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Arbor News - 2010

Previous Arbor News Publications

“Can you tell me if this tree is safe?”
By Brian Cassity-Certified Arborist WI-0106

Many of our clients received a post card from us last winter “We have X-Ray Vision”. Of course we really don’t, but the point is, many tree problems can be detected early before catastrophic failure occurs, by the experienced eye of a good Certified Arborist. Usually a tree will have some visual clues available that can lead us to further scrutiny. Certain types of fungal growths, specific mushroom types, cracks and/or shakes, ground heave or bottle butt are foliage, yet be on the verge of structural failure. In some situations, repairs such as cabling and steel rods can alleviate a problem. Other times decay detection testing may give us answers to a tree’s stability and human or property safety. No one in our community has more experience with these situations than the arborists at Cassity Tree Service.


Ambitious Tree-Planting Programs Are Sprouting Up Nationwide

Spurred by visions of their cities frying in a warmer world, mayors around the nation have grasped a green solution: trees! Like Johnny Appleseed, they have vowed to sow their seeds in great profusion, promising millions of new trees in the coming years. Arbor Day, that old fusty holiday, is getting a makeover.

Cities once planted trees because they were beautiful. Now trees are being retasked as “green infrastructure” managed by “urban foresters” to work as powerful energy-saving, carbon-sucking, wastewater-treating tools to save the planet. Bust as the mayors spin their green dreams, their relief teams have had to confront a brutal reality: Planting a tree is a lot harder than it looks.

Urban tree farming can be a time-consuming, expensive and exasperating experience, - like children, trees require years of maintenance. Businesses complain about the cost, neighbors about the sap. Their roots are murder on sidewalks; their limbs tangle with power lines.

“The city sidewalk can be one of the most hostile environments for a young tree,” a cramped cell of garbage soil surrounded by smothering asphalt, says Gregory McPherson, a scientist with the Federal Center for Urban Forest Research.. “A virtual conflict zone, as one arborist put it best by disease, pollution, drought, insects-not to mention drunk drivers and staple guns and trip-and-fall lawsuits. “It’s a tough life.”

Did you know about out “Sister” company?

What started in 2005 as a meeting at Grace Church on Hwy. 31 to provide new trees for the grounds, soon expanded in to a partnership and commercial nursery co-owned by Brian Cassity and Timothy Hoeffert. Located in Sturtevant, we have a nice selection of shade, ornamental and Spruce trees. Our lot at 9160 Charles St. in Sturtevant serves as our sales yard and you’re also welcome to browse the nursery around the corner on Lori Ln. Visit our web site at

EAB-Prevention is the Best Medicine
By: Susan Tangen Certified Arborist WI-0684A

Did you know it is almost impossible to tell if a tree has Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) when the population is low in the tree? Symptoms usually do not appear until years later, after the insect has become established in the tree. With Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties under quarantine, your ash trees could be at risk. Now is the time to protect your trees from EAB.

There are two systemic insecticides that have shown to provide up to 90% or more control for EAB emamectin benzoate and imidacloprid. The first insecticide, emamectin benzoate, brand name Treeage, is a relatively new insecticide. Although research is on-going, it has shown it may provide 2 years, possibly 3 years, of control under the higher rate. The application requires drilling numerous 3/8” holes in the trunk around the base of the tree. These wounds could become pathways for other ash pests in addition to causing damage to the water and nutrient conducting system of the tree.

The second insecticide is imidacloprid which is the most widely test soil-applied insecticide for the control of EAB. Because it is injected into soil, within 18” of the trunk, there is no damage to the tree. However, the insecticide needs to be applied annually. Another imidacliprid treatment option is a Mauget trunk injection, however, this method requires drilling numerous 5/16” holes in the trunk at the base of the tree, and once again, the disadvantage is wounding the tree. As with the soil applied imidacliprid, the Mauget needs to be done annually.

Of course there are other treatment options available; however, they are not as effective. Basal trunk sprays require spraying the lower 5’ of the trunk with a systemic insecticide. However, the basal trunk spray needs to be done annually and there will only be 50% to 70% control. Protective cover sprays, which require spraying the entire tree with an insecticide, are the only treatment that targets the adult beetle and is the least effective.

Because EAB is upon us, treatment to help protect your high value ash trees should be done now. When deciding on a treatment option, think of the long term damage on the tree and the efficacy of the treatment. However, there maybe situations where you may only be able to do a certain treatment. In those cases, the benefits may out way the negatives.

Carpenter Ants in Trees

Some homeowners rank carpenter ant infestations at the same level as Termites. Termites eat and digest wood, whereas Carpenter ants only nest in wood and don’t consume it.

Carpenter ants also seem to show a preference for tree species they infest. Silver Maple was documented as a favored species in the northeast as were a number of other urban trees common to Wisconsin including Ash, White and Red Oaks, and Norway Maple. Because of the common occurrence of carpenter ants in urban trees, and their known potential to damage houses, arborists are frequently asked to recommend treatment approaches. Some basic Carpenter any life biology is a good place to start.

Carpenter ants are social insets that develop a colony around a single queen. The colony is comprised of a range of ants of different sizes and roles to play in the maintenance and growth of the colony. Minors, medias, and majors (or soldiers) work to feed the queen, tend eggs and word larvae, excavate wood for the nest, and forage for food.

A colony is initiated when a fertilized queen is dispersed from an established colony to a new site. The queen is looses her wings, lays eggs, and produces workers that begin to forage for food and excavate the nest. The queen’s sole duty is to lay eggs to expand the colony. Death of the queen means eventual death of the colony as workers do not have the ability to reproduce and sustain the nest.

The brood colony, or the main colony where eggs are laid and hatched, is usually initiated in decayed wood near the ground. Trees with butt rot or decay, old stumps, houses or structures with moisture problems, un-protected firewood piles, or buried wood make ideal locations for a brood colony. As the colony expands in size satellite colonies may develop. These colonies are formed by workers moving larvae to a new location where warmer, drier conditions promote rapid development of the larvae. Many people mistake the larvae for eggs when they observe workers carrying them to a new location.

Satellite colonies can be found in a wider range of locations, constructed from a wider range of materials than brood colonies. They are often seen in the plastic foam insulation of houses, or inside attics with poor quality plywood. Satellite colonies can also develop higher in trees or in sound wood in houses. Satellite colonies are typically abandoned at the end of the season and the ants return to the brood colony.

Carpenter ants are foraging insects that feed on other insects and are well known to ten aphid colonies for their production of honeydew. Foraging carpenter ants are often seen heading back to their nests carrying other insects, or with their abdomen extended as a sign they are gorged with food. Carpenter ants may show strong resource food source, in their foraging. This can be a barrier to the taking of baits placed out for their control.

In temperate regions, carpenter ants enter dormancy in the winter. Many people are concerned about the possibility of introducing an infestation into their homes with firewood. This would be a rare occurrence because the ants are dormant and a queen would be required to establish a colony. Stray carpenter ants that escaped from firewood would not pose a threat to structure without a queen.

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