Warm Winter Weather = Spring Pest Explosion!
February 1, 2016
We’re sure you’ve been enjoying the beautiful warm weather we’ve been having this January as much as we have. But there could be a dark side to all this winter sunshine: The very mild temperatures could result in a big boom of spring pests. There are many pests that overwinter in our area and when we don’t have a series of hard freezes through the winter months, larger populations are able to hatch out come spring. Treating your trees now can help cut down on spring infestations.
Now is also a good time to address other issues that could be impacting the health of your trees: Aerating surrounding soils, exposing root flares, removing girdling roots and feeding the soil will help strengthen your trees and their ability to resists pests and diseases. Not to mention, help heal trees suffering from ongoing drought stress.
Horticultural Oil Treatments
Dormant oils, or rather horticultural oils as they are more commonly referred to these days, are sprayed on the branches, stems of plants where insects such as aphids, scale, tent caterpillars leafhoppers, leafrollers, mealybugs and mites hide in the cracks and fissures, or the undersides of evergreen leaves. Treatments we use are safe to use around birds and animals and do not harm reptiles. However, be sure ponds with fish are covered. More information on the benefits of dormant and horticultural oils here.
Improving the health of your soil is a big part of growing strong, healthy trees. Our SEASONS program feeds the soil, encouraging beneficial microbe populations, as well as feeding your trees. But, sometimes it takes some extra effort to recondition your soil, especially if it is very compacted. When soil is compacted, be it the result of foot traffic, extended drought, heavy rains or construction, tree roots become starved for oxygen; and beneficial microbes die off. By removing plugs from the soil, oxygen can flow through much more efficiently. Aerated soil also improves water drainage so excess water doesn’t build up around the root zone. Details on soil aeration here.
Root Flare Exposure
If your tree currently looks like a telephone pole coming out of the ground, meaning you can't see the structural roots that fan out from the base of the trunk, it could be in trouble. It could be on a slow decline without you even knowing it. When the root flare of your tree is buried, that can mean that important feeder roots aren’t getting the oxygen they need.
Soil piled up against the trunk of the tree can also soften the bark, allowing pathogens and pests into the protective layer, causing fungal decay. When the base of your tree rots, it become structurally unsound. You may also not be seeing girdling roots beneath the soil that could be choking your tree by limiting uptake of water, nutrients and oxygen. We expose the root flare by gently removing soil from around the base of your tree. We also check the roots for deterioration, girdling and choking roots, wires, and excess soil accumulation. Details on how and why we expose the root flare exposure here.
Our Plant Health Care schedule fills fast through late winter. Call or email us this week to get on our schedule. Dallas 214-528-2266 and Fort Worth 817-581-4502