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Carpenter Costin Blog

Plants, Pests, and Phenology in Full Bloom

The recent increase in warm weather has boosted plant and pest development.

A few weeks ago, as we were still stuck in the cold and wet early spring, we decided to blog about phenology, and its affect on the development of plants and pests. Well, since then, the weather has certainly rebounded to the warm spring that we had been longing for, but with it comes an increase in pest activity and plant growth.

Depending on where you are located, Winter Moth activity could be in its early stages, in full swing, or starting the decline. Look for these pests to continue to feast in our region for a few more weeks. Treating Winter Moths is still recommended as the threat will remain high for two to three more weeks. Lace bug, sawfly, and beetle activity is beginning to increase as well. Keep an eye on your plants and trees, and look for evidence of pest activity.

In addition to insects and diseases, invasive shrubs, plants, and trees will prosper as the weather warms. This is a great time to prune your Burning Bush shrubs to ensure they do not take over your landscapes. For more information on trimming and pruning invasive or overgrown shrubs and trees, consult with a Certified Arborist. If pest activity is evident on your plants, a pest management program or target treatment is recommended.

Treat Your Hemlocks Before It's Too Late

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and Elongate Hemlock Scale infestations are on the rise, treat these pests now while you still can!

Prevent or manage pests on your beautiful hemlocks before it is too late. Late spring and early summer treatments of horticultural oil can help protect your hemlocks from Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) until the fall. Systemic imidacloprid is also an effective treatment when injected in the soil or trunk; however, it may take longer than a topical treatment of horticultural oil.

Elongate Hemlock Scale (EHS), or Fiorinia Scale, is becoming more popular in our region, especially on trees already infected by Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. Unfortunately, HWA treatment tactics are not effective for Elongate Scale prevention and management. One effective treatment for EHS is Dinotefuran, which is similar to imidaclopird, but it effectively treats hemlocks infested with EHS.

The Eastern Hemlock is one of the most popular and beloved trees in the North East. Ensuring their health is vital to the appeal and life of your landscape. To learn more about Hemlock Wooly Adelgid or Elongate Hemlock Scale treatments, consult with a Certified Arborist.

Horticulture Timing of Treatments

Optimal timing for pest and weed management on you trees, shrubs, and lawns.

With the abundance of rain and moisture lately, our plant and lawn health management division has had their hands full with the scheduling and application of treatments. Surprisingly, I had a chance to catch our President, Paul Marsan, for a few brief seconds and get his take on the situation.

While on the subject of insect, disease, and weed control, Paul mentioned, “The time to apply pre-emergent crabgrass control products is when the Forsythia is half yellow and half green. This is commonly known by experienced Lawn Care Pros and knowledgeable homeowners. What is not commonly known, is that the same theory applies to most horticultural treatments and tactics. This widely used principle is known as Phenology.”

Phenology is based on the accumulation of temperature degrees above a control point. The accumulated degrees are known as “Degree Days Heating.” This very important principle dictates to the knowledgeable professional when it is time to apply certain treatments, such as crabgrass preventer, or when it is the best to seed your lawn.

Most important to note is that proper timing is not related to calendar date. For more information on this subject we recommend reading Coincide by Donald A. Orton, or consult with one of our Certified Arborists or Technicians, all whom are very familiar with this practice.

Insect Prevention and Control During Rain Storms

Pest management applications can be extremely time sensitive, regardless of whether or not Mother Nature cooperates. What can you do to ensure proper applications during periods of rain?

The middle of May is prime-time for Winter Moth treatment applications. It is imperative to get out and spray for these pests before they can really damage your beautiful trees and shrubs. Fortunately for those in the Arboriculture business, Winter Moth treatments can be applied in moist weather, unlike many other pest management applications.

Insect prevention and control applications must be completed by a trained professional tree care technician. A well-trained tree professional will use their knowledge and judgment regarding the safety, effectiveness, and environmental impact of pest management applications, especially during periods of rain or heavy moisture. If you have any doubt in the effectiveness or timeliness of your applications please give us a call at 877-308-8733.

For more information regarding tree and shrub pest management, or the application of pest management supplements, feel free to request a consultation with a certified tree care professional.

Tree and Shrub Health Care Treatments

It’s May, and it’s time to treat your trees for pests, such as the Winter Moth, Lace Bug, and Diplodia Tip Blight.

Although spring came a little late this year, rest assured that it is actually here, and the same insects and diseases that infest your trees every spring are back. Winter Moth activity has picked up drastically over the last week, and it is imperative that you treat your trees for these pests before they chew and shred all your leaves. Check your deciduous trees, mainly the oaks, maples, crabapples, dogwoods, and cherries, for signs of these small green caterpillars, as their presence seems to be multiplying each year.

Lace Bugs, which were extremely abundant last spring due to the warm temperatures and excess moisture, will be back this spring as well. Since we have had a colder early spring, Lace Bugs populations may be down, but they are certainly still a pest to worry about. Check the leaves on your broad leaf evergreens and deciduous trees for yellow spotting. Lace Bugs will feed on the underside of leaves, and because of their piercing and sucking mouths, yellow spots will begin to show on the upper side of leaves as they kill the cells within.

Diplodia Tip Blight is a fungal disease which primarily targets the Austrian and Red Pines in our region. Look for signs of browning or curling needles in your pines, as this is an early indicator of Tip Blight. Treatments for Tip Blight must begin in early May. Also, you must be careful when pruning infected trees as the fungus can spread easily.

Insect and disease infestation can fluctuate from year to year based on a number of factors, including temperature and moisture; however, without proper treatment, your trees will be infected. Implementing an insect and disease management program is recommended in order to combat the restless pests in our region.

Winter Moths are Coming

We are all excited that May will be bringing us beautiful flowers; however, May also brings us nasty, unwanted Wintermoths. These larvae (worms) hatch and feed ravenously on leaves beginning mid-May. They feed on leaf clusters and inside buds during the day, and inch their way to the outside of leaves at night. In June they stop feeding and drop down to the ground and bury themselves in the soil until fall.

In October and November adult males emerge to mate. It is common to see them flying around your porch lights in the evening at this time of year. The females, who have no wings, climb up tree trunks and lay eggs in bark crevices for the start next season’s moths.

Treatments of Wintermoths begin in May, and can control the winter moth larvae population, and mitigate the risks to your trees. Wintermoth treatment methods include foliar application and micro injection, available in both biological and traditional controls.

If you have had Wintermoth damage in the past, it is recommended that you speak with an arborist to determine an appropriate Wintermoth insect management strategy. Control these pests in the spring to prevent year-long pest damage to your trees.

Asian Longhorned Beetle Decimates Local Trees

Invasive Insects Threaten Hardwood Trees

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is an invasive insect from Asia that is a serious threat to hardwood trees (trees that lose their foliage after growing season) in the United States. These trees include maple, elm, willow, birch, horsechestnut and poplar. During its infant stage, the insect bores into a tree's heartwood and feeds on the nutrients. The tunneling can cause extensive damage, which will eventually kill the tree. The insect is approximately 1 - 1.5 inches in length with antennae as long as the body itself. Although they can fly up to 400 yards, they tend to lay eggs in the same tree they emerged as adults.

The Adult female, active primarily during the summer and early fall, can chew 35 to 90 depressions into the bark of the host tree. One egg is laid at each site, which hatches in 10-15 days. The resulting offspring tunnel into the woody tissue of the tree, where it feeds and continues to develop over the winter. In the spring, the offspring build a hard case to develop in. When summer comes, they chew their way out of the tree leaving perfectly round exit holes of ¼ to ½ inch. They then feed on the leaves and twigs of the tree, before starting the cycle over again.

Getting rid of the beetles is primarily accomplished through detection and removal of the host tree. If you encounter these beetles, you are urged to contact the U.S. Department of Agricultures' (USDA) local Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Director, who can be located at the following website:

In Massachusetts, you can also contact The ALB Program at 508.799.8330 or toll free at (866) 702.9938.Qualified Arborists can provide preventative treatments to non-infested trees through a 3-year program of tree or soil injections. The chemical treatment disperses into the tree and travels into twigs and leaves so infant stage and adult beetles ingest the chemical and die.

To find out more about a preventative 3-year treatment program to protect your properties trees, contact Carpenter Costin at or call (877) 308.8733.

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