- FAX 215-438-1879
- Peter McFarland
- Locke Woodfin
Trees for Fall Color
The Red Maple lives up to it’s name in every way and every season.
Right up there with Sugar Maples, which we featured in our newsletter last Fall, are Red Maples (Acer rubrum), which are native to the eastern United States.
This tree lights up the fall sky with flaming red and orange color, surpassing what a landscape painter might paint.
The Red Maple lives up to its name in every way and every season. Early Spring, before its leaves appear, red buds open to clusters of red and orange flowers which hang from reddish twigs. Its leaves, as they unfold, are reddish too, and gradually turn to green, but the veins and leaf stalks keep a reddish tint all summer. The ripening fruit is red too.
Red Maples are an excellent choice for lawns and parks, reaching a height of 40 to 60 feet at maturity and upwards of 100 feet in the wild.
First, I want to thank each of you for your continued business. With your support, we are having a strong year.
Fall and Winter are important months to attend to whatever growing conditions the warmer, wetter months brought on.
Over twelve inches of rain in June and continued wet weather in July and August, resulted in saturated soils, more insects and diseases, such as root rot of Rhododendron, zalea, Lilac, Dogwood, Camellia, Yew, Juniper, and other shrubs. Very few woody plants tolerate standing water in saturated soils.
Fall and winter are excellent times for pruning.
Because this summer has been unusually wet, trees and bushes which we pruned last year put on double the amount of their usual growth. This year we have been pruning trees and shrubs we pruned last year.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect and damaged Ash trees were discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania in Spring 2012, bringing EAB within striking distance of trees in Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.
Some of you already have had us treat your Ash trees with a systemic insecticide so it will be present in the trees before the borer begins feeding
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Fall & Winter are Best Times to Prune Trees Susceptable to Insects and Disease
As a general rule of thumb, every tree on your property should be pruned at least once every five years, or one-fifth of your trees a year.
It has been our experience that homeowners, who have their trees pruned by us on this cycle, experience less tree damage than those who let nature do the pruning.
Tree pruning makes the most sense in late Fall and Winter when the leaves are gone and our crews can prune limbs more efficiently. Other reasons for pruning during the colder months include:
- Tree health. After pruning, a healing process occurs in which cuts and wounds close naturally. This process is most active in Spring when trees return from dormancy and begin their new growth. Late fall or winter pruning allows pathogens and insects the least time to attack tree wounds.
- Pruning in late fall or winter, when the ground is frozen, also makes sense because it saves garden plants, under-story trees and shrubs from damage from falling limbs.
When pruning trees, we combine two types of pruning—hazard reduction and outer canopy pruning.
- Hazard reduction pruning eliminates immediate safety threats due to damage by storms and heavy winds. Our crews remove all weak, diseased, and dead limbs, as well as limbs or trunks with serious structural defects, such as crossed or rubbing branches, forked or V-shaped trunks.
- Outer canopy pruning involves thinning the ends of limbs in the outer crown and not just the center of the crown, which reduces the weight and spread of the tree, thereby increasing the longevity of the tree. Weight reduction through outer canopy pruning is our specialty.
- Mature Sycamores, Maples, Oaks and American Elms are good candidates for pruning this time of year. If you are not already on our schedule for pruning your trees in the coming months, please call us.
The best time to fertilize your trees and lawn is Fall, when roots grow the fastest and nutrients added are easily absorbed and stored until Spring when they need more nutrients for leaf and stem growth.
Trees in woods self-feed by the natural process of leaf and wood decay. However, in urban or suburban environments, leaves and dead wood usually are removed. As well, most trees in built environments are surrounded by impervious surfaces—roads, driveways and sidewalks—which reduce the area for nutrient uptake.
Tree roots are also in competition with grass, groundcover and other plants in the landscape, which also reduces the amount of nutrient uptake.
For healthier, greener lawns, early fall fertilizing is recommended. Not only will fall feeding help your lawn recover from the stresses of summer, it will stimulate root and stem development.
A second feeding in late fall will keep your lawn healthy through winter dormancy and enable it to green up earlier in Spring. Lawn roots need air as well as water and nutrients for healthy growth. Many lawns have restricted air and water movement due to soil compaction. We recommend core aeration to break up compaction and allow your lawn to breathe. Core aeration of lawns also benefits the roots of nearby trees.
Please call us soon to schedule these treatments.
Emerald Ash Borer Alert
You Too Can Become a Sleuth
When walking in the woods, park, or your own property, you too can be on the lookout for signs of EAB. Here are some facts to keep in mind:
- The EAB insect bores into Ash trees and lays eggs for its larvae, which eat the insides of the tree, killing it within three years of the initial infestation. Other borer insects typically lay only a couple of eggs; the Ash borer lays many.
- One tell-tale sign of an infected tree, besides damaged bark, is an unusual number of active woodpeckers, which strip the bark and drill in to eat the larvae.
- When the adult insects emerge, they leave D-shaped holes in the bark about one-eighth inch wide.
- Besides the bark damage you will see die-back in the tree canopy.
- The adult insects are a dark green, metallic color—a halfinch in length and one-eighth inch wide. The images, right, are the actual size of the adult EAB insect.
- If you think you have detected Emerald Ash Borer, contact us as soon as possible.
Studies of previous EAB outbreaks indicate that the insects will move on their own up to a mile each year
In Spring 2012, we reported the detection of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect in Ash trees at a condominium complex in Warrington Township, lower Bucks County—the first infestation in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Significant because it was 80 miles east of the nearest previous detection of EAB.
This outbreak undoubtedly was the result of someone transporting infested firewood into the county, which is illegal.
As of August 2013 no further detections have occurred in our region.
But according to a web post by Scott Guiser, Environmental Educator at Penn State’s Extension Service in Bucks County: “..the bug has not disappeared. There were many Ash trees infested at this site and no doubt the adults that emerged from those trees flew off to mate and infest other trees.”
The infestation at the condominium complex was estimated to be several years old, Therefore, Guiser further posted: EAB “is most likely already established a few miles from Warrington, it just hasn’t been detected yet.”
Studies of previous EAB outbreaks indicate that the insects will move on their own up to a mile each year, even with the attempts to eradicate them. The insect’s natural time for flying is May to September.
But they also can catch a ride on dead wood and show up many more miles from the nearest infestation, which means all Ash trees in the Philadelphia region are endangered.
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on them. The cost of this treatment is small compared to the cost of removing a dead Ash tree, plus replacing it with a new tree—not to mention the loss of a mature tree that is an integral part of your landscape.
If you have not had your Ash trees treated, I recommend we begin now, or
otherwise we should remove them now. In the next several years, we are likely to see a staggering number of Ash trees die; when that happens our crews will be booked up. So let’s make a strategy for your Ash trees now.
— Peter McFarland
Winter Protection for Evergreens
Broadleaf evergreens are especially susceptible. Smaller-leaf confers can suffer needle damage too.
Cold temperatures and winds can severely injure—even kill—evergreen trees and shrubs due to winter burn.
As air temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing, winds cause dehydration to the plant. Leaves or needles will turn brown. Stems and branches may die because the roots are unable to replenish the loss of water. In worst cases the plant does not recover.
Broadleaf evergreens—such as Azaleas, Boxwoods, Hollies, Laurels, Magnolias and Rhododendrons—are especially susceptible. Smaller-leaf conifers—
such as Arborvitae, Fir, Pine, and Spruce—also can suffer damage to their needles.
Application of a non-toxic, anti-dessicant spray to these plants in late Fall or early Winter has worked wonders protecting many evergreens which we maintain.
Call us to arrange for this treatment.
Tree Lightning Protection Systems
If you have a mature tree that is within 25 feet of your house and that overhangs the roof, or that is anywhere on your property and you don’t want to lose it, you should consider installing a lightning protection system.
A tree with lightning protection will divert the charge up through a safe pathway from a ground rod 10 feet in the ground and will neutralize it above the tree canopy.
We are experienced in installing these systems, which are far less expensive than the cost to repair potential damage to a house or replace a tree struck by lightning.
We have not had one tree fail in over 50 years.
Newsletter Editor: Bill Hengst