmation, as we do not want to see this pest spread into our region. Eradication is necessary to rid Massachusetts of this pest, so early detection is the key. Please check out the following site for more complete information and resources at www.massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/asianlonghorned.html.

I am available if you have questions about ALB, think you have found ALB or see the damage of ALB in your trees. Keep your eyes out for this pest and tell your neighbors too!

Jeff

17 Jun 2016

Arbor Day on the North Shore

Looking for a way to celebrate Arbor Day this year? Want to get to know your favorite tree service a little more?

We will be participating in the Massachusetts Arborists’ Association’s Arbor Day of Service this Friday. During this annual day of charity, Mayer Tree Service, along with several other companies, will be going to several host sites to provide complimentary tree care services to help promote Arbor Day. Each year Mayer Tree has proudly supported this initiative. Contact us to see where we will be!

This Saturday, Mayer Tree Service will be holding it’s annual Arbor Day party, and all are welcome to attend. Employees and their families, clients, and friends of Mayer Tree will be there. There will be free food and beverages, children’s activities, live bands, bonfire, and many other things to see and do. There will also be a storewide sale at our store, Mayer Power Products, where you can save on Stihl outdoor power tools, as well as all the necessary tree climbing and pruning tools.

Hope to see you this weekend!