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Carpenter Costin Blog

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.

Tick Disease Powassan

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.

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White Pine Needle Disease: Know the facts!

Needle_blightHere in the northeast much of our landscape is dominated by white pines. These trees are valuable habitat, forest, and landscape trees. In recent years we've been seeing several diseases that cause the needles to become damaged and die off.  While white pine can withstand a year or two of defoliation, subsequent defoliation will greatly decrease the trees overall health and will lead to larger more damaging problems.

How to combat the issues

To keep your white pines healthy and looking great we have a three point plan of protections: First, we fertilize in the spring to help the soft needles expand quickly through their vulnerable stage. Second, we begin fungicide applications to protect the outer surface of the needles. Third, a fall fertilization helps the tree put on woody mass so it can store more sugars for the following spring.

Keeping up on this trifecta of protection is the only way to help your pines. To have one of our certified arborists inspect your trees and offer a plan to keep them healthy, request a free consultation.


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Tips For Removing Ticks

The tick population in our area has exploded. Heavy snow cover this past winter kept ticks nice and warm, and helped them multiply unchecked. Very cold, snow-less winters tend to diminish populations.

Some species of ticks carry Lyme disease, which can be difficult to treat when contracted in humans and animals. These tiny bloodsuckers multiply quickly and are found in lawns, tall grasses and woods. Ticks get picked up when people or animals walk by and brush against them. They will then attach to skin and feed on your blood until they are so heavy or full that they can no long hold on and fall off on their own.

What To Do If You Get Bitten By a Tick

If you or your pet does get bitten, here are some tips to remove ticks:

  • First, don't panic!
  • Clean the area around the bite with rubbing alcohol
  • Use tweezers to grab the tick and get as close to your skin as possible
  • Pull upward with steady pressure. Don't twist or wiggle or pull too hard too fast - you don't want the body to separate from the mouth!
  • If the mouth does separate, use tweezers to remove the mouth
  • Once removed, do not throw ticks in the trash as they are difficult to kill. Burning (as in a campfire) or flushing down the toilet in soapy water is better.

Treating Your Yard for Ticks

The best tip we can offer in regard to ticks: Treat your yard to help control these pests and protect your family and pets! Just one monthly treatment suppresses the population. It's easy, fast, and non-disruptive: as soon as the treatment is dry you can head back outside to enjoy your yard. Imagine how nice it would be to play in the grass without worrying about ticks. And pet owners: the treatment kills fleas, too!

We offer a 100% all natural program which means that we do not use any chemicals that can harm your plants or beneficial insects.

For more information about treating your yard for ticks or to request a free consultation, call us at 877-308-8733.

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Tree Fungus

Spring showers bring May flowers, but they also bring fungus diseases. These are some of the most prevalent and damaging.

Dogwood Anthracnose

Dogwood_AnthracnoseAnthracnose infection begins in the leaves, causing them to brown and dry up.   Over time, infection of twigs and shoots may kill branches, usually beginning with those low on the tree, moving upward.  Infected trees may die within 1-3 years.  Spring treatments help control infection.


Apple Scab

Apple_scabFlowering Apples and Crabapples are susceptible to a fungus disease called Apple Scab.  The results of this disease are yellow and brown leaves and defoliation by early summer. Foliar treatments can protect you trees from this disease. Varieties resistant to the disease are available.



DiplodiaDiplodia infects Austrian and Red Pines in our territory.  Symptoms show as brown, stunted new shoots with short, brown needles. Needles on infected new shoots often become discolored (tan, brown).  New shoots are killed rapidly by the fungus. Repeated infections reduce growth, deform trees, and ultimately kill them.


For more information about treatments call us at 877-308-8733 or click below to request a free consultation.

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

HWAAn insect is threatening to destroy one of our most valuable native trees—the Eastern Hemlock.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a tiny, aphid-like insect introduced to the U.S. from Asia. Since 1988, when it was discovered in the state, it has slowly spread throughout the region, usually by wind and birds.  In addition to being small, HWA is different from other insects as it lays dormant much of the growing season and becomes active throughout the winter, producing new egg masses as early as February.

HWA can be easily recognized by the presence of white cottony egg masses on Hemlock twigs. Damage is caused when the eggs hatch and the young feed by sucking sap from the twigs, killing them.

Trees infested with Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, untreated, may decline and die very quickly. Once HWA has been identified, it should be treated immediately. Effective treatments are available to manage HWA.

If you have any questions or concerns about Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Call 877-308-8733 now to have your Hemlocks inspected by a certified Arborist and protected against this deadly pest.

Check out our growing Insect and Disease Glossary!

Treatment of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the Fall

Treat Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the Fall

As temperatures begin to cool in the fall, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid leaves its summer dormancy to once again feast on the Hemlocks across the North East. By treating hemlock woolly adelgid in the fall it will mitigate the pest just as they are coming out of their dormant stage, or prevent your healthy hemlocks from being infested. Depending on the temperature, this usually occurs between late September and October. Preventative or controlling treatments at this time are best as they will keep the pests at bay all fall, winter, and into the spring – a fall hemlock woolly adelgid treatmentperiod of time when they are most devastating to Hemlocks.

Preventing and Controlling Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Preventing and controlling Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) can be accomplished with a foliar application of Horticultural Oil. For the best preventative measures, an application in both the early spring and fall will keep your Hemlocks free of this pest. Hemlocks that have already been infested may require more treatments to kill the pest, and keep it from returning. For trees that have already been seriously infested, pair a foliar application with a soil injection treatment for the best chance of saving the Hemlock.

Once infested, a Hemlock can be quickly defoliated by HWA. To ensure your Hemlock trees remain healthy and safe, consider preventative Woolly Adelgid treatments. Our Arborists recommend preventative HWA treatments on all Hemlocks, even if they have never been infested, as the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has become so prevalent in our region. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when your Hemlocks will be infested.

The most popular question regarding HWA treatments is, “What does it cost?” Depending on the number and size of trees to be treated. The cost of removing and/or replacing the dead Hemlocks is significantly greater than the investment in HWA preventative treatments, so keeping your Hemlocks safe and healthy with preventative treatments is always a wise idea.

To have a Certified Arborist out to inspect your Hemlocks, or to sign up for a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid treatment, click the button below or call us at 877-308-8733.

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treating hemlock woolly adelgid

Treating HWA with a foliar application of Horticultural Oil will control and prevent the prevalent pest.

Lace Bugs on Your Broadleaf Evergreens

Lace Bugs can be found feeding on your broadleaf evergreens trees throughout the summer.

Lace Bugs are common in our area and can be found on a variety of hosts, both evergreen and deciduous. During the summer, Lace Bugs are notorious for damaging broadleaf evergreens, such as rhododendron and azalea.

The Lace Bug

The rhododendron and azalea Lace Bugs are small, winged insects that only grow to be a few millimeters long. Their wings have a net-like pattern, and they are usually scattered with black or brown spots. Lace Bugs cause damage when feeding on a leaf due to their piercing mouths, which they use to suck nutrients out.

Identifying Lace Bug Damage

Lace Bugs will usually feed from the underside of a leaf, piercing and sucking the leaf and ultimately killing the cells, which in turn creates yellow spots on the top side of infested plants. When a plant becomes severely damaged, the leaves will take on a gray blotched appearance or turn entirely brown. If severe damage occurs, the plant may be beyond rescue.

Treating for Lace Bugs

Controlling Lace Bugs can be accomplished with a systemic insecticide; however, preventative measures are recommended if you have commonly infested plants, such as the rhododendron and azalea.

Investigate your broadleaf evergreens and look for yellow spots on the leaves. If you see yellow spots you likely have Lace Bugs feeding on the underside. Request a free consultation with a pest management professional to learn more about Lace Bug treatments and control.


lace bug damage

A close up of a Lace Bug, and the damage that these pests can cause.

Insects that are Beneficial to Your Landscape: Lady Bugs

Not All Insects Are Detrimental!

It may be a shocking site at first; a mass of beetles on one of your shrubs that bloomed so beautifully just a few weeks ago, but actually these beetles are eating the Aphids that are damaging the shrub. The Ladybird Beetle (or Lady Bug) is just one beneficial insect that you’ll find in your landscape this summer, and their main course of action is making the Aphid their main course of dinner. There are many other beneficial insects, but let’s stick to the Lady Bugs for now.

Aphids have been prevalent in our region this year, so it is likely that you will see an increase in Lady Bugs in the coming weeks. Usually found on the underside of leaves, Aphids cause damage to plants by using their piercing mouths to suck the plant’s juices. Lady Bugs will seek large populations of Aphids and feast on them heavily until the food source is depleted, then they’ll continue their search for more food.

There is a large variety of Aphids and they can be found on a number of host plants in our region ranging from forsythia, to beech, to oaks, and many more. If you’re noticing an abundance of Lady Bugs, it is likely that you have Aphids on your property. Lady Bugs are good, and they’ll seek out Aphids, but by this point there is usually already damage done to your plants and shrubs. It is best to use an insecticidal soap or oil to remedy an Aphid problem – rather than building a team of Lady Bugs.

If you’re noticing Lady Bugs, or Aphids, on your plants it is a good idea to consult with a Certified Arborist to learn how you can keep your plants safe and healthy.


ladybird beetle

This pair of Lady Bugs is on the hunt for Aphids. The small white spots on the leaves are indicators that Aphids have fed on the underside of the leaves.

Winter Moth Feeding Season is Over: Did Your Trees Survive?

The pesky Winter Moth should be done feasting on your leaves by now. Did they damage your trees, if so, what should you do?

It is that time of year again: Winter Moth damage is noticable on many trees across the region. The pesky pests have finished feeding and have entered the ground for the summer, and won’t be seen again until the fall when the males rise out of the ground with wings. This is a great time to get out in your yard and check for Winter Moth damage.

Winter Moth damage is pretty easily detectable, and if you notice damage there are a few things you should do. First, ensure that the damaged trees are receiving plenty of water. Despite the damage from Winter Moths, a tree will begin to put out new growth; therefore, it is important to ensure proper watering now and throughout the summer. This is also a great time to identify branches that have been killed by repeated defoliation as they will be bare and stick out like a sore thumb. Pruning the dead branches off is a good idea.

If your trees have been impacted by Winter Moths this year, it will be worth it to consult with a Certified Arborist and discuss preventative Winter Moth treatments for 2013.


winter worm damage

This maple tree had damage this severe throughout the entire tree. Watering this summer will help promote new growth, but preventative treatments should be put in place for next spring.


Check out our growing Insect Disease Glossary!

Treating Your Property for Deer Ticks

Keep your property safe, and consider a multi-step tick treatment program.

Deer ticks have become a hot-topic over the past few years as their population seems to increase every year, and cases of Lyme disease become more prevalent. To ensure your children and pets are safe from the dangerous deer tick nymph, considering signingRitzy tick treatment spray up for a tick treatment program.

Treating a property for ticks is not a one stop deal, however; a three step approach will likely get you the best bang for your buck. A multi-step approach with both perimeter spraying and lawn treatment will give you coverage in the spring, summer, and fall, and aim to kill ticks on your property and prevent them from entering your property on hosts such as deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents.

Tick programs may not be necessary for every property, but if you live in a wooded area and experience a lot of animal traffic (deer, skunks, rodents, rabbits, etc.) you should really consider a tick treatment program to reduce the risk of tick bites and Lyme disease for your children and pets (and yourself). Click the button below for a free consultation with a pest management specialist.

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