Locust Tree Insects and Diseases

Locust tree diseases

Locust trees are beautiful structures to have in your landscape. The locust tree naturalized in the Appalachian Mountains, but now, it can be seen throughout North America. It has a reputation for rapid growth and developing robust thorns. It requires a lot of maintenance, and you need to watch out for the numerous insects and diseases that can overpower the foliage. Locust tree insects and diseases will run rampant if you are not careful, so here are the pests you should keep an eye on. At the first sign of trouble, do not hesitate to contact tree care experts such as Safari Tree to save your locust tree.

Insects

Honeylocust plant bugs tend to infest trees in late spring. This is a damaging type of plant bug that tends to be green in appearance. You can tell you have an infestation of these bugs when there is brown or yellow spotting on the leaves, and you may also notice injured foliage. Leaves may become twisted, so your main course of action is to apply chemical controls.

You also need to watch out for honeylocust borers. These look like beetles that are long-horned or metallic in appearance. They tunnel into the bark of these trees during their larval stages. They usually lay their eggs in June, and they will only attack trees that are already stressed from disease or drought. Borers will find existing cankers to make their way further into the tree, and you will need to apply supplemental insecticidal controls to manage the rapidly growing population.

Blister beetles will attack locust trees in droves. They are ash-gray in appearance, and they will cause extreme defoliation over various components of the tree. Infestations usually occur at the end of June or beginning of July. Similarly to any of the other insects, the best way to deal with these is with insecticides. Other common types of insects to protect your locust tree against include:

  • Cottony maple scales
  • Eriophyid mites
  • Honeylocust spider mites
  • Honeylocust podgall midges

Locust Tree Diseases

Black locust tree trunk

Locust trees are susceptible to several different diseases. The fungus can impact any tree, and with locust trees, you really need to look out for verticillium wilt. This is a fungus that enters the tree through the roots. The main issue with this disease is that it remains asymptomatic at first. However, over time, you will notice leaf curling, yellow or red leaf coloring and wilting branches. Wilting generally occurs on only one side of the tree, and it may even die suddenly.

Locust trees can sustain serious damage from the formation of cankers. These are easy to spot because dead spots will appear all of the bark of the trunk and branches. Cankers kill bark in all of the affected areas, and they can threaten the tree’s life. Cankers decay wood, which means the tree becomes more vulnerable to ice, heavy snow and extreme winds. The best way to avoid cankers is with preventative measures, such as annual fertilization, maintaining suitable soil moisture and proper watering.

Finally, wetwood is a serious disease that is associated with several different varieties of bacteria. Once a locust tree has this disease, the wood will turn into a yellow-brown color. Additionally, this area will feel wetter than usual. It is also possible for it to ooze slime. During the winter, the wood will crack, and the interior of the tree will sustain damage, resulting in splitting and warping. There is no way to effectively treat wetwood.

Protect Your Locust Trees

You can avoid these pests and diseases by having the experts at Safari Tree take care of any locust trees on your property. Contact us right away if you have any questions or concerns about your trees. Our goal is to keep your landscape as beautiful and healthy as possible.

Oak Tree Diseases and Oak Tree Health Tips

Oak tree diseases

Oak trees are beautiful structures. They are found in numerous locations around the world, including right here in Michigan. There are over 400 different varieties of oaks from the deep, mysterious Black Oak to the majestic Red Oak primarily found in the American Northeast.

Oaks are incredibly durable trees that require well-drained soil. With proper care, they can last for decades with plenty of room for growth. Unfortunately, these glorious trees can come down with diseases, so it is paramount to understand oak tree health if you have one on your property.

Typical Oak Tree Issues 

There are numerous oak tree diseases you need to watch out for. Some of the most common you will find include:

  • Leaf blister
  • Bacterial leaf scorch
  • Fungus
  • Canker disease
  • Root rot
  • Powdery mildew
  • Anthracnose

Even if your oak tree does not have a disease, it is still possible for it to come down with complications due to an insect infestation. There are plenty of bugs that will set up shop in your tree, and the ones you have to watch out for most include:

  • Twig pruners
  • Leaf miners
  • Lace bugs
  • Caterpillars
  • Borers
  • Aphids
  • Scales
  • Galls

Any of these complications will weaken the tree and most likely lead to premature death. It is possible to stop the issues, but you need to be aware of the symptoms your tree has a problem. You should pay attention to white coating, wet patches or discolored foliage on your oak tree. Dead branches falling off should be a reason for concern, and you should also pay attention if your tree has a thinning canopy. If you act quickly, by contacting an expert tree care service such as Safari Tree, you can reverse these symptoms and continue enjoying your oak tree for many years to come.

How To Take Care of Your Oak Tree

There are many ways you can maintain your oak trees to keep them in fantastic condition. Having a tree care service fertilize, prune and water your tree on a routine basis is recommended. Through these three actions, your tree will be able to better tolerate stress and better resist insects. If you have just planted a new oak tree on your property, then your tree care service should use a first-class biostimulant fertilizer to aid in its establishment. This special type of fertilizer promotes root growth, so it has better grounding.

Your tree care service will also need to focus on pruning your tree every once in a while. It is vital to remember that pruning is different from cutting. You can still prune a young oak tree to help the branches grow in a healthier manner. As the tree ages, you need to prune it to get rid of any broken or dead branches. It helps promote the structural integrity of the tree. Additionally, if you spot the symptoms of an oak tree disease on just a single branch, then your tree care service can prevent it from spreading any further.

It is recommended your tree care service prunes your tree at least once a year. Even if everything seems all right, it will still help with bud development. You always want to leave the branch collar of the tree in place, which is where new branches begin to emerge. A flush cut will permanently stop a branch from growing back.

Hire Professionals To Keep Your Oak Tree in Great Condition

Naturally, oak tree care and disease prevention requires some time and skill, this is where Safari Tree can help. You can contact us online or by phone to get a quote. With Safari Tree’s help, you can be confident your oak tree will remain beautiful and vibrant for many more decades.

Tree Fungus Treatment and Prevention

tree fungus treatment

Tree owners beware – you may just have some unwanted guests living in your trees! Tree boring insects are bad news for your property. Left to themselves, they can do serious damage to your trees.

Early last week, one of our rover tree technicians diagnosed and uncovered the larvae of boring insects in multiple trees during his property visits.  What caught his eye was seeing a large sap ball on the outside of a tree, and when he cut into it, it revealed the larvae that was living and sustaining on the bark of the tree!  So who are these critters invading the valuable assets on your property?

Emerald Ash Borer

Common to southeast Michigan is the Emerald ash borer, an exotic beetle that was discovered near Detroit in the summer of 2002.  The adult version of these tree boring insects tend to feed (nibble) on the actual foliage, but causing very little damage and impact to the overall health of the tree itself.  

tree fungus prevention

However, the larvae of these beetles can cause severe damage to the tree, for while it feeds on the inner bark, by doing so, they disrupt the ability of the tree to carry nutrients and water from its roots to the rest of the tree.  If these infestations are not diagnosed or treated immediately, the results could lead to the death of the tree plus an infestation spread to the other trees on your property!  

So not only do you lose your trees but the you could potentially incur costs as a direct result of having to remove the dying trees, exterminating these pests altogether, and then having to replace the trees.

Contact Safari Tree

At Safari Tree, not only do we have top professional tree & shrub healthcare technicians on staff that have been trained to diagnose problems like tree boring insects, but we have a great Wedgle insecticide treatment plan that can eliminate and prevent these pests from infiltrating your trees all season long.

 Contact Safari Tree today and request a Free Estimate!  Don’t let unwanted pests invade your property!

Maple Tree Diseases and How to Prevent Them

maple tree diseases

Maple trees are elegant additions to any home. From a single, simple red maple to acres of sugar maples, protect your maple trees with proper prevention and pruning. If you suspect an issue with your maple trees or are looking for ways to promote healthy growth, here are some common maple tree diseases to watch out for.

Tar Spot

One of the most distinct maple diseases is tar spot. If you notice tar-like spots on the leaves of your maple tree, it could be infected with this fungal disease. These large spots damage your maple leaves and create an unpleasant look.

The best way to prevent this fungal disease from occurring or spreading is to take care of your fallen leaves. Rake your maple leaves consistently to keep the fungus contained and avoid further spread among other maple trees.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

There are many insects that can cause damage to your trees if left to their own devices. One of the worst maple tree bark diseases is actually caused by a beetle infestation. Asian long-horned beetles eat the sapwood under the bark layer of your maple tree. This damage dramatically reduces the transportation of nutrients and water throughout your tree.

It’s very difficult to remove Asian long-horned beetles, and an infestation typically causes your tree to die within two years. A professional tree service provider can assist you in identifying and preventing the spread of these pesky beetles.

Anthracnose

While frost damage can cause your maple tree to lose foliage and experience shoot dieback, these symptoms shouldn’t appear when your tree hasn’t been exposed to a frost. Frost-like symptoms can also be signs of anthracnose. This damaging disease causes defoliation, twig death and shoot dieback.

Preventing anthracnose is difficult without professional assistance. Ensuring your soil is able to drain properly and is well watered is the best prevention strategy. If there are already signs of anthracnose on your maple tree, certain fungicides or other techniques must be used in order to protect your trees from further damage. It’s best to leave this to a professional.

Verticillium Wilt

This dangerous fungus routinely kills maple trees. Commonly known as maple wilt, verticillium wilt begins at the root system and affects the entire tree. From cankers and dieback to seemingly scorched leaves and diseased branches, this fungus can cause disastrous effects.

It’s very difficult to spot the initial signs or prevent the spread of verticillium wilt. However, professional care, routine watering and fertilizer and other treatment options can improve the health of your maple tree and prevent maple wilt from completely killing it.

Other Diseases and Infestations

For less common, but no less dangerous, diseases and infestations, you need to be on guard for a variety of signs and symptoms. Maple trees can be infested with leafhoppers, boxelder bugs, gall mites, cankerworms or aphids. Each of these insects plays a role in damaging your tree and reducing its beauty and overall health.

Other common diseases include root rot and cottony scale. Many of these infestations and diseases have similar symptoms, so a professional tree service can give you more detailed information about the exact disease and how to protect your maple trees.

Take advantage of local, qualified expertise to prevent maple tree diseases and promote healthy growth in all of your maple trees. Whether you have questions about these particular diseases or need professional assistance in preventing these diseases, request a quote today from Safari Tree.

Our professional team understands the common and uncommon issues with maple trees and other local tree species. Receive the expertise you need to keep your yard looking beautiful and your maple trees growing healthy year after year.

How Does Perimeter Pest Control Work?

Human beings like to think their homes are a safe harbor from Mother Nature, but without help, it’s only a matter of time until unwanted pests invade your space. If you’re tired of reacting to infestations, it’s time to take a proactive approach by arranging perimeter pest control from an experienced exterminator.

Here’s a look at how Safari Tree’s exclusive defender program and pest control service provides year-round protection from insect invaders, and the benefits of this service. If you are having problems with pests, Safari Tree also offers a tick control service, mosquito control services, ant control services, mole control for lawns, a spider control service and more.

What Is Perimeter Insect Control?

perimeter pest control

If you’re a science-fiction fan, you’ve probably heard about force fields used for defense against unwanted invaders. While energy shields might only exist in movies and books, you can erect a chemical barrier around your home to keep pests away. We’ll come out to your house five times during the insect season and spray the building’s exterior so insects have no way of getting inside.

Our technicians will take a detailed look at your property and point out any problem areas that could create an incursion point. Now you know how it works, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of this service.

You Don’t Have To Be Home

Many service companies aren’t convenient for working people, which means you often need to head home early to make your appointment. Few things are more frustrating than rescheduling because you missed the worker by five minutes. Since perimeter defense takes place outside the building, you don’t have to be present for the technician to do his or her work.

You’ll get a notification that we’re going to be stopping by, but we can get to work without disrupting your routine. If you happen to be present for the service, feel free to point out any problem areas you may have noticed since your last treatment.

Keep Chemicals Out of Your Home

If you have children or pets, chemicals in the house could create a hazardous situation. By treating the outside of your building, we can use the most effective substances available. You won’t have to sacrifice effectiveness in the name of safety. The chemical blend is odorless, colorless and won’t harm your flowers, lawn or landscaping.

It’s Easier Than Removal

Once ants, termites and other pests set up shop in your home, it can be a major undertaking to rid the building of an infestation. Instead of concentrating efforts on the removal of the unwanted bugs, we stop them from entering the building in the first place. While the chemical barrier is a major component of this service, we’ll also take a look around and caulk up any cracks or holes that make a tempting entryway for insect visitors.

Enjoy a Pest-Free Life

Now you know some of the advantages that come with perimeter insect control, your next step is to find an experienced contractor to develop a plan of attack. At Safari Tree, we’ve spent more than 15 years working with Michigan homeowners, and you can trust us to make your home a no-fly zone for insects and other unwanted pests.

To learn more about our different service offerings or schedule an appointment for a free estimate, contact us online or call our office today at 1-844-255-3920.

How To Get Rid of Moles in Your Yard

How to get rid of moles in yard

Moles are like the annoying house guest that won’t leave. They can create a mess of your lawn and garden and cause all kinds of chaos under your beautiful grass. Despite homeowners’ best efforts, remedying the situation can prove harder than they think.

Many homeowners wonder how to get rid of moles in yard and garden spaces but don’t know where to turn. The best way to handle a mole problem is by enlisting the help of a professional pest control service

The experts at Safari Lawn know all about mole control for lawns and which types of moles are most common in Michigan. Here are some facts that can help you understand the problem and why getting rid of moles is not a DIY job.  

What Types of Moles Should I Watch For?

There are two main types of moles you’ll want to watch out for: the eastern mole and the star-nosed mole. The common mole (also called the eastern mole) is the bigger species and can cover some serious ground. It digs horizontally and has been known to cover about 2 acres in a day. It’s the energizer bunny of moles thanks to its insatiable appetite. It can consume its own body weight in insects every day.

The second type of mole is the star-nosed mole. It gets its name because of the flanges that extend off its nose in a star-like pattern. It moves in the opposite direction of the common mole. The star-nosed mole loves to dig up and down in long vertical tunnels leaving big mounds of soil on the surface.

Why Are Moles So Bad?

Despite what many people think, moles are not rodents. Moles are a type of mammal called an insectivore due to their diet of choice. Their main food source is earthworms and then grubs and other types of insects. If you think it might sound nice to have a mole to clear out your grub problem, think again.

As moles tunnel through your yard in search of food, they leave long dirt pathways or large mounds of soil in their wake. Not only are these areas of disturbance unsightly but they can cause real problems. When the mole burrows, it uproots the grass leaving it to wither and die. These areas of soft soil can also collapse causing potential “potholes” in your yard that can easily turn an ankle or send someone to the ground. 

When Are Moles Active?

Moles love to eat, which means they are active all the time, day and night. They are also year-round critters who don’t take breaks unless there is extreme heat or cold. You will see activity in the winter as well as the spring, fall and summer. Moles reproduce in the winter so it is an especially important time to put an end to the problem.

Expect to see an increase in activity after rainfall or heavy watering. If the soil gets soft, the moles get moving.

How Can Safari Tree Help?

The reason eradicating a mole problem can be so challenging is because you have to eliminate the entire population. Safari Tree has developed a complete 4 phase program that is designed to keep moles out of your yard and garden for the entire season, guaranteed. 

The professionals at Safari Tree identify active tunnels and imitate the mole’s natural food sources by placing bait injections every 8 to 10 feet. After the mole ingests the bait, they die and decompose underground in their tunnel. Safari Tree will return and retreat areas at least 45 days apart to ensure you go the course of the entire year without any reoccurring problems. If you choose a single application service, Safari Tree warranties that service for 45 days.

If moles have moved into your yard or garden, give Safari Tree a call. They will schedule a FREE service call and FREE estimate so you know how to get rid of moles in yard and garden areas fast.

In addition to mole control Safari Tree offers a tick control service, mosquito control services, ant control services, vole control for lawns, a spider control service and more. Contact us for more details today.

Fall Tree Care

Fall Tree Care

As we begin to transition from the summer season to the fall season, even though we are still dealing with the heat, it isn’t too early to start preparing the trees and shrubs on your property for the eventual change in weather. It is important to plan ahead and consider fall tree care.

These valuable assets on your property may appear thriving and hardy, but the exposure to the hot, summer sunshine for extended periods of time can impact the health of your trees and shrubs. Without knowing, these trees and shrubs become more sensitive to infestations of both pests and fungal diseases.

Ensuring that your trees and shrubs regain their health is critical to protecting them from the cooler temperatures before the next growing season, as the cold weather can and will compromise their survival. Fall tree care is vital for the health of your trees all the way through to the next growing season.

Fall Tree Care Tips

  • Water: The most important step to take right now is to make sure your trees and shrubs are receiving enough water, so heavy watering around the base of your trees and shrubs is strongly recommended.
  • Mulch, Fertilizers: Applying new mulch, fertilizers and other preventative tree care can be very beneficial as they start slowing down their growth to prepare for the winter.
  • Planting: Fall is also the best time to plant new trees and shrubs on your property as it gives them the opportunity to establish their root system with cooler temperatures in the soil as well as adequate watering.

Proper tree and shrub care are important to protect these assets on your property, and having a comprehensive preventative care program will help in giving you that piece of mind. For expert fall tree care, contact Safari Tree for an absolutely free estimate today!

In addition to tree care Safari Tree offers a pest control service including a tick control service, mosquito control services, ant control services, mole control for lawns, a spider control service and more.

Defender Pest Control Program from Safari Tree

Safari Tree specializes in pest control, and we have combined our top three services that defend and protect your home from known pests that carry and transmit diseases! Our new Defender program encompasses our Mosquito Control, our Fleas & Tick Control, and our Deluxe Perimeter Pest Control services!

 

Safari Tree offers a pest control service including a tick control service, mosquito control services, ant control services, mole control for lawns, a spider control service and more. To provide residents of SE Michigan with the best protection against disease-carrying pests, we have combined our top three services that defend and protect your home from known pests that carry and transmit diseases! Our new Defender program encompasses our Mosquito Control, our Fleas & Tick Control, and our Deluxe Perimeter Pest Control services!

Leading the industry with a life-changing program, our intent is to ensure that your family is protected year around from the various pests that can and will invade your property and home.

Our Mosquito Control program comes with five treatments throughout the season, starting just before the mosquitos begin showing up and controlling them throughout the summer months so that you are able to enjoy and take back your backyard! The West Nile virus has been documented in Southeast Michigan, and so we want to make sure you and your family are protected from this disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites.

Our Fleas & Tick Control program has us coming out and spraying your property four times in the season so that your four-legged family members can also have a pest-free time when outdoors. Ticks are well known for carrying and transmitting Lyme disease, and they tend to attach themselves to our furry friends. Fleas are also an issue, and research is showing that fleas can also transmit diseases, though not as common nor as prevalent.

Finally, our Deluxe Perimeter Pest Control program is a five-time treatment throughout the year, and we treat not only the more common insects such as spiders and ants, but we also treat for stinging insects and ensure that nests, if present, are removed.

Protect your family for the coming season and contact Safari Tree to learn more about our Defender program!

Ticks in Michigan 2019 and How to Stay Safe

Tips for Staying Safe as Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks Spread to Eastern Michigan: The beginning of summer marks the beginning of long days at the lake and even longer nights hanging around the campfire, but it also marks the beginning of the 2019 tick season Michigan. Ticks in Michigan are nothing new, but this particular season has experts worried…

Tips for Staying Safe as Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks Spread to Eastern Michigan: The beginning of summer marks the beginning of long days at the lake and even longer nights hanging around the campfire, but it also marks the beginning of the 2019 tick season Michigan. Ticks in Michigan are nothing new, but this particular season has experts worried, as the blacklegged/deer tick is making its way further east. What’s so threatening about the deer tick? It carries the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

According to Click on Detroit, the blacklegged tick is no stranger to Michigan. However, until recently, the deer tick has made its home in the western Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Now, the tick has been spotted as far east as Detroit. What’s more, in 2017, there were more than 300 cases of Lyme disease in humans; two-thirds of victims claim to have been exposed to the disease in Michigan.

If you are experiencing problems with ticks and need immediate assistance, Safari Tree offers a pest control service including a tick control service, mosquito control services, ant control services, mole control for lawns and a spider control service.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease: Have You Been Exposed?

Ticks in Michigan 2019

Unfortunately, ticks are stealthy, which means that most people are unaware that they’ve even been bitten. This is often the case even if a tick stays attached for one to two days, which is about how long they need to transmit bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a tick and are unsure about how long it was attached, remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, which often mimic those of the flu. Below are two lists: one detailing the early signs of Lyme disease and one detailing the symptoms that indicate the disease has progressed.

Early Signs of Lyme Disease

  • Fever, headache, muscle aches, chills and swollen lymph glands
  • Erythema migrans rash
    • EM occurs in approximately 70-80% of cases
    • Begins within three to 30 days and at the location of the tick bite, but may eventually extend to other parts of the body
    • Gets bigger over time
    • May be warm to the touch
    • Occasionally looks like a bulls-eye, but not always

Signs Lyme Disease Has Progressed

  • Sore neck and severe headaches
  • EM rashes across other areas of the body
  • Joint swelling and pain
  • Loss of muscle control in the face
  • Pain and tenderness in joints, muscles and bones
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Shortness of breath and dizziness
  • Short-term member problems
  • Shooting pain, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet

If left untreated, the disease has the potential to spread to the heart, joints and nervous system, systematically shutting down the body’s system. However, the good news is that the majority of early cases are treatable with antibiotics.

Minimizing Your Risk of Lyme Disease

The goal if this article is not to scare you but rather, to inform you. You can protect yourself, your loved ones and your pets from ticks and the diseases they carry with a bit of forethought and preventative measures.

First and foremost, avoid tick-infested areas. This includes tall grasses, overgrown brush and woodpiles. Do not let your pets into these areas either, as animals that come into contact with ticks outdoors often bring them inside.

When outdoors, use insect repellent. Strong formulas such as DEET 20-30% is often effective in keeping ticks and other undesirable insects at bay. Be sure to treat your clothes as well, as ticks have been known to hang out in fabrics until opportune times.

You should also always perform daily tick checks. Feel through your hair, under your armpits, behind your knees and other places a tick might hide. Bathing or showering after being outdoors can help you more easily locate attached ticks. If you find a tick, carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers and cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

Call in the Professionals

One of the best ways to keep ticks at bay during the 2019 tick season in Michigan is to allow Safari Tree to spray your yard. Contact Safari Tree to learn more about our pest control services.

Ticks in Michigan map

Tree Diseases in Michigan

Tree care, tree disease and tree fungus treatment are a few of Safari Tree’s specialties. Let’s take a look at the some of the various common tree diseases in Michigan that our tree service treats here at Safari Tree.

Tree Cankers

Tree diseases in michigan

Cankers are dead areas of bark that are located on the trunk, branches and/or twigs of a tree. Cankers are caused by numerous species of fungi that infect stressed or wounded trees, killing the living bark. Infected trees are characterized by discoloration, oozing sap, and sunken areas, cankers are some of the most difficult disease problems to manage. The best canker management is preventative. Keeping trees healthy and stress-free will reduce the risk of infection considerably. If a tree does have canker, the entire infected area should be removed, sterilizing the pruning tools between cuts. Pruning should not be done during wet or humid weather to minimize the spread of disease. Avoid wounding trees when doing yard work or mowing as this leaves the tree much more vulnerable to infection.

Oak Wilt Fungus

Oak wilt is a lethal disease caused by a fungus, which invades and disables the water-conducting system in white, red and other oak tree species. Different species of oaks vary in susceptibility to the disease. Red oaks typically die within 4 to 6 weeks of initial symptom development, while white oaks may survive or take 1 to 6 months to defoliate and die. Oak wilt is most often spread via root grafts between interconnected and grafted root systems. Root graft disruption and fungicidal treatments aid in preventing the spread of oak wilt.

How does oak wilt spread? Sap feeding beetles are the most common insect vector, but bark beetles have also been reported as a vector. They feed on fungal spore mats that form between the bark and the wood of the oak and carry oak wilt spores to wounds on uninfected trees. In the northern range, overland transmission takes place throughout the spring and early summer, while in the south it can occur any time of the year. Because beetle vectors (carriers) are attracted to fresh wounds it is important not to prune oaks during the season that spore mats are present. In the north, prune only during the dormant season; in the south, pruning is recommended only during December and January. Pruning paint is only necessary for wounds occurring during the growing season in the north, however, in the south, seal all wounds regardless of the season.

Pine Needle Scale and Soft Scale Diseases

Pine needle scales

Pine needle scale is a hard or armored scale – scales are aphid-like insects that produce a hard waxy shell to protect themselves from predators and environmental conditions. Pine needle scale females resemble legless bumps and damage plants with their sucking mouthparts. The smaller male scales have wings and while in the nymph stage also feed on plants. Female scale continues to feed as they produce over a hundred eggs under their shell. The mater female dies, but the eggs survive the winter under the protection of the shell.

In the spring and summer of the following year, the eggs hatch into an immature stage called the “crawler” stage. The crawlers, also called nymphs, move out from under the shell and find a new location on which to feed. As they settle, they begin to produce their hard shell. Pine needle scales feed primarily on the needles of trees. Unlike soft scales and aphids, which feed on the circulatory system of the tree, armored scales feed on the contents of individual cells. Since they destroy cells, they can cause significant dieback of infected stem tissues and in severe infestations, even the death of trees.

Symptoms of pine needle scale may include some or all of the following: thin sparse needles, white spots on needles, white waxy scale coverings, and extensive needle and branch death.

Tree Scale

Soft scale, similar to pine needle scales, are also aphid-like creatures that feed on the sap of trees. Young scales, referred to as crawlers, feed on the foliage whereas adult scales feed directly on the branches. All soft scales feed on the sap contents of the tree, which means they are susceptible to systemic insecticides. Dormant oils and contact insecticides can also be effective, but only if they are applied to the unprotected crawler stage of the scale. Thus the timing of contact insecticide applications is critical to effective control.

Symptoms of soft scale may include some or all of the following: tip die back in branches, stunted chlorotic foliage, premature leaf drop and branch dieback, honeydew secretions on the tops of branches, and also black sooty mold growth on the honeydew.

Anthracnose Fungus

anthracnose leaf tree disease

Continuing with our common tree diseases series, one of the most common fungal diseases are anthracnose, which can infect ash, oak, maple, and sycamore trees, as well as other tree species. The fungus causes dead blotches on the leaves that disrupt photosynthesis and transpiration with can eventually lead up to spring leaf drop. As leaves mature, they become less susceptible to the pathogen. Repeat defoliation by anthracnose can directly impact the tree’s overall health and it is important to stop this disease before it begins to spread.

The life cycle of this particular fungus is noticeable to the naked eye. In the late fall and early spring months, black pimple like bumps will develop on infected leaves from the previous year. Spores are then released and blown by wind or even splashed by rain to nearby trees, causing the spread of the fungus rapidly. The primary infections produce secondary spores which affect other leaves and fruit. The secondary infections of this disease can and will continue throughout the growing season during wet periods of time.

Needle cast disease

The next more common tree disease is the Rhizosphaera Needle Cast, which is a foliage disease of spruce trees. This disease can cause significant damage to trees growing outside of their native range. Older, inner needles show symptoms first, and as the disease progresses, newer needles will begin showing symptoms as well. Infected needles first appear mottled or speckled with dull yellowish blotches, and as the disease progresses, the needles will begin to turn brown to purplish brown. The needles then drop (cast) anywhere from 3 to 15 months after the infection has occurred and also depends on the type of spruce species infected. Branches begin dying if they are defoliated in 3-4 consecutive years, though larger trees rarely die and succumb to this disease, however they may become so disfigured that they lose all of their ornamental value.

Are your trees under threat? For healthy trees, contact one of our Certified Arborists today to learn more about our preventative treatment plans.

In addition to tree care Safari Tree offers a pest control service including mosquito control services, ant control services, mole control for lawns and a spider control service.