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Why Your Evergreen Needles Turn Yellow

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Nov 14, 2016 1:33:27 PM

Fall brings us beautiful colors on Oaks, Maples and other trees in New England, but fall also brings changes in the needles of conifers, such as Pines, Spruces and Arborvitae.

These types of trees are commonly termed evergreens because their needles stay green year round. Well, at least most of the needles stay green. The average lifespan of evergreen needles is three years. In the fall of their third year, the oldest needles turn yellow and drop from the tree, leaving only the one and two year old needles on the outside of the branch.

New needles form in the spring, at the tips of limbs, so again there is three years of needle growth on the tree. So if your evergreen has been healthy all season and then suddenly, in September or October, some of the needles turn yellow, don’t be alarmed, it’s natural - except in seasons of extended drought, where yellow needles can indicate tree health issues. Such is the case in years like this year where we have experienced a season with excessive drought stress. This will lead to more than the average amount of needle drop, and in some cases, defoliation.

If you are concerned about your evergreens, please request a free consultation with an Arborist, as they are trained to identify drought stress and differentiate it from natural third year needle drop.

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Topics: evergreens

Why Do Leaves Turn Color in Fall?

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Oct 14, 2016 10:05:32 AM

Autumn in the Northeast can be a spectacular season of bright blue skies, cool temperatures, and brilliant leaf color.

fall-leaves.png

Tree and plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. Three pigments are involved in fall color:

  • Chlorophyll — gives leaves their green color
  • Carotenoids — provide the yellow, orange, and brown colors
  • Anthocyanins — give the red and purple colors. In contrast to the other two pigments, anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars in the leaf cells

During the growing season, most tree leaves are green because they are full of chlorophyll. Plants use chlorophyll to capture sunlight for photosynthesis, the process that enables them to manufacture their own food. The amount of chlorophyll is so high during the summer that the green color masks all other pigments present in the leaf. As the days grow shorter in the fall, chlorophyll production slows down and eventually stops. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf then become visible.

Do Different Kinds of Trees Turn Different Colors?
Certain colors of leaves are characteristic of particular species of trees.

  • Oaks turn red, brown, or russet;
  • Hickories turn golden bronze;
  • Dogwood turns purplish red;
  • Beech turns light tan;
  • Red Maple turns brilliant scarlet;
  • Sugar Maple turns orange-red;
  • Black Maple turns glowing yellow;
  • Sourwood turn crimson;
  • Birches turn golden yellow.

Why Do Leaves Fall?
Deciduous trees drop their leaves in order to survive the harsh conditions of winter. Stems, twigs, and buds are equipped to survive extreme cold. Tender leaf tissues however, would freeze in winter, so plants must either protect their leaves or shed them.

Fallen leaves are not wasted, they decompose and restock the soil with nutrients. The rich layer of decomposing leaves protects the roots of other plants on the forest floor and absorbs and holds rainfall. Imitating nature by mulching with shredded leaves provides similar benefits for trees and shrubs in the home landscape.

**Excerpts from US Dept of Agriculture, Northeastern Area Fact Sheet SP-01-01
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Topics: Fall Landscape Care

Drought-Stressed Trees: Know the Symptons & How to Mitigate Threats

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Oct 14, 2016 9:28:07 AM

As the long dry summer turns into a severe drought, our trees and shrubs are becoming more and more stressed, damaged, and even killed. Most all deciduous trees are suffering, but Cherry, Purple Leaf Plum, Katsuras, and Dogwoods have been especially stressed.

Here are some symptoms of severely drought-stressed trees:

  • Scorched leaves
  • Wilted foliage
  • Early leaf drop
  • Fall color that is way too early
  • Small fruit production
  • Increased ant population
  • Vascular diseases due to low hydration
  • Browning of leaves and needles
  • Poor root growth

Long Term Drought Symptoms

Your plants will show both short term and long term effects. Some trees may not show any symptoms for 3-4 years.  Here are some changes you will see over the next few years:

  • Stunted growth that may last for several seasons
  • Branch die-back
  • Sparse canopy, off color and undersized leaves
  • Increased insect/disease activity
  • Increase undesirable sucker growth
  • Dead trees and shrubs

Here's how you can help improve the health of your drought-stressed trees and shrubs:

Deep root, liquid fertilization: This process injects water with fertilizer into the root zone of the tree. This not only gives the plants a really good watering, it also gives it nutrients that will boost their reserves and increase vigor.

Soil conditioners/root growth enhancers: By stimulating microbial activity in the soil the tree will have more nutrients readily available, enhancing the natural process of soil science.

Treat shrubs such as Rhododendrons and Hollies: Plants that keep their leaves all winter should be treated with antitranspirant (wilt-proofing). This is a waxy material that will help keep the plant’s leaves from drying out in winter winds.

Water trees and shrubs thoroughly: Be sure to continuing watering this fall all the way up until the ground freezes.

Drought like conditions can do a number on your landscape, and drought-stressed trees can pose a serious safety risk on your property. Please be sure to have an Arborist inspect your trees for health and safety if you notice any of the above symptoms. Click below or give us a call to schedule a free evaluation.

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Topics: tree care

Caring for Drought-Stressed Lawns

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 19, 2016 2:02:35 PM

To help your lawn recover from drought stress and enhance its vigor and overall health, our turf experts recommend Core Aeration and Overseeding for your lawn this fall.

Core Aeration and Overseeding are an essential and necessary component of any lawn care program. Due to the extended lack of moisture, some lawn areas may not recover even when cooler temperatures and fall rains arrive. To solve this problem, we recommend Core Aerating and Overseeding to reestablish the lawn in these dead areas.

Core Aeration:
Loosens compact soil, creates room for new turf growth, and allows more water and nutrients to reach the root zone. Core Aeration is so essential to lawn health, that golf courses Core Aerate their turf two times per year.

core-aeration.jpg

Overseeding:
This process will introduce new grass plants into your lawn and add more desirable species of grasses. Overseeding is a great way to modify the types of grasses in your lawn, without a doing a total renovation.

Now is the best time to Core Aerate and Overseed. If your lawn is stressed from drought, please give us call or click below for a free lawn care consultation.

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Topics: Lawn Care

Gypsy Moth Infestation Expected to Be Bad in Spring 2016

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Apr 6, 2016 8:30:00 AM

If you don’t remember the Gypsy moth infestation of the 80’s, you will be introduced to this insect in the Spring.  Last year we saw pockets of Gypsy Moth infestation in the Topsfield area and surrounding towns.  As their population increases, more and more local areas can expect tree damage from these nasty pests.

Screen_Shot_2016-03-31_at_4.10.13_PM.png  

The following description is from U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Insect Leaflet 162:

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar Linnaeus, is one of the most notorious pests of hardwood trees in the Eastern United States. Since 1980, the gypsy moth has defoliated close to a million or more forested acres each year.

In 1981, a record 12.9 million acres were defoliated. This is an area larger than Rhode Island, Massachusetts,and Connecticut combined.

gypsy-moth2.jpg

A single gypsy moth caterpillar can eat a square foot of leaves a day.  Although trees have a second set of leaves ready to replace those they lose, this takes significant energy. Three or four years of complete defoliation can result in the death of even a large tree.  In wooded suburban areas, during periods of infestation, when trees are visibly defoliated, gypsy moth larvae crawl up and down walls, across roads, over outdoor furniture, and even inside homes.

Gypsy Moths emerge about one month after Winter Moth/Cankerworms, another ferocious feeder, extending the caterpillar feeding season by at least a month.  

How to Treat for Gypsy Moths:

Gypsy Moths are treated in the same way as Winter Moth/Cankerworms, by spray or injection. If you are treating your trees for Winter Moth/Cankerworms, an additional 1 or 2 treatments may be needed to protect your trees from Gypsy Moths.

If you'd like to schedule a free consultation with a Plant Health expert, click below:

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Topics: Insect & Disease Management, plant health care

Beech Trees Suffer Epidemic Decline

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Mar 31, 2016 3:57:11 PM

An epidemic decline is affecting European Beech trees up and down the east coast. Beech trees are being infected by a fungus that causes bleeding cankers on the lower trunk and eventual die-off in the upper branches. If this fungus is left untreated the tree will die within five years.

Pytopthera_on_Beech__5____for_Blog_2-17-16.jpg

Beech Phytophthora pathogen is the culprit. This fungus enters wounds and succulent roots causing cankers that ooze reddish-brown sap. Eventually, new leaves remain small and yellow, and branches begin to die.

These ‘bleeding’ cankers cause the cambium, the living layer of the tree where most vital cellular activity takes place, to lose moisture and dry out. This leads to root loss and canopy decline resulting in the death of the tree.

Treatment with a broad spectrum fungicide, applied to the trunk,  can stop the damage, allowing the tree to recover, essentially ‘healing the wounds’.  

Helping a tree to grow is the most important thing to improve the health of a sick tree. Radial trenching with an air spade, backfilling with compost and deep root, liquid fertilization have proven to be the best methods to increase and invigorate tree growth. [Learn more about plant health care here]

Pytopthera_on_Beech__4____for_Blog_2-17-16.jpg

Please note that Beech Phytophthora only affects European Beech trees, not American Beech.  European Beech are the most common variety used in landscape plantings.

If you would like a Certified Arborist to inspect your Beech trees, as well as the other trees and plants on your property, please click below for a free consultation.

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Topics: plant health care

Why Rhododendron Leaves Curl in Winter

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Feb 17, 2016 3:45:48 PM

Now that the weather has turned mighty cold, you may notice something strange happening to your Rhododendrons. The leaves on your plants are drooping down and curling up. Is something wrong with these plants?

You are seeing nature at its best. It’s cold, and when certain broadleaved evergreens winter-rhododendron.pngget cold, they take measures to protect themselves. They practice thermotropism. Much like a human wraps their arms around themselves or animals huddle when cold, rolling up their leaves offers these protection from cold winds. The inner part of the leaf, where a lot of moisture loss occurs, is hidden from the wind when rolled.

Gardeners claim they can tell the temperature by how their Rhododendron leaves appear; the more they roll and droop, the colder it is, until around zero they start to look like green beans hanging from the branches. As it warms again, the leaves unroll and stand up again. That is, unless it’s gotten so cold they have dried out completely and died, which can happen even with the hardiest rhododendrons.  Moisture loss is what causes most winter injury in plants.

Rhododendron_in_flower-sm.jpgIf you want your rhododendrons to look like this in the spring, you'll want to protect them from the winter elements.

Treating your broadleaved evergreens an antitranspirant in fall will help. This water based product seals the leaves and stems so that moisture is not released from them.  It’s something to remember for next fall.   

Also remember to plant broadleaved evergreens in areas protected from north winds to help prevent leaf desiccation and plant loss.

If you'd like to learn more about tree and plant health, take advantage of a free consultation with a Carpenter Costin arborist.

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Topics: plant health care

Carpenter Costin's Arborists Partake in Intensive ISA Certification Program

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Oct 1, 2015 10:41:15 AM

Crew Members Join an Elite Rank of ISA Certified Tree Workers

On September 11th and 12th, members of Carpenter Costin's tree crews participated in a 2 day, International Society of Arboriculture climbing skills and arboriculture education training program in Amesbury, MA.  

Carpenter Costin brought in a Certified Arborist instructor from North American Training Solutions, an industry-renowned company that travels the world training tree workers.  Roughly only 1% of tree companies in this country train their workers to the level of International Society of Arboriculture Tree Worker Climber Specialist.

Training included a comprehensive look at modern climbing techniques, knot tying, equipment integrity, work positioning, job site safety, as well as emergency response preparedness.

After 1 ½ days of intense training, two examiners from the International Society of Arboriculture tested each crew member in a rigorous practical climbing exam where all their skills and equipment use had to be properly demonstrated.    

Following the practical exam, the crew members were given a written exam that tested them on industry rules and standards, OSHA regulations, and arboriculture systems and practices.

What does this mean for you?

Our arborists have always demonstrated precise and expert tree care services, and now we can say they are all part of an elite class of ISA certified tree workers. This will result in safer, more efficient work; without sacrificing the high quality work product we've become known for.

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Topics: tree care, ISA

Featured Project: Tired Courtyard Receives New Landscape Design

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Jul 20, 2015 3:29:12 PM

Often times the best designs are not born of a single mind, but of a collaboration between many.

The First-Calvary Baptist Church and it's members, reached out to Carpenter Costin during the summer of 2014 for landscape architectural services. At issue was a central courtyard in dire need of a redesign, in order to provide a space for reflection and prayer within a garden setting.

The original courtyard required a much needed redesign.

Being a larger-scale project representing the needs of many, the church requested full landscape architectural services and plan sets. After the plan sets were completed, multiple contractors (including Carpenter Costin) would be able to bid on the construction aspect of the job. This would ensure fair, unbiased, and independent design + construction services.

Brendan Carey RLA from Grounded Growing Landscape Architects was selected as the designer and consultant by the church board members. He developed a series of conceptual plans focusing on circulation, drainage, and overall aesthetic. After a few weeks of intensive design work and meetings, Brendan had a set of drawings ready for landscape contractors to bid on.

Carpenter Costin was quickly selected as the winning bid for the landscape construction portion of the job.

Siting strong analysis and understanding of the landscape architect's plan set, along with a competitive price, the church board members turned to Carpenter Costin to turn their plans into reality.

Being a courtyard in the middle of a place of worship, there were unique issues that took both acute sensitivity along with simple brute strength to solve. All materials stripped out of and brought into the courtyard, had to fit through a standard-sized door frame. Our crews crossed finished floors throughout the process and made sure to be extra careful of window walls surrounding the work zone.

Working closely with the landscape architect and the onsite representative of the church, we streamlined this process as much as possible.

In the end, the sum was greater than its parts.

Creating this beautiful and reflective memorial garden in the heart of a church took more than one entity...it took wonderful and understanding clients, a thoughtful and talented landscape architect, and a resourceful construction team here at Carpenter Costin.

An inspirational view of the new courtyard from the inside.

The final look of the redesigned courtyard.

*More pictures to come will show the depth of color and beauty from over 100 perennials in mid-summer. 

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Topics: Landscape Design

Plant Health and Pest Management Program Plus a 10% Prepay Discount

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Mar 4, 2014 10:39:48 AM

Understanding what is delivered in your plant health care and pest control programs will help set expectations and goals for your landscape.

Everyone wants the perfect landscape, with healthy and beautiful trees and shrubs; however, not everyone is willing to invest in a comprehensive plant health care program. Even those who do invest in plant health care may not understand the plant health care pest managementcomprehensiveness of their programs. Knowing what to expect from a landscape care program will help you achieve your goals, and limit landscape-associated headaches.

A plant health care or pest management program is comprised of a series of visits that include inspection and treatment of the trees and shrubs on your property. At Carpenter Costin, our Pest Management Program consists of five visits, and our Plant Health Care Program consists of eight visits.

Not all plant health care programs are equal. Programs depend on the knowledge and equipment that a company has, and determines if they’re capable of providing various technical services. Most providers offer programs based on timely visits, and usually start at three-visit programs and go up to comprehensive eight-visit programs. One-time target treatments are also available for specific prevention, such as Hemlock Woolly Adelgid or Ticks.

Determining which program is best for you should be based on your property and your budget; however, for optimal results, it is recommended that you opt for a minimum of five visits. A five visit program ensures control and prevention of insects, and also provides control on plant diseases. Opting for anything less than five visits jeopardizes the ability to control the pests, and is not the best investment for your landscape.

Many collegiate horticultural programs recommend property visits and treatments every two weeks throughout the growing season; however, at an average cost of about $80, the price tag for such a program would be substantial. A five visit program offers the best bang for your buck, while an eight visit program provides the most comprehensive control and prevention. If it fits your budget, more visits are better; however, five and eight visit programs are very economical without sacrificing quality.

Although plant health care experts are great at predicting when certain pests will become active based on factors of phenology, they cannot forecast this more than a few weeks to a month in advance - and so much is based on micro-climates (meaning pests active in Swampscott may not be active in Andover). Relying on a three visit program to handle your plant health care needs may jeopardize the ability to tailor due to current conditions and micro-climates.

For best results, we recommend that you choose a five visit or eight visit program. There is exceptional value in choosing a five or eight visit plan, and it ensures that your trees and shrubs maintain great health. A three visit program may be less expensive, but we urge you to be cautious when choosing a plan under five visits, as sacrifices must be made. For more plant health information, request a free consultation with one of our experts.

We're extending our 10% discount for prepaying for insect & disease management services until March 15. 

10% Prepayment Discount for Tree, Shrub, Lawn Treatments/Programs Until March 1

 

plant health and pest control

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Topics: plant disease management, pest management, plant health care