Serving South-Central Wisconsin
9751 Wilkinson Rd., Mazomanie, WI 53560
Mon-Fri: 7:00 - 5:00
31 Mar 2020
Mother Earth


Covid-19 has turned the world upside down.

Living in an unfamiliar environment of fear, quarantine and self-isolation leaves nowhere to turn. Stay at home orders can make one realize that home really is our natural world. It is where we came from and caring for it is ESSENTIAL.

Pruning and tree care promotes safety, preserves tree health and affects the amount of light reaching the understory. Trees are the backbone of the landscape.

Proper lawn care limits weeds and reduces the erosion of soil with embedded phosphorus that enters surface waters, protecting the watershed.

Mulching landscape beds controls weeds and nurtures the shrubs and flowers in the understory.

Caring for the natural world nurtures the soul and that is sorely needed in these unsure times. A turn to Mother Earth can provide the foundation for all of us that we need to get through this. After all, she is the home where we all are from. She is ESSENTIAL.

Noisy Silence

With the world shut down in fear of a microbe, I woke at Dawn in light rain.
The silence was deafening.
Cars and planes absent, the Highways and sky-ways sang the song that the creator had written long ago and I had nearly forgotten.
Warm spring breeze whispers to the trees- “wake up my beauties”
Starch turning to sugar is soon to blast leaves from winter buds.
Crust on flowerbeds begin to crack pushed aside as tiny green fingers throw off winter bedding.
Water trickles, transformed from icy grip.
A Chickadee beckons for his girlfriend Phoebe as Trumpeting Cranes stake out territory in the marsh.
Red-wing Blackbirds scree along with wicawicawica of dove flight.
Even the woodpeckers have a part to sing.
The world is not afraid of this day,
Nor am I.

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.

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.

23 Feb 2011

Where are the Leaves?

If I were in charge, I would have ordered the leaves on the trees to unfold last week. Today the account of stored energy would have been bankrupt and the firewood account full. Winter has returned with a vengeance, locking up all of the liquids and freezing all accounts. Thankfully, I am not in charge.

Just behind and around the winter buds of trees, much of last year’s accumulation of carbohydrate is stored in the form of starch. The bankers in charge of this savings account are light sensitive pigments. Only when the nights are short and warm do they allow the conversion of the starchy savings to sugar. When this sugar enters the sap solution, the osmotic gradient is changed causing water to rush towards the buds, literally blasting them out of their embryonic sleep. Thus begins an avalanche of reactions that eventually bring us the foliage of summer.

Trees are wondrous creatures that are only recently becoming understood. Their ability to grow a new layer over their entirety is not only their nature but also a necessity. They absolutely have to grow this new tree around themselves or die. For a tree only lives for a year. Tree bankers must be very careful with the available starch on hand.

Phenology, or the advent of spring has been progressing right along. Moaning, groaning lake ice beckoned the geese almost a month ago. Sand hill cranes have begun their season of song and dance and a kingfisher has scolded the yellow eyes and buffleheads for over two weeks near the end of the pier. Last week’s temperatures in the seventies brought out T-shirts, motorcycles, a couple of daffodils and the muskies up the Wingra creek. Yet the investors in leaves have held fast, aware that the average snowfall in April is three inches.

Another average, April 15th, is the start-up date for local landscapers. The frost is out of the ground and this is the time that the soil is usually dried enough to work. But conservative banking within the world of trees holds back until the first of May to risk an investment gained throughout last year’s growing season.

This will be a year when spring will explode into summer. The orderly, slow progression of events has been held in check by the abnormally cool temperatures. The stage is set and all of the actors in place. Remember this wintry, snowy day because in a week it will seem as if this day was a dream. In a couple of weeks, the tree banker’s will be wildly spending their reserves, throwing their caution to the warm winds of May.


23 Feb 2011

I See Things

I see the blue sky and breathe its precious air. Birds, clouds, rain and thunder mar her purity like wrinkles in our grandmothers’ face.

I see the trees, the backbone of the landscape, living in communion, within a community of life. Wind dance and advancing seasons make every moment unique.

I see the prairies gently waving, dancing within the breath of God, marking the seasons with flowers and fire.

I see all of the living things that we can perceive in intimate interrelationship with each other, a web of life, pulsing, moving, and never the same.

I see a universe, the nest from which we came, an outward scattering of a billion galaxies with a billion stars all like our own sun, each with an ongoing story to tell that began with the creation so very long ago.

I see all of our children, infused with the beauty and grace of god, faces so full of pure love.

I see that God is love, the only hope for peace and harmony.

I see you walking in beauty all around.

Can you see me?

23 Feb 2011

Horticultural Seedling

Dragons and pirate ships raced across the sky, their billowy white in contrast with the purest of blue on this glorious October afternoon. The morning had been spent with Mighty Mouse and Popeye the sailor until four-year-old Tim was chased out of the house by his mother. “It’s way too nice a day out to spend it indoors,” she admonished, so Ginger, the cocker escorted the young boy out to the big leaf pile out front.

Mazomanie was a much smaller town then. Ginger kept Tim out of the street even though the traffic was of little concern. There was no burning ordinance so giant piles of leaves grew along the edges of the lawn in this season of pumpkins and brilliantly colored maples. Giant black clouds of shrieking blackbirds roosted in the cottonwoods along the stream out back. Mothers warning to “stay away from that crick” contradicted their allure! Life was so purely good for this young man and his guardian spaniel. What better thing could there be to life than lying in the fresh smelling leaves and watching the clouds change shapes, chasing each other across the autumn sky? What little Tim didn’t realize was that he was to fall in love for the first of many times on this glorious afternoon.

As the sun peaked out from behind a most fearsome dragon, its’ first elusive rays sparkled on a particularly stubborn leaf, high in the crown of the front yard maple. The sparkling reflection was more beautiful than the diamond on his mother’s hand. This captivating gaze was jolted with a breath of wind, plucking the leaf, which floated back and forth, spiraling downward into his young hand. This leaf, mostly yellow seemed to be spattered with blood in an intricate pattern; more beautiful than anything this small boy had ever seen. The intricate system of veination added an almost human quality to this woody being in the front yard. This fine fall day was one that Tim would never forget. It was the day he fell in love with the trees.

A young man is fortunate to be taught about the outdoors and Tim had two mentors, both his father and his grandpa. Hunting and fishing were the sports this small town family enjoyed so many were the days of walking through the big Mazomanie marsh in the bottomlands of the Wisconsin River or over the hills of their family farm in Dunlop Hollow. These days were spent studying relationships between the plants and animals encountered on the way. It was grandpa Pete who gave the first lessons of woodland ethic to Tim. “Life wasn’t given to us to be wasted, either plant or animal. If you harvest a living thing, it should be used. Never kill just for killings sake,” the old man instructed. In the fall, Pete would collect the walnuts that clattered down the tin roof of the machine shed and planted them at the farm. His hands would remain black until Thanks giving. He also made sure that both his daughters received a jar of the nutmeats in hopes that this would yield a batch of chocolate chip cookies with the walnut meats baked in. His simple acts were to eventually result in a mighty walnut forest at the farm. Tim continued to spend a lot of time in the outdoors, camping and hiking in the many wilderness areas across the globe. Early memories were etched into the growing young man so much that Pete attained a form of immortality as these teachings were carried on in his grandson long after his days were over. Other lessons of carpentry deeply steeped in work ethic carried on into Tim’s future in the years after High-School graduation.

One memorable October afternoon, a 22 year-old Tim sat atop a tall concrete form waiting for the crane to swing another bucket of wet cement into the young mans guiding hands. Clouds chased each other across the autumn sky over what once was some of the best rabbit hunting land that Tim and his beagle had ever known. Another shopping mall was to be the permanent legacy of this bit of the earth and all was not well in the mind of this young man. “There must be something better for me than partaking in this awful process,” he thought to himself as the sun set through the yellow smoke that belched forth from the heating plant to the west. He quit his job and went back to school the following semester vowing to make the world a better place.

Five years later he actually did it! Tim had graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Horticulture. Now he could go into the business of making the world a better place. Cleaning up after the building process and turning the ravaged land into beautiful garden settings sure did beat pouring concrete. A deeply ingrained work ethic helped the business grow into a very large concern where many messes were cleaned up and put into order. Nature however was order with diversity and the manicured lawns seemed to be devoid of the natural processes he had grown to love. . Besides, who was really running the show? The developers and bankers really were the bosses in this cancerous process of urban sprawl. These bosses had but one incentive it seemed, money. Tim soon realized he was but a pawn in the hands of money hungry land destroyers and had become just as much a part of this sprawl process as any of the other players. Bluegrass sod and potentillas were no more than lipstick on the corpse. So Tim became dissatisfied once again.

Change has a way of flowing through our lives like a river. New experiences and opportunities lie around every bend. How could Tim make the world he loved a better place. Protecting and restoring the natural world that he was taught to love seemed to be his purpose. At least it felt good to enlighten another human being with introductions to the natural processes that Pete had shown him now long ago. The business was sold and a new life begun at Edgewood College. Not only was he able to nurture and restore a beautiful and historic campus on the shores of glistening lake Wingra, but also he could introduce the natural world and the environment to legions of students. By turning these students towards the green, Tim was able to make much more of a difference to the natural world than he was ever able to do with a shovel and 27 trucks. Perhaps this will be his calling. At least there seems to be direction in this stretch of river for a long way downstream.