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:

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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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APRIL Landscaping Checklist


  • Remove all boughs or coverings from your perennial beds to allow plants the light and air they need to grow.
  • Once actively growing, divide perennials like hosta, grasses and daylilies.  It’s also a good time to transplant if you need to move something.
  • Bring spring to your yard by planting containers with pansies, snapdragons, violas, ivy, forced bulbs, and other cold tolerant plants.
  • We can still get frost well into May so it’s best to wait to plant tender plants until after Mother’s Day at the earliest.
  • Some vegetables thrive in cold weather and are not hindered by frost.  If you want to grow vegetables try planting lettuce, cabbage, radishes, carrots, and other cold hardy veggies.
  • Topdress your perennial beds with compost or mulch before plants get too big.  They’ll still come up through a light covering without problem.
  • Fertilize beds with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer and apply your first application of pre-emergent herbicide (such as Preen) to landscape beds.


  • Once lawn is actively growing and is around 4” tall, mow it to 2.5 to 3 inches, removing no more than 1/3 of the turf height at a time.
  • Once soil temperatures have warmed towards the end of the month you can start planting seed and installing sod.  It’s always a good idea to add some fresh topsoil to the area first, and remember to water, water, water!
  • It’s time to apply pre-emergent crabgrass control product, and as soon as you see weeds actively growing you can start treating for broadleaf weeds.  Remember to only use a product labeled for broadleaf weed control in lawns.
  • Core aeration can provide many benefits to your lawn by helping reduce thatch, improving soil porosity, reducing soil compaction, building strong root systems and increasing nutrient absorption.  If you’re someone who doesn’t want to use chemicals on your turf, aeration is your best route to get thick, healthy turf.


  • The number one thing to do now is remove your winter protection from trees, shrubs and roses.  As temperatures warm, keeping wrappings and coverings on will damage your plants.
  • As tree and shrubs become available, they are safe to plant, as long as they are roughly in the same stage of dormancy or growth that our native trees are in.  If you buy a fully leafed out tree that was shipped here from a southern state, you will notice some setback and possibly damage as they are not acclimated to our climate.
  • It’s a great time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs.
  • Remember, even if there is no foliage on the plants, you need to keep them watered if it is dry.  Their root systems are developing underground.
  • Examine trees and shrubs for winter injury.  Prune out any damage.
  • There is still time to do some renewal and corrective pruning before plants leaf out.  Remember, don’t prune your spring blooming plants now (such as lilac, weigela, forsythia, etc.) as you will be pruning off flower buds.  The best time to clean those up is right after they are done blooming.
  • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to trees and shrubs to give them a little boost.  Topdressing the root zone with compost and adding a light covering of mulch is also beneficial.  Remember to keep much at about a 3” maximum and do not mound it around the stems and trunks.
  • Spraying crabapple trees for disease and insects can be started now.  Remember not to spray while they are blooming!  If your tree is older and really an eyesore each year, consider removing it and planting something new. 

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.