Serving South-Central Wisconsin
9751 Wilkinson Rd., Mazomanie, WI 53560
Mon-Fri: 7:00 - 5:00
12 Feb 2020

Spring 2020 Newsletter

The abnormal weather of 2019 wasn’t only challenging but it really honed our skills. Aside from scheduling around challenging weather conditions, a whole new slew of diseases and problems arose.

The -20°’s brought on by the polar vortex last January killed many popular landscape trees and shrubs. We had many calls for dead Burning Bushes, Callery Pears, Barberries, Japanese Maples, Privet hedges, Boxwoods and Yews. Most of these species had to be replaced altogether although some were lucky enough to sprout back from the base.

Just like the last year, 2019 started cold and wet, and ended the same. Fungal problems challenged us all season long. Anthracnose raged across Maples early in the spring just after leaves had emerged. Turf diseases caused bare spots in lawns in the fall. Foliar diseases on plants not prone to diseases had us scratching our heads all season long. Spruce and Pines continue to suffer their respective needle blights.

Emerald Ash Borer continues its wave through Ash trees. For the first time ever, we found live adult beetles! We are to the point now that it is very easy to tell which trees have not been treated as they will require removal.

Replacement trees are getting harder and harder to recommend. Maple species still seem to be the top pick. However, we have learned from Elms and now Ashes the importance of plant diversity. We are encouraging a variety of species, all which are hardy for our location and bring great aesthetic appeal. Our latest favorites we recommend include Ironwood, Tulip Tree, Tree Lilac, Catalpa, Horse Chestnut, White Pine, Norway Spruce and White Fir.

Thanks to better equipment and the best crew that I’ve had in over 40 years in business, we are able to serve you better than ever before. We now have seven family members working in our family business. Our son Paul joined us this spring and is learning the bookwork and accounting from Cyndy. Our daughter Jessy is our office manager who expertly schedules our appointments and the work schedule. Her husband James manages all of the chemical treatments. Lawns have never looked better after a season of his care. Our son Beau and his wife Becky manage the tree and landscape crews. These two certified arborists are also taking over the sales while I reduce my workload. Now that I am finally feeling better after all of my health issues of the last couple years, I look forward to taking more time off to travel with Cyndy.

Our customer base has grown as you call us back year after year entrusting us with not only your properties but in many cases of those of your families and friends. These referrals are not only appreciated but are an honor and a responsibility. We will always do our very best to give you the best service and products that we can.

It is hard to express how very grateful I am as we all plunge into the new season together.


01 Jun 2018
Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Maple Leaf Diseases

Bacterial Leaf Scorch
Bacterial Leaf Scorch


The wet, blistering hot weather that we all suffered through this Memorial Day weekend has hurt the Maples this spring. Several foliar diseases have developed which cause black spots on leaves and leaf fall. Anthracnose and Maple Leaf Blister are the most common causes and usually do not warrant control. The weather has changed to cooler, drier conditions and these cosmetic diseases should be arrested as the season progresses.

Although startling, I seldom recommend fungicide treatments unless the trees are in prime landscape locations or are important or sentimental to a client.

I have seen a much more rare disease in Dane and the west side of Madison. Bacterial Leaf Scorch affects the entire crown of the tree at once as it is a Vascular Bacteria rather than a Foliar Fungus. This disease re-occurs year after year until successive defoliation weaken the tree and eventually the trees die back. This disease can be controlled with injections of Antibiotics.

31 Jan 2017

Dutch Elm Disease

Upon settlement, the American Elm was the dominant tree in American river bottom ecosystems. Adapted to periodically saturated soils with low oxygen content, these trees are very well adapted to the poor soils of urban environments.  Their habit of arching outwardly created gothic arches, elegantly shading the streets of our growing nation.  Many towns planted 100% American Elms in their urban forests.

A fungal disease from Europe was introduced to our continent in 1928 when Veneer logs were shipped to Toledo via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Shortly after arrival, European Elm Bark Beetles began to emerge from these European logs.  Spores from this vascular disease covered their bodies and were spread to the native American Elms growing nearby.  Soon, the Elm trees around the shipyard started to die.  If we had only known what was going on at this time, the disease could have been stopped.  These beetles can fly up to 40 miles per year so by 1989, 58 million trees had been killed across the Midwest and Canada.

Once infected, there is no cure. Branches from infected trees begin to flag, or turn yellow by early summer.  These trees completely die by fall.  A secondary way that the disease can spread is through the roots of adjacent trees.  When Elms are spaced within 50 feet of each other, root graft transmission is likely and there is no cure from this type of systemic infection.

High Value Elm trees can be protected for 3 years with a fungicide injection of “Arbotect”.  We continue to treat some very sentimental or historic trees for over 30 years successfully where all other trees in the neighborhood were killed long ago.

This story of global homogenization continues to be repeated over and over withIncreased global trade with no restriction or fumigation treatment.  Emerald ash Borer parallels this story in that infested wood in the form of untreated pallets or crating material was brought down the St. Lawrence Seaway, escaping into the surrounding Ash Trees and now we are in the midst of losing another highly dominant tree species.  Within a few decades, all of the unprotected Ash trees in North America will be gone.

When will we learn from our mistakes?

21 Dec 2016

2017 Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small, narrow, emerald-colored beetle about the length of a penny. It smuggled itself into the country along the St. Lawrence Seaway hiding in untreated crating and shipping material.  Native to Asia, it has hitched a ride to America where our native species of Ash trees have absolutely no resistance.  It lays its eggs into the bark of the tree, which hatch into larvae that burrow into the tree’s conductive tissues.  This burrowing activity creates unique “S” shape galleries into these important tissues resulting in tree death.

As you probably know, EAB was found in Warner Park in 2013 and is advancing through the Dane County area.  Currently, Maple Bluff and Middleton are the worst hit with McFarland, Waunakee, Oregon and Sun Prairie close behind.  The average seems to be that eight years after a county is quarantined, all the non-protected trees will be dead.  2017 will be the most important year to get Ash trees injected with Treeage as we are entering year five.

The most important thing to know is that you do not need to lose your ash trees.   Emergency registration of Treeage, an injectable insecticide, now enables us to absolutely protect your trees for two full seasons against this invasive scourge.  Treeage insecticide can be injected into Ash trees as soon as leaves emerge in the spring, typically early May, until the end of the growing season.  Any Ash trees not treated will die.

Your trees don’t have to die – call or email us for a free evaluation of your Ash trees today!

01 Feb 2016

Emerald Ash Borer on Lake Waubesa!

On Saturday 1/30/16 while doing Volunteer work on Dunn Heritage Park I inspected a grove of declining Ash Trees.  There was extensive sign of Woodpecker flecking and at least 50 trees of various sizes that were in severe decline. I removed the bark in an area where the woodpecker activity  was heavy and found the unmistakable galleries of Emerald Ash Borer.

Adults from this major infestation will be emerging this spring to mate and lay eggs on surrounding trees in McFarland and the town of Dunn.

They will quickly colonize ash trees that have not been protected by insecticide injection and these trees will die within a few years.

There has never been a more urgent time to treat the trees that we would like to save from this Emerald scourge than this spring.

Research at Michigan State University  has found that Treeage insecticidal injection to be 100% effective for two full growing seasons following treatment.  You don’t need to lose your Beautiful Ash Trees.  All species and varieties of Ash are susceptible. Schedule treatment now while you still have a choice.

01 Oct 2015

After Care (Your New Plants)

Watering Guide

Your New Plants

  • The number one cause of failure in new plantings is improper watering.
  • Newly installed plants have compromised root systems and need to be watered continuously while they develop their root system in their new home.
  • Grass seed requires high amounts of water to germinate.
  • This guide will instruct you on how to properly water your new landscape and protect your new investment.

When To Water

The best time of day to water is early in the morning. With early morning temperatures being low, less water evaporates before entering the soil. If morning doesn’t work for you, later in the evening is the next best time.


Perennials need to be watered every day for the first two weeks so they can establish new root systems. Each plant should be soaked until flooding occurs. Slowly reduce this as plants become established over two months. Remember that more water is needed when temperatures are high.

Small Trees and Shrubs

Smaller trees and shrubs have much smaller root systems and require less water than larger plants. These only require about one gallon of water twice a week. Watering with a slow trickle is still beneficial for smaller plants, but for half an hour to one hour is sufficient.


Sod, like newly planted trees and shrubs, has a compromised root system. Since sod has a much shallower root system, sod requires heavy amounts of watering. Soak newly installed sod flooding it twice a day until its second mowing.

Newly Seeded Lawn

The number one reason new lawns fail is due to lack of watering. Daily watering with a sprinkler for an hour will maintain moisture at the surface where the seed is. After mowing the grass to 3″ height twice, watering can be reduced to twice a week. Mature lawns should receive at least 1″ of water either through rain or watering every week, encouraging deep rooting.

Large Trees and Shrubs

Most trees and some large shrubs require deep watering. Set a hose at the base of the tree and let it run at a very slow trickle for one to two hours. A slow, long watering allows water to trickle deep into the soil, encouraging new roots to expand into a larger root system. Do this once or twice a week to properly water your new tree or shrub.

Recommended Equipment

Oscillating Sprinkler: These are great for watering large areas such as lawns and large perennial beds. They cover a large rectangular area.

Impulse Sprinkler: These spray in a large circle. The length of the spray and the area it covers are adjustable.

Watering Timer: You can set a timer on your hose to automatically water your new plants. It attaches right to your hose and is easy to program.

Soaker Hose: Unlike a normal hose, water seeps out wherever this hose lays. This is great for watering large perennial beds. You can directly water plants with minimal evaporation.

21 Feb 2014

The 2013 Season

Every growing season is unique and 2013 was no exception.  A very late spring followed by flooding was little relief to drought stricken trees, shrubs and landscape plantings.  New foliage was infected with fungus and we experienced high levels of Apple Scab, Spruce Needle Blight, Burr Oak Wilt and Anthracnose.

Later in the summer, the drought returned further stressing the plant material.  Lawns went dormant and new seeding and plantings suffered.  A little supplemental watering went a long way at this time of year. Then the bombshell exploded as Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in Madison’s Warner Park.  Although we suspected that this devastating pest was probably in Dane county, confirmation of its presence and the subsequent quarantine on moving firewood and plant material is a bitter pill.  Area Arborists have been meeting for years, making plans to slow the spread and treat trees with insecticidal injections that last for 2 years.  We have also been replacing trees  that are otherwise unhealthy or growing in poor locations. Then came the winter that won’t quit.  Snowy, sub-zero conditions began in mid-December and as February comes to an end we find that the ice on the Madison lakes in excess of three feet thick.  My hope is that the long stretch of sub-zero weather will kill some of the overwintering pests, especially those that overwinter as larvae and adults. I remember two years ago when we received two weeks of 80 degree temperatures during early March, forcing the leaves which were doomed to freezing later in the month.  So there is no way to predict what the weather will be in just a few weeks.  All that we can do is to be ready for any eventuality and ready we are.  Four of us are now certified arborists and we have trained personnel, certified in pesticide application and controlled burning.  Because we do not plow snow, all of our equipment is in top shape and ready to go whenever nature allows. Whether it’s tree work, landscape maintenance, vegetation control or a complete Landscape Makeover, my hope is that you will think of our family business for all aspects of caring for your green world.

14 Feb 2014

The Emerald Ash Borer is Here but you don’t need to lose your ash trees!

I have treated flat headed wood borers for over 30 years. Bronze Birch Borer and Two Lined Chestnut Borers are in the same family as Emerald Ash Borer and are totally controllable. There are several options for trunk injection that will not only kill every borer feeding on the trees but prevent re-infestation for two years. Usually a preventative maintenance program is far cheaper than removing your trees.