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Besides Lyme: Other Dangerous Tick-Borne Illnesses

tick borne illnesses

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 “bulls-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 the 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 black-legged 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

grass

 

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

tickchart

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.

Roots (1)

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.

Tree Shapes

tree shapes

Landscape designs can be as unique as the individual themselves. There are many types of trees to fit any style or aesthetic.  Just as important as finding the right type of tree for your climate, choosing the right shape of tree can make all the difference.

Here is a basic guide to tree shapes.

 

  • Columnar Shaped Trees

If you are looking for height and drama, columnar shaped trees are for you. Columnar trees are tall and very thin, with upright branches. They provide great screening without taking up much room in the landscape.

Examples: Italian cypress, Lombardy poplar, pyramid oak, Emerald Green Arborvitae.

 

  • Pyramidal or Conical Shaped Trees

If you are a fan of Christmas trees this is the type of tree for you. Pyramidal trees are wider at the bottom, with a main center trunk and horizontal branches. Conical trees are similar but are usually more slender and bullet-shaped. These trees are very dramatic and need space to reach their full width.

Examples: blue spruce, Fraser fir, pin oak, western red cedar.

 

  • Round or Oval Shaped Trees

If you are more of a traditionalist, round or oval-shaped trees will be right for you. These shade-giving trees are upright, with a central strong trunk that branches into a dense round or oval-shaped crown.

Examples: sugar maple, Bradford pear, white ash, sourwood.

 

  • Spreading or Open Shaped Trees

Spreading or open shaped trees are perfect for the romantic. These trees have an open, irregular shape that may be wider than it is tall. In design, they are used to soften buildings.

Examples: cherry, dogwood, ginkgo, mimosa.

 

  • Weeping Shaped Trees

For those with a whimsical taste, weeping trees offer a sense of drama and make great accent trees. They have flexible, long branches that hang down and may even touch the ground. Weeping trees should not be planted near walkways or streets where the hanging branches would get in the way.

Examples: weeping willow, weeping cherry, weeping mulberry.

 

 

All is Merry & Bright: A Brief History of Christmas Lights

christmaslights

Light has always been an important part of the holiday season. For centuries people would decorate their Christmas trees with lit candles. As you can imagine, fire on a dry pine tree is just a massive fire waiting to happen and they did often.

In 1900, eight years after General Electric purchased the patent rights to Edison’s bulbs, the first known advertisement for Christmas tree lights appeared in Scientific American Magazine. They were so expensive that the ad suggests renting lights for a holiday display.

Within fifteen years the demand for Christmas lights skyrocketed and thus a billion dollar industry was born.

The basic foundation of the Christmas light, the incandescent bulb, hardly changed for nearly a century, and is only now undergoing is first major revolution, as we start replacing our old incandescent lights with energy-efficient LEDs. Yet, in that same time, we’ve gone from sticking burning candles in a tree to creating massive, computer-controlled—and completely excessive—light displays that are becoming increasingly popular.

If you want to decorate your home like Clark Griswold without having to spend an entire weekend on a ladder in the freezing cold, you can always call Organically Green (631) 467-7999.

 

 

Just When You Thought You Were Safe From Ticks

 

deer tick

As the weather gets cooler, summer pests like mosquitos and wasps begin to disappear and most people think that ticks also disappear along with the risk for disease transmission once there is a frost and the weather turns cooler, but they couldn’t be more wrong. While some species, like American dog tick and Lone Star tick, are not active in fall and winter months. Others, like the deer ticks can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing.

While mosquitoes and other pests either die or hibernate during the colder months. The adult stage deer tick actually begins its feeding activity about the time of first frost (or early October throughout its range), and it will latch onto any larger host (cat to human) any day that the temperature is near or above freezing. With temperatures often hovering above freezing for most of the winter this means the tick danger rarely goes away. If it’s warm enough to go outside, it’s warm enough for ticks!

Typically, the Lyme disease spirochete infection rate in adult female deer ticks is 40-60% in the eastern and mid-western portion of this tick’s range. So, even in the fall, it is important to check yourself and your pets daily for any attached ticks, and continue to take precautions like using clothing repellents on you and topical products on your pets.

Spraying for ticks early in the spring and late in the summer can help reduce their numbers and keep your family protected year round.

What to Plant in the Fall

What to Plant in the Fall

Pumpkin Spice is out and it’s getting cooler. Fall is officially on its way.  If you’re wondering what to plant in the fall, the answer is almost anything. Here are six plant types to put in the ground during the fall.

The cool Autumn air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. The soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes unlike in spring when plants have to wait for the ground to thaw.

The weather in fall also makes it a prime time for gardening, more sunshine days than in the rainy spring.

Pests and disease problems start to decline as it gets colder. You don’t need fertilizer, either. Fertilizer promotes new, tender growth that can be nipped by winter weather; stop fertilizing by late summer.

The window for fall planting ends about six weeks before your area gets hit with a hard frost, usually September or October. Here are some great plants that do well in the fall.

Spring Bulbs

All spring-blooming bulbs need a period of cold dormancy to bloom. Plant bulbs in fall to ensure a beautiful spring display.

Pansies

Pansies do very well in the autumn months. By planting in fall, you’ll get two seasons of enjoyment out of these cool-season favorites. Fall is the best time to plant pansies because the still-warm soil temperatures give their roots time to establish.

Cool-Season Vegetables

Many vegetables thrive in cool weather, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabaga, and spinach.

Give your fall vegetables time to grow, often fall-harvested crops should be planted in early August to give them enough time to mature, but by checking the expected time it takes for fall vegetables to reach maturity you can count back from the first expected frost to see if you have enough time to plant said veggies now.

Lettuce, spinach, and other greens with a short maturity time can be planted later in the season.  You can extend the growing season by planting them under floating row covers or cold frames that will shield plants from frost.

Tip: Many root crops taste sweeter when they’re harvested after frost.

Grass

Fall is the best time for lawn care. Grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass should be fertilized in early September and again in late October or early November to give a boost for earlier spring green-up.

Trees and Shrubs

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs because the soil is still warm enough for root development.  Keep newly planted trees or shrubs well watered until the ground freezes so they get a good start before going into full dormancy during winter.

Perennials

It’s fine to plant perennials in the fall, especially specimens with large root balls such as peonies, irises, and chrysanthemums.

Any fall-planted perennials should be carefully watered until the ground freezes to keep their roots healthy and strong.