We mentioned that we expect fungal issues to be extensive this year in the Western suburbs. We are certain of that. For those of you whose Crab Apples we treat for Apple Scab, we know you will be happy with your decision to treat your trees. You will realize just how glad as the Summer progresses and you see other area Crabs missing 70% to 90% of their leaves in July, August, September and October.
Keep in mind though that a new fungus hit the area in the past few years called ‘Frogeye’ Fungus. This fungus is different and not nearly as debilitating as Apple Scab. It may create bright yellow spots on the leaves initially and the tree may then drop some bright yellow leaves onto your lawn. This situation too will last a few weeks and then stop. This occurrence happens early enough in the Summer that the trees will still have a chance to re-foliate. It is not anywhere near as harmful as Apple Scab which creates dark brown and black lesions on the leaves. Our Apple Scab products are not labeled for Frogeye. There is a limit to how many products we can mix together and there is no single product that controls every potential fungus that is out there. We focus primarily on Apple Scab which does the most harm by far.
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.
This 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.
This 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!
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.
The 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.