How Do Trees Survive Winter?

Below-freezing temperatures. Layers of snow and ice. Blustering winds. In Southeast Michigan, homeowners are accustomed to the harsh conditions of wintertime — and with the season just a few weeks away, many are in the midst of preparing for what’s ahead. In combination with tasks like cleaning out gutters and sealing pavement cracks, there’s also the need to give trees a little extra attention as well so they can weather the storm and emerge healthy once spring arrives.

While we’ll dig deeper into the manual efforts that support tree health throughout the winter, let’s start by first looking at the natural processes that help trees survive this season.

Trees Go Into a Dormant State In Winter

Whereas birds and other animals can migrate south to avoid winter conditions, trees are rooted in the ground and therefore must adapt to their new normal. This is why trees enter dormancy — or in simpler terms, a state of rest. During this time, the metabolic and growth activities of trees slows down, leaving more nutrients in plant roots versus sending them up to the leaves. This extra stored energy helps trees withstand winter conditions and stay healthy and strong.

One of the early signs of tree dormancy is a sight we’re familiar with in the fall: trees lose their leaves. This is an active sign of plants trying to conserve resources. Rather than work to protect fragile leaves throughout the winter season, trees simply shed them so they can hold onto more water and energy.

(In terms of tree types, deciduous trees are the ones that lose their leaves. Coniferous trees only grow needles and cones, so there are no leaves to shed — just old needles that are replaced by new ones.)

Supplying Trees with Added Nutrients for the Winter

While trees do their part to preserve nutrients for the winter, a deep root fall fertilization helps supplement what’s naturally available. In this technique, nutrients are injected directly into the area where trees need them most: the root zone. With nutrients immediately available to trees, deep root feedings provide an efficient way to prepare these plants for the winter months ahead.

In the case of evergreen trees, a fall anti-desiccant spray can also be beneficial. When temperatures drop and the ground freezes, plants can no longer absorb water from the soil. So instead, evergreen trees will turn to water stored in their leaves for moisture. If this source is depleted, the plant can dry out, or desiccate. By adding a protective coating to the leaves of evergreen trees, anti-desiccant sprays minimize water loss through pores and retain moisture.

Turn to Lush Lawn & Safari Tree for Your Tree Health Care Needs

At Lush Lawn & Safari Tree, we’re in the business of providing year-round tree health services for Southeast Michigan homeowners. Spread across the spring, summer and fall, our well-timed applications combine dormant oil treatments, deep root feedings, insecticide and fungal sprays and anti-desiccant sprays to help trees flourish throughout every season.

Take a closer look at our tree healthcare program — and if you’re ready to invest, contact us for a free quote!

What’s the Best Way to Find Tree Care Services Near Me?

Homeowners tend to look for tree care services too late. It’s often when a tree turns brown, loses its leaves or even dies that homeowners take to the internet and select whichever company can get to their property the fastest.

From the shade they offer in the summer to the protection they provide from winds in the winter, trees are a valuable addition to homes — and it’s important that homeowners do what they can to support them.

Recognizing the value of caring for your trees, you’ve done your research on the benefits of professional tree care services, and you’re ready to invest. Now the next step is to find a local tree care service provider that can tackle the job. This search tends to go one of two ways: you have trouble finding experienced providers in your area or you find too many experienced providers in your area, leaving you unsure of which to choose.

The good news is you can find answers right outside your door (literally). Asking your neighbors for referrals can streamline your search for a local tree care service provider — and ensure you get the results you want.

Benefits of Neighbor Referral for Tree Care Services

Located Within the Provider’s Service Area

Whether your referral comes from a neighbor right next door or a few houses down the street, you’ll know you’re within the boundaries of their tree care provider’s service area. That’s one less step on your end (either in the form of a phone call or website research).

An added bonus: Familiarity with your area also translates into a stronger knowledge of specific tree pests and diseases that are more prevalent, including how to control and treat them.

Can See the Quality of the Work Up Close

While it’s great to see photos of a tree care service provider’s work, the value of seeing their work firsthand can’t be understated. Consider the marks of an unhealthy tree, for instance. A lack of leaves and broken branches are more apparent signs — but at a close glance, cracks in the trunk, peeling bark or mushroom growth around tree roots can also be an indicator of health problems. Having the opportunity to peek around your neighbor’s yard can provide you with a better feel of how healthy their trees are — which of course reflects their tree care services.

(Note: In some cases, your neighbor may have before photos of their yard they can share. This can provide an even more concrete comparison of how their tree health has improved with the help of professional care.)

Hear About the Overall Experience of the Customer

Beyond the effectiveness that tree health treatments provide, there’s always a question of the level of service they received. Does the tree service company maintain good communication? Is the crew professional while on-site? Do they arrive and leave in a timely manner? These are all service-related questions that your neighbor can directly answer for you.

One More Thing to Consider…

If you have a chance, take a drive over to the company’s local branch. Seeing the types of trucks and equipment they use, as well as how their building is maintained, can tell you a lot about the business. If they take pride in their buildings, equipment and trucks, chances are they take that same pride in the work that they do.

As a provider of professional tree care services, Lush Lawn & Safari Tree knows the importance of combining high-quality work with optimal customer service. That dedication has helped us grow a long list of satisfied customers throughout Southeast Michigan — one we aim to continue growing over time, with the help of our loyal customer base. If your neighbors use our tree care services, we encourage you to connect with them and learn more about their experience working with us.

Emerald Ash Borer Treatment: Help Your Trees Bounce Back

It has been about 18 years since an exotic beetle known as the emerald ash borer (EAB) was first discovered in southeast Michigan. Thought to have arrived in the U.S. via cargo ships or flights, this invasive species of beetle has become known for more than its bright, metallic green look. In southeastern Michigan alone, emerald ash borers have killed over 30 million ash trees since 2002.

At Lush Lawn & Safari Tree, we want to empower southeast Michigan homeowners to preserve their ash trees and save on costly repairs. This begins with sharing insights on how to first spot a potential ash borer issue and then offering emerald ash borer treatment that gets you results.

Early Signs of Emerald Ash Borers in Trees

When emerald ash borers have infected an ash tree, one of the early signs you’ll see is small, D-shaped exit holes in either the tree’s trunk or its branches — or potentially both. Approximately ⅛ inch in diameter, these holes are created by adult emerald ash borers as they bore out of the tree. It’s often the case that balls of sap will ooze out of these exit holes, bringing further attention to them.

Research indicates that early detection of emerald ash borer tree infections has a considerable impact on the ability to save infected trees. (To put this into perspective, many infestations are detected when they are several years old — and by that point, the canopy and bark loss is often so significant that it’s too late for any type of emerald ash borer treatment to be effective.)

Consider the ripple effects of a case where an infected ash tree goes unnoticed for two years and subsequently dies. You could spend anywhere between $250 and $1,800 to have the dead ash tree removed, and if you opt to have the tree replaced, spend another $200 on a new tree, with the potential for added transport costs as well as professional planting costs.

An Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Plan That Works

If you notice early signs of EAB in your trees, it’s critical to take immediate action to avoid tree removal and replacement. In order to be effective, EAB treatments cannot be a one-time task. Instead, they must be a part of a strategic year-round program to eliminate existing infestations and prevent them from making a come back. That’s what we’ve developed at Safari Tree.

Our treatment program begins in spring with a dormant oil and fertilizer application. While the oil helps minimize early infestations, the fertilizer feeds the tree’s roots and strengthens it. Then, in the summer, three rounds of insecticides sprays are applied to kill EABs (and other hazardous insects) dwelling in your trees before they are able to reproduce and spread. The program ends with a fall fertilizer application and an anti-desiccant spray to help trees stay healthy and strong throughout the winter and be less susceptible to EAB attacks in the future.

Interested in getting a quote for our pest control services? Simply fill out this form and we’ll send you a free estimate.

Your Guide to Oak Wilt & How to Defend Against It

Strength, beauty, longevity. These are the types of positive attributes often used to describe oak trees. Yet, like other trees, the unique qualities of oaks are paired with unique susceptibilities — an example of which is oak wilt.

What Is Oak Wilt?

Oak wilt (or Bretziella fagacearum) is a fungal disease that infects the vascular system of oak trees, and — as the name suggests — causes leaves to wilt, become discolored and eventually die.

The roots of this disease can be connected to one of three transmission methods:

  • Insect transmission: Beetles and other insects feed on the fungal spores on infected trees and carry these spores to healthy trees.
  • Root graft transmission: As the roots of two oak trees meet and merge together, the disease can move from infected trees to healthy ones.
  • Firewood transmission: When firewood is moved from an infected tree to a new area, the fungal disease spreads.

Among the oak species, red oak trees are most susceptible to oak wilt, often dying within 1-2 months of being infected. This can be attributed back to the fact that they are often the site of fungal spores, and their symptoms are not always as apparent as in other oak species.

While oak wilt was first recognized as a harmful disease in 1944 in Wisconsin, it has now been confirmed in 24 states across the U.S. — one of which is Michigan. On a statewide scale, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has identified oak wilt in 61 Michigan counties.

How to Put a Stop to Oak Wilt Before It Appears

With the majority of red oaks unable to recover from oak wilt, the need for proactive measures is clear. Here are some simple yet effective ways to prevent the spread of this damaging disease.

Prune Your Trees in the Winter

Trimming away weak or dead branches from trees — otherwise known as pruning — is one of the most effective ways to keep them strong and healthy. Like other trees, oak trees should be pruned in the winter months. Not only is it easier to identify branch patterns during this time, but there is also less insect activity and subsequent infections to worry about.

In the case of sap beetles, these insects are most likely present between mid-April and mid-July. (Note that some types of beetles can be active during the summer and into the early fall.) These are these times when the risk for infection is highest, and thus pruning should be avoided.

Keep Firewood in One Place

Firewood can be moved many miles from its original location, whether it’s to a vacation property or a campsite. With this transport comes an assumed risk that the firewood may carry a disease that can harm subsequent trees.

If trees infected with oak wilt are cut and used to make firewood, make sure it remains in one area to avoid transmission to healthy trees. A tarp with no holes should cover to firewood so as to prevent beetles from feeding on the sap of the wood and picking up fungal spores.

Safari Tree’s Tree Care Program Can Help

At Safari Tree, we recognize that trees have unique needs and face unique threats. That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive care program that ensures trees can effectively resist and recover from any number of health issues (oak wilt included).

If you’re a Michigan homeowner in the market for tree care, we encourage you to reach out to the Safari Tree team and request a free quote.

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.