Thursday, April 12, 2012

Biological Attacks Used to Curb Kudzu

With the short, mild weather of this past winter, it looks as though weeds are getting a head start this spring. As for the south, the main weed everyone dreads is the choking, enveloping kudzu vine. The invasive plant takes over just about any field, climbs tall timbers and is a nuisance to eradicate.

Most landowners in states like Mississippi and Alabama have done just about anything to eliminate the destructive plant.  Though the vines are easy to mow or mulch, the mechanical method doesn’t seem to be the most effective kudzu removal technique. In fact, time spent plowing over the green foliage doesn’t expel the root of the plant is likely wasted as surface sheering doesn’t expel the root crown.

Biological Growth Control
Herbicides may be effective in the long run, but they require dousing gallons upon gallons of chemical over a period of a few years before results are successful. That cost adds up very quickly and can even affect surrounding plants and groundwater sources. However, there are a few biological attacks that arborists have attempted to parry the kudzu plant into submission. Here are just a few new kudzu removal techniques that may be worth trying this year.

Bacterial Blights

In the past, blights have caused detrimental damage to large sources of crop plants including, potatoes, corn, tomatoes and apple trees.  Blights are naturally occurring pathogenic organisms that affect plants through mold and other water-born fungi.  They affect plant tissue by causing complete chlorosis, which is depriving the plant of essential nutrients. Soon the plant tissue begins to brown and die. Applying blights in a controlled manner to kudzu plants has been tested as a positive candidate for biological growth control and ultimately utilized as kudzu removal.

Insect Herbivory

Insect herbivory is simply a method of introducing controlled amounts of insects that are anatomically adapted to eating particular plants. By applying this biological attack, specific insects are encouraged to devour parts of the kudzu plant therefore causing significant damage and even killing the plant. Because kudzu is a native plant to southern Asia, and not to southern United States, there are few known insects that are natural predators to the plant. Therefore, research is being conducted to find the appropriate insects to use in controlling the growth and aiding in eliminating the devastating kudzu vine.

Seed Predation

Similar to herbivory, seed predation is a biological method of introducing natural predators to consume the kudzu plant. By consuming the seeds of the plant, the insects not only chomp through the leaves and vines of the plant, they interrupt the germination of the plant and alleviate the amount of regrowth or spreading of the vine. So far, field tests have found that more than twenty-five species of insects are feeding on the kudzu plant in areas of North Carolina. Of these predators, the sawfly and several different leaf-eating beetles were identified. The best thing about these predators is that they have no known hosts.
With several different studies being conducted across the southeast, there stands a forerunner as studies hone in on an effective method of biological control. The fungal pathogen known as Mythrocium verrucaria has shown the best results against kudzu vines. The fungus has been used as a pesticide on other plants and grows well in temperatures matching those of the southeastern region. The organism does not venture beyond the areas in which they are introduced, keeping surrounding vegetation and bordering crops safe from consumption. However, the one drawback is that the fungus is highly toxic to mammals. Extreme caution must be used in applying this type of biological attack, which is why it has not yet been released as an accepted kudzu removal strategy. Hopes are that the pathogen can be applied in closely moderated areas.

Photo courtesy: SweetCrisis

How to Remove Trees the Professional Way

There are times that you need to remove trees from your property for various reasons. The reason could be to clear the yard for a construction project you are planning, or you need to improve your landscape, or may be the trees have become a threat to life and properly already because it is decaying if not dead. Whatever the reason, you need to hire the services of a professional tree removal company to the job for you. Don’t think you can do the job alone, especially if you don’t have background on tree cutting.

Not a Kid’s Job

Trees can be big and tall, making them difficult to remove. Unless you are removing a young tree whose diameter is less than ten inches and less than 20 feet tall, don’t take it upon yourself. Nevertheless, you need to learn the basic steps in removing a tree, whether you want to do it alone or you want to hire a professional tree removal company.

To start, survey the area around your tree and check if there are any obstacles. Things to watch out are power lines and other utility cables in the immediate vicinity. The general rule would to give a clearance of about ten feet from the trees nearby. Next, check the tree’s natural lean because it is in that direction that the tree must fall. This means the undercut should the first cut you should make to guide the direction of the fall. In felling the tree, the back-cut must be at least 2 inches taller compared to the undercut’s bottom. Once the tree starts to fall, everyone must move away and stay in the opposite direction. Once the tree is down, cut its limbs into smaller pieces for easy disposal.

Bigger trees, those that are more than ten inches in diameter and are 20 feet high or more, need special equipment that only a professional tree service company is trained to handle. Trees this big and this tall are too risky to handle by amateurs.

Removing the stump from the ground is the next step after the limbs are removed. You will have four options here. If it’s a small tree, you can dig the stump out with a pick and a sharp spade. It will be hours of hard work, especially if the root system is deep and spread out wide. Or you can again let a professional tree removal company do it for you.

Premiere Tree Services of Beverly Hills
9663 Santa Monica Blvd, Number 732
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (424) 230-3557

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Time Plans for Trees

Spring has seemingly sprung in parts of the southeast as temperatures are on the rise and gray clouds disperse. Now is the perfect time to perform professional tree care maintenance on your trees to ensure a healthy growing season. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to get you on track.

Start from the Bottom

Your trees’ root system is vital to a healthy appearance and mature growth. Taking care of these fragile lifelines is essential throughout the year, but spring has the most ideal weather conditions. The mild climate of Georgia thaws the soil and allows pesticides to absorb more effectively. Making sure roots are watered adequately and fertilized appropriately will help keep them strong and resistant to harmful insects and bacteria near Roswell. Using a mixture of water and pesticides that are specific to the types of trees in your area can also prevent tree diseases from spreading.

Work Your Way Up

Though most trees are trimmed in the fall when they’ve lost all of their leaves, early spring is still an ideal time to trim trees. Trimming off overgrowth gives the tree’s new blossoms room to breathe and corrects any abnormal growth patterns. It’s also best to cut away any broken, rotting, or diseased portions of the tree to maintain the trunk’s integrity. Average temperatures in Marietta give trees enough time to scab and heal before harmful insects take harbor. With newer trees, it may be time to trim lower branches to create proper height.

Eliminate the Middle Man (or bug)

Spring is the best time for burrowing insects to emerge, feed and breed. Protect your trees from the inside out to prevent defoliation and tree disease. Tree spraying in Marietta is the optimal safeguard for trees, plants and shrubs. Pesticides, insecticides and fungicides are all easy to administer to the soil around the tree’s root ball. Taller trees that are susceptible to defoliation may require professional tree spraying to reach the canopy.

Enlisting the expertise of a professional arboreal team will ensure that your trees get the proper treatment. Call on Premiere Tree Services to secure the health and well-being of your landscape through this spring and the next.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Environmentally Safe and Effective Tree Spraying: Don’t Panic, It’s Organic

Among the most popular ways of controlling pests and diseases in fruit trees is organic spraying. If you are tree spraying in Kansas City, MO, you must consider using organic spray because of its many benefits. Tree spraying using traditional pesticides are still widely used, but more and more tree owners are now shifting to organic. There are several important reasons for this. One very important reason has to do with health. Organic sprays are considered harmless to one’s health, while the traditional spraying that uses chemicals has been known to pose serious health issues. Another reason has to do with the environment. Organic tree sprays are not known to cause harmful effects on the environment compared to the chemical sprays that poisons the environment.

The following are some of the common types of fruit tree sprays that are organic. These organic sprays are effective for tree spraying in Kansas City, MO. It works well in killing insects and larvae that are overwintering.

Lime Sulphur/Horticultural Oil Mixture

This type of organic spray for fruit trees is composed of horticultural oil and lime sulphur mixture that can sometimes be purchased premixed. You can also purchase a kit and do your mixture. The lime sulphur component of the mixture is a natural fungicide that kills bacteria or fungus spores that are dormant. The horticulture oil component is use for smothering overwintering eggs or insects. The best time to use this spray is in spring right before the swelling of the buds. Otherwise, you face the risk of burning the new leaves. It can also be sprayed when the temperature is between 32 degrees F (0 degrees Celsius) and 70 F (20 degrees Celsius) for not more than 24 hours. This is because the spray’s oil part requires time to kill the insects and their eggs.

Water/Horticultural Oil Mixture

This second type of organic spray is effective for spring use and all summer. Just be sure to do the spraying early in the morning, or when the weather is a lot cooler and trees and vegetation have cooled off. This mixture is not as messy as the first type of fruit trees.

Homemade Mixture of Natural Tree Spray

You can also come up with your own mixture for your tree spraying in Kansas City, MO project. You can buy your own ingredients at any organic farming store. The store will also offer you brochures on how to do the mixing.

Premiere Tree Services of Kansas City, MO
4741 Central Street #413
Kansas City, MO 64112
(816) 226-6344

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heads Up: Proper Tree Removal in Chapel Hill

Unknown to many homeowners, removing a tree from their yard requires proper handling. Tree removal in Chapel Hill can be a bit complicated depending on the property concentration in a particular area. There are several important practices to ensure that trees are properly taken down. These are to ensure the safety of properties around or right under the tree and the people living nearby.

First thing to do is to perform an inspection on the area where the tree removal will be done. Check if there’s an ample space below in case that tree branches fall down while cutting. Tree limbs and branches should be cut down to small sizes, enough for the personnel to handle. And lastly, people working on the tree removal must wear proper working clothes and safety gears, and use quality equipment to avoid accidents.

Since many of us are inexperienced in this procedure, it is recommended to hire the services of tree removal companies in your state to perform the job for you. There is an established market of tree removal in Chapel Hill so finding one is never that tedious.

Safety is the topmost priority in every tree removal procedure. Even professional tree removers don’t take risks in cutting trees unprotected. It is important to follow safety precautions in every project. This includes wearing protective gear, especially for the head, leather gloves as protection from sharp splinters, and a pair of heavy duty boots with ankle support and that won’t slip to provide good hold white cutting the trees.

Ensuring the area to be clutter-free is vital to avoid serious accidents that may cause injuries or damage properties. If several establishments are present nearby, exert more effort in carefully cutting the tree down. Branches should be cautiously put down and dropping the tree should be done with guidance.

Also take note of power lines getting in the way. A single mistake of a branch falling down, cutting power lines can cause a blackout around the vicinity. With this, tree removal services must coordinate with the local energy company for this concern. They may help you in keeping power lines out of the way.

A quick research online will lead you to the best service provider of tree removal in Chapel Hill. Check out the rates for their services, quality of equipment, and testimonials from customers to have an idea on how they perform. This will also help you prepare for the upcoming expenses.

Premiere Tree Services of Chapel Hill
1289 N. Fordham Blvd. Ste. 334
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Phone: (919) 914-0499
Customer Service:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brown Seaweed Production Posits New Biofuel Source

Brown Seaweed Production Posits New Biofuel Source

How would you like to be a seaweed picker? I bet you never knew that job position even existed! Well it does off the coast of Chile, and for good reason. Chilean aquafarms are harvesting abundant supplies of naturally-growing brown seaweed as a way to produce a new source of biofuel.

Brown Seaweed Biofuel Discovery

The recent development of an engineered microbe produced by Berkeley-based scientists of Bio Architecture Lab, Inc. (BAL) does some amazing things to brown seaweed. The enzyme's main contribution to science is its ability to consume the sugars of brown seaweed and convert it into biofuel. In the race to find more sustainable fuel sources to power our planet, biofuel is the new hope for the future. This major advance in the fuel industry can change the course of progression for the US.

Much like the E. coli bacteria from which the microbes were derived, scientists have outfitted enzymes to attack the primary sugars of brown seaweed. These primary sugars, called alginate, then metabolize into ethanol. Scientists hope that this microscopic enzyme will become a biofuel alternative to oil and coal, which are the predominate sources of fossil fuels.

Local Production Efforts

According to recent studies, only three percent of our oceans can produce enough seaweed to keep up with our fossil fuel demand. Coastal Chile is the destination of four aquafarms, but the frigid waters of Northern Pacific ports like Seattle and Portland are teeming with brown seaweed as well. Oceanic plants are desirable as a source of renewable energy because they don’t compete with any other crops used for food, such as corn and sugar cane.  

Over the next three years energy experts hope to increase the microbe technology in an attempt at commercialization. Research shows that with enhanced production seaweed can produce twice the level of ethanol from sugar cane and five times the amount of ethanol from corn. What’s even better news is that land clearing for mass production of corn and cane sugar would decrease if brown seaweed proved easier to harvest in a more contained location.

Harvesting Brown Seaweed

Because of the thousands of acres it takes to produce enough corn and sugar cane to produce enough biofuel for our country’s demand, brown seaweed harvesting takes the cake. Seaweed requires no watering or fertilization. It doesn’t compete with food crops or require crop rotation, nor does it require chemical enhancements. The naturally-occurring nutrients are supplies by the ocean’s ecosystem, which appeals to eco-conscious consumers.  

Beyond its use as a biofuel alternative, the modified E. coli enzyme could be used to produce isobutanol as well.
Photo courtesy AFP.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Boston’s Winter Moth May Cause Untold Devastation

Boston’s Winter Moth May Cause Untold Devastation

Boston has witnessed the destructive behavior of winter moths every spring in eastern Massachusetts with absolutely no idea how to stop it. Winter moth caterpillars devour holes through newly blossomed foliage of shrubs, apple trees, maples, oaks and blueberry bushes. Because they have no natural predators in New England their population growth continues to increase year after year. It’s been a burden on the local forests and has even affected commercial and residential areas as well.

Local entomologists estimated trillions of winter moth larvae consumed more than 100,000 acres of trees in Massachusetts in 2005, with the trail of destruction augmenting about 4 or 5 miles each year. Thousands of trees were left bare from Boston to Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire. Tree services in the Boston area were forced to shorn dozens of branches and remove decaying shrubs. Though tree spraying has become a viable option, entomologists suggest a more organic solution. 

Cyzenis Albicans to the Rescue

Native to Europe, the moth has species-specific predators, called the Cyzenis Albican, that control the population, but none of them exist in the Boston. Without a balanced ecosystem the moths could ravage the area until the resource is depleted. This isn’t good news for the beloved trees of Massachusetts metropolis, the outlying cities Boston or for the native insects and animals that thrive on these trees. But since 2005 these greedy flies have been released into the vicinity to combat the spread of these destructive moths.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the US Department of Agriculture has ordered the containment of the winter moth in six areas of eastern Massachusetts including Falmouth, Yarmouth, Seekonk, Hingham, Wellesley, and Wenham. With a controlled release of moths entering the affected areas, the flies are a welcome inhabitant. They are considered safe for the survival of the natural ecosystem because they target the winter moth and no other species.

How exactly does this tiny fly eat a winter moth? It’s all in the eggs.

The Cyzenis albicans, a parasitic fly, lays its eggs near the food source of caterpillars. When the caterpillar consumes the larvae the eggs continues to grow and hatch in its stomach. Essentially the fly devours the caterpillar from the inside out, both feeding simultaneously. It’s considered a win-win for the fly. That’s one tenacious bug!

Restorative Tree Care

For those trees that have fallen victim to the wide-spreading winter moth, it may be too late to salvage the loss of foliage. With literally millions of moths burrowing into a single tree, tree removal may be essential to the safety of people and structures nearby. However, some trees are luckier than others and may only require tree trimming. Professional restorative care such as tree trimming, tree spraying, or tree removal can mitigate the destruction of these mischievous moths.
If you need professional tree services in the Boston area, contact Premiere Tree Services.  The certified tree experts offer residential and commercial tree care at affordable prices.

71 Commercial St. Ste. 98
Boston, MA, 02109
Phone: (617) 517-3719

Photo Courtesy: Markuso