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Fall Tree & Shrub Health Update 2023

As you watch the snow melting and receding from lawns and gardens, you may be wondering what spring 2023 has in store for tree and shrub health this year. At Green Bird Horticultural and Beautiful Trees, our highly skilled horticulturalists and arborists have been working in the landscape all winter and are excited to have a front row seat to watch the awakening of nature’s most anticipated show.

Inspect Your Trees in Early Spring

It’s a good idea to inspect your trees to see how they faired from the winter storms. Many species of trees experience periodic branch dieback and dieback from rapid drops in temperature, especially Norway maples (Acer platanoides). Early spring is the perfect time to take a look up into the canopy to look for dead branches, deadwood that is hung up and a hazard to the users of the property.

Healthy Root Flare
Root Collar Excavation Girdling Roots

Inspections should also occur at ground level, look down at the main stem, the root flare – the widening of the trunk where it meets the top of the root system. A nice, visible root flare at the bottom of the trunk indicates a tree that was properly planted and maintained. The absence of a root flare may indicate the tree was planted to deep or the presence of a subterranean girdling root, this is a root that is growing around the lower stem. Girdling roots choke out the lower stem, strangling vital conductive tissues that carry water and nutrients up to the canopy. Girdling roots lead to dieback, mortality and can even be a significant hazard blow down hazard during a wind event. CALL US to have one of our ISA Certified Arborists come and give your trees a Free Inspection to mitigate any hazards they could pose to you or your property. Depending on the severity of the issue, we have effective solutions (such as our Root Collar Excavation service) to help your trees recover from improper planting depth and girdling roots.

Be On The Lookout For Insect Pests

Spongy Moth

GM LarvaSpongy moth (a.k.a. Gypsy moth, LDD moth, Lymantria dispar) is expected to be low to negligent this spring in many areas in an around the GTA. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, “Defoliation caused by spongy moth in Ontario decreased to 58,031 hectares in 2022, down from almost 1.8 million hectares in 2021. Based on egg mass surveys conducted in late fall 2022, in all districts across the Southern Region, defoliation in 2023 is forecast to be:

⦁ Severe in areas of Aylmer, Guelph, Parry Sound and Bancroft districts
⦁ Moderate in areas of Kemptville, Bancroft, Aurora and Aylmer districts
⦁ Light in areas of Midhurst, Bancroft and Parry Sound districts

Box Tree Moth

Late Box Tree Moth Larva

Box Tree Moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is a new insect pest in Ontario that feeds exclusively on our beloved boxwood plants. Boxwoods are a common broadleaf, evergreen shrub utilized as hedging and specimen plants in our managed landscapes. Box tree moth caterpillars feed on the foliage, leaving behind stripped twigs and large amounts of thick webbing and frass. Inspect your boxwood plants this spring for signs of chewed leaves, webbed foliage and watch for tiny green larvae with black heads to begin feeding once day time temperatures reach 10C. Box Tree Moth are managed by applications of biological insecticides to the foliage during the larval feeding period in spring or summer. CALL US today for a Free Estimate to treat your boxwood plants to help reduce the defoliation from this invasive pest.

Deep Root Fertilizing

Applying Deep Root FertilizerThis is good news for many of us in southern Ontario, but because our trees were heavily defoliated in 2021 from Spongy moth, it can take trees a few years to recover the lost carbohydrates and stored nutrients in all those leaves that were consumed by the caterpillars. One of the best things you can do to help your trees is to give them the nutrients they need help accelerate their recovery and their ability to replace those lost resources. Our custom formulation of slow-release fertilizer is suspended in a liquid solution and injected below the surface of the soil, directly into the root zone, where it can be absorbed by actively growing roots. Surface applied fertilizers can lead to runoff and lost nutrients in the environment. Our custom formulated Deep Root Fertilizer is specially formulated for our customers trees and shrubs based on soil and foliar testing lab results from your soils and plants. At Green Bird Horticultural and Beautiful Trees, our fertilizer is blended with required nutrients and low levels of phosphorus to keep your plants healthy while reducing negative impacts on our environment.

How To Forecast Spring Foliar Diseases

Diplodia Tip BlightIt is difficult to forecast foliar diseases of trees in advance since the level of disease really depends on the weather during leaf emergence. When spring temperatures are cool and rainfall is frequent during leaf emergence, it can create the perfect conditions for diseases to infect leaves. Defoliation and dieback is common during cool, wet springs from diseases such as apple scab and fireblight on apple and pear trees. Given the devastating levels of Spongy Moth defoliation that our trees experienced in 2021, another defoliation so soon could have detrimental effects on plant health. An application or two of protectant fungicides during leaf emergence can help reduce the success of these infectious diseases and can help prevent defoliation and dieback on your trees. CALL US to arrange for a Free Estimate to help you mitigate foliar diseases and put a plan in place to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and happy.

Are you seeing brown needles at the ends of branches of your Austrian pines? Take a closer look, it could be a comon foliar disease called Diplodia tip bight (Sphaeropsis sapinea). Diplodia tip blight can be a significant disease of pine, especially on stressed Austrian pines in the urban landscape. Diplodia tip blight appears as brown, stunted needles at the tips of branches and black fruiting structures of the fungus are often visible on past year’s dead needles (and cones) after rainy days. An application or two of preventative fungicides can help protect new, emerging leaves in the spring when they are the most vulnerable to attack by this fungal plant disease. We have noticed even greater management of Diplodia tip blight when our Arborists prune out diseased branch tips and cones prior to foliar emergence in the spring.  to arrange for your Free Estimate for how we can keep your Austrian pine trees looking healthy and happy. 

Soils Need To Breath, Just Like Us

Compacted Soil Inside Soil ProbeDo you have heavy clay soils, heavily compacted soils? Do you find it difficult to dig you’re your soil with a shovel? Heavy, compacted soils are often limited in air pore space, which means they don’t support tree roots and their need for good gas exchange with the air. Roots need to breathe in the soil, just like us, they need oxygen to breathe or else root tissues will die and plants will become stressed. Trees in heavy soils often have foliage that is stunted, yellow and sparse.

Air Spade Soil AerationCultural methods that improve air pore space in the root zone such as Air-Spade Soil Aeration coupled with the addition of organic soil amendments, can really help relieve compaction issues and provide conditions more favorable for root growth of trees in the landscape. Significant bursts in canopy growth and vigor are often noticed in the seasons following root zone Soil Aeration, often with the added benefit of greater resilience to tree diseases and insect pests. Our Horticulturalists perform Air Spade Soil Aeration treatments to create a series of pockets in your soil that are filled with soil, organic amendments and beneficial microbes with their own organic energy supply. These pockets of rejuvenated, amended soil then support a flush of new tree roots to grow into. Soil Aeration will also benefit soil microbial growth, many of which that are beneficial to tree roots. Soil Aeration treatments increase root mass and access to additional nutrients to help keep them healthy and resilient in our changing climate. CALL US to arrange for your Free Estimate to increase the growth and vigor of your trees and shrubs by treating your compacted soils to better soil aeration.

Healthy Soil Microbes = Healthy Landscape Plants

Healthy Soil SproutNew for 2023, we are excited to introduce our specially formulated, organic soil infusion product that we call Soil Boost. Soil Boost is a water suspended blend of organic nutrients, beneficial organisms, mycorrhizal fungi and organic energy to feed and build your soil’s Microbiome! The latest scientific research is showing that plants rely on fungi and bacteria to keep them healthy, resistant to pests, and resilient to the ever-changing climate. It is the associations between plants, their roots and the microbes found within and outside of them that play a large role in keeping them healthy. Soil Boost contains a special blend of beneficial microbes and organic nutrients that will nurture your soil’s beneficial fungi, bacteria and other microbes, to help create a healthy soil biome that supports all your landscape plants. Soil Boost is applied in a liquid suspension and injected below the surface of the soil, directly into the root zone, where it can be utilized by actively growing microbes.  to arrange for your Free Estimate to increase the resiliency of your trees and shrubs by infusing your soil with Soil Boost.

Contact Us Today

Call us today to book your free on-site estimate to protect and inspect your beautiful trees and shrubs this spring.

Tree & Shrub Health for Spring 2023

Contact Us Today

Contact Us Today for Quality, Professional, and Experienced Tree care. Where you and your green space are our number one priority.

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