Month: October 2018

Five Insects That Can Harm or Kill Your Trees

For a Michigan homeowner your trees are your pride and joy. You take care of them mulching, and pruning and hope they grow big and strong. But no matter how big or strong your tree is they can easily be harmed by the smallest of organisms. Here is a list of 5 dangerous insects that can cause serious damage or even kill your trees.

Tent Caterpillars Tent caterpillar

Have you noticed those silky webs covering your tree’s branches in the spring? Those are tent caterpillars and they can be aggressive destructive to your trees. Tent Caterpillars look similar to Gypsy Moths but live in large clusters inside the silky tent. From their tent the caterpillars can wreak havoc on the rest of the tree and can affect the tree’s growth. You can get rid of them with pesticides or pruning the branch the tent is on and destroy it. Do not use fire as it will kill the host branch and potentially damage the tree itself.

Gypsy Moths

Found in every county in the Lower Penninsula, the Gypsy Moth has been a plague on Michigan trees for the last 30 years. The caterpillars can leave a tree stripped of its foliage.  This will cause the tree to be stressed and vulnerable to other insects and diseases. The Gypsy Moth population was decimated in the 90s by the introduction of a fungus that kills them in the caterpillar stage. It was so effective that dead caterpillars could be seen on the sides of trees.  Their population is swelling again as recent droughts and dry springs have prevented the fungus from growing, allowing caterpillars to progress into their moth stage and lay large batches of eggs.

Elm Bark Beetle

Native to Europe and the culprit behind Dutch Elm Disease, the Elm Bark Beetle has ravaged the elm population almost to extinction in several rounds over the last century. The trees are not harmed by the beetle itself but by the deadly disease is carries. The disease causes the tree to defend itself by plugging the tissues that transport water up the tree, depriving it of nutrients and eventually killing it from the top down. Signs of an infection include yellowing leaves that progressively spread down the tree and eventually total leaf loss.

Emerald Ash BorerEmerald Ash Borer

Native to China, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed over 30 million Ash trees in southwestern Michigan since it’s first discovery in the state in summer 2002. The beetle has the potential to wipe out 700 million trees in Michigan.  Several counties are under quarantine to stop the transportation of Ash wood. The beetle attacks the tree by boring under the bark to feed. These boreholes prevent water and nutrients from going up the tree and can kill a large Ash tree in 3 to 4 years.

Asian Longhorn Beetle

Maple trees are one of the most popular shade trees in Michigan yards. They could be at risk from the Asian Longhorn Beetle, an invasive species with a particular appetite for Maple. While not currently a menace in Michigan, the insects have already claimed 18,000 trees in neighboring Ohio, making its arrival almost inevitable. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development believes that it could be worse than the Emerald Ash Borer since it is known to attack 12 different species of trees.

 

If you have an infected or dead tree call the professionals at PPM to take care of it for you before it infects other trees.

Tree Removal: 4 Essential Tips for Safely Removing a Tree

Do you have a tree that needs to come down? Do you have a chainsaw and the time to do it yourself? Tree removal can be a very dangerous and time-consuming task. It’s usually best left to the professionals, but if you are up for the challenge here are some tips for safely removing a tree.

always be safe with tree removal

Safety First When Cutting Trees

The first thing you need to consider is your safety, other’s safety, and any potential damage that could be caused. Trees are a lot bigger on the ground than you may think. If your tree is more than 20 feet tall then it’s safest to get a professional to do the removal for you.

 

It’s important to check for vehicles, powerlines, or structures in all directions around the tree. It’s also a good idea to let your neighbors know beforehand that you will be removing the tree so they can keep any kids or pets inside. Remember, a dead tree will shatter when it hits the ground sending small, sharp pieces of wood flying in all directions.

Which Direction?

Before you start cutting decide which direction you want the tree to fall. If the tree is already leaning in the direction you want it to fall, congratulations, you’re job is made significantly easier. But if you need to coax the tree in a certain direction or you are working in an extremely cramped space you have two options.

Notch Cutting

Cutting a notch in the trunk will make tree removal much easier

This is the most common and safest method of felling a tree. Start by cutting a notch in the tree on the side you want it to fall. Make the top cut first then make the bottom cut. If done correctly a notch will drop out. Many inexperienced cutters will dive right into sawing the tree without making a notch and nine times out of ten the tree will pinch the blade giving you a new task of trying to get the weight of the entire tree off your saw. This is a messy situation that can be easily avoided with a notch. After cutting the notch start cutting from the other side of the tree so it’s level with the corner of the notch. The tree should fall easily in the direction you want.

From The Top Down

Sometimes the location and size of the tree can make cutting it down a little tricky. For instance, if you live in an urban area with lots of wires, houses, and fences around. If this is the situation or if you have a large tree to remove then it may be best to call in the professionals. This method is a bit more dangerous and time-consuming but, if done safely, it can save you from paying for any extensive damage.

 

If you decide to do it yourself then start by securing an extension ladder to the tree. Use a strong rope, you don’t want any wobbling while you’re carrying a chainsaw up. From the top of the ladder see what you can cut. Start with smaller branches, surgically cutting the tree to pieces from the top down. If branches are too big or long it may require you to cut the branch little by little. After cutting all of the branches from the tree you’re left with a tall stump. This can be cut into pieces or felled in an easier and more manageable way.

The Safest Method of Tree Removal: Let the Professionals Handle It

Remember, if you decide to do this yourself, be safe and never take your eyes off a falling tree! If you would like to save yourself the risk and effort contact us at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care. Let the professionals take care of all of your tree removal needs, call now at (877) 454-8733.

Haunted Forest: 5+ Spooky Attractions For The Halloween Season

It’s that time of the year when trees put on one final show before shedding beauty for the winter but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy them. A great way to enjoy the Halloween season and get one final use out of our trees is to visit a haunted forest.

Deranged Haunt – Romulushaunted forest

Deranged Haunt features a haunted trail that covers five terrifying acres as well as a haunted house. It’s open from September 21st through October and the $13 admission covers both attractions.

Terrified Forest – Clarkston

Ghosts and ghouls have been terrorizing guests for over twenty years at Terrified Forest in Clarkston. This family-owned attraction takes you through a haunted forest. It is  nearly a mile long as well as a two story haunted manor.

The Haunted Forest at Adventure Park – West Bloomfield

Families with small children or those who want a more friendlier, less scary time check out the haunted forest at West Bloomfield Adventure Park. Friendly characters escort you along the way.  At the end there’s a pumpkin hunt where you can take your own pumpkin home. For teens and adults there is the scarier Terror Trail.

A Terror in Townsend Forest – Clarkston

This family friendly attraction features a half mile walk of terror through a haunted forest and archery range.  This is put on by the Oakland County Sportsman’s Club.

haunted manor

Scarefest Scream Park – Lennox Township

Voted top haunt in Detroit, Scarefest Scream Park boasts five unique attractions from the traditional hayride and forest to a haunted castle. They also feature haunted camping for adults. Only for the bravest of the brave. Expect to be terrorized and chased through the forest for 13 hours.

Rotten Manor – Holly

Featuring the largest custom built haunted house in Michigan, Rotten Manor is a highly-detailed one of a kind attraction that changes annually. Last year they added the Rotten Forest/Asylum. This is a mix of indoor/outdoor scares. Both attractions take about 35-45 minutes.

If your yard looks like you could open a haunted forest call the professionals at PPM or call us at (877) 454-8733

Tree Removal and Pruning: Why Fall is the Perfect Time for Tree Care

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colors and trees are getting ready to go dormant for the winter. After a full season of growing your trees may look a little unruly and need a trim. It’s also a time when disease-bearing insects go into hibernation or die, making it the ideal time to think about tree removal.

Pruning

fall tree removal pruning is a great way to get your tree ready for fall

Pruning not only helps your trees look aesthetically pleasing, it also keeps the tree growing healthy. Low hanging, unnecessary branches draws water and nutrients away from the rest of the tree. Cutting these branches off in the fall, when the tree’s growing cycle has stopped, will redirect the nutrients to the rest of the tree and bolster its growth in the spring.

What To Use

Low hanging and small reachable limbs can be cut with pruning shears, clippers, or hand saws. Don’t worry about protecting the fresh cuts unless the species is susceptible to disease. Large, out of reach limbs or entire tree removal should be done by a professional.

Signs That It’s Time to Remove That Tree

Fall is upon us and by now the leaves on your trees are beginning to change colors and fall. If you have any sick trees in your lawn then fall is a great time to identify them and have them removed before winter comes. Here are a few diseases to watch out for:

Dutch Elm Disease

Carried by bark beetles, this invasive disease was first reported in the U.S. in 1928. By 1950 it had spread to Detroit and it’s suburbs, devastating the lofty elms that shaded most streets at the time. Despite a large-scale spraying campaign the disease spread through Michigan, decimating the elm population through the 70s. Since then the disease has come back several times and still affects the small number of elms remaining. An infected tree’s leaves will begin to turn yellow and drop off in summer months.

Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt is a disease caused by fungus carrying beetles. The disease most likely originated in Latin America, carried to the US by beetles that feed on the sap of oak trees. Confirmed in 56 counties in Michigan, this disease affects all species of oak but kills red oaks much faster than white oaks. You will start to see the leaves turn brown on the tips and work its way down. Eventually, the tree will lose its leaves and die within months. The Michigan DNR recommends not pruning your oaks from April through the end of summer because this is when the tree is most vulnerable.

Needle Blight

Have you noticed your pine trees turning brown, losing needles, or its needles looking abnormally thin? Then you might have needle blight. The fungus mycosphaerella pini causes needle blight and affects over sixty species of pine. The fungus spreads to other branches and trees by rain dripping through infected branches or by physical touch. If you see your pines exhibiting signs of needle blight then prune the infected branches and clean up any needles under the tree, ideally in the fall,  and move them to a safe location where the spores cannot infect other trees.

Take Action

tree removal pruning

After you’ve determined that your tree is infected and dying it is imperative to have that tree safely removed and the wood properly destroyed. Check with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about transporting infected wood. In some cases, as with infected Elm trees, it is illegal to transport.

Get Professional Tree Removal Help

If you need a tree removed or pruned don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact us about our professional tree removal and pruning services at PPM or call us at, (877) 454-8733.

Fall Prep: Five Steps To Get Your Trees Ready For Winter

Here in Michigan, every changing season means shifting our lawn care and maintenance approach. This is especially vital with the trees and ornamental landscapes on our properties. The cooler autumn weather provides the perfect environment to repair any damage our trees incurred over the summer. Fall tree care is important to keep your trees healthy for the tough months ahead.

fall lawn care happy fall tree

 

Fall is a great time for us to get our large plants ready for the long Michigan winter before it arrives. High heat and drought conditions have wreaked havoc on our trees. This, coupled with bug infestations and weeds, may have weakened our tree’s and shrub’s immune systems.  Fall tree care is critical to get our ornamental plantings healthy and prepared to fight off the disease and insects that can attack throughout our coldest weather months.

 

As locals, we know firsthand just how tough our regional winter can be, even before the snow starts flying. Following these few critical fall tree care steps can strengthen your trees, so they are ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us this winter:

Mulch

Many people use mulch in the springtime to enhance the look of their decorative landscapes. However, organic mulch can also offer a multitude of benefits in the winter as well. Spread mulch around your trees and shrubs in the fall to help retain water and moderate extreme temperature swings. The mulch can also insulate the tree base to protect roots in harsh weather conditions.

Hydrate

fall lawn care water your plants

You may be surprised to learn that winter droughts are almost as tough on our trees and shrubs as our summer droughts. Occasionally watering your plants (when the soil is not frozen) in the winter can keep them thriving throughout the season.

Wrap The Base

Young trees can easily fall victim to a multitude of threats during the winter. Wrapping the base of these maturing plants can help protect them during the dormant season. Note: it’s important to remember to remove the wrap when spring arrives to ensure the plants are ready to grow again with the warmer weather.

fall lawn care pruning

Prune

The summer season can cause excessive growth that, if left unattended, can cause breakage or even damage our nearby plants. Fall provides an ideal opportunity to prune back overgrowth. This will relieve any unnecessary stress on the trees and stimulate future healthy growth.

Plant Now

Yes, really. Many home and business owners focus all of their planting efforts in the springtime. However, the cooler autumn air and growing conditions are ideal for promoting root growth in newly planted shrubs and trees.

Are Your Trees Ready For The Michigan Winter?

At PPM, we specialize in a full suite of maintenance solutions to keep your trees and shrubs thriving all year. Our onsite certified arborist creates innovative strategies that fortify your ornamental landscapes, keeping them healthy during the dormant seasons and ready to flourish in spring in summer. Contact us today to hear more!

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