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Entries in fungus (3)

Thursday
Jan192017

Protect Your Oak and Other Shade Trees from Deadly Diseases: Prune in Winter!

Oak Wilt has come to Long Island and our precious shade trees may be in danger. DEC Forest Health Technicians confirmed Oak Wilt to be in Brooklyn, Babylon, Islip, Riverhead, and Southold. What is Oak Wilt and why do we need to worry? Oak Wilt is a fungus that acts as a plug inside the tree, preventing water and nutrients from getting to the crown (top) of the tree. An infected tree will start to die from the top down and you will notice browning leaves and branch die back. Leaves can abruptly wilt, or the tree may experience sudden leaf loss during spring and summer. Splits in the bark may also occur.

Winter pruning by Goldberg & Rodler keeps trees healthyGoldberg & Rodler wants to help you save your majestic old trees. One of the ways to avoid the fungus getting inside the tree is winter pruning. The DEC says do not wait until summer to prune your trees. During the growing season, recently pruned or broken limbs attract beetles and other insects that carry the fungus. Pruning a tree in winter offers one defense against infection, as beetles (and other insects and fungi) are inactive. There are other benefits to winter pruning. You can easily see a deciduous tree’s branching pattern and structure without leaves. Broken and/or injured limbs are more noticeable. Removing weak and damaged branches can also help reduce limbs breaking off due to snow and ice loads. Pruning in the winter lessens the risk to adjacent plants, especially perennials, as many are dormant. Once spring comes, these trees benefit from winter pruning with a strong and robust burst of new growth. For best results, prune between October and February, when deciduous trees are dormant.

Symptoms of Oak Wilt: (A) White Oak (B) Red Oak [Photo: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation]Oak Wilt fungus can also spread through roots systems, especially with Red Oaks, because their root systems have a tendency to fuse together when growing in a group. If you have many Oaks on your property, it is best to call Goldberg & Rodler and have our trained and certified arborists assess your trees. Infected trees can die quickly, anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months after infection, but the time to act is now.

Interested in keeping your trees healthy? Suspect they may have Oak Wilt? Contact us now and save a place on our winter pruning schedule. Call our main office at (631) 271-6460 or our dedicated plant healthcare hotline at (631) 271-TREE (8733).

Visit the DEC’s website to learn more about Oak Wilt and the areas of quarantine. If you have an infected tree removed, follow proper disposal guidelines to prevent the fungus from spreading. It is prohibited to move oak and any firewood out of the infected areas. 

Thursday
May082014

Summer Plant Protection

Gazania blooms best in hot, sunny areas. Can't wait for summer to see these beauties!

It's still hard to believe summer is finally here to stay. So after a plant friendly and cool spring it is time to get ready for the hot weather. Our lawns and plants fared well so far and now it is time for all of us, plants and people, to make that seasonal adjustment.

Water is a plant's best friend during the high heat of summer under the blazing hot sun. Right now  your irrigation system should be set on a summer schedule. Maybe it is time to evaluate what type of system you have. Is it as efficient as it could be? In spring you don't need a lot of supplemental irrigation but when the temperatures begin to climb and rain isn't on the horizon, that system will be getting a lot more use. It is better to water less frequently and more deeply than every day for only a few minutes. You want to make sure the water penetrates through the mulch layer and can reach the roots. A drip system lays under the mulch/soil and uses less water than a traditional mist or rotary heads.

Early in the day is the best time to irrigate. If you water in the middle of the day, most of the water will evaporate before it has a chance to penetrate through the soil. If you water late in the day fungus will develop, especially in your lawn. Avoid letting water collect on leaves in the middle of the day; like ants under a magnifying glass, the leaves will fry. Leave your lawn 3-3.5" high in the hottest months. This will help keep the roots cooler by providing some shade. Cutting too short can contribute to browning out. When mowing your lawn, remove no more than 1/3 of the lawn's height at one time. 

Healthy, vibrant lawn. No weeds, well irrigated and maintained.

A few organic choices for the garden that will help your plants thrive include mulch, compost and pruning. Incorporating compost into your soil adds organic matter and will give your plants a boost in nutrients, minimizing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Mulching around your plants keeps the soil cooler in summer and helps with moisture retention. Also, you can mitigate potential damage from poor air circulation or low light penetration with proper pruning.

When it gets hot and humid, there are certain pests and diseases that thrive. Scale, Black Spot, Powdery Mildew and Fungus Gnats are several  to watch out for. Call us if you see small, fuzzy white things that jump on and off of your plants or if you see black spots or a white film on any leaves.  If you see clouds of tiny flying insects, most likely around a wet area, it could be fungus gnats. While they are harmless to humans (they only feed on rotting organic matter) this could indicate you have a standing water issue, which will attract a much worse insect: the mosquito. Our sister company, Tree Care Long Island, has several treatments including horticultural pruning, beneficial insects and liquid and granular applications (including organic options), to treat these issues.

More insects to watch out during the summer include Aphids and Leafhoppers, Grubs, and Spider Mites. Aphids and Leafhoppers can spread scale and powdery mildew between your plants. Grubs eat the roots of your lawn, creating bare patches and holes in your lawn from predators like crows and raccoons digging for dinner. Spider Mites suck the juices out of a plant's leaves and/or needles and cause the plants to defoliate and die.

Is your landscape ready for the heat of summer? If you see any of these conditions, or would like our advice, just contact us and we will be happy to help.

Click here for a Newsletter version of this post.

Monday
Jul222013

Helping You and Your Plants Beat the Heat

Anyone who's ventured outside the past few weeks knows how hot it's been. The temperature has hovered somewhere between a sauna and the surface of the sun. We have some tips for you to take care of your plants and yourself in hot weather.

For your plants: Water them. Water them deeply and at the cooler times of the day so the water doesn't evaporate before it can infiltrate the soil. It sounds obvious, but don't wait until you see that they're stressed from the heat. In some cases, it may be too late. Hydrangeas are drama queens, so their leaves will droop at the mention of hot weather, but they'll perk right back up after watering. Don't spray water on the foliage. Like a magnifying glass, the water droplets amplify the sunlight and can burn the leaves of your plants. Keeping a layer of mulch in the beds will help to insulate the soil and retain moisture. Remember to keep the root flares uncovered! For your lawn, watch out for fungus in this heat. Keep your lawnmower blades sharp and cut the grass high, around 3" tall. The taller grass will keep the soil cooler and deter weeds and the sharp blades will minimize damage to the blades of grass. Also, do not spray for weeds in the heat, you'll burn your lawn.

For yourself: Drink water. Drink A LOT of water. Once you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Stay away from soda, caffeine, alcoholic beverages and sugary juices. Wear light colored and lightweight clothing, sunscreen and bug spray. If your yard has trees, try to position yourself in the shade and move with it during the day. The earlier in the day, the better, but earlier and later in the day can mean mosquitoes as well as cooler temperatures. Mosquitoes love sweaty people and humid air, and if you're susceptible to bites it doesn't really matter what time of the day you're out. Remember to get rid of standing water in your yard to keep breeding down.

 If you're concerned about your plants and/or lawn, call us at (631) 271-6460 or email us and we'll come over and check them out for you.