Month: June 2019

Hot Weather & Your Trees

Most of us are familiar with the results of drought stress, but did you know that high temperatures alone can cause significant damage to the health of your plants? Given that many areas are recording rising temperatures, we should become aware of how warmer temperatures affect the physiology of plants.

High temperatures reduce photosynthetic rates faster than they reduce respiration rates. The result is an imbalance because the carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis are used faster than they can be replaced. Higher temperatures increase the loss of water through stomates in the leaves, and thereby increase demands on the root system to take up water to cool the tree via transpiration. (High temperatures are usually accompanied by low rainfall—adding insult to injury.) Cellular membranes also become unstable and result in ion leakage within the leaf cellular structure.

sun rays through trees leaves

Sun rays through trees leaves

So how do plants cope with high temperatures? One way is through the formation of heat-shock proteins (HSPs). Found in humans and other animals as well, HSPs perform the same function in both animals and plants: maintain the integrity and function of proteins in high heat. HSPs form in response to rising temperatures and help to stabilize proteins to ensure cell functioning; they help to moderate metabolic reactions that would otherwise speed up and cause an imbalance of metabolites and acidification in cellular tissue. Calcium also plays a critical role in temperature stress adaptation by modulating enzyme activity and stabilizing membranes. There are physical adaptations as well, such as increasing leaf hairs and waxes, changing leaf morphology to reduce light interception, and changing leaf orientation.

Preparing plants for heat stress consists of the horticultural basics: plant properly in high-quality soil, manage soil fertility, and irrigate properly. Soil sampling to assess soil nutrition (particularly calcium) and physical properties is also important so that fertilization can be customized to optimize the soil environment and enhance plant health.

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Wood Boring Insects: Destructive & Silent Tree Killers

Wood boring insects feed on the inner wood (xylem) of roots, trunks, branches or shoots of a plant. While there are hundreds of wood boring species that are not considered pests, some species can cause branch dieback or even mortality. Recently transplanted young plants and stressed plants are most susceptible to attack from wood boring insects. Damage occurs when the larvae of wood boring insects chew through the nutrient and water transporting tubes of the plant.

internal damage is hidden inside tree trunks, roots, and branches

Serious internal damage is hidden inside tree trunks, roots, and branches.

This damage can be extremely devastating. In the early years of an infestation, there may be few signs as the pests bore inside the plant, creating irreversible internal injuries. As infestation progresses, exist holes where adults emerge may be visible in the trunk or branches.  The plant may lose leaves and, in some cases, the beetles will leave a sawdust-like debris or frass nearby.

emerald ash borer larvae feed and burrow inside a tree

Emerald ash borer larvae feed and burrow inside a tree.

With the increase in international trade, many new invasive species have been introduced to North America over the past 20 years. One of them is the emerald ash borer—a metallic green beetle that kills ash trees. It is imperative to treat an ash tree or American fringe tree if the emerald ash borer is nearby. Otherwise, tree mortality will occur. Other wood boring insects such as the Asian longhorned beetle, the velvet longhorned beetle, and the spruce longhorn beetle have also been recently introduced to North America.

Asian longhorn beetle is one of the invasive species responsible for significant tree loss.

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Tiny Mites, Big Damage

Mites are minute, plant-feeding arachnids that feed on chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their lovely green color. By removing chlorophyll, mites can cause plant foliage to appear bleached or bronzed. Because mites reproduce rapidly, damage to healthy foliage can occur within a relatively short period.

webbing with hundreds of spider mites

Webbing with hundreds of spider mites.

One sign your plants might have mites (before a lot of damage is done) is webbing on and between leaves. A particularly damaging mite is the twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), which affects numerous species of broad-leaf trees and shrubs. Hot dry weather seems to increase mite populations, and drought-stressed trees are more likely to be attacked.

leaf chlorosis due to mite feeding activity

Leaf chlorosis due to mite feeding activity.

Keeping plants sufficiently healthy, hydrated and mulched, and being careful not to over-fertilize is the best protection against infestation. Monitoring to identify mites early and treating appropriately will more than pay off by keeping harmful mite populations in check. Predatory mites can be very effective as biological control agents and should be considered part of an integrated pest management program. 

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Aphids: Small in Size, Many in Number

Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects. Some of them feed on more than one type of plant— for example, apple grass aphids feed on young new leaves and blossoms of apples until the beginning of summer when they migrate to oats, grasses and reeds for the rest of the season. Others feed on just one food source, like the lime leaf aphid, which feeds only on limes. Many different species exist, impacting a huge range of broad-leaf trees and shrubs.

aphids reproduce asexually

Aphids reproduce asexually and their populations can grow quickly to an unmanageable size.

Aphid reproduction is mainly asexual. Most aphids seen on plants are females that are capable of giving birth to live young. As summer temperatures increase, young aphids mature in approximately one week, resulting in a rapid rise in population when conditions are favourable. Their reproductive potential is so great that it has been calculated that a single aphid could produce approximately ten million aphids after 10 days of summer breeding.

browning damage on a hedge from cypress aphids

Browning damage on a hedge from cypress aphids.

Aphid damage to trees results from the effects of the insect’s feeding upon young tissue, which weakens and distorts new growth. Secondary effects result from fouling of the leaves and stems with honeydew, which encourages the growth of a fungus known as sooty mould. Transmission of viruses carried from diseased to healthy plants via the aphids’ stylets and their saliva is also an issue.

Arborists should make a careful examination of trees for the first signs of damage and determine a course of treatment based on the individual needs of each case. Winter washes on dormant trees during December and January may also be helpful. Proper timing and selection of materials used will make treatment of aphids most effective.

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The Stunning Southern Magnolia Tree and its Flower

Magnolia grandiflora open white flower in spring

The Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is an essential tree for yards and landscapes in hardiness zones 6 through 10, for its size, year-round beauty, and its enormous creamy white flowers. gathered essential information on the Southern magnolia tree, its characteristics, incredible flowers and their blooming season.

Magnolia Tree Information

Magnolia grandiflora, with its full luxurious look, is a favorite specimen around the world. The following are some of its features:

Family – Magnoliaceae

Height – 50 to 80 feet at maturity with some reaching 90 feet.

Width – The base of a fully mature magnolia can reach 40 feet in diameter.

Foliage – Mature leaves are dark glossy green and densely grow up to 8 inches in length by 5 inches wide.

DBH – The diameter at breast height of a fully mature magnolia tree can reach 24 to 36 inches.

Crown Width – This species grows in a pyramidal shape, its mid and lower sections can reach a diameter of 30 to 40 feet and tapers upward to a pointed or rounded crown.

Leaf Drop – While Magnolia grandiflora is an evergreen species, it will drop light foliage throughout the year.

Magnolia grandiflora tree with open white flower

Blooms – The flowers of Magnolia grandiflora are creamy white and can reach up to 12 inches in diameter.

Pests – While magnolia trees are generally free of significant pest problems, some varieties of scale, aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and leafminers present potential infestations.

Disease – There are several fungi which can cause leaf spots, and in some cases, may lead to heart rot. However, for the most part, fungi are unable to cause any significant damage to adult magnolias. In the event of severe leaf drop or branch dieback, an arborist should be called to evaluate the situation and recommend a course of action.

This magnificent species, native to the southeastern United States, has been planted in cities all over the world. It’s no wonder that Magnolia grandiflora became an instant hit when it was taken to Europe in the 1700s.

Due to its adaptability to many climates and soil types, and its unique beauty, this species has become one of the most widely planted ornamental evergreen trees in the world.

To learn more about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, read Trees, Shrubs, and the USDA Hardiness Zone Map at

Magnolia Tree Flower

Magnolia grandiflora flower blooming in spring

The majestic Southern magnolia tree has an incredibly dominating presence from mid-summer through the end of winter. However, in early to mid spring, this specimen displays its true glory and reason for its worldwide admiration.

When the Southern magnolia blooms, it blooms at the tips of twigs all over with dozens of white lemon citronella-scented flowers open at a time. Healthy mature magnolias bloom consecutively until mid-summer, and these enormous flowers range in size, reaching up to 12 inches in diameter and lasting up to 7 days from bloom to wilt.

The Magnoliaceae family is among the eldest of tree families in existence. Due to this, we get to witness two pre-evolutionary aspects of flowers:

Tepals, not Petals – In magnolia flowers, the petals are fused with the sepals (sepals are typically green and function as protection for the flower while in bud); therefore, the correct terminology for these parts is tepals. The tepals of the magnolia flower are usually arranged in two whorls of 3 to 6 tepals each.

Magnolia grandiflora tepal of blooming flower

No Nectar Here – That’s correct, magnolia flowers do not produce nectar. These flowers attract pollinating beetles with their fragrant and sugary secretions.

The beautiful magnolia flower is the state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana, while the tree itself is the state tree of Mississippi. It should come as no surprise that the largest Southern magnolia is located in Smith County, Mississippi, measuring more than 122 feet tall with a DBH greater than 6 feet.

The Flowering Magnolia Grandiflora

If you live in the South and your landscape doesn’t include a Southern Magnolia, you’re missing out on one of the oldest and most beautiful blooming evergreen trees in existence.

In this article, you discovered a wealth of information about the Southern magnolia tree and its beautiful flowers.

If your property lies within hardiness zones 6 through 10, and you have yet to plant a magnolia tree, you should consider doing so for the beauty of the tree and the elegance of its sensational flowers.


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Oystershell Scale: An Unusual Insect Pest

Oystershell scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi) belongs to a group of insects called the armored scales. The “armor,” is produced by a waxy secretion combined with the insect’s own body cast during each molt. This protective outer layer helps shield the oystershell scale from natural predators.

oyster scale

Oystershell scale

Oystershell scales are so named because their shape resembles small oysters. These insects feed on a variety of plants, including maples, redbuds, serviceberry, oaks, hawthorns, poplar, lilacs, willows and many others. During heavy infestations of oystershell scales, they can cause mortality of shrubs and large portions of trees. The immature stage—called crawlers—typically appears between May and June, which is the best time to control this insect before heavy damage occurs.

Keeping plants sufficiently healthy, hydrated and mulched, and being careful not to over-fertilize, is the best protection against infestation. Monitoring to identify scales early and treating appropriately will provide the best opportunity to prevent damage from occurring.

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Decline in Spruce Trees

Over the past decade, spruce trees have suffered an abundance of issues. All species of spruce, including Colorado blue and white spruce, are being affected, but particularly concerning is the prevalence of ‘decline’ symptoms on well-established Norway spruce. Originally a favorite due to the relatively low incidence of health issues, the Norway spruce is now experiencing serious health concerns. Environmental factors such as drought stress, elevated summer temperatures, and wetter growing seasons have played a significant role in twig dieback and needle defoliation.

norway spruce experiencing serious health concerns

Norway spruce are now experiencing serious health concerns.

Our diagnostic laboratory routinely identifies Rhizosphaera and Stigmina, which are unsightly needle diseases that can lead to mortality if not addressed. Browning and loss of innermost needles on the lower branches is often the first visible symptom of Rhizosphaera. The youngest needles at the tips of branches typically remain healthy. Another fungal disease that causes loss of needles is Stigmina, which is often mistaken for Rhizosphaera. Correct identification, often with microscopic observation, is important to identify the issue correctly.

Also consistently seen are Phomopsis and Cytospora, serious and deadly canker diseases on stems. Canker diseases are most commonly found on trees under stress so landscape trees should be monitored closely. Proper mulching, watering and soil care are the best ways to prevent infection.

Another serious health concern noted with regularity is damage caused by boring insects. Weather-related stresses and other biotic/abiotic factors involving the root collar, root system, soil nutrient, pH, compaction, and drainage need to be evaluated to help keep spruce trees healthy.

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Killing Carpenter Ants in Your Tree and What They Mean

Black carpenter ant represents decay when nesting in trees

Do you see big black ants crawling all over your tree? While carpenter ants need to be controlled, they are the least of your worries and indicators of potentially bigger problems.

Carpenter ants nesting in a tree are a sign of a more pressing problem that, if not addressed, will kill your tree, leaving the ants to move on to a new home. gathered information on how to eliminate carpenter ants from your tree and what an infestation means.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in a Tree

When carpenter ants invade a tree, there is a risk that they will also invade nearby structures. Within a typical carpenter ant colony, foragers continuously seek new sources of nutrition or a suitably sheltered location to either move the colony to or form satellite colonies.

The best time for controlling carpenter ants is when activity is at its height during the spring and summer months. During the winter, they will hibernate unless located near a constant source of heat.

When attempting to eliminate a carpenter ant infestation, you are searching for the following:

Parent Colony – The parent colony contains an egg-laying queen, workers, and numerous broods. These colonies can be found in:

• Rotting tree stumps
• Injured or dying trees
• Within the walls or wooden features of a structure frequently exposed to moisture

Carpenter ant colony nesting in decaying tree

As ants are capable of foraging and traveling great distances from a parent colony, your search for either a parent or satellite colony should be as broad as possible.

Satellite Colonies – A satellite colony may contain pupae, mature larvae, and workers.

Common places to find satellite colonies are:

• Within the rotted wood of old window frames.
• Shingles or wood siding exposed to constant moisture.
• Nearby trees with declining health or previous stressors.

Controlling an infestation of ants inside a tree is a difficult task which must be done to prevent the creation of satellite colonies and the invasion of surrounding structures.

Dust insecticides that contain pyrethroids or carbaryl designated for use on landscape trees are suggested for control:

• Apply the dust directly into and around the nest cavity.
• Watch for foraging ants and dust along the path they travel.
• Annual retreatment may be necessary, as carpenter ants are difficult to control in trees.

Liquid insecticides that contain a sugar based bait and borax as the killing agent are among the most effective long-term solutions available. For DIY or homemade insecticidal soap recipes, see then below outlines how to apply the solution:

Liquid insecticide for carpenter ant control in a diseased tree

• Spray the insecticide in and around the nest cavity.
• Follow the ants along their trail to find other holes, or entryways to satellite colonies and spray them.
• This is a slow acting insecticide which allows the ants to carry the poison back to the nest and feed it to others.

In either case, never disturb the nest before applying the dust or liquid insecticides. When ants get “spooked” or sense danger, they erratically and quickly leave their nest, will avoid consuming the poison, and may prompt some to stray off and begin another colony.

This picture shows a nest cavity before applying an insecticide.

Diseased and decaying tree with carpenter ant colony infestation

This picture shows the same nest cavity immediately after applying an insecticide.

Carpenter ant colony leaving insecticide treated tree

NOTE: Ants leave a pheromone trail behind them for others to follow and for them to return to their colony. By dusting or spraying along their path, you are increasing your chances for successful control.

What a Carpenter Ant Infestation Means

Carpenter ants are opportunistic in nature. They differ from termites in that they do not eat wood or pulp, rather they burrow through it. To accomplish this in trees, they take advantage of a preexisting condition that has weakened, killed, or caused decay within the tree.

Environmental issues, previous infestations, poor pruning habits, and disease can all contribute to the declining health of a tree, and the successful infestation of it by carpenter ants. Knots, old insect tunnels, holes, cracks, and poorly healed pruning cuts can all offer access to carpenter ants. For more info on common tree diseases, see

As a growing carpenter ant colony burrows into the heartwood of a tree, you are likely to notice the partial or complete dieback of branches and limbs.

Carpenter ant infested tree with branch dieback

Once a carpenter ant infestation is confirmed, have your tree inspected for signs of disease, other insect infestations, fungal infection, and rot. Again, carpenter ants are the least of your concerns. If they are present and thriving, it is due to other issues that have debilitated your tree’s defenses.

Avoid dressing or sealing wounds and cavities. This will not eliminate or prevent carpenter ant activity or the decay that made their presence possible.

The removal of your tree, based on an ant infestation, should only occur if absolutely required for the safety of your property.

Carpenter Ants and Tree Health

Black ants crawling all over your tree are signs of decay within the tree and represent an urgent need to identify the preexisting condition that gave them access in the first place.

Carpenter ants on a diseased tree

In this article, you discovered methods to control and eliminate carpenter ants from your tree, and what their presence means for its health.

Your delay in controlling a carpenter ant infestation allows the colony to burrow deeper into your tree while establishing satellite colonies in other trees and structures around the parent colony. The longer you wait, the larger, more invasive, and more damaging this species of ants will become.


Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Trees on Your Property

Trees on Your PropertyHave you ever driven past a yard and noticed the trees? In some cases, they look immaculate, as if someone tended to them on a daily basis, ensuring they look pristine. In other cases, they’re a mess, and you (and the rest of the community) wish the homeowners would clean up their act, right?

Obviously, trees can enhance the look and value of a property. What can you do to “get the most out of the trees” on your property?

Inspect Them

Each Fall, around September, prepare your trees for the colder winter weather that’s on its way. Inspect them for signs of disease. Notice if they’ve got insect or animal damage. Are there dying limbs to worry about? Prune branches that are getting out of hand. Nourish your trees using both water and mulch. And if you’re planning on planting new trees in the yard, Fall is the best time to do so.

Proper Spacing

Here’s something interesting to think about– your trees might be too close to a driveway or house and those structures might be hampering tree roots and growth space. When planting new trees, keep in mind that their root system extends two to three times the length of the branches. Try not to plant them where other things will get in their way.

Watch Out for Issues

How about diseases? Check your trees and look for changes, especially in color and/or evidence of stunted growth. Consult the Internet for info about trees and their diseases. Know which ones are common in your community. And consult with tree experts if you suspect something is wrong with your tree (or trees) and want to remedy the problem before it’s too late.

Where Will the Leaves End Up?

Finally, think about how a small, young tree will grow where you put it… is it going to end up dropping wet leaves all over the driveway? Basically, you want to pick the right tree for the right place, and consulting an expert from a company like Big Foot Tree Service can help you make smart decisions regarding the placement of trees around your property. For a fast response, call Big Foot Tree Service at 973-885-8000.

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Tree Removal Portland Cost 2019

tree removal portland cost 2019

While most people will generally agree that the right trees add quite a bit to a property, there are many reasons that sometimes removing a tree is the only viable option. Whether it’s because of damage due to disease or pests, a tree dying for other reasons, or just getting too big for the infrastructure in the area, sometimes the tree needs to be removed. Portland tree removal services are available from a wide variety of truly high quality providers. However, results and costs can vary.

In addition to this, every job is different and not many people outside of the business have a good grip on what fair pricing is. That can make it difficult to figure out what fair pricing is. If you want to know what a good price to pay for professional tree removal in Portland Oregon is in 2019 then read on to get the full scoop including average price ranges, special considerations, and everything else you need to think about.

Many Different Factors
There are many factors that can affect the pricing for a job. First and foremost is the overall difficulty. Simply put the longer a job takes and the harder it is, the more it is going to cost. This makes perfect sense, but certain extra factors or concerns can play a major part in upping the price.

Just a short list of these include, but are not limited to:
– Nearby hazards (power lines)
– Any property line issues
– Storm damage (resulting in very high demand)
– Size (age) of tree and complexity of job
– Time of the year

If there are special circumstances that hit any of these checklists (or all of them), then you can bet on the price creeping up to the high side. In addition to this, in certain neighborhoods you will need certain papers, permits, or approval from the city ahead of time and it is up to the homeowner to provide these.

Average Numbers for 2019
While the numbers can vary, there are some general ranges that can be a good rule of thumb based on general billing information and trends from 2018 into 2019 so far.

On the low end are bids ranging from $540 to $600
The middle (average) range seems to be in the $601-$710 with $643 being the “mean” average
On the higher end is the $711 to $850 price range

Different providers are going to provide different estimates and this is all going with the assumption that it is a relatively forward tree removal. If additional services are needed or other professionals need to be called in then you can expect that price range to grow, as well.

Is Stump Removal Needed?
Tree removal means just that: the removal of a problem tree. This does not include stump removal, which is an entirely different service and will likely add $250-$350 more on top of the actual bill for tree removal. It’s important to keep these two services separate to have a more realistic expectation when it comes to pricing.

Keep these factors in mind and now you have a good general idea of what tree removal should cost you. You can also read more if you are trying to calculate the cost yourself here 

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