Thursday, April 21, 2011

Controlling Tree Insects

Pests such as the pine beetle and the emerald ash borer have become a huge threat to trees. Many landowners have seen the beauty and value of their properties disappear because of these bugs. Fortunately there are some steps anybody can take to protect their property.  

The most important thing that a property owner can do is to walk around his or her land on a regular basis and inspect all of the trees. That way he or she can spot infestations of such pests and take action against them.

Before implementing such a program of inspections it is a good idea to find out what tree-killing pests are active in your area. The US Forest Service, your state forest service or your state university’s extension should be able to tell you this. These organizations provide lots of good information about such pests and how to control them.

Other Measures to Take
Many people don’t like to hear it but the best way to control such insects is to remove any tree that appears to be infected. This means that dead or dying trees must be cut down as soon as possible. It also means that any area that appears to be infested with the bugs should be sprayed.

Care should be taken with the wood from infested timber. The best solution is to have it hauled away as soon as possible. If you want to keep it to use as firewood there are some precautions to take.

Store the logs and limbs as far from forested areas as you can. This can help prevent the spread of the bugs. If possible store it on a concrete or asphalt or inside a shed. Also cover firewood with a plastic tarp and make sure the plastic is secure. This can keep insects locked in and away from healthy woodlands.

Spraying the logs with water or a long lasting insecticide can also help. Some experts also recommend pouring kerosene on them because this can kill the bugs. Persons should definitely be very careful when doing this because it can make the wood into a fire hazard.

It is also a good idea to follow these precautions when you bring in firewood from off your property. A great deal of the timber used for this purposes comes from insect-killed trees. It is entirely possible that some of the logs you buy or bring in could contain unwanted guests such as the pine beetle.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some Tree Pruning Tips

Pruning is one chore that owners of properties with trees cannot avoid but it can be done safely and intelligently. Exercising a little common sense can make the job go faster and reduce the risks from it.

The first and most important tip is to not climb trees for this task if you can avoid it. Only climb up and do it if you have had a lot of experience. Do not try climbing up to prune or trim if you haven’t done it before. It is also a good idea not to do this from a ladder.

Instead of risking life and limb to prune a few branches, buy a device called a pole trimmer or pole pruner. This is basically a chainsaw on the end of a pole. They come in both telescoping and single length models. You can use it to prune limbs while standing on the ground it is a lot safer and easier. You should be able to find these devices at any hardware or home improvement store.

Another tip is to not have young children and pets around while you are pruning. They can be hurt by falling branches and debris and they can distract which leads to accidents. Try to prune while kids are away or at school. Keep the pets in the house or on a leash while you are doing the job.

Make sure nobody is standing under you or under the tree while you are pruning. That way they will not be hurt by falling limbs or debris.
Also make sure that they do not distract while you are working because this can lead to accidents.

Try to stand on a flat and secure surface when pruning. Try to avoid pruning from the roof, ladders or out of windows. This can make it hard to see where branches are falling. It can also make it more likely for you to loose your balance and fall.

If you have to use a ladder make sure it is firmly in place and won’t fall over before you go up. Come down the moment you notice that the ladder is wobbly or insecure. Be especially careful with ladders on soft ground or lawns because this can be more insecure.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trees Alert: Spring Tree Diseases and How to Avoid them

It’s spring time once again. Spring is that time of year when trees and flowers begin to bloom and show off their lovely leaves again. Even if it is one of the most wonderful time of the 4 seasons we encounter we have to consider that there are certain diseases that also show up on our plants and trees. Trees, in particular encounter certain fungal growths that can affect their lives. Let’s try to have a look at some of the diseases that we may encounter with our trees:

Aspen Leaf Spot
Manner of spreading: wind and rain

Damage done: Attacks the leaves as they begin to emerge in the spring.

Appearance: Small dark spot on leaves, less noticeable during late spring and early summer, as summer progresses, the spots enlarge and look like will envelope all the leaves and even the entire tree.

Host Tree: Aspen

Cause of Severe infestation: Defoliation of leaves, leaving the tree vulnerable to other diseases and insects. The tree becomes unappealing which may lead to the tree's death by natural cause.

Treatment: Treatment should be done early spring. Spray or apply a registered fungicide like Daconil on leaf spot that's on the label. Follow the directions as indicated on the label.


Manner of Spreading: Happens during springtime, unnoticed and manifests in summer when treatment becomes impossible.

Damage done: Their damage is similar to what leaf spots can do and when you start to notice them, the tree becomes impossible to save.

Appearance: They look like small spots of leaves that appear to be watery.

Host tree: Maples, sycamores, oaks and ash trees.

Cause of Severe infestation: The small spots on the leaves initially appear on the leaves. They become bigger and turn to red, brown or black. The infection can go to the petiole of the leaves and will infect small branches. The more grave the infection, the leaves defoliate and will cause small branches and twigs on the tree to die.

Treatment: The treatment is similar to the control process done on leaf spot. Aside from using fungicide, the leaves that drop during fall season should be raked and burned. Sycamore trees may be too large to spray fungicides, it is best to use the service of tree services to get it done.

Fire Blight

Manner of Spreading: This is not a fungal disease but rather a bacterium

Damage done: The leaves on the tree wilt and dry. They turn black and look like they are scorched.

Appearance: When you examine the affected area very closely, you will see a whitish cream or reddish-colored leak coming from the tree's wounds. The leaves will indicate they are infected by these bacteria through the leaves’ twigs. They take on a shepherd's crook shape when they start wilting.

Host tree: They infect pears, apples cotoneasters, hawthorns, pyracantha and mountain ash trees and shrubs.

Cause of Severe infestation: The bacteria spread during warm, wet springs. Insects carry the bacteria from flower to flower. They spread to the twigs of the infected flower. Severe infection of these bacteria can destroy a pear tree in one season.

Treatment: When you notice any signs of this in early summer after the flowers bloom, the only way to stop it from spreading is to cut-off the infected wood. They should be cut at least 8 to 12 inches below the infected part and remove the wood from the area or orchard.

Make sure that you are on a look out for these spring diseases especially when your trees or vegetation are in bloom. When there is less rain or lack of moisture around during seasons of bloom then treatment isn't needed. When the spring weather becomes warm and wet during blooming season then take necessary precautions.

Famous Trees Destroyed by Vandals: Heartbreak and History

If there is any lesson that comes to a homeowner from this article, please let it be to appreciate the life and vitality of the trees in your own back yard. An owner can become emotionally attached to a tree without even noticing – until the moment that it disappears forever. And why not? A prominent tree can become a comforting focal point of a landscape, a favorite shady spot in the sun, or a marker of personal growth.

Several trees throughout history have risen above and beyond their counterparts, and have grown to be loved and cherished by the communities in which they stand. General Sherman in California, for example, draws thousands of tourists each year to view the spectacular height and leaves an impressive memory with all who choose to come. Other symbolic living wonders have met their unfortunate fate early: at the hands of vandals.

Holy Thorn Tree

The Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree was, at one time, one of the most celebrated pilgrimage points in Great Britain. From receiving early Christian offerings to providing sprigs for Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas dining table, to pagan worship – this tree had a very important and meaningful life to many people from all around the world. Every 100 years or so, locals took it upon themselves to transplant a clipping to replace the dying mother. Unfortunately, this historic landmark was reduced to nothing but a tree stump by vandals back in 2010.

Nevada Shoe Tree

This roadside attraction earned the love of tourists with limbs filled with dangling shoes, sneakers, and boots that swayed in the wind with color and surprising grace. Legend has it that the first pair of shoes was thrown by an arguing newlywed couple, a tradition picked up by years of travelers since. No more shoes will be thrown on this cottonwood – vandals cut it down mercilessly saddening the locals who had grown to love it.

Be aware and take good care of your own special symbolic tree – you never know when it could leave your life forever. In the meantime, practice good tree maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape!