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Carpenter Costin Blog

Forecasting 2012's Plant Health Care Problems

Planning ahead can help ensure your plants stay healthy and pest-free come spring time. Use historical knowledge and trends to preserve plant health in 2012.

Due to the variability of New England weather these days it is difficult to accurately forecast the future. However, one aspect that is predictable is that we will have a spring, but whether it begins in March or May is yet to be determined. With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of some pesky pests that devastate our trees and plants.winter moth damage

One pest that cannot be ignored is the Winter Moth (or winter worm). Winter Moth populations have exploded in recent years and don't look to be slowing down anytime soon. These moths, that fly around your exterior lights in the late fall, are damaging to your trees in their larval stage, when they feast on the leaves of your deciduous trees, primarily maples, lindens, and oaks.

Our Arborists recommend target winter moth treatments as a preventative measure. Depending on the weather in the spring, Winter Moths will start appearing any time in April and May - sooner with warmer weather, later with cooler weather.

Another pest to plan for this spring is the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid or HWA. Hemlocks are damaged by HWA when the eggs hatch and begin feeding on the tree's twigs. The Adelgid effectively suck the sap out of Hemlocks, severly stressing the tree which will slowly kill it over time.

Like the Winter Moth, our Arborists recommend a target preventative treatment for HWA. This pest has been increasing in recent years and can cause great damage to clustered Hemlocks. It is imperative to catch HWA early on before any damage is done

Take note of what has happened in the past few years and start planning your pest management and plant health care now. If this winter remains relatively mild, these pests may be damaging your plants sooner than usual. If you're looking for more information on our pest management and plant health care programs please take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a Certified Arborist.


tree health care

Winter Moths Flying Around Your Property? No Need to Worry...Yet!

Although they are not hungry for leaves like they are in the larval stage (Winter Worm), it is wise to take notice of Winter Moth volume this time of year.

The little moths that congregate around our exterior lights are actually the pesky, foliage chewing winter worms that devastate our trees in the spring and early summer while in the larval stage. Even though the moths are not a danger to our trees at this point, it is good to keep an eye out for an abundance of moths. It is safe to assume that if moth volume is very high, you may experience excessive damage from the caterpillar-form of these pests come spring time.

Winter Moths have become a nuissance across the North Shore and Greater Boston Area, defoliating a tremendous amount of deciduous trees in our region. During the late fall and early winter, the male winter moths will emerge from their summer vacation spot (the ground) as moths and fly around as long as weather permits. The females, who have no wings, emerge from the ground at the same time and crawl up trees to lay their eggs. These are the eggs that will hatch next spring, producing an army of foliage eating winter worms.

With winter worm damage being so extensive in the past few years we encourage homeowners to sign up for Target Winter Moth Treatments. A target treatment done in the early spring will mitigate your winter moth risk, and is highly recommended if you've experienced damage in the past, or are seeing an abundance of moths flying around now.

If you're concerned about winter worm damage, please request a free consultation with one of our Certified Arborists. Signing up for a preventative pest management treatment or program this winter can also help you save money, as we provide a 10% discount for early signups.

Pest Management Consultation

severe winter worm damage

Without preventative treatments, winter worm damage can be severe, effectively defoliating an entire tree or group of trees.

Plan 2012 Pest Management Now, Save 10%

As 2011 is winding down, it is time to plan your 2012 pest management programs and save money while doing so!

Carpenter Costin offers one of the most comprehensive pest management departments around. Our state of the art equipment, experienced technicians, and diverse solutions combine to create an extremely effective pest management division which allows us to provide both preventative and reactionary treatments for a wide range of insect and disease problems. We are experts at pest management for your shrubs, trees, lawns, and plants.pest management consultation

We are also proud to offer a 10% discount for pre-payment on pest management services, meaning when you sign up for your pest management between December 1st and March 31st, you can receive a 10% discount. If you have had a history of insect or disease infestation, be it Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Winter moth, Anthracnose, or anything other pest, we recommend preventative treatments, which can be booked now at a 10% discount. Not only can you save your trees, shrubs, and lawn from nasty pests, but you can save some money while doing so. The 10% discount can be applied to one time Target Treatments, as well as Multi-Visit Treatment Programs.

If you're unsure of what exactly it is that you need, but think you have pest problems, take advantage of our free consultations and meet with an experienced pest pro. Don't wait until it is too late. Planning your pest management now will help you save!



Plan Now for Next Year's Pest Management

Don't be caught trying to combat insects and diseases with reactionary measures. Plan your technical programs now for effective preventative treatments next year.

Each spring, the phones at our headquarters in Swampscott ring off the the hook with local homeowners mentioning that "something is eating their trees." Some of these callers were plant health care technicianadvised to implement a pest management program earlier in the year, but decided against it only to be infested with pests come spring time. Luckily for the callers, our plant health care division provides effective reactionary pest management solutions; however, they highly recommend signing up for the more effective, and less costly, preventative treatments prior to the beginning of the growing season.

Our preventative programs are tailored to suit your property, and range from one-time target treatments, to five and eight visit programs for complete pest management and plant health coverage. These treatments prevent infestation from the insects and diseases trying tirelessly to eat your foliage, damage your trees, and ruin your turf.

Whether your property has been affected by insects such as the Winter Moth, Lace Bug, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, and Fall Web Worm; or plagued by Tip Blight, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew, and Apple Scab; our plant health care pros can provide the treatment you need. Request a free consultation now with a Carpenter Costin professional to discuss your pest management needs and wants. You'll be thanking us next spring when your property is pest free!




Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Infestation in the Fall

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Can Be a Serious Threat to Tree Health

hemlock-woolly-adelgidHemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) are tiny, aphid-like insects that feed on Eastern Hemlocks ravenously through the late fall and winter. They lay in a dormant stage most of the growing season, but usually return to their feeding habits by mid-October. For detailed information on the HWA, please view our insect & disease glossary.

Preventing Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA)

In order to prevent Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, our Certified Arborists recommend topical applications or injection treatments of horticultural oil. Regular fertilization and pruning is also recommended in order to prevent these pests from infesting your Hemlocks. It is best to utilize spring, summer, and fall horticultural oil treatments in order to prevent Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.

HWA injection treatmentIf you happen to notice white cottony egg masses on your Hemlocks, then it is likely that you have an HWA infestation. Call a Certified Arborist immediately. HWA infestation can be devastating.

Be sure to keep an eye on your Hemlocks for any signs of infestation. Keeping your trees healthy with regular fertilization and pruning will help ward of HWA, but horticultural treatments are recommended as HWA has been so bad in recent years. To learn more about HWA, or to have an Insect & Disease specialist out for a free consultation call 877-308-8733 or click the button below.


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.


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