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Carpenter Costin Blog

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.

Consult With A Turf Pro  

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.


Preventing and Treating Pine Sawfly Infestations

Pine Sawflies have hatched, or will be hatching soon, throughout our region. Be sure you have the proper management techniques in place.

The Pine Sawfly is a destructive pest that targets the two and three needle pines in New England, meaning they only infest pines where the needles are in bundles, or fascicles, of two and three needles each. Mugo Pines are usually the primary host for Pine Sawflies in the region.

Each year, Pine Sawflies will hatch into the larval stage and feast on two and three needle pines, like the Mugo pine, voraciously. What's unique about Pine Sawfly is that they only feed on the older needles of a pine, usually leaving the young needles unscathed. The Sawfly will form very tight groups and feed quickly, moving throughout a pine until it is completely defoliated.

Treating Pine Sawfly larvae can be done in two methods depending on how the groups are formed. Very small groups of the larvae can be pruned off the tree and disposed of. Larger groups; however, will require an insecticide treatment. Over the counter insecticides, such as Sevin, will work on Pine Sawflies, but be sure you’re familiar with the toxicity level of the product you buy.

Our pest management programs include Pine Sawfly treatments, but you can also choose a target treatment on Mugo Pines, or other pines if you’ve had an issue with this pest in the past. Request a free consultation to learn more about pest management programs.

Please check out our growing Insect Disease Glossary for more information!



Choosing a Pest Management Program for Your Property

With various different pest management programs available, how do you decide which is best for your property?

If you’re wondering which pest management program is best for your property than you have already conquered the biggest barrier to having a great landscape – you understand the importance of tree, shrub, and lawn health. From here you need to ask yourself a few questions before deciding which pest management program to sign up for (hint: asking a Certified Arborist will help).

First, you need to have your property evaluated by a professional. An educated eye can catch infestations and threats before they occur; and ensure they never occur by recommending proper preventative treatments. You’ll also be able to uncover existing issues and remedy them with reactionary treatments.

Once you’ve had your landscape evaluated, you’ll then need to determine a budget and a strategy. This can often be a difficult decision, which is why we provide a diverse selection of pest management programs ranging from one-time target treatments to comprehensive multi-visit programs, and even “All-Natural” plant health programs.  A plant health care expert can help you decide on which program to select. If you’re only concern is a specific pest like Winter Moths or Ticks, then a target treatment will suit you well, but if you have been infested by multiple pests, or have a susceptible landscape, it is in your best interest to select a multi-visit program, both for economic purposes and effectiveness.

Custom pest management programs can be tailored to suit your property. These programs can include target treatments, preventative programs, fertilization, and various other treatments to ensure tree, shrub, and turf health.

If you’re interested in keeping your landscape healthy and appealing, then please consider a free consultation with one of our plant health experts. A qualified professional will be able to help you decide on an appropriate pest management strategy for your property.


pest management program

A comprehensive pest management program will keep your entire property healthy and attractive.

Prevent Tree Fungus Infections This Spring

Spring Showers Bring May Flowers, but They Also Bring Fungus Diseases

Despite bringing the moisture needed to spark plant life in our region, spring presents an environment that promotes insect, disease, and fungus activity. Excess moisture and moderate temperatures can almost guarantee fungus development. If temperatures are very warm, trees and shrubs become less susceptible to fungus; however, in damp, cool, and dark areas, fungus can thrive and seriously damage your trees and shrubs. A few fungus diseases to look out for this spring include:

Dogwood Anthracnose

Anthracnose 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 and moving upward. Infected trees can die within one to three years. Treatments in the spring help prevent and control anthracnose infections.

Apple Scab

Flowering Apples and Crabapples are susceptible to a fungus disease called Apple Scab. The results of this disease are yellow and brown leaves in the spring, and defoliation by early summer. Foliar treatments can protect your trees from this fungus disease. If planting new Apples and Crabapples, there are varieties that are resistant to fungus, so be sure to check with an Arborist first.


Diplodia infects mainly Austrian and Red Pines in our region. Initial symptoms show as stunted new shoots with short, brown needles. The needles on infected trees often become discolored and become tan or brown, rather than green. New shoots will be killed rapidly by the fungus. Repeated infections seriously reduce growth and deform trees, which will ultimately kill them.

Don’t let your trees become infected with fungus this spring. Preventative fungicides are recommended on susceptible trees, and maintenance pruning will help to improve light and air flow, which will help keep a tree fungus-free. Request a consultation with one of our plant health care experts to discover how to keep your trees free of fungus infections.


spring fungus infection

Left to right: Dogwood Anthracnose, Apple Scab, and Diplodia

Keep Your Property Free of Ticks This Year

Mild Winter Means Tick Populations Will Be Troublesome This Year

In New England, harsh winter conditions usually help control tick populations by making it difficult for the pests to survive throughout the winter. However, when conditions are relatively mild, with little snow, ticks can endure the winter and thrive come spring time. Deer ticks

Ticks have become a serious problem over the last few years. Although they have always been present in New England, their population seems to be increasing each year. Due to the increase in population, cases of Lyme disease acquired from ticks have been increasing as well. Lyme disease is usually acquired from ticks in the nymphal stage, commonly referred to as "deer ticks;" however, deer are not the only animal to carry the ticks. Mice, raccoons, skunks, gophers, and various other rodents are all hosts of deer ticks.

Tips to keeping ticks off your property

In order to rid your yard of ticks, and prevent them from coming back you really need to exercise a two-pronged approach, with both technical and cultural practices. If you follow the tips below, you'll be well on your way to having a tick free property.

Ensure leaf and yard debris is cleaned up.
  • Ticks will rest in leaf litter, waiting to grab on to a host.

Keep wood piles and stone walls clean to limit areas where rodents frequent

  • Limiting areas for hosts will reduce the number of ticks.

Create a barrier around your property with tick control applications

  • We recommend a three step application of tick and mosquito treatment (Spring, Summer, Fall)

Always Check Yourself!

Make sure you are constantly checking your children and pets for ticks. If you have been working in the yard, be sure to closely inspect yourself as well. Throw the clothes you wore directly into the dryer for a 20 minute cycle, which should kill any ticks that may have jumped on to your clothes. Be very observant, because deer ticks are small, sometimes as small as a pen tip. Keeping your yard free of deer and rodents is absolutely imperative to keeping ticks out.

If the late winter has been any indication of the severity of ticks in our region, it is going to be a brutal year. Please take ticks seriously and follow the steps above to keep your property free of ticks. To find out more about our tick management programs please request a free consultation with a Carpenter Costin pest management specialist.


Blight Disease Found in Massachusetts' Boxwoods

The Defoliating Fungal Disease has Recently Been Found on Boxwood Trees in Massachusetts

The Plant Diagnostics Lab at the UMass Extension confirmed findings of Boxwood blight late last month. The Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources collected samples and conducted tests on Boxwoods received from a Connecticut nursery known for having Boxwoods with blight, and sure enough some of the diseased specimens made it to the Bay State.

Boxwood blight was first identified by pathologists in the UK in the 1990's, and it is unknown how the disease made it to the U.S. Cases of Boxwood blight have been found in Connecticut, North Carolina, Virginia, and now Massachusetts.

Like other blight infections, Boxwood blight will appear with discoloration and black lesions on the foliage. This will ultimately lead to severe defoliation, which may not kill the tree, but will certainly make it undesirable.

Blight can spread quickly in areas densely populated with trees and shrubs; and is most commonly spread by rain water. Although well-managed nurseries are on top of this matter, please be careful of purchasing Boxwoods in the future.

Remember, it is always a good idea to have a Certified Arborist or Plant Health expert out to inspect your property once a year.

Read the release from the UMass Extension here.

boxwood blight UMASS

Image from UMass Extension - shows indicators of blight infection.

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