Quit Getting Bit!

While you’ve been outside either working in your yard or playing with your kids, you have 
also encountered nature’s mosquitoes. Why is the infestation so bad? With the recent record 
rainfall and blast in warm temperatures, they have been able to multiply very quick. Integrity Tree Services treats for mosquitoes and would love to help you with this nuisance insect.

Our treatment is safe for kids and pets. After treatment, you are required to let the product dry for 1 hour and then you can return outside to enjoy your investment you have worked so hard for. Mosquitoes lay up to 250 eggs at a time in still water and they hatch within 7-15 days. During the off-season, mosquitoes can lay dormant for up to one year. If standing water is eliminated weekly, many mosquitoes will be kept from breeding in the first place. So if you are anti-mosquito and want to abate these pesky insects, start by getting rid of breeding grounds in your yard.

Common mosquito breeding grounds:

• Bird baths
• Old tires
• Open containers – cans, jars, bottles or anything that can hold as little as an ounce of water. 
 In fact, mosquitoes can breed in as little as a drop of water. Even recycle bins may have some 
 open containers that can collect water. Don’t forget trash cans and trash can lids too!
• Hollow trees
• Water gardens & ponds – decorative ponds without fish and other large areas of standing water
• Wading pools
• Drainage ditches
• Any area of standing water is a potential mosquito breeding ground!

Frost & Disease Damage

We were set up for the perfect storm for challenges in the landscape. In March, we had record high temperatures starting our growing season 4+ weeks ahead of schedule. With temperatures so high, plants and disease were both growing more rapid than previous years. This rapid advancement pushed our technicians into overtime to complete early season fungal/insect treatments. Just as everything started to look well, we had a hard frost in the first week in April. This isn’t out of the ordinary except that many of our plants were 4+ weeks ahead of schedule in their growth cycle. Tender new growth was already exposed and much of it was damaged. Typically no treatment is needed since they will shed the damaged leaves and sprout new ones.

Our summer drought conditions have finally broken but it has left its mark on some of the trees and shrubs in our area. Characteristic signs are leaves drying, starting from the outer edges. In extreme situations, you will see the entire leaf dry up and fall to the ground as if the season has changed early. These leaves are brown instead of turning color as they normally would. Many of these injured trees will recover however we are seeing some that are already completely dead.
Needlecast: There can be one of several fungal diseases lumped into this category. Most are treated with several spray applications to protect new growth from infection. It will take several growing seasons of protection before the plant fully recovers. This disease can overtake trees and will continue to spread if not treated.

Cytospora Canker: This disease takes over in the heat of summer since the tree is stressed. It will take over one limb at a time. Solution: (1) Remove dead or dying limbs and burn them. (2) Increase vigor of the tree. We have seen this disease stop since the tree’s stresses are reduced, but we have seen it completely take over and kill the tree. It is not treatable other than keeping the tree healthy.
Japanese Beetle Season: We are at the beginning of the Japanese Beetle season. Make sure you are signed up to protect your plants this year. We will only shut down the appetite of the beetles and will not harm other beneficial insects. Some feeding on the plants will always occur as the beetles have to ingest some material before they will get the treatment into their system. If you have been in a heavily infested area (near heavily irrigated lawns where all the larvae feed underground), you should let our Arborists know so that they may need to add a more aggressive treatment as beetles start to feed.

The Importance of Watering

It was remarkable how many times the Tree & Shrub Care Department was called this summer to check on trees that were not looking healthy. Nearly half of all cases, there was one common issue, lack of water.

Leaf margins turning brown, leaves wilting or turning brittle are all symptoms of stress from drought. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for tree diseases and insect damage. 
It is important to recognize the signs of stress induced by lack of water and to not misdiagnose the symptoms to be a fungal disease or insect damage. Sometimes treating an already stressed tree for a fungus or an insect, even treating a tree using a fertilizer, can do more harm than good. Once recognized that the issue is drought, if the damage is not too severe, most of the time it can be quite simple to remedy. It takes a schedule and time. Most customers dealing with drought have been encouraged to water with a hose at the base of the tree three times a week for at least an hour (depending on the size of the tree) until the first snow fall.

It is commonly overlooked to water a mature tree during a dry season. The truth is, some trees can take up many gallons of water each day, if it is available. Water evaporates through the leaves, a process known as transpiration. The evaporation of water through the leaves causes a suction in the tree roots that pulls water from the ground. If water is not available, depending on the tree location and soil type the tree may begin to display symptoms of drought.

Tree location is critical to notice when determining if your tree has succumb to drought. If a tree is in an enclosed space, right by a sidewalk and driveway, if it is surrounded by asphalt or if it was planted in a bed of rocks, all these will determine the amount of water a tree has 
access to. A sidewalk, road or driveway may not seem significant, when in fact can cause scorch to the trunk and leaves. The sun’s rays are strong, and like rays reflecting off water, they can reflect off the sidewalk or road. Tightly closed quarters, such as in a boulevard, in between the road, and the sidewalk, means limited room for roots to spread out. It also means limited soil space where water can be held. Trees and shrubs surrounded by stones can look serene, however these rocks get heated from the sun’s rays. This increase in temperature can bake the root system of a tree.
Replacing stones with mulch may not seem like the easiest solution, but it is the best remedy for your landscape plants to counteract stress from drought. A thin bed of mulch (1-3 inches) can hold soil moisture, keep the root system from overheating and provides nutrients for the tree as it slowly breaks down.

Soil type can commonly be overlooked when observing symptoms of tree stress from drought. Straight sand (commonly found near the lakeshore) does not have much ability to hold water. The sand particles are so large compared to clay or silt that water moves right through the large particles. If a tree is in sand and it is a dry year, this tree may need regular watering. If a tree is in straight clay, the clay can harden from lack of water. Clay particles
are so small (compared to sand), and clay will tightly hold on to water, which is beneficial when there is regular water in the soil. Without regular water, the clay can become solid. Once clay hardens, when it rains or if the tree is watered, the water will stand on the surface of the hardened clay or will just run-off. It takes time and much water for the water to soak into hardened clay and penetrate the surface. The ideal soil type for most landscape plants is a mixture of sand and clay or a silt. Silt can hold moisture and will stay porous if it loses moisture.

Michigan State University Extension reported in 2013, that the drought from 2012 was significantly noticed in maples. Maples experienced early fall coloration as well as chlorotic symptoms, such as yellowing leaves, from lack of nutrients. Summer of 2015 has also been quite dry. Because many of the trees experiencing stress from drought this summer have been maples, and because maples are sensitive to environmental changes, it may be safe to assume these trees may still be stressed from previous drought years.

In most cases, with regular watering trees and shrubs can replenish themselves to be healthy again. It is important to water (especially newly planted trees) in the summertime, especially when there is a shortage of water, if the location of the tree is not ideal or if the soil type is not optimum. A fertilizer can also be beneficial, however, waiting until the tree is healthy again and has plenty of water would be a good time to fertilize. Also, a tree stressed by drought potentially can predispose the tree to other ailments, so watering is all around the best option for your tree.

Wintertime can also prove to be harsh on landscape plants. Constant snow, ice and wind can dry out or burn many plant species, particularly if they experienced drought in the summertime. The Tree and Shrub Care department treats multiple properties in the wintertime with anti-desiccants. Anti-desiccants could aid trees and shrubs from drying out or burning over the wintertime. Watering drought-stressed landscape plants until the 
snow falls will be most beneficial, and an anti-desiccant could help the struggling tree or shrub stay healthy through the winter, especially if the winter is a brutal one. We use a product called Transfilm for our anti-desiccant treatments. This product creates a coating on the plants that reduces water loss.

If you think your landscape plants may be experiencing stress from drought, call (616) 301-1300 ext 118 to schedule an appointment with one of our certified arborists. They will give you the steps you need to take to get your tree or shrub on the right path as well as the education you will use in years to come with caring for your landscape plants. They can also determine whether or not an anti-desiccant will be beneficial.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) was first discovered in the United States in Brooklyn, New York, in Aug 1996.
ALB was later detected in Chicago, Illinois, in Jul 1998. In Oct 2002, the beetle was found in Hudson County, New Jersey, and then in Middlesex and Union Counties, New Jersey, in Aug 2004. In Aug 2008, ALB was discovered in Worcester County, Massachusetts, and in Jul 2010, ALB was found in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. In Jun 2011, ALB was detected in Clermont County, Ohio. However, in 2008, after the completion of control and regulatory activities, and following confirmation surveys, ALB was declared eradicated in Chicago, Illinois, and Hudson County, New Jersey.

Similarly, in 2011, ALB was declared eradicated from Islip, New York. So why should we be concerned?? Because of this pests diet. The Asian Longhorned Beetle has a long and growing list of hardwood host species in North America. While it seems to prefer maples and horse chestnut, it will readily attack yellow-poplar, willow, elm, mulberry, black locust, and several commercial fruit trees including pear and plum. ALB’s species preference leaves a majority of northern hardwood forests, western hardwood forests and most North American urban forests at risk.

Rampant Fungal Disease






Paying attention to our weather will give you advanced warning on what will be happening with your plants. Last spring I warned of all the fungal diseases that would be present from all the rainy weather we had in the spring season. What a year it was! We had problems with fungal diseases showing up on plants that are normally resistant. Last season, it was the most common issue to deal with in the landscape.

Well…here we are again. Only this time, it is one of the wettest seasons on record. Brace yourself and keep an eye out for strange disease situations this summer because this is when damage from spring infections begin to show most. So what do you do? First, understand that for most trees and shrubs, infection happens in the spring. Therefore it has already happened. Second, most copper-sulfate fungicides will help suppress many of the fungal diseases therefore applying treatment as soon as you notice the damage may help a little. The real help will come in making sure the tree is on a deep root fertilization program (or similar) by setting up protection treatments to break the cycle for next spring since this is when the majority of infection occurs.

When plants are stressed, they need help so they are not overcome by other diseases while they are in a weakened state. Deep root fertilization gives them all the nutrients they need to get their vigor up while spring treatments will break the cycle from weakening your plants further.

As you start seeing unusual symptoms on your plant, quickly call Pat Morren, Tree & Shrub Care Manager, and he will have someone stop out to evaluate your situation before it is too late to control. Too often we are called out to help when it is far too late to help the plant in question. The pictures below show fungal diseases on various leaves and a tree.

Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

We have been warning our customers that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is coming and to start protecting their trees before it’s too late. This is the last call for preventative 
treatments! If you have an Ash tree as a primary landscape tree, it is imperative you begin our annual protection program or you will lose your Ash tree over the next few years.

Many of you are already seeing the dead and/or dying trees lining many of the 
highways, city streets, and homes in all surrounding areas. Those trees are too far gone for us to be able to help them. If your tree is healthy and it is one that is a primary 
landscape tree then it is worth setting up an annual treatment plan to keep it protected since all the surrounding Ash trees are eliminated by the Emerald Ash Borer.

A good thing to note is, if you start to see the crown of your tree thinning, the borers 
have been working on the tree for some time. Given this scenario, when we start 
treatment (if it is not too far along) more damage will become evident before the tree gets 
better. This is due to all the vascular damage under the bark. Success of treatment is greatly reduced once a tree is showing signs of decline.

Is the EAB here to stay? For now yes, however there is a glimmer of hope as USDA officials are working hard breeding and releasing three types of wasps that will attack the EAB at different stages of its life cycle. The good news is all three species of wasps do not have stingers and will not harm humans. They are brought over from Asia as natural 
predators to EAB. In Asia, these wasps control an estimated 74% of native EAB populations. 
We will see how it all plays out over the coming years until established. Until the EAB 
populations are controlled, the recommendation for treatment remains the same. Contact our Tree & Shrub Care division today to schedule your consultation appointment.