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Carpenter Costin Blog

Gypsy Moth Infestation Expected to Be Bad in Spring 2016

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.

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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.

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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:

Request a Free Consultation

Beech Trees Suffer Epidemic Decline

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.

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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]

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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.

Request a Free Consultation

Why Rhododendron Leaves Curl in Winter

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.

Request a Free Consultation

Carpenter Costin's Arborists Partake in Intensive ISA Certification Program

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.

Featured Project: Tired Courtyard Receives New Landscape Design

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. 

The Dangers of Volcano Mulch

Why Too Much Mulch Can Damage Your Trees

We've all seen it. You drive by a freshly mulched property, notice that distinct smell of fresh mulch, and take a closer look at the newly mulched flower and tree beds. To an untrained eye, you might see an appealing bed with a tree and a few other smaller plants. The trained eye, however, cannot look past the glaring danger that is commonly referred to as "volcano mulch."volcano-mulch-tree

The term "volcano mulch" is used to describe excessive mulch along the root flare and base of a tree, which ends up looking very much like a volcano.

Mulch against tree bark holds in excess moisture. This moisture suffocates and rots the inside layers of tissue cells (xylem/phloem) that transfer food up and down the plant. The following are commonly found issues with "volcano mulch":

  • Trees weakened and stressed by moisture/rot issues are susceptible to insects, fungi and bacteria.
  • Increased growth of unwanted suckers which will weaken structural development.
  • Water is prevented from penetrating to the tree’s roots and weak secondary roots will cause strangulation.

How to Mitigate Risks of Volcano Mulch

If your trees have been "volcano mulched" on a regular basis there could be substantially damage caused. A air-spadingsolution that we recommend for improving the health and reviving "volcano mulched" trees is air spading. This safe, effective, and economical solution is the best way to remove excess amounts of mulch without causing harm to the tree. Air spading will reduce soil compaction and help expose the root flare as nature intended. Your tree will no longer be stressed and look like a "volcano."

Request a free consultation if your trees have been "volcano mulched" and a Certified Arborist will be able to assess the damage and develop a plan for bringing the tree back to health.

Request a Free Consultation

Why Heavy Winter Snowfall Can Lead to a Bad Tick Season

Expect a bad tick season as this winter's thick layer of snow served as insulation for the over-wintering tick population.

Before we completely put this past winter behind us, let's not forget about a problem that lurks on the horizon as a result of the tremendous amount of snow we received. The tick population is expected to explode this year due to the protection they received from the blanket of insulating snow. Usually a significant portion of the over-wintering ticks die from freezing conditions, but the snow was in their favor this past season.

[Click here to Learn How to Treat Your Property for Deer Ticks] 

An interesting fact is that ticks are not actually insects, since they have two distinct body parts and 8 legs. In fact, they have more in common with arthropods like spiders and mites. Their evolution comes from crustaceans, but try not to think of that when eating lobster. In New England we are primarily concerned with the Suborder Ixodida, otherwise known as hard ticks. There are several species of hard ticks and they are the vectors of many diseases, most notably Lyme disease. Nearly 300,000 new cases are documented in the US each year and the rate continues to rise year after year. The numbers have reached epidemic proportions and billions are spent each year trying to treat the symptoms of this debilitating disease.

Unfortunately, there is a newly identified disease called Powassan that is also transmitted by ticks with devastating consequences. Although most people who are infected do not show signs of the disease, others do suffer encephalitis and even death. It goes without saying that those with low immunity systems are most at risk and should avoid wooded areas or tall grassy fields.

On average, a female tick will lay approximately 2,000 eggs in May. These pest are most vulnerable for treatment during the summer months and a product using Permethrin is best used for controls. The best means of applying the controls is spraying with a high pressure commercial hydraulic spray unit, specifically directed towards areas of tick habitation.

If you'd like to protect your loved ones from ticks, consider consulting with an Arborist or Plant Health Care Specialist to see what you can do to mitigate the threat of ticks on your property.

Request a Free Consultation

Winter Damage: How to Get Your Landscape on The Road To Recovery

As we all try to put this long, harsh winter behind us, our landscapes may not be on the top of the home repair and improvement priority list. It is important to note, however, that without professional assessment and care right now, your landscape may not be able to properly recover from damage caused by the heavy snow load this year. In addition to winter damage, we are also expecting a heavy winter moth infestation this spring due to the pro-longed snow cover. Severe storm damage coupled with defoliation from winter moth caterpillars can stress and potentially kill your plants. Thankfully, there are some measures you can take to prevent this while keeping in mind the overall health and aesthetics of your property.

Address & Correct Issues Early in the Year

It is important that any damaged plants on your property be addressed early this year, as it will be a quick and condensed growing season due to the extended winter. Diagnosing structural issues and correcting damaged plants early will not only give them a better chance of survival, but will also mean less long-term maintenance for your property in general. Correcting these structural issues is an important part of any plants life cycle and recovery process, as this kind of pruning makes them safer, healthier, and less likely to fail in future weather events.

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Broken tree limbs and crushed scrubs will be common due to the heavy snow load this winter.

Fertilize to Increase Vigor

In addition to proper corrective pruning, it is important to understand that damaged plants are in a state of stress even after proper assessment and pruning has been performed. It is imperative that you fertilize in order to help regain your plant’s vitality and increase vigor. Since New England soils are typically depleted of important nutrients to begin with, organic fertilizer is a great answer for stressed and damaged plants, and is just what they need after a long winter season in order to recover effectively.

Protect from Insects

The next step towards recovery is to protect your plants from any further damage from prevalent insects, particularly the winter moth caterpillar. Winter moth caterpillar treatments are safe and effective, and can be the deciding factor when it comes to keeping your susceptible plants alive. Storm damaged and stressed plants are weak, making them more vulnerable to insect/disease infestations and ultimately defoliation. Severe defoliation from the winter moth caterpillar can certainly stress and kill plants.

The key to recovering and maintaining your property is an early plant health evaluation, in order to create a customized approach that best suits the plants that are specific to your property. Reviewing your property early in the season will result in a more aesthetically pleasing space to enjoy the warmer weather, a safer environment for family and friends, and will help protect and maintain the property that you’ve invested in.

Take advantage of a free consultation to learn more about a professional and environmentally-responsible approach to getting your property on the road to recovery for the spring and summer months. Click below or call us at 781-598-1924.

Request a Free Consultation

Have Your Trees Inspected for Winter Damage

It's been a long, cold winter and it feels a little like there's no end in sight. This is the time to stay positive, enjoy any sunshine we get (even if it's accompanied by bitter cold wind), and hope the thaw comes soon.

This is also the time to have your trees inspected for winter damage. With record-breaking snowfall this year many properties are suffering damage from fallen trees or broken limbs and evergreens have been crushed from the weight of the snow. You may not even realize the severity of some of your tree damage until an expert inspects it.  

Carpenter Costin offers a no obligation tree inspection and property review. Let one of our certfied arborists inspect the condition of your trees. While broken branches must be removed, bent branches can sometimes be saved by cabling. If your tree needs to be removed, we'll take it down carefully and safely. 

Let us evaluate your trees and assess any winter damage. We'll present you with all options available to keep them safe, beautiful and healthy! 

Call 877-308-8733 to schedule a free consultation or click below

Request a Free Consultation

 

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End of Summer and Fall Checklist

End of Summer and Fall
Tree & Landscape Care Consultation

Having a great landscape in May, June, and July doesn't start in the spring - it starts in the fall. Tactics such as fertilization, lawn renovation, pest treatments, and shade tree pruning will all improve the health and appeal of your landscape, allowing you to have a great looking property next spring.

The following checklist will give you an idea of what actions should be taken, and when they should be completed for the best results. Free free to save and print it!

Fill out the short form on the right to speak with a Carpenter Costin pro regarding fall tree and landscape care.

click to enlarge for printable version
 

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