Tree Care Services in Milwaukee

Detect and Treat for Spongy Moth on Trees

What do you know about how to detect and treat for spongy moth on trees? We recently got an update on this invasive species and the damage it can do to trees in our area.

Every February the University of Wisconsin offers continuing education for professionals in the landscape industry. These short courses cover a variety of topics and keep new and experienced people in the landscaping industry aware of what’s up and coming. They also offer new takes on traditional practices. Ours is an industry that is always evolving with new technology and scientific advancements.

Detect and Treat Spongy Moth

Resurgence of Spongy Moth

This week one of the big take-aways was the resurgence of Spongy Moth, formerly known as Gypsy Moth. This pest is known around the world for it’s spongy looking egg masses which resulted in its new nomenclature. It is not so much the moth that causes the problems, it’s the caterpillars which can defoliate an entire tree. Unfortunately, their favorite meals are some of our favorite trees. Oaks, lindens, birches, pine & spruce are all on the top of their list. If those aren’t available they will eat maple, elm, nut trees and many others.

Detect and Treat for Spongy Moth

Spongy Moth is Invasive Species

The moth was brought to the US in the late 1800’s and is therefore considered an invasive species. It unfortunately has very few predators here in the US, which has allowed its population to explode. Some biological controls have been effective but they are not practical for the home landscape. Blue Jays are one of our native birds that will eat the caterpillars, but most birds don’t enjoy them because they are covered with prickly hairs. Some rodents enjoy eating the pupal stage of the moth and chickadees will eat the egg masses, but none of these are enough to even put a dent in the problem.

Spongy Moth

How to Detect and Treat for Spongy Moth Egg Masses

So how can you help? At this time of year one of the easiest and most environmentally friendly ways is to go out and look at your trees; are there any brown, spongy patches on them? If yes, you will want to scrape them off if you can and let them soak in a bucket of soapy water to kill the eggs. Each of those masses can contain up to 1000 eggs. That is potentially 1000 caterpillars that would be infesting your trees. If they are too high or if scraping off egg masses is not your thing, they can be sprayed with Horticultural Oil before they hatch. This will smother the eggs, but you must soak the entire mass. This can be done by the homeowner or by a tree care professional.

Treatment Option for Spongy Moth Caterpillars

If you’ve missed the egg stage and find the caterpillars on your trees you can apply barrier methods or look into an insecticide spray. Be sure to only use a spray labeled to use for the Spongy Moth. Not all insecticides work on all insects so it’s important to make sure the chemical you are using will work on this pest. Always consult the label for the proper application or have a professional come and treat your trees.

We would like to acknowledge and thank PJ Liesch from the UW-Madison Insect diagnostic lab for providing us with an update on the status of this pest in our state. For more detailed information on the Spongy Moth and what you can do to help, head to the University of Wisconsin’s info page: https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/spongymothinwisconsin/

Protect Your Trees & Shrubs From Winter Damage

Protect your trees and shrubs against winter damage! You’ve invested in your trees and shrubs and with a little effort now, you can make sure they survive our harsh Wisconsin winters. It is important to guard against both creatures as well as the elements.

Deer – Deer have already started rubbing against trees, which means it’s time to give them some protection. We recommend using hardware cloth or tree wrap.  Be sure to use something that will not trap heat or moisture against the trunk of the tree.  Wrapping the tree up to the lower branches is effective in most cases.  

Rabbits/Rodents – The best protection is to cage small tree or shrub with hardware cloth.  Hardware cloth is more rigid and has smaller holes than chicken wire, so we find it to be a better option.  Burying the hardware cloth 2” – 3” below the soil is important.  Little critters can easily squeeze under anything that is simply resting on top of the soil.  

 

General Winter Damage – Place stakes around arborvitae, evergreens, and boxwoods, then wrap burlap around the stakes, leaving the top open for ventilation.  It is important to allow for air movement around the foliage and to allow heat to escape.  It’s not the actual cold temperatures that hurt them, but the drying winds.  If you have your plant wrapped tightly heat and moisture will build up on the inside.  If the wrap stays on and we get warm weather, you create a little oven in there and it can cook your plants.  In addition, you may find fungal problems on tightly wrapped boxwood if the wrap is left on during warmer temperatures.

PRO TIP! one of the BEST ways to protect your evergreens is to keep them well watered until the ground is frozen.  Evergreens do not go dormant and they need all the moisture reserves they can get built up before the ground freezes.  If your evergreens go into winter dry, they are much more likely to get winter burn or even die over the winter.

Our aborists are experts at ensuring your trees have long, healthy lives. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment to talk about your tree service needs.

June Landscaping Checklist

Flowers

  • Continue planting annuals and vegetables.
  • Direct seed annuals and vegetables into the garden early in the month.
  • WATER! Annuals and veggies need regular water due to their shallow root systems. Remember that fewer, deeper waterings are more beneficial than frequent, shallow waterings.
  • Fertilize as needed. Perennial beds can use a slow-release fertilizer or can be fed along with annuals with a liquid like Miracle Gro. Vegetables can also be treated this way although many people have moved towards organic methods like compost to enrich the soil in the vegetable gardens.
  • Deadhead annuals and perennials for enhanced appearance and improved blooming.
  • Stake or trellis newly planted things like vines and tomatoes right away to avoid damaging the plant later.
  • Get on a regular weeding schedule. It’s easier to keep up a little at a time than to let things get out of control.

Lawn

  • Apply fertilizer and broadleaf weed control. 4-6 weeks after your prior application is best. Avoid using weed control on newly seeded areas.
  • Monitor for disease and insect problems and consult a professional if needed.
  • Keep grass cut at about 2 ½” to 3”. Cutting the grass shorter will allow more heat and light to penetrate to the roots causing stress. It also creates more openings for weeds to take hold.
  • Water as needed. Remember that fewer, deeper waterings will be more beneficial than frequent, shallow waterings. Lawns require about an inch of rain per week.
  • Newly seeded or sodded areas will require more water than an established lawn.

Trees/Shrubs  

  • Monitor for disease and insect problems and consult a professional if needed.
  • Prune spring blooming shrubs right after they are done blooming.
  • Trim boxwood, yews and other evergreens.
  • Fertilize roses and pre-treat with fungicide if they are prone to disease issues.
  • Trees and shrubs planted within the last year should be monitored for water. They will need it before your established plants do. If it’s hot and dry and we’re receiving less than an inch of rain per week, give them a good long drink.

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How to Know When to Trim, Cut, and Remove Trees on Your Property

It’s that time of year when it’s starting to get warm out and you start thinking about your yard. So, what about that big tree that’s spanning across your driveway? How do you know when it is the right time for tree trimming?

Pruning, cutting, or trimming at the wrong time of year can damage your plants. So, let’s take a look at the different seasons throughout the year, and when it’s best to prune, cut, and trim your trees.

Gardener pruning a tree

Pruning and Tree Trimming

There are different steps you should take when getting ready for pruning and tree trimming in different seasons. What you do in winter will be different than what you do in summer.

Summer

The goal for tree trimming and pruning in summer is to direct the tree’s growth patterns. Things to keep in mind when pruning in the summer include:

  • There is a process called dwarfing where you remove the unwanted branches from the tree.
  • Pruning works to slow down and limit the growth of a tree. By pruning, you lower the number of leaves on a tree. By doing this, the tree stops producing as much food and it signals to the roots of the tree that it needs to grow.
  • Summer pruning and trimming are all about correcting growth and getting rid of defective branches. There may be branches that are in the way of your house or have broken due to a storm.

The exposed branches are easier to identify in the summer, so this is the best time to trim.

Winter

While pruning in the winter may be a lot colder than in the summertime, it’s more common. Trees are dormant, so they aren’t actively growing. Some things to keep in mind about winter pruning include:

  • Pruning trees in the winter allows for new growth in the spring.
  • Pruning for growth, not getting rid of defective limbs, is best in the winter time. Make sure you wait until the worse part of winter has passed.
  • Some trees go through a bleeding process, which involves the tree releasing sap. This is not harmful to the tree, and the tree will stop producing sap when spring comes.

Trimming Healthy Branches

While tree trimming, remember:

  • Trimming healthy branches on a tree is more difficult than branches that have died.
  • Branches that are diseased need to be cut off in order to stop them from affecting the rest of the tree. Other branches that need to be trimmed are ones that rest on each other, limiting growth.
  • If you do have branches that are diseased, it’s best to trim them in the winter because the disease can become dormant in the cold and won’t spread.
  • Branches that are healthy that you need to trim will require more effort to cut through because the fibers are strong and woven tightly together. When you cut through a healthy branch, it will often produce sap.

Time to Trim!

As you can see, there are different times and seasons to prune your trees depending on what your ultimate goal for them is. If you’re not keen on doing it yourself, you can hire a landscaper or a company that excels in tree trimming. They’ll know what to do.

And, if you’d like expert help, contact us now. We can help you determine the best time and way to prune your trees!

4 Main Benefits Of Stump Grinding

Tree stumps can be unsightly, annoying, and at times, dangerous. If you have a stump on your property from a cut, dead, or fallen tree, stump grinding eliminates the unwanted stump. That’s what makes stump removal an essential element of good tree care and yard maintenance.

ground tree stump

Read on to learn the four main benefits of tree stump grinding.

1. Improve Aesthetics and Regain Space

Tree stumps can make an otherwise tidy, well-kept yard look neglected. Removing stumps can instantly improve the look of your property. This increases the overall property value and its visual appeal.

In addition to aesthetics, space is also an important issue, especially if your yard is smaller. A tree stump can take up space in an area that could be used for other yard design elements. Stump grinding gives you that space back, both above and below ground.

2. Avoid Accidents and Inconvenience

While a tree stump might not seem dangerous, it can be a major trip hazard for anyone. This is especially an issue with senior citizens and small children.

Removing a stump is not only a necessary safety measure for yourself and your family, it also removes the possibility of a stump-related accident that could cost you a lot of money. If someone is hurt on your property, you could be liable for any injuries they suffer.

Inconvenience

Tree stumps can be a real pain when you’re mowing. Having to carefully maneuver around them gets old, and, if you accidentally hit one, you could damage your mowing equipment. Having the stump ground and removed ensures that you’ll have no stump-related injuries or hassles.

3. Protect Against Disease and Pests

Tree stumps on your property might look harmless, but they could be harboring many undesirable pests or diseases. Insects and other pests can take up residence in these stumps. Not having stumps removed gives those insects plenty of opportunities to settle in and multiply.

Disease

These stumps are often from trees that died of disease. Removing the stump can prevent the spread of tree diseases from the stump to other healthy trees in the vicinity.

4. Stop Stump Sprouting

If you’ve paid for tree removal, you don’t want to have to deal with that tree again. Stumps that are left behind can quickly begin to sprout and regrow. This regrowth eventually will have to be addressed with another costly tree removal attempt.

Stump grinding ensures that this doesn’t happen. Both the stump and the roots below are destroyed and removed so that regrowth won’t become an issue. In this way, deciding to have your stump ground when you cut down the tree can save you money in the long run. It takes care of the issue the first time, eliminating the chance for sprouting.

Stump Grinding Is Always a Good Decision

Whether you aim to improve the look of your property, prevent injuries, protect against pests and disease, or stop regrowth, stump grinding is a must.

We offer expert tree care and landscaping services in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin. For solutions to your landscaping and arboreal services, contact us through our website or give us a call at (262) 252-4260.

When to Call a Tree Care Service in Menomonee Falls

You might not know it but a landscaper and an arborist serve different purposes. For instance:

  • A landscaper deals with trimming bushes, mowing lawns and hardscaping.
  • An arborist specializes in tree care. They are even certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
  • A skilled arborist will help you trim, plant, and remove trees safely. They also specialize in recognizing diseases that affect the health of your trees.

Trees are our greatest outdoor assets and deserve proper tree care service. Calling the right company will make all the difference. The people of Menomonee Falls deserve expert care and professionalism!

old tree stump

Tree Care Service Treats Common Issues

Trees are a life-giving force in our communities, but sometimes they do fall ill. Weakening limbs are not seen on the exterior and can be a safety issue to you and your family. It is best to schedule regular visits to maintain a safe environment.

Pests and Diseases

A beautiful natural environment surrounds Menomonee Falls. But, that natural environment can lead to unwanted guests. For instance, many of us have seen the damage first hand. The Emerald Ash Borer, an Asian beetle, has been affecting ash trees in the area for over 10 years. Luckily, a professional administering emamectin benzoate can protect trees from Emerald Ash Borers for up to two years.

If you see spots or dead areas on leaves, you can first identity the disease by following our helpful guide, but a professional eye is always recommended to be certain.

Cutting Down a Tree

It is not recommended for any inexperienced party to cut a tree down. There is a significant safety risk caused by falling branches and equipment misuse.

Also, it is critical that professionals and non-professionals alike never attempt to cut down a tree without the proper equipment. Between 2009 and 2015 there have been 580 tree trimming related fatalities. That’s an alarming rate that is 3 times more than any other industry, and many of these fatalities are due to inexperienced individuals using improper equipment.

There are no Federal safety standards governing the tree care service business. And while the ISA has created voluntary standards to help protect those in the field, they are neither mandatory nor enforceable. This is why it is important to rely on someone who knows what they are doing.

A Tree for Every Climate

Not all trees survive in every climate. In order for a tree to thrive, it’s important to know what conditions it can endure. A local arborist understands the nuances of the seasons and weather patterns, so they can help you with this. Also, an arborist understands that there are several topics to consider when purchasing a tree. For example:

  • Height: Will the tree run into anything when fully grown?
  • Canopy spread: Is there room for the tree to branch out?
  • Deciduous or evergreen: Will the tree lose its leaves?
  • Fruit: Will there be falling fruit? (Falling fruit can be hazardous on public walkways.)
  • Tree needs: What are the tree’s soil, sun, and moisture requirements?
  • Hardiness: Can the tree withstand the full swing of the seasons?

Often times we make tree selections based on looks. While that’s very important, the health of the tree should be the top priority.

Expert Tree Care Service

We are masters in tree care and arboreal services and have been serving Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin since 1973. We understand the specific challenges of the Wisconsin climate and which trees can thrive here. Contact us on our website or call us at (262) 252-4260 to get your tree care service started!