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.
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.
Once again, we are hearing from clients who state that their nationwide lawn care companies, whom will remain nameless, have left information that their property is under major attack from multitudes of insect and fungal issues. This scare tactic has been going on for years and most of you may have already experienced it.
To generate new sales, major national lawn care companies pay ‘bonuses’ to their lawn care employees who take the time to leave a supposed ‘property evaluation’ detailing all kinds of insect and fungal infestations supposedly spotted on their client’s trees and shrubs. Whether these employees know the names of certain insects and funguses given to them by these companies or not, what we find repeatedly is that what these companies say they see on your trees has nothing to do with these mentioned insects or funguses.
Many natural, environmentally related circumstances cause unavoidable leaf issues. Almost every residential property has trees or shrubs with Winter Burn or Summer Leaf Scorch, which is attributed to some unseen insect or fungus by companies who operate this way.
If you have received a notification like this, and wish to pursue it, we ask that you set up an appointment for their representative to meet you at your property. Tell them that a Tree Green representative will also be there to meet both of you, on a day and time of their choosing. We will discuss these purported issues and then you can decide what you want to do from there. We guarantee you that they will have some reason to avoid this.
The point is, if their lawn care people really knew and understood complex tree and shrub issues, they themselves would be treating trees and shrubs for those companies, not treating lawns. We don’t want to come off as bashing the competition, as we know that is not a good business practice. But these tactics cause us so much aggravation, and so much wasted time answering questions from nervous clients, that we feel the need to call these companies out on this deceptive practice.