Crab Apple Trees Flowering in November?

You may have noticed that certain varieties of Crab Apple trees are displaying some  minor flowering right now. The below photo was taken October 31st.

The months of September and October were abnormally warm. This warm weather will confuse many flowering trees and shrubs.

Flower buds for the following year always form during the prior season. Ordinarily these buds sit closed on the tree throughout the Fall and Winter waiting on Spring. However, if the Fall season is unseasonably warm and those buds receive above average warmth for an extended period of time, a second flowering can occur.

What this means is that these trees will not flower as fully next Spring and in some rare cases, may not flower at all depending on the variety of tree involved. Even though you may not be seeing this second flowering occurring on your tree at the present time, that does not mean that your tree might not be affected next year.

Even if flower buds fail to open as those shown in the photo, they may have swelled beyond the point that they normally would. If that is the case, it is possible that Winter’s cold temperatures and winds might burn the swollen buds that are not as dense, compact and insulated as they normally would be. Should this occur, the buds will sustain damage and not open next Spring. Only time will tell.

On a better note, we have been driving past clients homes this Fall checking on our fungal treated Crab Apple trees and we hope you are as happy with their condition as we are. We promised our new treatment products for 2017 would produce tremendous results and they obviously have! We are seeing Crabs that are still fully leafed!

Have a wonderful Fall and upcoming Holiday Season.

Better Treatment for Apple Scab

We are certain that all of our customers are loving their treated Crab Apple, Hawthorne and Maple trees this year!

A clients Crab Apple treated by Tree Green. Photographed 8/17/17.
Notice the thick, full canopy and the shade and privacy the tree provides.

Apple Scab Fungus is horrendous again this year as is evidenced by this second photo. If Apple Scab is really bad then so is Quince Rust on Hawthornes and Tar Spot Fungus on Maples.

This photo was also taken on 8/17/17 and is on the same street as the Crab in the 1st photo.

As you drive around, compare your treated, crab apple’s appearance to others in your neighborhood. You will notice a similar, amazing difference!

How did we come up with an effective treatment? What happened was this…

Two years ago, in 2015, we received 8 or 9 calls from clients saying their Crab Apple seemed to be suffering from Apple Scab despite us having treated their tree that season. Upon inspection, we did see some of the fungus present and although their Crab didn’t look nearly as bad as their neighbors un-treated Crab, they weren’t the results they, or we, were used to getting. Since we had only received 8 or 9 calls out of over 1,200 Crab Apple clients we thought that maybe it was a fluke and some other environmental issues were at play so we didn’t make too much of it.

But then 2016 came along and with it so did over 40 calls and emails from clients with the same observation; their Crabs seemed to have Apple Scab despite having received treatment. We figured if 40 clients called, there could have possibly been another 100 or so who noticed the same thing but chose not to call, attributing the lack of results as we did the year prior, to be a fluke.

We went back and looked at the trees of the 8 or 9 clients who had initially called in 2015. Those trees were in even worse shape in 2016 than they were the year prior so we knew there was a serious issue to deal with. We knew this trend would accelerate  rapidly in the next few years.

We determined that the fungal spores were developing a ‘resistance’ to the high-end fungicidal products that we have used for over 20 years so we had to make a change. Fungicides come in 9 different classifications. This year we decided to make a wholesale change and switched to entirely different, and more expensive, classifications of fungicides to get better results this season. Going forward we will rotate products year to year to prevent the possibility of another resistance issue.

Tree care is a highly complex field. It’s not much different than your doctor making a change in personal medications when they find that an earlier medication is not working to its expected potential. We’ve all heard about antibiotics no longer controlling certain infections.

So what did we do?

This year we acidified the spray tank water to lower the water’s pH to a level that helps products work at their peak. Then we mixed three (3) different classifications of fungicidal products together and added a surfactant that helps the product better absorb into the leaf and repel rain after it has been applied. We know of no other company who goes to the lengths that we do to get the best possible results.

If we treated your Crab Apple this season, we hope that you really enjoy your healthy Crab Apple tree(s). Sorry in advance for all the extra leaves you will have to rake this Fall!  Enjoy the rest of your Summer.

 

 

 

pH Matters

In our last blog post we mentioned that some of our clients were seeing some yellowing, blotchy leaves falling from their Crab Apple trees. We mentioned that with the spring being as cool, damp and protracted as it was, all types of fungus and blight issues flourish in those conditions. We mentioned that just because we treat your trees against Apple Scab fungus, it does not mean that certain other fungus or blights might not be an issue in some years. Certain fungus and blights are not really treatable, and if they are, they might require different products, treatment timing & even more applications than what is required to treat Apple Scab or Rust issues.

The bottom line is that Apple Scab disease is the most debilitating fungus of all, and even though this may be a tough year for fungal and blight issues, your trees will still look really good if they are being treated by us. They might not be as perfect as they have looked in prior years, but they will be, without a doubt, better than in the years before you started having your trees treated.

That being said, we are also looking into whether the Apple Scab Fungus in some of our treatment areas is developing a certain tolerance to the products that we have used for many years on the Crabs that we treat. Additionally, we are noticing that the pH of the local water supply has been rising increasing from 7.5 to 8.3 pH in recent years. It is well known in our industry that the higher the pH level, the harder it is for insecticides and fungicides to work to their full potential. This is why when homeowners spray their bushes with hose sprayers or those one-gallon pump sprayers, they often claim the products they buy at local nurseries or hardware stores do not seem to work very well. Besides the fact that these are inexpensive products, compared to products we use, the pH also needs to be lowered to get results. The product labels don’t mention the pH level, however, because they don’t want to make it seem so confusing that people will avoid buying the product.

So what does all of this mean going forward?

Tree care is a very, very complex field. Situations and conditions are constantly changing and we do everything we can do to stay up-to-date and adapt to those conditions.

We work in cooperation with another tree company from Wisconsin who takes what they do as seriously as we do. Comparing notes, they determined that the local Apple Scab spores might be developing a tolerance to the product mixture that they used. They had the same issue in Wisconsin years ago, made some changes, and got great results from making those changes. We plan to implement those changes in Illinois in 2017.

First, we are further reducing the pH of the local water that we use by adding water softening products to the water. Additionally, in the case of Apple Scab, we will be adding an additional fungicidal product that works with an additional mode of action.