TREES OR SHRUBS WITH CROTCH SPLITS OR THAT BENT OVER DURING WINTER?

Quite often we see trees or shrubs with limbs tied together with rope or wire. Tying with rope or wire should only be considered a temporary fix (a month or so) until you can perform what we suggest below.

We will see trees and bushes tied with rope or wire that homeowners then forget to remove. Over time it will cut into the branching and ends up killing the plant they were trying to save.

tree cable with eyeboltsThis photo shows the correct way to draw limbs together and secure them. It is far better to actually sink eyebolts directly into the limbs and wire the eyebolts together. In doing so they can be left there indefinitely for future support. This photo example was performed on Arborvitae.

For tree limbs, you can actually drill all the way through the limbs and put a washer and nut on the outside end of the eyebolts or even send a threaded rod (available at hardware stores) through the branches and connect the ends with washers and nuts.  For bigger trees with big splits, hire a reputable tree company that can offer ‘cable bracing’ or ‘bolting.

tree cablingThis photo is of a 250 year old Oak on our owner’s property. The 20 inch diameter limb section on the left split vertically over 12 feet down the trunk. The open air gap between the branch section and the trunk was 8 inches wide and the slightest wind kept widening the split. The tree was ‘bolted’ with two half inch diameter hardened lengths of threaded steel rods (red arrows). The branch was ‘drawn’ back toward the trunk during the process and has now held for 30 years, saving the tree.

If you need bushes or small trees secured you will have to find someone handy in your family to perform the work. If you have a large tree you can call our office for a recommendation of a company who can help you.  We hope you found this educational and helpful!

WINTER INJURY

We are seeing a number of different types of trees and shrubs that have apparently suffered damage or died over the Winter. It seems that the most affected are those shrubs that retain their leaves over the winter such as Boxwoods, Euonymus, Holly, Azaleas and Rhododendron. But some plants seem to have just up and died. Japanese Maples seem to be particularly hard hit as well.

boxwood winter injuryThe Boxwoods shown in the photo are an ‘extreme’ example. These shrubs should be fairly dark green in color. The red arrow points to the color these shrubs should be. These Boxwoods will not recover and will need to be removed and replaced.

While any winter can be stressful to certain trees and shrubs, this past winter was particularly devastating with its 30 to 60° below zero wind chills. This is why we tell folks to water trees and shrubs going into December if we experience a dry Fall. It is important to fully hydrate plants prior to ground freeze to limit possible damage.  At the very least, we recommend not planting Boxwoods. They seem to suffer damage far more frequently than any other plant.

Note…Any time you see winter damage on plants, don’t be hasty and remove them. Hand snipping will remove whatever browning exists and then wait to see what new growth appears in Spring and early Summer. If the damage is minor and the plant is still aesthetically pleasing to you, you won’t need to remove it.

On a separate note, we are also telling folks to avoid planting any Spruce trees because of the growing Rhizosphaera Needle Cast situation which we mentioned several times last season. If you need evergreen or pine type recommendations, we suggest planting Hemlocks and White Pine in more shady areas and Concolor Fir, Vanderwolf and/or White Fir in more sunny areas. Avoid Blue Spruce or Colorado Green Spruce.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Be on the lookout for the Viburnum Leaf Beetle, an extremely destructive pest. Pictured above are two rows of Viburnum at different stages of damage, one half eaten and the other completely defoliated!

We all love Viburnum for their sweet smell and their beautiful floral display in the Spring but unfortunately the Viburnum Leaf Beetle seems to love them even more.

Shown above is a single Viburnum leaf with 18 of the immature beetle larva feeding on it. The larva can range in color from yellowish green to a light/medium brown. Imagine how many must have been present in the photo of the completely defoliated Viburnum shown above.

This destructive Beetle loves certain varieties of Viburnum more than others but IF THEIR FAVORITE VARIETIES ARE LEFT UNTREATED FOR 2-3 YEARS, THEY WILL KILL THOSE PLANTS!

These insects emerge in May, retreat into the ground in mid to late June to pupate for 7 to 10 days and then re-emerge in July as adult beetles. At that point they resume feeding until Fall.

Tree Green’s treatment program consists of two to three well timed insecticide spray applications with quality insecticides. In addition, we rotate insecticide choices as insects will develop a tolerance and resistance to repeated use of the same products. Insect and fungus control can be quite complicated.

Just today, we heard from a client who saw the damage starting this past weekend and tried to treat himself with insecticidal soap. I’m sure he won’t mind us relaying his story to help protect and warn others. He got the product in his eyes and had to go to the hospital emergency room. If you only have a single bush that you want to try to treat yourself – be very careful. In their pure form, these products burn skin and eyes and put off vapors that shouldn’t be inhaled.

There are several varieties of Viburnum and we realize many of you may not know whether you have Viburnum or not so we recommend the following:

Keep an eye on your shrubs! If you see bushes that are thinning or browning, look at the damaged leaves and compare them to the photo shown earlier with the little critters all over it. If you see similar damage, call us! We can stop them in their tracks this year and more importantly, prevent their damage next year and beyond.

For the record, this is what a healthy, free-standing Viburnum looks like. It is a spectacular plant, so keep a wary eye!