Warm winter, wild and wacky spring!

As we move from a record setting warm winter into a tumultuous spring, there a lots of curveballs happening in nature right now! A couple to focus on for your landscape are winter injury to sensitive evergreens and how the weather has affected tree and landscape pests. The warm temps over the winter kept many evergreen plants moving water when that process should have been slowed or even stopped at times. The result is excessive transpiration leading to desiccation (drying out), and this leads to winter injury. Bamboo and boxwood are two that took it the worst. Be sure to water these plants, and an organic fertilizer is also not a bad idea!

The warm winter has mixed effects on tree and landscape pests, but many such as hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) and wood/deer ticks tend to thrive without the harder frosts. As of today, most winter moth larvae have hatched, but yesterday's storm and tonight's record low temps will kill any that have not made it into open buds, so that's great news! The bad news is that for fruit trees, tonight's record lows may kill any opened flower buds which could hurt fruit production. We will be starting tick control, soil injections for winter moth and fertilization in the next few days, and spraying should begin next week. Check back for updates as the season progresses!

Protecting your evergreens against winter injury

With all of the radical changes in weather the last few years, evergreen trees and shrubs have had to withstand many difficult conditions, and the problems have compounded. Summer heat and drought, and fluctuating winter air temperatures with solidly frozen soil have led to much higher than normal rates of winter injury and undue stress on evergreens. you may have noticed excessive needle drop and browning in needle leaved evergreens, and yellowing and dieback in broadleaf evergreens.

In addition to watering your trees and shrubs well in the fall, one step that can be taken is spray treatment with anti-transpirant, also called anti-desiccant. The products we use (Nu-Arbor, Vapor Guard and others) create a waxy coating that effectively prevents loss of moisture from leaves and needles. This happens when soil is frozen, preventing movement of water, but air temperatures fluctuate, allowing valuable moisture to be released.

Contact us today for an assessment or to schedule your application. We apply anti-transpirant right through December, as long as temps are above 40F.  Treatment will provide protection all winter long!

Quick- get the spray! It's Winter Moth!

Here in the great state of Rhode Island, an invasive species from Europe known as Operophtera brumata, or Winter Moth, likely laid waste to the leaves of one or more trees on your property this past spring/summer.

Winter Moth caterpillars are the culprits. Tiny and green, they emerge from their eggs in the bark of trees in springtime, cast out thin strands of silk and swing up in the canopy or drop onto shrubs to eat, eat, EAT.  Maple, oak, ash, crabapple, among others are common RI host species. Many trees can recover and put out a second leaf, but too many years of Winter Moth and your property will be visibly compromised. The feast ends in the summer, they drop to the soil to pupate.

Luckily, they can be controlled with one of two different products. Spinosad is an organic product derived from a unique form of bacteria that affects the nervous system of target insects, and has virtually no non-target effects. We also use Acelepryn, which is a super low toxicity insecticide--which we and the honeybees both like! 

In the next two months, we will see the adult moths emerge- hence the name Winter Moth. This is a great time for us to come by, give you a quote, and get you on the Winter Moth Spray list for Spring 2016. 

Contact us today!

Learn more about Winter Moth