Detection and Damage of the Asian Longhorned Beetle

While most of us are thinking about putting our gardens, lawns, and outdoor entertaining areas “to bed” for the winter, it is an important time to inspect your property for any pest damage. One such pest that has the capability of damaging trees is the Asian Longhorned Beetle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) joins us in reminding homeowners to check the trees on their property. This is the best time to spot the round, drill-like holes made by the Asian longhorned beetle, a highly destructive, invasive pest that destroys trees. The Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis, or ALB) is a threat to America’s hardwood trees.

The Damage Potential

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “The Asian longhorned beetle has the potential to destroy millions of acres of America’s treasured hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash, and poplar trees. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure to save infested trees. They will need to be removed to keep the beetle from spreading to nearby trees, as well as to protect homes and other personal property since infested trees will die and can drop branches. The beetle is slow to spread on its own during the early stages of an infestation, so early detection and reporting is critical to containing it.“

Host Trees

These invasive beetles find maples, horse chestnut, elm, willow, birch, and sycamore trees are the most common and favored hosts. Other, less popular hosts include: silk trees, ash, poplar, and mountain-ash. If you have any of these species on your property check them regularly for signs of the infestation.

Signs and Symptoms – With no current cure, early identification and eradication are both critical to its control. It currently infests areas in Massachusetts, New York and Ohio. Look for these symptoms and contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care for treatment and eradication.

 

  • Visible Asian longhorned beetles. Adult beetles have bullet-shaped bodies from 3/4 inch to 1-1/2 inches long, shiny black with white spots, and long, striped antennae, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 times the size of its body.
  • A series of chewed, round depressions in the bark of a tree
  • Pencil-sized, perfectly round, tree exit holes
  • Excessive sawdust buildup near tree bases
  • Unseasonable, yellowed, or drooping leaves

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care with an questions at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website for more information.

Avoiding Salt and Snow Damage

Many homeowners have the mistaken belief that just because it is winter and the grass is covered with snow, that there really is nothing they can do to help their lawn. Sure, this is not the time to be thinking about aeration, fertilizing, or mowing, but there are still things that can be done to avoid both salt and snow damage that may impact your lawn in the coming spring. Let’s take a closer look at how you can avoid salt and snow damage this winter and thus protect your landscaping so that it is ready to grow come spring.

 

  • Heavy Items – Do not leave heavy items such as lawn decorations, cars, or even a snowblower on your lawn for any extended period of time. It is sure to kill anything living under it as well as compact the soil.
  • De-Icing Products – Avoid sodium chloride in your de-icing products.  Rock salts have many corrosive qualities including eating away at your concrete and killing any grass that is under the piles of snow. The chemicals eventually work their way into soil and can harm any plantings in the area. So be careful with how much you use to de-ice your walkways, steps, and driveway. Also be aware of shoveling or plowing piles of snow that have chemicals in them onto your lawn. If there happen to be any warm, dry days, get out there and sweep up any extra salts and deicing chemicals that you can so they do not end up in your lawn or corroding your hardscapes.
  • Snow Damage – Be aware of where you are piling your snow throughout the winter. Many plows leave tremendous piles that can damage plantings and the edging of gardens. Map out the yard prior to the first snow so you know the safest and easiest place to throw the snow when a storm hits.

 

Protect your lawn and gardens this winter from excessive snow and the chemical de-icers. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care with any questions at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website for more information.

Protect Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs from Winter Damage

Winter in New England often causes my skin to become dry and cracked and makes me cold to the bone for months on end. By adding a blanket to my bed at night and moisturizer during the day, I make it through to the spring none the worse for wear. But what happens to our bushes, trees, and shrubs as they try to manage through the dry air, cold temperatures, and howling wind in winter? Don’t they need protection too? Let’s take a closer look at how to protect trees, bushes, and shrubs from the damage of our New England winters.

 

  • Wind Protection  – Drying winter winds are especially damaging to evergreens and small shrubs. In exposed, windy areas, erecting a windbreak helps prevent damage, as can wrapping shrubs with burlap or easy-to-use shrub wraps.
  • Insulation – Once the ground is frozen, apply a 3″ to 4″ layer of insulating mulch, such as bark mulch or pine straw, around the base of shrubs and bushes, and deciduous trees. This helps insulate the soil so it stays frozen and helps prevent heaving. Keep the mulch several inches away from the trunk in order to prevent rot.
  • Feed – Water plants thoroughly throughout the fall until the ground freezes; make sure the water penetrates 12″ to 18″ deep to reach the root zone.
  • Protect Branches – While some snow is great at insulating trees, shrubs, and bushes, too much weight can break tender branches. Be sure to clear off areas after a heavy snow or erect a teepee of sorts to keep the heaviest snow from damaging the plantings.

 

We all need to maintain moisture and warmth in the winter, whether we are humans, animals, or plantings. Take care of your trees, bushes, and shrubs. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 or visit our website for more information.

Fall Lawn Care Mistakes

There is a common misconception that once the last mow has been done that homeowners can close down the yard and settle in for a long winter before they have to worry about their yard again. It would be nice if we could all put any and all yard work out of our minds before the snow starts to fall, but there are a few lawn care mistakes that homeowners make that you will want to avoid in order to start your lawn off healthy next growing season.

 

  • One for the Road – While it may seem like the fall/winter precipitation may be enough for the trees, shrubs, and bushes to survive the winter months, you may want to give them all one last long drink of water so that they do not become dehydrated.

 

  • The Wrong Winterizer – Just as it is important for your plantings, trees, and shrubs to get one last drink, it is also important that they get one last dose of nutrients in the form of a winter fertilizer. Ask a professional which fertilizer is best for your grass type.

 

  • Avoid Leaving Items on the Lawn – Some items may seem like they belong as permanent fixtures around your property, like your bird bath, children’s soccer net, garden decorations, or holiday lights/decorations. Some homeowners even park cars on lawns in an attempt to avoid on-street parking. We suggest avoiding the mistake of leaving these items in one place for too long, especially for the several months of winter. Doing so will make the grass under it brown up and become a bare patch. Bare patches signal unhealthy grass, which in turn signals pests to take hold.  

 

  • Leaves on the Lawn – In addition to removing lawn decorations, we suggest avoiding the mistake of leaving leaves on the lawn – yes, even in those hard to reach corners. Leaves that have fallen and have been left on your lawn will smother the grass by preventing sunlight and air.

 

If you have questions about what you need to do to put your lawn to bed before winter call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

 

Deer Damage and Control

For many of us, spotting a white-tailed deer in our yard can take our breath away. They are gorgeous, majestic creatures which feed and raise families on the edges of woods and neighborhoods. While watching them can seem almost surreal, deer can also cause some serious damage to our plantings, trees, and bushes if they regularly visit the same yard and eventually raise their young in the area.

 

White-tailed deer have been growing in population for the past few decades and have reached well over 30 million according to the Department of Agriculture. That can spell disastrous consequences for farmers and homeowners who live in areas where the population explosion has pushed the deer even closer to gardens and agricultural lands. The population growth is caused in part due to the decline in predators such as grizzly bears, wolves, and cougars, as well as a decline in the hunting rates. The white-tailed deer is a species that flourishes in “edge” habitats so deforestation and building progress does not seem to impact the deer numbers.

 

Due to the location of “grinding” teeth within a deer’s mouth, these creatures twist and pull plants apart from ground level up several feet depending upon the size of the animal. When plantings are not available, these deer may strip the foliage off trees and even rip at the bark. Obviously this damage is compounded by the sheer number of deer that need to feed, especially in the northeast region of the United States.

 

Homeowners may need to take some steps to stop the damage or face losing even the strongest of plants and bushes in their yards.

  • Exclusion – Use exclusion techniques such as fences to stop the damage. Homeowners may need to consult with professionals about the type and height of fencing that is needed depending upon your property and the types of plantings.
  • Scare Techniques – Some homeowners have taken to the traditional scarecrow scare technique while others have tried the more technologically advanced technique of sensors that blast a loud noise or flashing light if a deer trips the sensor.
  • Repellents – Some homeowners try repellents that cause deer to avoid the area for feeding. However, be certain this is something you want to try if you have small children, pets, or just want to avoid chemicals of any sort.
  • Call the Professionals – Call lawn care experts who can examine you deer issue and find a solution for your unique property. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

5 Tips for Avoiding Firewood Pests

On cold winter nights, there is really nothing better than a warm, crackling fire with a glass of your favorite beverage and your family and friends gathered all around. Not much can ruin this idyllic vision of winter happiness, unless of course the firewood that you brought in had some unwanted visitors! Be aware that mice, rats, termites, beetles, ants, and spiders commonly find haven in and around firewood stacks. While it is pretty normal for pests to find their way onto items stored outside, what is not expected is bringing those critters into your living areas. Here are our top 5 suggestions on how to avoid firewood pests while still being able to enjoy your fireplace or wood burning stove this winter.

 

  1. Firewood Stacks – Keep firewood stacks away from your home. Ideally more than 20 feet is suggested as you won’t be inviting mice, rats, and other critters to nest near your house or invite pests to enter your dwelling. It is also suggested that stacks of wood be elevated off the ground to maintain airflow beneath the pile. This helps reduce moisture problems which attract insects.
  2. First-In First-Out Rule – Most homeowners know this rule when dealing with firewood stack outside the home but it is worth a quick reminder. Use ​the oldest wood first, restacking the pile periodically if it makes it easier to access the older logs. This will help to keep pests at a minimum as it will prevent infestations from building up.
  3. Inspect Before Bringing In – It may seem like a simple idea, but always tap the wood on the ground to shake out any pests that may have decided to make a home in or around the wood. Inspect the wood to make sure there are no pests still attached.
  4. Use Local Wood – Using wood from outside your local area means that you may be harboring non-native pests. If those pests are transferred to your property you may have a new worry next spring as they can “set up shop,” so to speak, in your yard.
  5. Never Stack Indoors – It may seem more convenient to stack your wood in the basement, garage, or on a porch for easy access during the winter – don’t do it! Insects can emerge to take up residence within your home’s structure. In addition, the firewood pile can also provide attractive places for rodents or other wildlife to nest.

 

Have questions about pests that found a way into your home via firewood? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

Fall Lawn Equipment Care

Lawn equipment is notorious for taking a beating throughout the growing season. It gets caked with dirt, debris, grass, and all sorts of items around your property. Mowers, trimmers, and gardening tools should be carefully cleaned, maintained, and stored every winter so they are ready-to-go come the warm spring weather. Here are a few reminders of how to care for your lawn equipment this fall:

Mowers

  • Drain the oil and use up all the gas so that there is no chance of it getting frozen in the motor, tubes or valves.
  • Remove the blade and schedule a sharpening so it will be sharp for the first mow next spring. Be sure to clean the undercarriage of any grass.
  • Schedule any maintenance that needs to be done on the mower including changing spark plugs, draining fluids, and an overall check up.
  • Store properly in an area where it will not be exposed to the winter elements.

 

Trimmers

  • Clean and dry your trimmer.
  • Consider having an end-of-season check up done so that it will be ready once you need it in a few months.
  • Drain fluids if it is a gas trimmer and check connections if it is an electric trimmer.
  • Store in a dry, safe area where the temperatures and precipitation will not harm the equipment.

 

Gardening Tools

  • Wash and dry all gardening tools so that they are free of dirt, debris, and moisture. Even a little bit of moisture can start the rusting process.
  • Store in a clean, dry place so that they avoid cold temps and winter precipitation.

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you have questions about caring for your property at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

 

Last Mow – How Low Should You Go?

Well folks, it’s that time of year again, when we start thinking about putting our gardens to bed and giving the grass that one last mow of the season. It is a bit of a double edged sword, though, in that we can stop our weekend chores of mowing, trimming, and weeding, but it also means that the winter weather and precipitation will begin all-too-soon. This is usually the time when we often hear questions like, “Is there anything special we should do for the last mow?” or “How low should I cut?” Let’s take a look at special considerations for this last mow of the season.

 

  • When? The last mow usually occurs when the temps have dropped below 50 degrees during the daylight hours. For inland New England, that could be late October, but for coastal areas that could be early- to mid-November. We suggest the final cut be done right before the estimated first frost or right after.
  • Why One Last Cut? Giving one last cut of the grass right before winter helps keep it healthy throughout the colder months. Without a pre-winter cut, lawns can develop a moldy fungus due to excess moisture or leaves that have been allowed to collect. Hopefully you have also had an opportunity to fertilize one last time before the grass goes dormant because the roots will need one last shot of food and nutrients.
  • What Height? The last mow of the season should be at an ideal height. If the grass is left tall during the winter, that extra top growth will bend under the weight of snow and rain, trapping cool moisture that quickly breeds winter fungal diseases. This will mean extra work to get your grass healthy in the spring and rid the lawn of pests and disease. The Rule of Thirds should help you. This rule advises not to cut more than a third of your grass off at any one time. If you have allowed it to grow out of control you may need to do several mowings to get it to a shorter length before the first frost hits.
  • Any Special Tips? Make sure you have removed all leaves and debris as they will possibly kill the grass below and reveal brown or dead patches in the spring.

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you have questions about the care of your lawn and the pests that may have taken root during this last growing season. Call Us: (603) 382-9644 | Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

Think Now About Snow Removal

New England is an amazing place to live with the seasons changing every few months. The spring brings beautiful budding plants and trees, summers are warm and breezy, fall gives us a trees with leaves that put on a spectacular show . . . and then there are the dreaded winters. Ugh. Are you ready? Probably not, but now is the time to be thinking about snow removal. Yes, you heard us correctly. Snow removal should be arranged months in advance so that you secure a company that you trust and can rely on when the cold temperatures and precipitation arrive. New England has historically seen its first snow storms in November and Mother Nature is pretty fickle in waiting for snow until we are all ready.  Here are a few reasons why you should schedule your snow plowing soon!

 

  • Mother Nature can be brutal and she doesn’t keep to your personal time schedule. If the snow arrives in the middle of the night, snow removal can happen before you get going for the day! Hiring a company to take care of your snow removal needs means you no longer have to stay glued to the weather channel and fret all night long.
  • Professional snow removal takes away the fear an employee or a client slipping and falling on your property. Business owners don’t need the fear of an injury or, worse yet, a lawsuit if such an event happens.
  • Save your back and your time by having driveways, parking lots, and walkways cleared by professionals who make it their mission that your home or business is safe. Lifting snow can be strenuous and can take forever if you are doing it alone or have a large area to clear.

 

Call Pro-Tech for your commercial snow removal needs this winter at (603) 382-9644 or visit our website.

 

Do I need to Mulch in the Fall?

Most of us think about mulching as a spring activity that adds some fresh, organic matter to our colorful, blooming plantings and under our newly budding trees. In this way, mulch adds visual beauty to gardens, walkways, and driveways. But what about mulching in the fall? The answer to this is a resounding yes, and here is why…

 

  • Warmth and Protection – Mulch can help plants and trees better cope with cold weather. If you live in New England, you know how harsh the winter months can be on people, let alone all the trees, plants, and soil in your yard. Mulch can be thought of as blanket for your plants, shrubs, and ornamental trees. When applied around the base of trees, bushes, and plantings, mulch insulates the root system.
  • Controls Erosion – Mulching in the fall means that there is ground cover around your prized plantings and trees that will aid in stopping erosion once the spring showers begin in earnest. Winter wind and spring rain can mean unprotected soil that blows and washes away. Mulching can help!
  • Adds Nutrients and Organic Matter – Trees, shrubs, bushes, and plantings all need organic matter and nutrients to grow and be strong enough to stave off diseases and pests. Mulch can add those nutrients and organic matter so that your plantings stay healthy all winter.
  • It’s Cost Effective – Mulching can be a fairly cost effective way to save the plantings in your yard rather than having to replace them because the winter caused too much damage for them to rebound in the spring.

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at 603) 382-9644 or visit our website for all your lawn and garden needs this fall.