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Arbor News - 2004

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It seems each time we have a new pest alert, we often heat the question: Is there no tree I can have in my yard without problems any more? Well, probably not. But don't be alarmed, because there never really was and somehow we still have an abundance of trees. The fact is that every tree is likely to have some sort of problem, from minor aphids to severe like Emerald Ash Borer or Dutch Elm Disease. Yes we are seeing some more unique problems as our world becomes "smaller" with the ever increasing global economy. However, with constant research, new tree breading, discovery of natural predators and plain old natural balance, the future does not look bleak at all. The arboriculture industry does have on problem that we can all help with - RESEARCH. Unlike food producers, who typically have vast backing by the government for research and care. Arboriculture is almost entirely dependent on donations. So if you love trees and are so inclined, please take a moment to support a very worthwhile cause, the "TREE FUND" (Tree Research and Educational Endowment Fund), any amount is greatly appreciated and fully tax deductible. Make your check payable to "TREE FUND" and mail to the International Society of Arboriculture, P.O. Box 3188, Champaign, IL 61826-3188. Just don't expect the "perfect" tree any time soon.

Emerald Ash Borer - Moving Towards Wisconsin

In the past couple of months we have sent out a special mailing concerning a new exotic pest, the Emerald Ash Borer. This pest attacks Ash trees and has already devastated over millions of trees in Michigan. The Emerald Ash Borer has a long flight ability and eradication is not considered possible. Prevention is the key because once infected any cure is doubtful.

We are recommending an annual application of Merit, a systemic insecticide, applied in late fall or early spring, Mert is very immobile in the soil, does not contaminate the groundwater and is environmentally safe. If you haven't already called for treatment, or if we may have missed you, please call for additional information or to schedule this treatment.

Why Use Dormant Oils?

Applications of Dormant Oils are directed primarily at killing over wintering pests, including mites and scales, particularly in the first & second-instar numphs. However, scales that over winter as eggs such as oyesterscale and pine needle scales may be more difficult to control because the eggs are generally stacked on top of each other. The dormant oil may not contact the bottom layer which may require additional insecticide applications after egg hatch. Applications are made in early spring to minimize phytotoxicity to plants. Dormant oils either suffocate, by blocking the breathing pores or penetrate and destroy cells of exposed insects and mites.


A wide range of activity against most species of mites and scales, including activity on eggs

Minimal likelihood of insects' or mites' developing resistance

A tendency to be less harmful to beneficial insects and predatory mites ( natural enemies) than other pest-control materials with long residual activity

Relatively safe to birds, humans, and other mammals.

Preventive dormant oil applications can save time later in dealing with insect or mite pests. Treatments may not be needed in spring, or the number of applications may be reduced.

Planting Too Deep!

Roots of a properly planted tree grow down and away from the trunk. If the tree is planted too deep - A Common Mistake - the roots will grow up toward the surface to get the oxygen they need to survive. As the trunk increases in size, it may come in contact with the roots growing laterally off the main roots. Eventually, the tree is girdled and killed by its own roots. This may not happen for 20-30 years, but that's the time the tree is most valuable. Planting too deep can also cause root or trunk rot, internal cracking and crown dieback.

Slug-busting robot hunts pests

A slug-hunting robot could be just what the garden doctor ordered. A team at the West of England University in Bristol, has invented a robot that seeks out slugs using an infrared detector, according to a report in the London Daily Mail. After hunting down the slug, the robot picks it up with a grabber and drops it into an on-board compartment. The slugs die and decompose, producing methane that powers the unit. Inventor Owen Holland told the Daily Mail it cost ?200,000 (about $280,000) to develop and could cost ?1,000 (about $1,400) each for consumers. The robot kills only slugs-not worms or snails-because slugs give out a different wavelength of light. Time magazine called the invention one of the year's best in 2001.

Thirsty, Old Salt?

What drinks 200 gallons of water a day, makes large bodies of fresh water salty and can potentially replicate itself 500,000 times a year? The sale cedar, aka: tamarisk. According to a recent article in the Abilene Reporter News, all along Texas' Colorado River watershed levels are down and experts are realizing that drought isn't the only culprit. "The main reason we're running out of water is not the drought," said Alan McGinty of the Texas Extension Service. He maintains that salt cedar are destroying the state's river system. The salt cedar was brought here in the 1800's as an ornamental. The thirsty tree has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control erosion on river banks. Over the last half-century the salt cedars (not to be confused with dears, which are junipers) have strangled water supplies in Texas, as abundant seeds float downstream. Thousands of acres along the Colorado and its tributaries are home to the growing population. The Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board is applying for a $3.6 million grant from the EPA to eradicate the trees. Cost is $200 per acre to spray by helicopter.

Improving The Health of Your Trees with Cambistat

What is Cambistat?

The urban yard is an unnatural & stressful location that often reduces the vitality and life-span of trees. Trees in urban environments may suffer from one or more of the following challenges:

High competition for water & minerals from grass

Low soil organic matter & minerals

Restricted growing space above & below ground

Soil compaction from construction activities & foot traffic

Elevated soil temperatures & dry condition


Cambistat helps trees adjust to urban challenges by reducing canopy growth & redirecting this energy to other parts of their system such as roots, defense & storage. Cambistat has been shown to help stabilize & in non severe cases, revitalize declining trees. Research has shown Cambistat make trees tougher in response to opportunistic insects or disease. This can be partially attributed to more energy being available for defense. Additionally, thicker leaf cuticles and more leaf hairs create a better barrier to invading organisms. The higher root density increases the tree's ability to absorb minerals and water. Cambistat increased drought resistance by promoting higher levels of a stress defense chemical called abscisic acid, which allows the tree to moderate water losses in dry, hot periods. Cambistat is applied at the base of the tree and is designed to gently and predictably slow the growth of your trees. You can expect up to a 60% reduction in growth over a 3-year period. Cambistat should be reapplied after 3 years.

Root/Crown Rots

Root/Crown Rot is a general term that describes any disease of woody ornamentals where the pathogen attacks and leads to the deterioration of a plant's root system and/or lower trunk or branches near soil line. These fungi have wide host ranges and prefer wet soil conditions. Some root rot fungi can survive for long periods in soil. How do I save a plant with root/crown rot? REDUCE SOIL MOISTURE! Provide enough water to fulfill a plant's growth needs and prevent drought stress. Chemical fungicides are also used upon diagnosis.

So how much is too much? And how much is enough?
Trees & shrubs depend on proper watering, especially during their first two years in the landscape. Plants are most susceptible to drought or over watering injuries while they settle themselves in your yard as they try to replace their original root system lost in the nursery.

New plantings need one inch of water per week. Soak the top 6-8" of soil at the base of the tree and beyond to encourage the roots to spread beyond the planting hole. Established landscape trees & shrubs do note need regular watering, they can use a drink during drought conditions.

Determining a plant's water needs is based on soil type, exposure to the sun, wind, rain soil compaction and drainage and mulch presence. Keep in mind that lawn sprinklers may saturate soils which prevent the plant roots from functioning due to lack of oxygen in the soil.

Plants that are vulnerable to drought injury include arborvitae, birch, katsura tree, mountain ash, pagoda dogwood, rhododendrons and spruce.

Tree Cuttings Gathered for Cloning

A bristlecone pine estimated at 4,797 years old may live even longer if cloning efforts spearheaded by the Michigan-based nonprofit Champion Tree Project International are successful. The tree, believed to be the world's oldest, lives at 10,400 feet in the White Mountains on the California-Nevada border, and has been nicknamed Methuselah. Chris Friel, a doctoral student in plant pathology at UC Davis, is in charge of trying to clone the tree. "Within a year, either I'll have an itty bitty little tree or I won't," Friel told The Associated Press. "Frankly, the chances on an ancient tree are extremely slim." The U.S. Forest Service backed the Champion Tree Project's efforts to clone prized trees for research and to restock sparse forest areas, and the nonprofit National Tree Trust also helped the effort.

Mulching Improves Health

Mulching mimics nature. It allows moisture to percolate better and holds its better. Mulching apart from proper plant selection, is one of the most important things you can do. Mulching helps maintain a uniform soil temperature, discourages weeds, decreases competition from turf which robs trees of valuable nutrients and moisture, and protects the base of a tree from lawn equipment injury.

Proper Mulching

Never pile mulch more than 4 inches high: a depth of 2-4" is recommended. Do not allow mulch to touch tree trunks, keeping 6" away from trunk. Mulch touching the trunk of a tree or too heavily applied at the base can actually invite unwanted pests and disease (cankers & basal rot) into the area.

Another Witness to History Bites the (Saw) Dust

A honey locust growing near the spot where the surrender ending the Civil War took place has died and will be removed. But fear not-a forward thinking company says it has some saplings to help remember it.

The tree stood behind the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865.

The Morris Arboretum, which cares for the trees on the National Historic Park around the surrender site, said the tree apparently died of simple old age. A 1997 study inventory put the tree at 183 years old.

It was around the same time that American Forests' Famous and Historic Trees started collecting seeds off the tree. The company is now selling seedlings for $50.00 a pop.

If the Civil War isn't one of your interests, don't worry. The company has the offspring of other historic trees for sale, ranging from trees that witnessed the American Revolution to those grown from acorns collected from Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home

Offerings include the Sergeant York Tulip Poplar-offspring of trees growing in the hometown of the World War I sharpshooter and Pacific war hero immortalized by Hollywood. You can also by no fewer than four Elvis Presley species, including the Elvis Pine Oak, the Elvis Sweetgum and, of course, the Elvis Weeping Willow.

Previous Arbor News Publications

This newsletter has adapted articles from the publications of the following organizations in addition to our original pictures and stories.

Cassity Tree Service - 9160 Charles Street - Sturtevant, WI. - 53177 - 262.886.5224