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Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

Japanese Umbrella PinePinus flexilisChamaecyparis pisiferaPicea pungenspicea orientalis 'skylands'Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

When space permits, we like to screen views with a mixed evergreen planting, rather than a boring arborvitae hedge. Here’s a list of favorite evergreen trees in more compact sizes. All prefer full sun and grow 10’-20’ unless otherwise noted.

  1. Abies koreana – Korean Fir
  2. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ – Weeping Alaskan Falsecypress – elegant upright leader with weeping branches; tolerates some light shade
  3. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Filicoides’ &  taller C. pisifera cultivars – unusual, thread-like foliage texture in green and gold
  4. Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwulf’s Pyramid’ – Limber Pine – Soft, airy texture to the white-ribbed needles.
  5. Pinus cembra ‘Glauca’ – Swiss Stone Pine
  6. Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ – Oriental Spruce – Sexy! Gold needles and purple new cones.
  7. Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’ – Blue Spruce – Classic blue color in a compact size
  8. Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ – Dwarf Norway spruce
  9. Sciadopitys verticillata – Umbrella Pine – thick, shiny needles, grows slowly to 30’
  10. Thuja (arborvitae) – Still has its place. Good for filling in space inexpensively while other plants grow in; remove when others reach mature size.

Need more ideas? Missouri Botanic Garden’s Plant Finder is a great resource for researching plants or developing a plant list based on specific criteria (form, height, sun/shade, hardiness zone, etc.).

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Are your crabapple and maple trees looking like Swiss cheese? Tiny green winter moth caterpillars are the likely culprit.

Winter moth caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, but their favorites include maples (including Japanese maples), oaks, blueberries, apples, linden, ash, and horse chestnut. They also feed on roses and some perennials.  If you have had damage on trees in recent years, it’s important to treat early to prevent weakening the trees. Another benefit of early treatment is that eggs can be treated with dormant oil spray, which is a less-toxic alternative to some of the insecticides used to treat caterpillars once they have hatched. Treatment can begin as soon as the temperature is above 45 degrees, and likely to stay above freezing for a couple of days.

Winter Moth Damage on Maple LeavesWinter moth damage usually starts while buds are still closed, in late March-mid April.  This time is particularly critical for blueberries and other fruit trees, because damaged flower buds mean no fruit.  When leaves emerge, the caterpillars continue feeding, and damage to leaves continues through May.  By late May, when most people notice that their maple leaves are full of holes, it is too late to treat the caterpillars, which are on their way to becoming adult moths.

If you are noticing damage in late spring, put a note in your calendar to seek treatment early next spring, before the next generation of eggs hatches out.

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This summer, I posted about what we’re doing to prevent the spread of Asian Long-horned Beetle infestations, and what homeowners can do.  Now that tree-pruning season is upon us, here’s an update.

The City of Boston now has a more complete management strategy, which should save everyone headaches and money:

  1. Check to see if you’re in the quarantine zone by entering in your address here.
  2. When pruning, have branches* cut to manageable lengths (3′ max.) and bundle with string.
  3. Put branches out separate from plant debris on your regular yard waste collection day.

*Remember, this is for all uninfested branches.  If you suspect an infestation, call 1-866-702-9938 or go to the State’s website to report it, but do not dispose of the wood.

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If you’re in the Boston area, you’ve already heard about the discovery at Faulkner Hospital of six trees infested with the Asian Longhorned Beetle.  Yesterday, our managers and crew leaders attended a briefing by the USDA to learn about how the problem is being addressed in the landcare industry.

What Can We Do?

Our crews will be monitoring the properties we serve throughout the Boston area, and will be contacting the USDA if we see signs of infestation.  In addition, we will be observing new regulations within the quarantine zone established by the USDA and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  We do not expect these rules to disrupt our customers’ experience of service.  We will be able to continue tree pruning and removal in the regulated area, but will need to chip all uninfested wood on-site before removal.  Trunks and stumps too large for chipping will require special disposal permits.  Landscapers cannot remove infested trees or wood.

What Can You Do?

Do not move wood or brush >1/2″ in diameter from your property.  Contact a trained landscaper for chipping and removal.  If you need firewood when camping this summer, buy from sources local to the campsite, rather then transporting firewood.

Monitor for signs of the beetles, which are generally active July-October.

  • Adult beetles – 3/4″-1 1/2″ long; long antennae with white bands;  shiny black body with bright white spots
  • Perfectly round 3/8″  exit holes (a little smaller than a dime) in host trees, often with sawdust below or divets in bark nearby
  • White sap oozing from exit holes

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Last weekend, I attended Russells’ Winter Fair to educate guests about organic landcare and NOFA.  I shared a table with Natick Community Organic Farm, which is hosting a maple sugaring festival this Saturday, March 6, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m..  They’ll start out with a pancake breakfast, then demonstrate Native American and Colonial sugaring techniques, as well as offering tours of their modern maple sugaring operation.

This year, even city-dwellers seem to be taking note of maple sugaring season.  Urban community farms and gardening programs have increased awareness by soliciting help from homeowners, one tree at a time.  Natick Community Organic Farm reached out to homeowners and local municipalities to reach their goal of tapping 100 trees to supply the syrup for next weekend’s pancake breakfast.  In Somerville, the town with the highest population density in  New England, elementary school students learn to tap trees in neighbors’ yards with  Groundworks Somerville.

It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.  In a city like Somerville that has approx. 2.5 times more people than trees, it really does “take a village” to make syrup.

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This fall, as you’re scuffing through the leaves, make sure to look up!  Heavy snow loads on branches make winter the most dangerous time of year for trees. Luckily, it’s also a great time to do tree work without damaging tender perennials and lawns. We’re happy to walk your property with you to evaluate potential hazards, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Visually inspect the whole tree, including roots, root flare, trunk, and branches, keeping an eye out for:

  • Large dead branches in the tree  Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. tree with included bark
  • Narrow branch unions, especially with included bark (right photo)
  • Cables or ties cutting into the bark

  • Limbs over structures and parking areas (a.k.a. “targets”)

  • Mushrooms or fungus growing at the base of the tree

  • Double leaders (Removing the less vigorous or less upright leader allows the remaining one to regain dominance, minimizing risk of breakage.)
  • Any tree leaning excessively to one side

Also, think about the tree’s life story:

  • Storms and lightening strikes may have damaged or killed parts of the tree.
  • Mechanical damage from lawn mowers, string trimmers, and vehicles disrupts the tree’s circulatory system, and leaves wounds which invite infection. Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Barbara
  • Careless construction or lawn installation may cut structural roots, compact soil, or leave trees too deeply buried (right), causing roots to smother and rot.  Damage may not become obvious for three or more years after construction.

For a more details go to the following links:


A tree professional should assess the tree if the following conditions are present:

  • More deadwood than normal for a tree of its age (>10% for mature trees)
  • Rot, holes, cracks, or fruiting bodies, including at roots and base of tree
  • Developing a lean
  • Evidence of disease on foliage, trunk or roots.
Contact us to develop a plan to reduce risk and protect the health of your trees.

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