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Protecting Your Trees From Winter Storm Damage

Winter is not even here yet and Long Island has had two snowfalls. While some people revel in a winter wonderland, snow and ice can have damaging effects on your trees and shrubs.

This year we had a very late fall—there are still some leaves hanging on to the trees. When you add snow and ice to the mix it can be very hazardous. The weight of the snow and ice on leaves can bring down branches much easier than if they were bare. The high winds of a Nor’easter combined with ice and snow can also bring down branches, even entire trees.

Old and sick trees are most likely to be negatively affected by the winter weather, but harsh enough weather can bring down almost any tree. Here are some steps you can take to mitigate the damage winter can bring.

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If you look closely enough you can spot a potentially hazardous tree in your yard. If you notice any signs of damage or sickness it may be time to call in a professional to prune. Trimming potential problem branches in a controlled environment can prevent damage to your home or property. Careful pruning can also protect your tree from toppling over.

When a storm hits and you notice broken or weakened branches you shouldn’t wait to call a professional. If your area just received a light snowfall take the time to gently remove snow from branches before it freezes and adds extra weight. It is important to avoid shaking branches that are coated with snow and ice. The ice cover makes limbs brittle, and shaking a frail branch can do more harm than good. Additionally, knocking off the weight may cause the branch to “snap back,” potentially damaging the circulatory system. The best solution is to allow the branch to melt naturally.

Now is the time to take preventative measures to protect your trees from winter storms. However, sometimes the worst does happen. If you need emergency tree removal service you can count on Organically Green.

Protect Your Trees During the Holiday Season

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As the days get darker and the nights colder, we are reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. While the festive lights of the season bring warmth to many, when setting up your outdoor light displays you should take extra care of your trees and plants.

Here are some excellent tree and plant-friendly outdoor lighting tips for you to follow:

Before you start decorating make sure you do a thorough cleanup of your yard, taking extra care to remove leaves from the areas you plan on adding lights. Even though raking leaves is decidedly less exciting than decorating for the holidays, leaving the leaves on the lawn can create some unhealthy situations for your lawn. Compacted leaves can restrict water from reaching your lawn, harbor damaging molds, and serve as a haven for pests like ticks and mosquitoes come spring.

When you are done clearing leaves, check and clear your gutters and downspouts. This will help prevent damage from water freezes that can damage roofs and tear down guttering.

After you are done with clearing your yard, mark areas of new planting or sensitive areas so you don’t accidentally trample on them and cause damage.

Plug your lights into an outdoor rated extension cord, timer, or outlet. Not only does this conserve energy, it prevents overheating and damage to your trees and shrubs.

Take care to not wrap wires and string lights too tightly around living plants. You can damage the bark and the sensitive tissue beneath the bark. This can make your plants more vulnerable to pests, fungi, and disease.

Use only high-grade outdoor lights when you light up your yard. Indoor lights and cheap lights can be a fire hazard.

If you are worried about how holiday lights will affect your trees, shrubs, and plants, or are just too busy to set up holiday light displays the way you want, the Christmas light installation experts at Organically Green not only create beautiful outdoor light displays, they will also make sure your landscaping is kept safe and healthy during set up and take down.

Warm fall means late-season ticks

 

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It is already mid-October and we are still in the grips of summer it seems. While to many this may be a time to rejoice, there are some downsides to this warm fall (and not just to those who are eager to break out their fall boots and sweaters). The warm weather also extends the tick season.

Tick populations tend to explode in seasons following mild winters when long stretches of freezing temperatures are not able to help cull the population. Additionally, small animals and deer are more likely to survive a mild winter, creating the perfect mode of transportation for these disease-carrying pests to get into your yard and pose a threat to your family and pets.

The deer tick is known to transmit Lyme disease, as well as the Powassan virus, and other serious illnesses. To avoid tick bites, hunters and others who work or play outdoors need to continue being vigilant until freezing weather sets in.

Avoiding ticks is the first order of business. Ticks like to hang out in tall brush and grass; they also love to hitch rides on pets. Until real winter gets here, pets should be treated regularly with a systemic anti-tick product so they don’t bring deer ticks into the home. Talk to your vet about recommendations for treatments, and about getting your pets vaccinated against Lyme. Sadly, there is no human vaccine at the moment.

A good way to keep ticks away is to clear brush, weeds, and tall grass from the edges of your yard. If you spray for ticks, don’t stop in the summer, make sure you schedule regular sprayings until the first frost.

Prevent Tree Damage During a Hurricane

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With hurricane season upon us, we need to start thinking seriously about the damage these storms can bring, especially on our trees and property. Some trees are more prone to storm damage than others. A shallow-rooted tree growing in soft soil, for instance, can easily topple onto a house or car. Roots can come up and damage walkways and foundations. Trees can take down power lines causing not only a nightmare for you, but your neighbors as well.

One way to prevent storm damage to your trees is to spot the signs a tree is at risk.

Some potential problems are easy to spot. These include:

•            Cracks in the trunk or major limbs.

•            Hollow and decayed trees.

•            Trees that look one-sided or lean significantly.

•            Branches hanging over the house near the roof.

•            Limbs in contact with power lines.

•            Mushrooms growing from the bark, indicating a decayed or weakened stem.

•            V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones. V-shaped are more likely to split.

•            Crossing branches that rub or interfere with one another.

Regular pruning can prevent many potential problems posed by a hurricane. Prompt removal of diseased, damaged, or dead plant parts helps limit the spread of harmful insects and disease, as well as reduce the possibility of future storm damage.

The experts at Organically Green can help you secure your trees during a storm and provide assistance in tree trimming and pruning before they cause damage or help you deal with fallen branches and trees.

Think you’re almost rid of ticks and mosquitoes? Think again.

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Now that summer is starting to die down it’s time to think about getting that last bit of beach time and forget about ticks and mosquitoes, right?  Not exactly.  Ticks and mosquitoes are active throughout the summer and well into the fall. Cold weather will kill off a few species, but most mosquitoes will simply go dormant in cold weather.

Ticks and mosquitoes are usually the most active during this time, fattening up for breeding season. Lyme disease infections occur most often during the July–August months and can remain active well into Halloween.

As for female mosquitoes, they will deposit their eggs in damp soil, tree knotholes, and anywhere that spring rains will allow the eggs to hatch when the weather turns warm.  Like ticks, cold will not kill mosquito eggs.  Predation is their main enemy, but there are few bugs or other insects out during the winter—so few eggs will be eliminated.

A good way to keep tick and mosquito numbers down is to continue with your tree and yard spraying regimen. If you do not have one yet, now is as good as time as any to start.

By eliminating adult ticks and mosquitoes throughout the late summer and fall, you can reduce their numbers in your yard next spring and summer.

Tree Killing Bugs

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Trees are often known for their strength; however, even the strongest tree can be taken down by these tree killing pests. Here are just a few of the bugs that can destroy whole yards.

 

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an insect native to East Asia, now infesting hemlock trees from New England to the Carolinas. The presence of white cottony/waxy tufts that cover their bodies can be found on the bark, foliage, and twigs of hemlock trees; this is a sure sign of infection.  The adult is less than 2mm long and wide so the white tufts are what make the insect noticeable against the dark needles.

 

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle from Asia that was first discovered in the United States in 2002. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. While the larvae cause the most damage to trees, the adult beetles will graze on the foliage of the ash tree causing some damage.

To prevent the spread of the borer, the transportation of potentially infested firewood or lumber from these areas is prohibited with large fines issued to violators.

 

Gypsy Moth

Gypsy Moths emerge from their eggs in early spring through mid-May and immediately begin feasting on trees. Feeding continues until mid-June or early July when the caterpillar enters the pupal stage emerging, finally, as a moth. They prefer to munch on the leaves of deciduous hardwood trees such as maple, elm, and oak. As it grows it will also attack evergreens like pines and spruces.

Depending on the degree of infestation, tree damage ranges from light to almost complete defoliation. Most deciduous trees can survive a moderate degree of defoliation. Many can even survive one complete defoliation by the gypsy moth caterpillar. However, continuing attacks can fatally weaken a tree or leave it vulnerable to other insects or disease.

Forest Tent Caterpillar

The name Tent Caterpillar comes from the tent-like nest caterpillars build, usually in a fork of a tree out of silk they produce. After feeding, the caterpillars return to the nest. It does the most damage to a variety of trees that include; Maples, Cherry, Oak, Sweet Gum, and many other popular trees of the Northeast.

Besides Lyme: Other Dangerous Tick-Borne Illnesses

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Most people on Long Island are aware of the dangers of Lyme Disease and the ticks that carry them, but did you know ticks can carry several other dangerous diseases, some of them life threatening? Here is a list of other dangerous tick-borne illnesses that pose a threat.

 

Tularemia

Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the dog tick, the wood tick, and the lone star tick. Tularemia occurs throughout the U.S.

Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Rabbits, hares, and rodents are especially susceptible—and often die in large numbers—during outbreaks. Humans can become infected through tick bites.

Symptoms vary depending on the route of infection. Tularemia can be life-threatening in humans, however, most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics if caught early enough.

 

STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness)

STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick, found in the southeastern and eastern United States. The rash of STARI is a red, expanding “bull’s-eye” lesion that develops around the site of a lone star tick bite. The rash usually appears within 7 days of the tick bite and expands to a diameter of roughly 3 inches or more. Patients may also experience fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle pains. The saliva from lone star ticks can be irritating; redness and discomfort at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.

STARI is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms, geographic location, and possibility of tick bite. Unfortunately, the cause of STARI is unknown and therefore no diagnostic blood tests have been developed.

It is not known whether antibiotic treatment is necessary or beneficial for patients with STARI. Nevertheless, because STARI resembles early Lyme disease, physicians will often treat patients with oral antibiotics.

Powassan Disease

Powassan disease cases have been reported primarily from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.

Powassan (POW) virus is transmitted to humans by infected ticks. Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region. Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe POW often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to humans by the lone star tick, found primarily in the south central and eastern United States. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks following a tick bite. Ehrlichiosis is diagnosed based on symptoms, clinical presentation, and later confirmed with specialized laboratory tests.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases of babesiosis in the United States are caused by the blacklegged tick, found primarily in the northeast and upper midwest.

Many people who are infected with Babesia microti feel fine and do not have any symptoms. Some, however, develop nonspecific flu-like symptoms; such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue.

Because Babesia parasites infect and destroy red blood cells, babesiosis can cause a special type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. This type of anemia can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and dark urine.

Babesiosis can be a severe, life-threatening disease, particularly in people who:

  • do not have a spleen
  • have a weak immune system for other reasons (such as cancer, lymphoma, or AIDS)
  • have other serious health conditions (such as liver or kidney disease)
  • are elderly.

The best way to prevent tick-borne illness is to prevent the ticks themselves. Regular tree spraying and tick control treatments will help keep ticks and the diseases they carry out of your yard and away from your family and pets.

Getting Your Lawn It’s Greenest

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Nothing says summer like a lush, inviting, green lawn. Proper lawn care not only looks good, it may add value to your home; especially if you maintain the rest of your home’s curb appeal. Keeping your grass green can take some work. Here are some tips to help you out.

 

Choose a variety of grass seeds that will work best in your yard.

 Each type of grass has its own set of instructions based on climate and environment. Some variations of grass prefer shady areas, while others like the sun. Some varieties do better in warm weather, and others like cooler temperatures. Find out which grass grows best for your yard, taking into consideration sun exposure, shade, and soil condition.

 

Feed Your Lawn

Providing sufficient nutrients is important to getting green grass. Depending on the elements your soil needs you may be able to correct problems with fertilizers, which release nutrients over a period of time.

 

Don’t Forget to Water

Grass needs to be watered about one inch per week.  The best time of the day to water your lawn is early in the morning. This is because it will be less likely to evaporate in the hot sun. On particularly hot or dry days, you may need to water the yard at additional times to prevent the grass from drying out.

 

Mow With Care

Mowing your lawn a day after watering will help your lawn heal better from the recent cut. This can prevent the tips of the grass from becoming brown. If you mow your lawn high it will be more durable against drought and against frost. In the summer it’s good to leave the grass clippings so that you can spend less on water. This might not be a good idea if you have kids or pets that play on the lawn.

 

Aerate Your Lawn

The process of aeration makes small holes in the surface of your lawn allowing water, nutrients, and air access to the roots. Aeration allows better drainage, which reduces runoff. Aerate your lawn at least once in the spring and again in the fall for a green lawn.

 

Prevent Weeds the Natural Way

A natural way to prevent weeds is to plant more grass with seeds. Thick grass chokes out weeds and makes it harder for them to grow or spread within your lawn.

Warm Winter Brings More Ticks

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While we had a few cold snaps this winter, the season has been relatively mild over all. This sounds like a plus, we avoided devastating storms and icy temperatures, but a warm winter can bring on big problems like pests.

Tick populations tend to explode in seasons following mild winters when long stretches of freezing temps are not able to help cull the population. Additionally small animals and deer are more likely to survive a mild winter creating the perfect mode of transportation for these disease carrying pests to get into your yard and pose a threat to your family and pets.

Here are some simple landscaping techniques that you can use to help reduce tick populations.

 

  • Remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edges of lawns.

 

  • Place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration to recreational areas.

 

  • Mow the lawn and clear brush and leaf litter frequently.

 

  • Keep the ground under bird feeders clean.

 

  • Stack wood neatly and in dry areas.

 

  • Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees.

 

The best way to keep ticks from your yard is to have it sprayed regularly beginning in the spring. Organically Green uses safe organic compounds proven to keep disease carrying ticks and mosquitoes out of your yard. Schedule your tree spraying today!

All About Roots

Healthy roots make for healthy trees. They absorb water and minerals, food and water storage, and anchorage. Fostering root growth will build strong, hearty trees. Roots are predominantly located in the top 6 to 24 inches of the soil and occasionally can grow deeper 3 to 7 feet if soil conditions allow. They tend to grow about 2 to 4 times the diameter of the crown.

There are many ways to injure tree roots and stress trees. Some injuries are unintentional and cannot be avoided. However, most root damage can be avoided with some care.

One of the biggest killers of urban trees is use of heavy clay subsoils instead of topsoil and soil compaction. Heavy clays and soil compaction restricts water and oxygen uptake by roots.

Balance is the key to keeping roots their best, too much or too little of anything can be detrimental to your trees.

Changes in soil depth around trees can also cause injury to root systems. The addition of only 4 to 6 inches of soil over an existing root system drastically reduces the amount of oxygen and water available to the roots.  Conversely, removing the soil around an existing tree can expose and injure roots, change the soil conditions where roots grow, and reduce water availability.

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Overwatering causes the soil air spaces to fill with water and restrict oxygen. Underwatering does not provide sufficient water for proper root development. Overfertilization can injure or kill the roots, but underfertilization results in a lack of the minerals essential to maintain a healthy tree. Competition for water and minerals between tree roots, bushes, grass and flowers can also stress trees. Trees can be stressed from root damage by routine soil preparation in the tree’s root zone for flower planting.

When there are problems with your root systems it will show throughout the entire tree. Symptoms of root disease include small, yellow, chlorotic foliage reduced growth; scorch; tufted leaves at the end of branches; and branch dieback. Mushrooms or conks at the base of the tree, as well as white fungal growth under the bark, may also be a sign of root disease. Symptoms of root problems from construction damage or other detrimental activities may appear one to several years after the damage occurred.

If you suspect your tree may be suffering from root problems contact the certified arborists at Organically Green, (631) 467-7999.