Tree and Shrub Tips – Learn

Tree and Shrub Tips – Learn

Caring for your landscape plants can be a labor intensive process, but it’s one that so many of you enjoy.  The beauty of any landscape lies in these sorts of details…how well you maintain your plants and the beds they grow in will go a long way towards how healthy and beautiful they grow season-to-season and year-to-year.

We hope to provide insightful tips and information to help you maintain your landscape in tip-top shape during the growing season.  Visit here often for news on the following topics:

  • Pruning
  • Trunk Implants
  • Soil Injections
  • Landscape Removal
  • Planting
  • Insect and Disease Control
  • Fertilization
  • Mulching

emerald ash borer

Without question, the hot topic in tree and shrub care continues to be the Emerald Ash Borer.  First a bit of background on this pest.

For the past several years, an increasing population of the EAB has been on the attack, wiping out a large number of native Ash trees in the midwest.  These insects feed on trees found in wooded, natural settings and those in our urban landscapes.  The pest has no known predator…controlling the pest with insecticides can be unpredictable and quite expensive.  There are several somewhat conflicting points of view when it comes to the EAB.

Possibility #1:  Once the bulk of our Ash tree inventory has been eliminated, pest populations will decline and treatment will no longer be necessary, at least on a regular basis.  Counterpoint:  In our view, so long as any living Ash trees remain, the insect should be expected to remain a threat.

Possibility #2:  Treatments will effectively control the pest, protecting your trees from EAB activity.  Counterpoint:  No treatment protocol can offer such guarantees.  Even if you were to establish control, if a tree has sustained internal injury a wide range of other problems could promote tree decline.

Possibility #3:  Treatment will eventually be ineffective…so treatments of any sort may be just to borrow time and preserve the tree indefinitely.  Counterpoint:  In this regard, I find much more agreement.  I believe it is likely the pest will continue, and there are other Ash borers aside from the EAB that are certainly not going away willingly.  At some point, through insecticide tolerance, general tree health, weather and other mitigating factors, the treatments themselves may not work well enough to save the tree.  There will come a time when the tree will likely have to be removed.


If the tree shows no signs of activity and is in reasonable health, IMIDACLOPRID insecticide (Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Insecticide) treatments are a reasonable choice.  The price is low and the protective value would appear to be nearly as good as those results achieved by means of injection.  We view this as a “value” choice.  Homeowners can also apply these products themselves, making the price point even better.  

If your tree is infested, treatment value simply does not warrant the investment.  I suggest the tree be professionally removed in accordance with state regulations and precautions. 

Before you do anything, we recommend you consult with ShowPlace or a certified Arborist to give you the excellent advice you need. 


Winter weather can create this effect on your Boxwoods, and this year’s extreme weather may have made these matters much worse.  Notice how the back of the shrub is greener?  Boxwoods should be planted in protected areas, near the home and shielded from wind and frost/freeze exposure.  Bronzing usually recovers, but in some cases the injury can be severe.


Crabaple Scab is common on susceptible varieties, but newer species offer excellent resistance to this problem.  We recommend you consult with your nursery prior to purchase and installation of any new crabapple trees.  Prevention is moderately effective most years, but you cannot eliminate Scab if you have susceptible trees on your property.


Here is an example of an infestation of Eastern Tent Caterpillar.  These are very common insects that can be found on a wide range of trees both in Spring and Fall.  Timing of treatment is very important, with preventive applications offering the most effective control.  Depending upon severity, no treatment may be required, however.


If you have ever walked past a mugho pine that had active sawfly you were no doubt “freaked out” by their sudden and odd movements.  These larvae can clean the needles off a limb quickly and if unchecked will result in a plant that will have to be replaced.  Treatments are very effective, and highly recommended for your valuable plants.


As if Spruce didn’t have enough to worry about, there’s another very common disease that sits in the same boat with Rhizosphaera.  In fact, the two have a lot of similarities.  The same treatment protocols hold true for both.  We encourage preventive controls for disease…once it starts, those efforts are far less successful.


Scale Crawlers attack a wide range of plants.  Unfortunately, this insect may be active for much of the season, including early spring, so you should be prepared to act if you see them.  These insects will kill the plant if untreated, and one application is not adequate.  As with any treatment approach, you should begin a preventive regimen of applications to keep your plants healthy all year long.


If you have pine trees and you hope to keep them around, we suggest you start treating for Diplodia.  This disease will never be eliminated, even with treatment.  But, you can preserve your trees by slowing the progress of this disease and causing damage like this.


“Needle Cast” diseases like this are far more common than many people realize.  If you have a Spruce tree there’s a good chance you either have an active disease like Rhizosphaera or soon will have.  It is controllable and we recommend you do so.  Otherwise, loss of limb structure from the ground up is the eventual result.  Conifers are not built for recovery, so when this happens, the tree will lose its wonderful appeal.


A good number of plants were shocked by the unusually cold weather this spring.  It was made worse by the fact that temps warmed and plants started to grow just before 24 degree temperatures hit!  Plants normally winter hardy suffered this year, but we are hopeful that recovery will eventually put things back to normal.  Spirea pictured.


Chlorosis is becoming a much more formidable issue for some of our trees in recent years.  Birch, Pin Oak and Maple varieties are seemingly the most impacted.  Tree supplements are very good solutions.  These supplements are injected directly into the tree’s bark. If you see yellowing of leaves and early leaf drop you may have this condition.

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