In the previous few years, boxwoods have been repeatedly damaged by an unknown source. Raj Singh, a plant pathologist from LSU AgCenter, noticed this and identified the cause as the fungus Colletotrichum. It causes random die-back of twigs and a black discoloration of the stem. There are currently no official recommendations for treatment for the fungus. Considering this, take extra care to sanitize your pruning equipment to prevent the spread of the disease to healthy plants. If you suspect your boxwoods have been infected, please contact your AgCenter extension. Removal of infected plant matter may help prevent the spread of this new pathogen.
Landscape Disease Control
It is the middle of the summer and your crepe myrtles leaves are starting to discolor. They are developing brown spots and the leaves change from their natural green to yellow, orange and red. Crepe myrtle leaves will start to fall and your tree will start to look pretty shabby. So what is causing this problem?
Cercospora Leaf Spot
Cercospora Leaf Spot is a fungus that causes all the problems mentioned earlier. While it won't severely damage your tree at first, it will return each year can start hurting your tree. The fungal spores spread from splashing water during warm wet weather. Trees in humid areas with little air flow are more severely affected.
Treating Cercospora Leaf Spot
Buy a fungicide labeled for Cercospora Leaf Spot. Treat your tree as specified on the label starting in early summer when you first notice new spots. Most products have a short control period. If so, you will need to retreat your tree every one to two weeks, depending on the product label. Thinning the branches on the crepe myrtle will lead to better airflow and reduce the chance of Cercospora Leaf Spot recurring.
Professional Tree Fungus Control
GreenSeasons offers fungus control and professional pruning in the greater Baton Rouge, greater New Orleans, Slidell, Prairieville, Walker, Denham Springs, Gonzales, Baker, Zachary, Hammond and Covington areas. If you need fungus control or professional pruning, click here for a free quote and we will give you a call.
If you would simply like some advice on fungus control or pruning, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help.
One day you come outside and notice the oak tree in your yard has white webbing covering most of its trunk and some branches. Your first reaction is, "What is this on my tree and how do I get rid of it?" Well most people would have that reaction, but the good news is it is an overreaction. What you are seeing is the protective webbing of psocids, commonly referred to as bark lice. Believe it or not, this is a good thing.
Bark Lice, aka Tree Cattle
Bark lice show up on trees during the summer and early part of fall. Tree cattle eat algae, mold, fungi, lichen and dead insects that are in and on your tree's exterior. Most of these food sources are plentiful when given heat and excessive humidity which is why southern Louisiana is home to large invasions of psocids. They typically feed on hard wood trees and palms. I personally believe their tree of choice is an oak tree since it is what I have seen bark lice on the most. The good news is bark lice does not do any damage to the tree. By eating these foreign objects on the hard wood trees and palms, they are actually cleaning the tree. Be sure to thank them.
How to Get Rid of Bark Lice
Bark lice will go away on their own. After they have gone, the bark lice webbing will dissolve over the next few weeks. If you just can't stand the sight of the webbing in your tree, a soapy water solution may encourage them to move along. Mix three tablespoons of dish soap per gallon of water and apply it to the infested area. If this does not work, you will have to learn to live with the tree cattle until they move on to their next tree.
GreenSeasons is glad to help with any concerns regarding your trees you may have. If you would like for us to come out and perform a tree inspection, tree pruning, tree fertilzation, tree removal, or any other tree work, just click here and we will give your a call.
If you would just like some more advice on trees, please contact us.
Aphids can become a problem before you realize what has happened to your once healthy garden. These tiny bugs sneak into your landscape and basically have a party. They eat and breed like crazy and decide they love the place so they stay. Aphids will suck the sap from your plant while also transmitting pathogens that infect your plant. Additionally, they secret honeydew which grows sooty mold all over your plant and will stop it from photosynthesizing.
How to Prevent Aphids
Look At Your Plants
A big part of prevention of any pest is inspection. This should not be a problem since if you are frequently in your garden, you are undoubtedly looking at it. If you notice a little problem, do not let it become a big problem.
Aphids love new growth, so do not over fertilize. Use an appropriate amount of slow release fertilizer. Quick release fertilizer will promote a lot of new growth which generally isn't what you would want in your plants anyhow.
How to Treat for Aphids Naturally
You have aphids on your plants, now what?
Completely prune away heavily infested areas. Discard them into a bag you can seal and throw away.
Spraying your plant with a water from a pressurized nozzle will knock off a good number of the aphids. Aphids usually will not climb back up the plant after this. Be careful when doing this. You do not want to wash an aphid onto a nearby healthy plant.
A tablespoon of dish soap and a gallon of water will affect the aphids breathing and help fix your problem. If you have a lot of plants, there are water hose attachments that will mix a concentrate like dish soap with water for you so you can just attach it and spray your plants. Make sure to spray under the leaves since that is where most of the bugs stay.
What Pest Control Product to Use on Aphids
There are a lot of different products that can treat aphids. These can be found at any hardware store or the internet. I recommend using insecticidal soap or horticulture oil. These products are less risky than other control products. This is important to think about if you have young children or pets that frequent your garden. Another good control product are ones containing pyretherin or pyrethroid. These will work to kill the aphids on contact.
If you have ever seen something like this on a plant, you've encountered whiteflies. They are very small insects that are not actually flies at all. They are relative of aphids and mealy bugs. The problem with whiteflies is they spread easily and damage rapidly. The adults whiteflies drain the sap from your plants and excrete honeydew. The honey dew attracts other insects the both damage the plant and protect the whiteflies. Then to make it worse, the honeydew usually begins to grow sooty mold. Sooty mold is a black coating to the leaves and stops light from reaching the plant.
While the flies are feasting on your plants, they are also laying eggs. They are laying a lot of eggs. Fly eggs all over your plant. These eggs will hatch and the nymphs will begin feeding on the same plant. This is why it is important to target both the adults, nymph and eggs when treating an infested plant. Now you have developed a deep and growing disdain for these pest and you want to know how to get rid of the whiteflies? Well read on.
Get Rid of Whiteflies without Insecticide
First, remove any infested areas completely. Be sure to cut into a healthy part of the plant, just before the dead area. Throw away any infested material into a trash bag and seal it. Dissolve a bar of soap in up to a five gallon bucket of water overnight. Use a sponge or washcloth to soak the soapy water up and white down the leaves and stems of the plant. Make special care to do this on both the top and bottom of the leaves. Spray a soapy solution on the plant for the next one to two weeks to prevent eggs from being attached again. Buy and release natural predators for whiteflies. Delphastus pusillus eat a lot of whiteflies per day and can stop whiteflies in their tracks. Order them on the internet or try a local college. Finally, sticky yellow traps will catch whiteflies much like fly paper does for house flies and gnats. Place a few sticky yellow traps as a sign to know when your whitefly problem is gone.
Get Rid of Whiteflies with Insecticide
First, remove any infested areas completely, just like in the section above. Second, buy an insect control product containing either permethrin or bifenthrin which is also labeled for your target plant. These can be found at a local hardware store, some grocery stores or the internet. This will take care of the adult and nymph whiteflies. Buy and apply a horticultural oil mixture the affected and surrounding plants. Horticultural oil is great at suffocating insects that move very slowly. Be sure to follow all instructions on the label for the insecticides. These steps should solve your whitefly problem.
knockout rose gets knocked out
You are outside admiring your landscaping when you notice something different about your knockout roses. New, long, red shoots are protruding out from your otherwise normal looking plant. The flowers have bloomed and appear gnarled. What you are looking at is the effects of the virus known as rose rosette disease. The disease will continue to spread to all other parts of the plant. The knockout rose's health will continue to degrade and it will die.
...but wait, there's more! If that wasn't bad enough, the virus is spread by eriophyid mites. These mites are about the size of dust and simply go where ever the wind takes them. You read that right. Wherever the wind blows is exposed to the risk of rose rosette and all of their knockout roses dying. If the mites, which you can't see, land on your knockout roses and feed, they transmit the virus and your roses chance of survival drops substantially.
how to treat rose rosette
Well the short form of it is you can't treat it. Once the virus has entered the knockout rose, its there to stay. Your only chance of saving the plant is to catch it early remove the infected part of the plant by cutting well below the infected area, cutting into the healthy part of the plant. If you didn't notice the disease until it has infected the entire plant, here's what you do. Uproot the plant and dispose of it. Sorry, but there is no other options to save it.
Unfortunately, knockout roses are not exclusively the only rose the rose rosette damages. There are many other varieties susceptible to the virus so keep an eye out. All roses with the virus will display the same symptoms as the infected knockout roses.
WHEN TO FERTILIZE A TREE?
The best time to fertilize a tree is in spring with the next best time being late fall. Trees are actively absorbing nutrients and moving sap through their trunk during the spring. The tree will perform better if the nutrition it needs is in the soil. We do recommend a soil test so you will know what your soil is lacking. Be sure to mark down the type of tree before sending your test off so you can get proper recommendations on what should be added to benefit your tree to most.
how often to fertilize a tree ?
Smaller and younger trees can be fertilized every year. Normally older large trees only need to be fertilized every two years. They typically do not need to be fertilized more than that unless they show signs of damage. Damage would usually be caused by insects, fungus or a severe drought in previous years. If you are currently in a drought, please do not try to fertilize your tree back to health. If the tree needs water, fertilizer will actually cause your tree to get worse. Think about what would happen to a human who was severely dehydrated and ate to cure their dehydration.
HOW TO FERTILIZE A TREE?
First we need to discuss where the fertilizer is going to go. This may seem like common sense, but this is an area where most people mess up. On a large tree, the area from two to three feet from the trunk of the tree to one to two feet past the drip line is the place you want to apply fertilizer. On a small to medium tree, stick to the whole area from two inches from the trunk to the drip line. The drip line would be the place on the ground the water would drip from the tips of the branches furthest away from the tree trunk.
WHAT TYPE OF TREE FERTILIZER
Organic fertilizers and amendments are naturally occurring Examples are peat moss, compost, saw dust, bone meal, manure. These will not only increase the nutrients in the soil, but will help reduce compaction and allow water to be held better. These fertilize the soil as they decompose so it is less of an immediate effect. The good news is they will be there for a while so your tree will continue to benefit from them for much longer than alternatives. They also contain less salts than inorganic produced fertilizers.
Inorganic fertilizers are cheap and scientific so you know exactly what you are getting. These are the most widely used for tree fertilization and get the job done.
Three things we recommend are nitrogen, mychorrihizal fungi drench, and a systemic insecticide labeled for your tree. Aside from that, you should rely on the soil test results. Be sure to retest the soil near your tree every four to six years to see how you need to adjust your fertilization plan.
*If your tree has a fungus problem, treat the fungus before fertilizing as fungus will thrive on nitrogen.
If you live in the Greater Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans or anywhere in Southeast Louisiana, please feel free to call us at 225.752.2333 and have us help you in person.
Palm trees are a widely use landscaping plant both for indoor and outdoor landscapes. They are generally easy to care for and thrive with sunlight, warm temperatures and good soil. Most species of palm perform very well in southern Louisiana. When their leaves turn yellow to brown have many people at at a loss as to what to do.
There May Be a Problem With Your Palm's Diet
Palm Leaves Have Yellow Spotting
If your palm has yellow spots appearing on an otherwise healthy tree, it needs some potassium. Apply a slow release fertilizer with a good amount of Potassium. Potassium in the middle number in the fertilizer breakdown on the front of your fertilizer package.
Palm Leaves Have Yellow Stripes
If there are yellow stripes on the lowest and oldest leaves then your palm has a magnesium deficiency. Use fertilizer with added magnesium and some extra dolomite on the soil around the tree to turn the tree's health around. Magnesium will be listed as Mg on most packaging.
Older Palm Leaves Turning Yellow
When older leaves begin yellowing, there is a lack of Nitrogen in the soil around your palm tree. The tree is literally canabalizing its older leaves for the nitrogen in them to support new growth. A bag of fertilizer labeled for palm trees from any nearby hardware store should have the tree looking great in no time.
Your Palm Tree May Have a Bug or Fungus Problem
This probably means you are dealing with either a fungus or an insect.
Fungus will usually appear to be blotchy or spots of yellow on the leaves. An example of palm tree fungus would be fusarium wilt or bud rot. There may also be a powdery substance on the leaves. Insects will usually be accompanied by black soot on the plant, holes or tears in the leaves and damage to the trunk. An example of insects damaging to palms would be giant palm borers or thrips.
There Isn't Any Signs of Pests and the Soil is Fertilized
The palm has proper nutrition, but the leaves are still turning brown. This is natural. as long as the transformation is fairly even. The leaves will eventually turn brown as part of the tree's life cycle. There is no need for them to turn prematurely though. Keep your palms fertilized and they will stay looking good for a much longer duration.
Pruning Palm Trees
In best practice, you should not prune the leaves off the palm until they are completely brown. Doing so removes some of the nitrogen and other nutrition stored in the plant. That being said, a lot of people do not want leaves on their palms to be any color but green. If you are one of these people, you can prune the lower yellowing leaves off as long as your have the soil properly fertilized. If the leaves at the top of the palm are yellowing, you have one of the problems mentioned above. If you begin seeing other leaves yellow soon after pruning, your soil may not have had the correct amount of fertilizer.
When pruning your palm, be sure to follow the same pattern of cut as all of the other branches have been cut so the trunk of the tree is uniform. Usually all you will need is protective glasses, a hat, gloves, a pair of loppers, a ladder and someone to hold it for you. If it is your first time pruning a palm, remember to take your time, be careful and it will probably take you a lot longer per tree to prune than you originally thought, especially if its been a few seasons since you pruned last.
WHAT IS A SATSUMA?
Satsumas are a variety of Mandarin orange. They usually perform very well in the southern United States given full sunlight and a moderate amount of water. That isn't to say they don't also have their occasional health problems. Treating a satsuma is nearly identical to treating other citrus plants.
fungus problems on satsumas
Sour Orange Scab, Brown Rot, Greasy Spot, Anthracnose are all very common and usually can be taken care of by applying a copper based fungicide. Sooty mold is usually the symptom of insects on your plant. Treat the insects and the sooty mold should clear itself up. Some of these fungus are spread by rain splashing off of the ground and getting to the leaves. A good preventative measure is to keep the area around the tree mulched.
Insect infestations on satsumas
Scale, aphids and whiteflies seem to love satsumas. Paraffinic oil or Horticulture oil can easily take care of these pests. Permethrin is another option that can be used to treat whiteflies if you find you need additional control. Be sure to spray both the tops and bottoms of the foliage to get total coverage. Leafminers can be controlled using spinosaid made for citrus plants. Spinosaid should be applied when there is new growth on the plants or when the leaves have fresh damage for best results. Mites affecting satsumas can be treated with a miticide.
Most satsumas don't need to be pruned very often, if ever. If you do choose to prune, major pruning should be done in early spring. Dead or infested limbs should be removed at the time they are discovered.
how to fertilize a satsuma tree
Citrus plants usually need a little more iron and magnesium than most other plants. You can treat the soil around the tree with a fertilizer utilizing a higher amount of both iron and magnesium. Alternatively, you can use a chelated foliar spray on both the tops and bottoms of the leaves to ensure proper absorption.
With any pesticide, be sure to read the label to make sure it is okay to treat your plant with it. There are plenty of pesticides on the market that will treat your problem quickly but may also harm you if you ingest the fruit due to their residual control.
WHY ARE PARTS OF MY YARD DYING?
In southern Louisiana, both in early spring and again during mid to late summer is prime time for Chinch bugs. If you notice an irregular yellowing pattern in your lawn at these times, it's worth taking a look. A few moments of your time keep your yard from dying.
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
You can make the insects visible by getting down to grass level and parting the grass. If you can't readily spot any insects, you can try the "soapy water test." Get one gallon of water with one tablespoon of lemon scented dish soap and pour it all in your problem area. You should see the insects move up to the grass blades. Adult chinch bugs are black with white wings and a white triangle on their back while young chinch bugs are either reddish or black with red bands.
TREAT THE PROBLEM.
Once you have them you can either treat them with an insecticide or you can let them destroy your grass. They will not leave until there isn't any food, what we call grass, left! Fortunately for you there is an abundance of products at any hardware store or even most grocery stores with an outdoor section. I find insecticides containing either Bifenthrin or Imidacloprid to work fairly well on chinch bugs.
WHAT IF I DON'T FIND CHINCH BUGS?
If you start looking and you find some other little monster in your grass, the first step is still identification. Resist the urge to apply the first insecticide you see since you may end up killing beneficial insects and doing nothing to the ones damaging your yard. You can always look online, call out a professional lawn care company or try bagging the little bugger and bringing him to the hardware store. If you don't find any insects, you may want to check your irrigation coverage.