2016 Spring Newsletter
The big news this year is that we moved!
In mid-October, Cyndy and I moved to our family farm in Mazomanie township where Becky and Beau have dispatched our work force to your properties for the past five years. Settled by my great- grandparents in 1880, it has provided a wonderful home to base our family business. We are in the process of building a new shop and office so that we can better serve you.
2015 was a year of ample rainfall and overall high temperatures. The rising temperatures have brought some of our southern pests northward. In nearly 40 years in business I have never seen an outbreak of Scale insects on Magnolia as bad as this year. When Scale insects hatch in the spring, they are nearly microscopic. These crawlers move around the plant, pick a spot to their liking and settle down in that location for the rest of their life. Their needle-like mouthparts pierce the plant and begin a summer-long sucking process. They secrete a sticky material called honey-dew which covers surrounding branches, leaves, sidewalks and vehicles. This sticky honey-dew can generate a sooty mold fungus which blackens and discolors the surrounding material. Depending on the time of the year and the extent of infestation, this insect can be controlled with insecticidal drenches or injections. I have also found scale on pines, pachysandra, periwinkle, euonymus and viburnums and I expect a lot more trouble from these pests during the 2016 season.
Needle Blight continues to degrade Blue and Black Hills Spruce trees in our area. Spruce that are shaded by other trees or are growing in areas with poor air circulation are most severely affected. Usually needle blight slowly advances over the course of several years but this fungus can kill entire trees in just one season with the right conditions. Severely infected trees should be replaced by evergreens that are immune to this fungal parasite. A spray program can hold the fungus in check especially when caught early in the disease cycle.
The drought of 2012 decimated the Japanese Beetle Population but three years of favorable conditions have brought the population back up, especially in select areas. Insecticide drenches can control this pest of Linden, Roses, Birch, Apple and ferns.
The soil around newer homes can be especially poor. Modern development scrapes all of the native soil away from your home and very little is returned. Poor soil conditions can greatly retard the healthy growth of plants. Soil amendment with compost or fertilization with VT can make a huge difference to the health and vitality of your plant material.
Emerald Ash Borer was discovered and our area quarantined in 2013. On average, all of the unprotected Ash Trees are dead, six years after quarantine. Your trees can be protected with injections of Treeage every two years. This would be a very good year to put your valuable Ash trees on a protective program.
You are the most valuable ingredient to our family business. Please consider us this year to help you manage your outdoor world.