Are Leaves Good For Grass?

 If you’re asking yourself “Are leaves good for grass?” chances are, you don’t feel like raking them. The short answer to the question is “Yes.” Leaves are good for your grass, but you probably shouldn’t just ditch clearing them altogether. 

Leaves will decompose, but if you leave them on your lawn and they begin to pile up, they can actually do more harm than good. That’s because when they get wet (from rain or even snow)  wet leaves smother and kill the grass. But there are a number of different ways to approach your leaf harvest. And depending on your particular situation, it doesn’t always involve raking.

So, let’s take a look at why you should avoid raking leaves and talk about a couple of alternatives (composting and mulching) that will help your lawn to thrive.

Why Mulch Or Compost Leaves?

You should compost or mulch your leaf litter to keep them out of landfills. Michigan law requires all yard waste to be composted – it may not be disposed of in a regular landfill.  This started in 1995 because of the many problems caused by yard clippings in landfills. This led to the banning of yard waste from Michigan landfills. leaves good for grass

Why? According to EPA data, yard trimmings, which include leaves, can create as much as 34 million tons of waste each year, which is about 13% of all waste generated. The majority of it comes from composted or mulched in-state programs, but according to the EPA, as much as 11 million tons can still end up in landfills. This accounts for just under 8% of all waste in landfills.

Try Composting

Composting involves scooping leaves into a pile or containing them in a bin and leaving them to naturally decompose. leaves good for grass

It provides rich fertilizer for gardens and landscape plants. You can buy Bins or easily make one out of low-cost materials. You can add veggie scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells, which also helps to cut down on your kitchen waste. Just don’t add items like meat scraps that can smell bad and attract pests. 

You can learn more about composting with this handy info sheet.

Mulching

If a compost pile isn’t ideal—try this. You can also use a lawnmower to shred leaves and compost them in a place where they will fertilize the grass. All you do is roll your mulching mower over the fallen leaves. Dried leaves are easier to mulch than wet ones, but mulching leaves (and your grass) and leaving them to decompose can become an important part of your lawn care regimen.leaves good for grass

Mulched leaves keep the soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer. The nutrients provided by mulching also reduces the amount and expense of fertilizer need to achieve green-up in the spring. You can also mulch perennial flower beds with shredded leaves or till them right into garden soil.

And if that’s not enough, research was done at Michigan State University actually shows that leaving the leaves on your yard in such a manner not only does your lawn no harm, but it can actually suppress weed growth.

Let Lush Lawn & Safari Tree Help

The Lush Lawn Fall Lawn Care and Restoration package will provide your grass with all of the protection it needs to survive the winter and thrive come spring. Contact us today.

What Types Of Trees In Michigan Do Beetles Infest?

Michigan is known for its variety of indigenous trees. They add beauty to the environment and serve as a source of our ecosystem. One species that stands out amongst the rest is the maple tree.

Among the various species of maple trees that are native to Michigan, the Sugar Maple tree clearly stands out. The beauty of the sugar maple entices you to want to plant one in your yard. It adds beauty instantly. But what exactly do you need to know before planting a sugar maple?

Well, the sugar maple tree plays host to some common pests, particularly the Asian long-horned beetle. These pests may destroy the beauty of your trees, making them appear tainted. However, you don’t have to worry as there are various ways to protect your trees from pests and diseases. 

Here’s what you can do to protect your trees.

Use of Approved Pesticides to Eliminate the Asian Long-horned Beetle

Early identification is critical. If your tree is infested, you have to act right away.  The female Asian longhorned beetle will typically lay a single egg underneath the bark of the tree, making it hard to trace. Nonetheless, it is possible to use pesticides totree infested by the Asian longhorn beetle destroy the eggs before they hatch. This will allow you to effectively control the growth of the pests. At Safari Tree, we can help you protect your sugar maple trees through our pest control program.

It’s important that you spray a combination of insecticides and pesticides, to effectively kill eggs before they hatch. This combination works best during summer. It is also a great remedy to eliminate mature insects, which will reduce the possibility of the beetles laying more eggs in the future.

In addition to using an anti-desiccant spray, deep root feeding is necessary. It will provide maximum protection during winter. If the beetles have severely affected your trees, using chlorantraniliprole can be a great remedy as this method is known to paralyze the pests, thus rendering them unproductive and eventually killing them.

The Biological Methods

As a home or business owner, you’ll always want to maintain the natural beauty offered by the sugar maple tree. There are safer, more environment-friendly, and long-term methods to eradicate pests that slowly destroy your trees. Using some known biological methods, you can effectively control the spread of insects, as the efficacy of these methods has been tried and tested.

One of the most effective biological methods is the use of the Petch fungus. The method can effectively eliminate the Asian long-horned beetle in most parts of the United States. You can invite an expert to help you apply the fungus directly to your sugar maple tree and let the beetle consume it.

You can also use agar and oil formulations of the fungus.  The formulation will eliminate adult beetles, with minimal side effects.

The Quarantine Method

One of the best ways to ensure that the Asian long-horned beetle doesn’t get into the trees in your yard is by using the quarantine method. If you use firewood, make sure that you get your firewood locally to avoid transporting these wood-boring beetles into your yard.

The State of Michigan restricts the transporting of firewood from one region to another. This can help to curb the spread of pests, as insects don’t move on their own.  Their movement is facilitated by the transportation of infested trees. If this is to be achieved, Michigan would be better positioned to eliminate the beetles.

Having to destroy infested trees is the last thing you or any homeowner wants. But it may be necessary if the spread of these beetles gets to be uncontrollable. However, before we destroy more trees, it would be better to try out measures that can protect the sugar maple due to the economic value of these trees, and other countless benefits.

Contact Safari Tree

With the many tree species found in Michigan, you need a company that you can count on to protect all of them. At Safari Trees, we have what it takes to help you protect your trees from pests and diseases that pose a threat. 

Contact Safari Tree for all of your tree service needs, and our dedicated staff will guide you every step of the way.

What Is Tree Pruning?

An important part of tree care is proper pruning. It will contribute to the healthy growth of your trees, but it shouldn’t be confused with trimming tree branches. There is a difference between the two.  

So, let’s answer the question: “What is tree pruning?” and find out how it’s different from tree trimming. 

Why Trim Or Prune Your Trees?

Left alone, your trees can become unwieldy, with branches growing in various directions. This uneven growth can leave your trees looking scraggly, unbalanced or misshapen. Overgrowth can also have an impact on the health of the tree and any adjoining plants. Extra branches can prevent them from getting the moisture, nutrients and light they need to thrive.  

This is where trimming comes in.

What is Tree Trimming?

Tree trimming helps trees, shrubs, and hedges grow in a healthy manner. It’s focused primarily on aesthetics. You trim to maintain a tree’s desired shape and appearance.

what is tree pruning

When trimming, try not to remove more than 25% of a tree’s canopy at one time.

Clean out the clutter (like dead branches). You should also trim away growth coming from the roots or base of the trunk. 

But if your tree is really overgrown and out of shape, you may need to prune instead.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Pruning is when you selectively remove branches from a tree. The goal is to remove unwanted branches, improve the tree’s structure, and direct new, healthy growth. what is tree pruning

Pruning is a little more involved since it typically calls for making two types of cuts: heading cuts to shorten single branches and thinning cuts to remove branches. 

Heading cuts should be made at a 45-degree angle and placed just after a healthy bud. A thinning cut should occur as closely as possible to the location where a branch intersects with its primary limb.

But different tree species will call for different cuts. If you cut branches in the wrong direction or wrong spot, you can do more damage than good. 

When To Prune Your Trees

The best time to prune your trees is late fall or early spring. In both cases, it’s right on the cusp of the dormant seasons. 

This makes it easier to see the structure of your trees because they are either free of leaves or are about to be. This makes it easier to see what branches need trimming and makes it easier to make proper cuts outside the branch collar and in the direction of growth.

When Not To Trim Or Prune

In short, done correctly, trimming or pruning will help the structural integrity of your tree. But there are times when you should avoid it. 

If your canopy is high enough that it’s getting close to power lines, you may need to call in a company that offers pruning services. 

Safari Tree offers a 7-Step Tree Healthcare Program that’s perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. With 15 years of knowledge and expertise, the professionals at Safari Tree help maintain healthy trees and shrubs all year round. Contact us today. 

Watch Out For These Bugs That Kill Trees In Michigan

There is no shortage of bugs that kill trees in Michigan. Wood-boring insects are abundant. And it takes a proper pest control plan to keep them at bay.

Invasive insects are one of the biggest threats to your trees. Fungal infections also cause problems, and oftentimes it’s a bug that causes a disease to develop in a tree or shrub. That’s why it’s important to learn to recognize invading insects, as well as signs of insect or fungal infestation such as holes in trees, sawdust or leaves turning brown at the wrong time of year.

So, let’s find out which bugs are most troublesome.

Bugs That Kill Trees In Michigan

Asian Longhorned Beetle

The Asian longhorned beetle can attack and kill many tree species including poplar, willow, sycamore, and horse chestnut, but its favorite host is maple trees.  

bug-that-kill-trees
Asian longhorn beetle

Adult female beetles chew depressions in trunks and branches where they lay their eggs. When the larvae hatch, they burrow into the tree’s heartwood, creating large chambers. The larvae feed in tunnels in the wood of the tree branches and trunks, eventually killing the tree.

The new adults emerge in the summer by boring round exit holes about three-eighths of an inch in diameter.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The most common stink bug in Michigan is called the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species originally native to Southeast Asia. In Michigan, they live around the tree fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and legumes they feed on.

bugs-that-kill-trees
Stink Bug on a leaf.

The brown marmorated stink bug not only can affect yields in fruit, nut, legume, and vegetable crops, but it can also become a nuisance in indoor environments where they overwinter — like in your house.

Gypsy Moth

Gypsy moths are an invasive species. They feed on the leaves of more than 300 species of trees in Michigan and across much of the northeastern United States. They especially like oaks but many other trees are also good hosts.

The leaf-eating caterpillars are hairy, up to 2 inches long and have a pattern of blue and dark-red spots. Male moths are dark buff in color and fly; females are white with black, wavy markings and do not fly. These insects are ravenous feeders. A single caterpillar can eat its way through 10 square feet of foliage as it grows. Trees that are infested with these caterpillars can be completely defoliated, and become weak and more susceptible to other problems, potentially killing the tree.

Japanese Beetle

Adult Japanese beetles are easy to identify. They’re about 3/8 inch long, metallic green in color, and emerge from the ground in late June.

bugs-that-kill-trees

They feed in groups, starting at the tops of plants, then work their way downward. Individually, Japanese beetles don’t consume much. But collectively, their damage can be devastating.

 

The types of trees they often target include:

  • Linden
  • Crape myrtle
  • Flowering crabapple
  • Norway maple
  • Japanese maple
  • Flowering cherry
  • Elm
  • Sycamore
  • Black walnut
  • Horse chestnut
  • Plums
  • Roses

There are a lot of products on the market to get rid of them, but you need to be cautious — especially if you use traps. The traps are designed to lure the beetles in, so you may attract more beetles than you already have. 

Emerald Ash Borer

If you have an ash tree, you may have noticed small green flying insects attacking your tree. This insect is called the emerald ash borer and has been labeled the most destructive pest in America.

They lay their eggs on the ash trees. After about two weeks, the eggs will hatch and the larva will bore their way through the bark. 

Outbreaks and infestations of emerald ash borer are announced very frequently. To find the most current information on the locations and status of each state, province and county, it is best to go to Emeraldashborer.info or access their current map, typically updated once a month.

Controlling Bugs That Kill Trees

The Safari Tree pest control package combines killing insects and their larvae by strengthening your tree so it can survive the pests that do manage to attack. It starts in the spring when we’ll spread dormant oil on your trees. This will immediately begin to cut down on early insect infestations. We then fertilize your tree’s deep roots later on in the season, allowing it to get off to strong growth.

Find the treatment that will protect you, your family, your trees and your entire yard. Contact us today.

Types Of Trees In Michigan: The Paper Birch

The paper birch is a uniquely elegant tree that has a rich and useful history. Long before it became an ornamental tree, Native Americans used its wood to make baskets, canoes, and baby carriers, and the thin, white bark was used as paper to write on and send as messages. 

Today, these lovely trees are one of the most prevalent types of trees in Michigan and they can be found in every county in the state, including the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. 

Let’s discuss how you can identify a paper birch on your property, and how to take care of it so it will thrive.

What is a Paper Birch Tree?

types-of-trees-in-Michigan

The paper birch, otherwise known as the white birch, silver birch, and canoe birch, is a lovely tree with white, papery bark. It’s considered to be a pioneer species.  This means that it’s a hardy tree that often grows in environments that have been disturbed in some way.

Paper birch trees are easy to spot by their smooth, white bark. As the bark ages, it begins to curl up and peel off of the tree, creating a beautiful effect.

In the springtime, paper birch trees produce oval-shaped leaves that come to a tip. The edges are serrated and they alternate on the branches of the tree. When autumn arrives, the leaves turn a radiant shade of yellow before falling off of the tree. Since they lose their leaves each autumn and grow them again in the spring, paper birch trees are classified as deciduous.

Along with new leaves, the paper birch produces pretty yellow flowers, called catkins, each spring, making them a perfect ornamental tree to compliment your home’s landscape.

How to Identify One in Your Yard

types-of-trees-in-MichiganIf you’re curious about identifying the tree species in your yard, the paper birch makes it easy to do. It’s one of the easiest types of trees in Michigan to identify. You can’t miss the telltale white, smooth bark of a paper birch tree. In fact, it’s the white bark that allows them to grow in northern climates like ours.

According to Northern Woodlands Magazine, ecologists believe paper birch trees have white bark to protect their core temperatures during the winter months.  White objects reflect the sun’s rays. You can also identify a paper birch by its oval-shaped leaves and bright yellow flowers in the springtime. Many homes are surrounded by these ornamental trees. You can also find them near rivers and along the side of the road. 

How to Take Care of Paper Birch Trees

If there’s a paper birch tree on your property, you’re in luck. Their elegant, contrasting colors bring vibrancy to your home landscaping, but they’re also very easy to maintain. Paper birch trees aren’t fussy and they don’t need a lot of extra attention. They’re hardy trees that have learned to adapt and thrive in all kinds of conditions. Your paper birch will grow best in soil that is well-drained, sandy loam and they need full to partial sun in order to grow. 

Paper birch trees also grow pretty quickly. If you’ve got a young tree on your property, you can expect it to grow from 13 to 24 inches each year until it reaches a mature height of 30 to 65 feet tall. Regularly prune your paper birch tree and keep an eye out for pests like bronze birch borers or birch leafminers, since they can cause your tree to become weak and more susceptible to disease.

Paper birch trees are a great asset to your property and one of the most prevalent types of trees in Michigan. So it’s important to keep them healthy and strong. Here at Safari Tree, we’re here to help you with all your tree needs. Contact us today for more information.

 

How to Keep Tree Suckers Under Control

Tree suckers are vegetative growths that stem from your tree’s root system. Suckers grow from rootstock and divert nutrients away from the top of your tree and will slow its growth.

Essentially, suckers are a tree’s attempt to grow more branches, often in response to some kind of stress or injury. A tree sucker will sap the energy away from the healthier and more desirable branches on top. 

Here are some ways you can eliminate suckers and/or keep them under control.  

Continue reading “How to Keep Tree Suckers Under Control”

What is Leaf Spot Fungus?

Leaf spot fungus occurs in warm weather. It typically affects plants, but it also occurs in home lawns and golf courses. It causes spotted-looking leaves and wilted grass.

So, before your yard falls victim to it, let’s find out what causes leaf spot fungus and how you can prevent it. 

Continue reading “What is Leaf Spot Fungus?”

Debunking Common Myths Around Summer Tree Care

When it comes to summer tree care, there are some common misconceptions homeowners have. From watering trees to pruning to how much insecticide to use—the questions can be endless. 

So, let’s take a look at some care tips and debunk a few common myths around summer tree care.

Continue reading “Debunking Common Myths Around Summer Tree Care”

Scale Insects on Trees: The Impact of an Infestation

Scale insects on trees are not something you want to have to deal with. 

They’re waxy insects that pierce trees with their mouths and suck sap from them. This makes it more difficult for trees to maintain moisture and nutrients in the short term. The honeydew that scale excretes onto trees can provide sustenance for sooty mold that can cause further infestations and damage to trees. 

There are more than 60 varieties that occur in Michigan, and many times they are not noticed or are ignored until tree or shrub branches start to die. So, let’s take a look at some of the negative effects scale infestations can have on tree health and the importance of applying treatments as quickly as possible.

Types of Scale Insects

Soft (Lecanium), kermes, and bark scales produce honeydew. These scales feed directly on plant parts that transport fluid and nutrients. This can reduce plant growth and cause leaf drop or branch dieback. The most common symptom of soft scale infestation is an accumulation of honeydew and sooty mold on or beneath a plant.

Armored scales do not produce honeydew. The armored scale’s straw-like mouth moves like a plumber’s snake to burst plant cells and feed on their contents. This can reduce plant growth and vigor. Common symptoms of infestation include premature leaf drop and branch dieback.  

Pit scales are likely to do the same to the raised plant tissue that surrounds them. If there are large numbers of scale, the pits coalesce, making the twig surface appear dimpled and roughened. Feeding by oak pit scales can kill twigs and the dead leaves remain on infested twigs through the winter. 

The Juniper scale is a very common and sometimes serious pest of juniper. They are light gray or white, very small, and nearly circular. They like to attach themselves to the underside of the needles, rather than the bark. 

One of the first signs of an infestation is when leaves on individual branches begin losing their color and may eventually die.

Lecanium scale and Cottony Maple scale are the most common in Southeast Michigan. They will cover the branches of silver maple, honeylocust, and many other species of hardwood trees in our area.

The biggest problem comes from the droplets of honeydew raining down from infested trees in May and early June. Honeydew is the sugary liquid waste excreted by scale insects. A considerable amount of honeydew is excreted because scale insects need to suck a lot of sap from trees in order to get the amount of protein they need for growth and development.

Another problem that can develop is mold. The honeydew is often mistaken for tree sap as it covers cars and buildings under infested trees. The accumulation of honeydew can lead to the growth of black, sooty mold. Finding sooty mold under a plant is often the first indication that there are scale insects, but it may also indicate aphids and other sucking insects.

Scale infestations rarely kill trees but can damage them and be especially hard on young trees. Even the most mature trees that are infested can become thin and experience branch dieback. And repeated heavy Lecanium scale infestations can kill branches or crown dieback in trees. 

When Do Scale Insects Appear?

There are typically two times of the year that scale insects become active. It’s because there are two generations in Michigan. The first hatching in early to mid-June, and the second in late July or early August. 

How To Control Scale Insects

The good news is that there are ways to control scale populations. These natural predators can be held in check, even after you’ve noticed eggs on your trees and shrubs. A proactive approach is best. 

But keep this in mind, scale insects are not easy to control with traditional contact insecticides because of the covering that protects their bodies.

The most effective control strategy is to spray with insecticides, beginning at egg hatch, when the so-called crawlers first appear. Use insecticides during the hatching period when crawlers are first observed will provide maximum effectiveness.

You don’t have to let scale insects destroy your trees! If you’d like to find out how to get them under control or from ever showing up in the first place, feel free to contact Safari Tree. One of our professional arborists will be happy to give you a rundown of the quick, effective treatment and prevention services we offer.

Are Tree Injection Treatments Better Than Spray Methods?

If you have a diseased tree on your property, you may want to consider a tree injection treatment to help bring it back to life. Its like an IV for your tree.

Tree injections are designed to administer antibiotics, nutrients, growth regulators, and treatments directly into a trees vascular system. This approach to treating tree disease delivers faster and more effective results than traditional spray methods, with lower costs and a reduced impact on the environment. 

So, lets take a look at how tree injections work in more detail, expand on their benefits compared to alternatives, and talk about the tree injection services that Safari Tree provides.

Continue reading “Are Tree Injection Treatments Better Than Spray Methods?”