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Arbor News - 2007

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Sales consultants tell us that "people buy from people". In a nutshell, we as consumers tend to buy a product or service because of certain comfort levels we feel or perceive. We also want to know that other people we know or have heard of have been satisfied with a particular seller of a product or service. We may not know anyone to give us this advice, so testimonials from unknown buyers can be persuasive. We might even check with the Better Business Bureau for further enhancement of our comfort level.

Taking this one step further is a program administered by the "Tree Care Industry Assoc." called 'Accreditation'. The T.C.I.A. is America's oldest and most respected tree care trade assoc. "Accreditation" is a consumer confidence program built on the threefold foundation of ethics, quality and which meet stringent criteria for professionalism, employee training, state and federal safety regulations, business ethics and consumer satisfaction. Under the process, businesses undergo an extensive review and a comprehensive audit of professional and business practices aimed at safeguarding the consumer. It is the only practices and compliance audit program for tree care companies in America. We at Cassity Tree Service, Inc. are proud to announce we are in the final stages of completing this audit, and likely by this reading, are one of just a handful of accredited tree care companies in America.

Emerald Ash Borer Update 2007

Known as E.A.B.; this Asian native pest likely arrived in pallet or crating material shipped in to the U.S. As to date, over 20 million Ash trees have already been lost in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Now it has been found in Illinois in Kane county, which is N.W. of Chicago and in Cook county which extends North up to about Highland Park. This is getting very close to home. As you might recall, we reported in our last newsletter that the government was dead set on an eradication plan. That meant once EAB was detected, any Ash within a half mile radius was to be removed. A group of commercial arborists, including us, fought this plan since we had strong evidence that preventative treatments were highly effective. Well, it turns out this eradication plan is now modified. And the silver bullet is dollars (and sense). Unable to afford such a drastic plan and with no evidence of success elsewhere, the new plan is to only pursue eradication when a source of the infestation is found. In essence, an imported firewood pile, a pallet, a crate or similar must be identified as the origin of the outbreak. This is good news for those of us who are diligently treating our Ash trees annually for EAB prevention. While not 100% effective, it has been well over 90% in other studies. This is especially true with healthy trees, but once infested the outcome is very questionable.

It is now illegal to bring firewood into Wisconsin from Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and lower Michigan. Firewood movement is now considered the most likely way EAB will spread. We would also advise that firewood not be moved out of it's immediate community even within the state. Wisconsin has begun a program of felling 1400 Ash for inspection and cutting a strip of bark off another 4400 to act as lures in our most at risk communities. Both Racine and Kenosha are in this program. It is our belief that annual preventative treatment is the best possible approach for valued Ash trees in our yards and communities.

Wisconsin Ash Population:

- 717 million in our forests
- 30% of all street trees are Ash
- Countless Ash trees in private yards

An Arboricultural Wonder Circus Trees
By Tom Hanlon

Northern California has its towering redwoods. The northeastern United States has the Great North Woods-its 26 million acres sprawling across four states and into Canada.

And Gilroy, California, has its "circus trees.

Gilroy, about 30 miles south of San Jose on Highway 101, is home to Bonfante Gardens Family Theme Park. Bonfante Gardens is a horticulturally based theme park designed to educate and inspire visitors to be good stewards of the natural environment and foster a greater appreciation of horticulture.

For pure inspiration, however, it's hard to top the 19 "circus trees" that populate the grounds - ten at the main entrance and nine others scattered throughout the park.

The Soil Food Web
By Dr Elaine Ingham

Healthy plants start with healthy soil. Understanding the relationship between plants and soil is key to designing and creating sustainable, ecological landscapes.

The type of soil most desirable in a landscape depends on the plant communities that exist on, or are planned for, the site. Unlike agricultural fields, landscapes containing many different types of soils, ranging from rock gardens to perennial beds to managed forests. In general, most landscape plant communities do well in organic, well-drained soils.

What is the soil food web?

Life in the soil takes a multitude of forms, many of which are undetectable by the un-aided eye. These organisms range in size from microscopic, one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa, to larger nematodes, anthropoids, earthworms, insects, plant roots and small animals. By living all or part of their lives in the soil, they make up the community called the soil food web. Within this community called the soil food web. Within this community, energy and nutrients are cycled between organisms and plants in a complex, web-like system. The soil organisms decompose organic matter, recycle nutrients and energy, and aid in the formation of humus. They convert nutrients into a form plants can use. In fact, all plants-grasses, trees, shrubs and agricultural crops-depend on the soil food web for their nutrition. In turn, plant roots exude sugars and proteins that feed bacteria and fungi.

Why is the soil food web important?

The soil food web performs an amazing number and variety of functions that contribute to soil quality, plant health and the cycles that allow life on earth to exist. The soil food web contributes to the formation of humus, a complex compound that resist further decomposition and stores carbon in the soil for years. Humus holds water and nutrients in the soil.

According to Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, humus is "the dark organic material in soils, produced by the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter and essential to the fertility of the earth."

What's Attacking The Leaves On My Tree?
By Susan Tangen-Certified Arborist

You go out into your yard and you notice the leaves on your tree do not look healthy and you wonder if your tree is okay. Many spots on leaves are caused by a fungus and in many cases do not affect the overall health of the tree. Here are some common fungal diseases that affect tree leaves.

TAR SPOT- This is a fungal leaf spot that mainly occurs on Silver Maples, but can also occur on Norway and Sugar. Symptoms usually appear in the later part of summer and would include raised black spots on the upper surface of the leaf. If you look closely at the spot, it has the appearance of a spot of tar with a finger print in it. This is basically a cosmetic problem and treatment is usually not warranted. Removing fallen infected leaves from the site will help reduce the occurrence the following year.

Powdery Mildew on Norway Maples- This fungal disease appears as a white dusty growth on the leaves and stems. Symptoms usually appear late in the season when there is little rain, warm days but cool nights, and humid conditions. This is another benign disease and treatment is not necessary. There are some cultural practices that can be done to help minimize future infection. These include pruning to help improve airflow within the canopy which will help reduce humidity, rake and dispose of fallen leaves, and proper watering and fertilizing to help increase vigor.

Anthracnose-Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects several different trees. On maples, symptoms would include brownish discoloration along the veins. This could be in the form of discrete spots to irregular patches bordered by the veins. This disease is generally not severe on maples. On Ash trees, symptoms include water soaked areas on the leaves followed by large tannish blotches and leaf distortions. In the later part of spring, considerable leaf drop occurs; however, the tree will typically re-leaf. If there are consecutive years of defoliation due to anthracnose, fungicide treatment may be warranted. Anthracnose on oaks occurs in spring usually on the lower portion of the canopy unlike oak wilt which symptoms occur in July on the upper portion of the canopy. Symptoms for oak anthracnose include leaf blotches which often are delimited by the leaf veins. The lesions will become a papery tan color and some leaf shriveling occurs. Fungicide treatments usually are not warranted unless heavy defoliation occurs and the tree is severely stressed. Cultural control includes raking up and destroying fallen leaves, reducing tree stress by watering tress during dry periods, fertilizing to increase tree vigor, and pruning to increase airflow within the canopy.

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