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Carpenter Costin Blog

Fall Tree and Plant Insect and Disease Update

Although summer does not officially end until September 23rd this year, we are already experiencing some fall-like weather and patterns.

I really love the fall. The days are still comfortably warm, and the nights cool down just right. Though the fall is really a great time of year for us, with great foliage across our region, warm apple cider, apple and pumpkin picking, and the beginning of football season, there are some things that you need to look out for, most notably insect and disease activity across your landscape.

Here is an update of pest infestation activity across Massachusetts, and a few potential pests to look out for:

  • Oyster Shell Scale - greatly affecting Hollies and Euonymous already this year. Keep an eye out.lacebug massachusetts
  • Lacebugs - some areas across our region were heavily infested. They infest a variety of trees and plants. 
  • Diplodia - continues to infect our pines through the fall. Requires seasonal treatment.
  • Apple Scab - affecting Apples and Crabapples now. Look out for it when apple picking this fall.
  • Fall Web Worm - their large web-like nests are appearing across our region. They can easily and quickly defoliate an entire tree.
These pests are only a selection of what may be impacting your landscape this fall. As always, we recommend taking the occasional stroll around your property and looking for any signs of pest infestation. If you spot anything unusual please give call us at 877-308-8733 or request a consultation with a Certified Arborist for a free consultation.


Cytospora Canker Activity on Spruce Trees in New England

Cytospora Cankers Killing Spruce Trees

Have your spruce trees seen better days? It may be because they are now infested with the fungus disease cytospora canker. The first sign of cytospora canker infection occurs in the lower branches of spruce trees, where it will turn the needles brown and ultimately kill the branches. Once infected, the disease can quickly spread upward throughout the tree.

cytospora canker spruce Although it primarily impacts Norway Spruce trees in our area, cytospora canker disease can also be found on fir, hemlocks, and white pines, although these cases aren't very abundant. Spruce trees that are at least 15 years old and have been exposed to previous damage are most susceptible to this disease.

Cytospora canker disease can take many years to develop, and it is even capable of surviving the winter on trees and in the fallen needles. It can spread quickly through rainfall - as the rain splashes, the fungus is spread up the tree and onto other trees. This is why the infection usually begins on the low branches and works its way up the tree.

Managing Cytospora Canker

Cytospora canker is a tough disease to manage. Since the fungus can overwinter in fallen needles, and then spread rapidly with spring rainfall, the disease poses a big problem to home owners and property managers. In order to control the disease on already infected trees, extensive pruning measures are needed, especially since the fungus will spread into open wounds and potentially kill the entire tree. Also, the fungus is easily spread through pruning equipment, making special care of equipment a priority.

If you notice browning of needles and dead branches in your spruce, pine, hemlock, or fir trees it could potentially be cytospora canker. We recommend having a Certified Arborist out to inspect the infected tree as soon as possible. For more information contact an Arborist, or call 877-308-8733.

Summer Pest Update: Fall Webworm

The Fall Webworm larvae or caterpillar are becoming more noticable across our fall webworm cred saveenaregion, most visible in their unsighlty silk webs in which they feast heavily on the encompassed foliage. Fall Webworms have the ability to quickly defoliate a tree, all the while moving and growing their silk webs or nests throughout your trees.

Fall Webworms can be found on many hardwood trees within our region, with the most popular hosts being Crabapples, Cherries, Birches, and Lilacs. Their activity, however, is not limited to these trees alone. 

Although their nests can quickly engulf an entire tree, the damage done by the Fall Webworm is usually only aesthetical, and very rarely is there any structural damage done.

Treatments are available to rid your trees of these unsighlty nests, and prevent the Fall Webworm from eating the leaves on infested trees. If you notice the silk nests in your trees, don't hesistate to set-up a meeting with an Arborist or call 877-308-8733.

Pine Sawfly Pest Infestation on North Shore

The calls are beginning to come in. People are noticing Pine Sawfly activity in their yard, and some of the damage already experienced has been devastating. Our Pest Management Programs treat for Pine Sawfly; however, if you are not on a program, it is imperative to act quickly before the sawfly larvae destroy your pines.

We recommend getting out and inspecting your pines for small, catepillar-like larvae. These are the newly hatched Pine Sawfly larvae, and they are on a mission to eat your trees! View the video to see what they look like and see the damage they can cause in just a short period of time.

If you detect Pine Sawfly larvae activity we recommend you contact a Certified Arborist asap. These little pests can do some serious damage to your pines.


Powdery Mildew a Concern Across Our Region

What is Powdery Mildew?

Powdery Mildew is caused by several types of fungi, which is beginning to show fairly heavily across New England. It appears as white, dusty coating on plant and tree foliage, Powdery Mildew can create a very unsightly appearance on your trees and shrubs. On the North Shore and around the Greater Boston Area, Powdery Mildew most commonly affects dogwoods, maples, oaks, lilacs, and birches.

Though the dusty appearance of Powdery Mildew is unsightly, rarely does the fungus ever fatally damage a tree. Without proper care, however, Powdery Mildew can spread quickly and develop across your entire landscape.powdery mildew fungus

Treating Powdery Mildew requires a combination of fungicide treatments, and good cultural practices. Pruning and destroying affected areas is a great way to stop the spread of the disease. Combine fungicides, or topical treatments of summer horticultural oil, with good cultural practices, such as pruning, to protect your trees and plants from Powdery Mildew.

If you see Powdery Mildew on the leaves, shoots, and flowers in your yard, we recommend consulting with a Certified Arborist. Our disease management treatment programs are designed to prevent Powdery Mildew and other fungal diseases.


Do You Have Grubs?

Now is the time to check for grubs in your lawn!

All gardens and lawns have grubs. In small numbers, grubs are not an issue; grubs img cred purduehowever, in ideal weather conditions, grubs can increase to damaging levels.

What are Grubs?

Grubs are beetle larvae that hatch in the soil and feed on turf roots. As the grubs feed, they destroy the roots, damaging the turf's ability to take up water, effectively turning your lawn brown. Often, grub damage will remain invisible until it is too late.

When should you inspect for Grubs?

Grub inspections during the summer months will determine whether or not treatment is needed. To inspect for grubs, peel back a section of your lawn. If you see 7 to 10 grubs in a 1 square foot area then treatment is needed.

Other tell tale signs of grubs include browning spots, spongy turf texture, and birds and skunks digging in your lawn. If the turf pulls up easily, it usually means grubs have destroyed the root system.

Preventative grub applications will help keep your lawn free of grub infestation. If your lawn is currently infested, an insecticide application will take care of them.

If you suspect you have grubs, or want to ensure that you don't get them, contact a Lawn Care professional from Carpenter Costin, or call 877-308-8733.

July Landscape and Tree Care Tips

Follow these tips to ensure your landscape and trees are in the best shape possible.

The month of July is here, and with it came a strench of some hot, yet gracefully welcomed weather. Here are some tips that our Certified Arborists and Lawn Care pros recommend to help ensure optimal appeal and health of your landscape through the summer:

-Apply 1 to 1.5 inches of water to your lawn each week. Take into consideration the amount of rain water you've received in the week as well. A healthy lawn will require 1 to 1.5 inches each week.

-Ensure extra water gets to your trees, shrubs, and turf during periods of drought which will begin to occur in July. Irrigation sensors and drip irrigation are great for regulating water use and moisture.

-Prune shrubs and ornamental trees to ensure great blossoms next spring.

-Avoid storm damage due to high winds and lightning. Have your trees inspected to see if there are hazardous limbs or branches.

-Inspect trees for signs of Lace bugs, Scale, and Spider Mites, and look for evidence of Grubs in your lawn.

These tips will help keep your landscape and trees in prime shape throughout July. For more information request a consultation or call 877-308-8733. Our Certified Arborists are always available to come to your property to inspect for insects & disease, hazardous branches, and more.

Ask an Arborist


Look Out For Flowering Hydrangeas

Keep an eye out for flowering hydrangeas over the next week. Our native bigleaf and smooth hydrangeas are some of my favorite flowering shrubs!

bigleaf hydrandeaAs much as I love what the Rhododendron flowering bloom means to our region (the coming of warm weather), the hydrangea bloom may actually be my favorite time of the year, horticulturally speaking. Maybe it is because I grew up with both the bigleaf (left image) and smooth (right image) hydrangeas at my childhood home. Maybe it is because of the great color these give off, especially when the blue contrasts with it's surroundings. Whatever it is, I enjoy it for sure.

smooth hydrangea

We all have our favorite plants, shrubs, or trees, and regardless of type they each need attention and care. I recommend taking a good look at all your shrubs and trees for any signs of insects or diseases. Our roller coaster ride of weather change this year is sure to have an affect on your shrubs, just be sure you don't get caught up in it and suffer from pest infestation as a result. View our glossary if you'd like to learn more about insect & disease management, or consult with an Arborist to discuss shrub care options.

View the Glossary Ask an Arborist

Asian Longhorned Beetle Strikes Again

The devastating Asian Longhorned Beetle has been found on more trees in Massachusetts.

News broke earlier this week that more Asian Longhorned Beetle infestations were found in Worcester, the same area that was devasted by the ALB just a few years ago. The Asian Longhorned Beetle is a nasty pest, with the ability to kill a large number of trees quickly by boring through the trees. In Worcester, the ALB infested about 90 Norway, Sugar, and Red Maples throughout two neighborhoods.ALB Exit Hole

Though we have yet to see an infestation of ALB on the North Shore, the damage done in Worcester and Jamaica Plain over the past few years is enough to keep Arborists on their toes. Carpenter Costin's Certified Arborists are continually on the look out for signs of ALB infestation, and we encourage homeowners to keep an eye out for ALB exit holes, as seen in the image.

In order to prevent Asian Longhorned Beetle infestations, multi-year treatment programs are recommended. Since 2008 more than 30,000 trees have been removed in the Worcester area due to ALB infestation. We can't let that happen in our area! Consult with an Arborist to ensure that your trees stay ALB free.

Check out our growing Insect Disease Glossary for more information!

Ask an Arborist

Guide to New England Pest Management Now Available

Landscape and Tree Care EbookCarpenter Costin put together an eBook to help educate our friends and followers on the tricky subject of pest management.

Now available is a Guide to the Top 5 Pests in New England. This eBook highlights five pests that we need to look out for in our region. Included in the eBook are information, tips, and tactics for dealing with prevalent pests in New England. Learn what do to, how to do it, and when to do it with our new eBook written by the Pros at Carpenter Costin.

Download the eBook for invaluable information on the following pests:

  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle
  • Winter Moth
  • Lace Bugs
  • Diplodia Tip Blight

Feel free to contact us with any further questions regarding pest management, or check out our pest management programs.


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