The United States Department of Agriculture has declared May 18-24 Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness. The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills North American species of true ash within three to five years infestation.
With camping season starting soon, most importantly, buy firewood from a local distributor and burn it where you buy it: don’t move firewood! Don’t move wood long distances because you could be accidentally spreading pests.
Everyone (citizens, landowners, municipalities…and you!) are encouraged to learn more about emerald ash borer. Know what to look for: Emerald Ash Borer are devastating invasive pests.
Anyone can contribute to stopping the spread of EAB in our state. Check your trees. BTSE encourages everyone to take a few minutes to check trees in their yard – or in nearby parks or forests – and to report any suspicious tree damage.
Barrett Tree Service East contributing $1,575 in volunteer arborist hours and resources to address safety and tree health and enhance public enjoyment of Whittemore Park.
The Town of Arlington celebrated Arbor Day on Friday, April 27, 2017 at multiple locations around town. Coordinated by Arlington’s Tree Warden, Tim Lecuivre, MCA, Arbor Day events occurred at Whittemore Park, the Thompson Elementary School, and in East Arlington.
Barrett Tree Service East, Inc. participated in the Massachusetts Arborists Association Arbor Day of Service by contributing $1,575 in volunteer arborist hours and resources to address safety and tree health and enhance public enjoyment of Whittemore Park. Improving the tree health benefits the Dallin Museum, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and Cutter Gallery all located at the recently-revitalized Jefferson Cutter House at Whittemore Park. Volunteer arborists pruned trees that were a hazard to the house.
At the Thompson Elementary School, Elks Lodge members and 3rd grade students volunteered their time to plant three dogwood trees, after removing three dead trees. Members of the Forestry Department gave presentations to students on proper tree planting techniques. The Benevolent Protection Order of Elks Arlington Lodge #1435 provided a $2,000 grant that allowed for the purchase of trees, materials, and tools. The age-appropriate tools will be used for future events.
The Town of Arlington celebrated Arbor Day on Friday, April 27, 2017 at multiple locations around town.
Arlington’s Tree Committee partnered with New England Nurseries to deliver 25 Dogwood trees to homes throughout East Arlington as part of their Tree Canopy program. This effort was funded in part with a bequest made to the town by the estate of John MacEachern and in coming months will be expanded to other portions of town.
National Arbor Day is generally celebrated on the last Friday in April. Like many Massachusetts communities, Arlington celebrates Arbor Day by working with volunteers to plant or otherwise care for its trees. For more information about trees in Arlington, please visit arlingtonma.gov/trees.
Arbor Day 2017 at the Sommerville Community Growing Center with BTSE.
Somerville is celebrating TREES in a big and glorious way! The newly hired City Arborist, Vanessa Boukili, Phd., is growing the Urban Forestry Program with gusto. In her six months here, Somerville’s “Doctor of Trees” has streamlined the City’s tree data, facilitated training with the Department of Public Works staff, and taken over the Emerald Ash Borer Prevention Program. This week she has been busy tagging the 70 trees that will be planted in Somerville this spring. Vanessa has also helped organize two wonderful Arbor Day community events to exalt the urban forest that does so much for us city folk!
On Saturday April 22nd, an Arbor Day celebration took place at Quincy Street Park. The Tiny Great Outdoors Festival gathered people in sunshine to talk about trees, art and climate change, meet their neighbors and plant a new Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) in the park.
Vertical or longitudinal cracks run with the wood grain along the length of the tree and may appear as shear or ribbed cracks (K. Bernard).
Tree failure can cause significant property damage and personal injury, especially during stormy weather and high winds. Even seemingly healthy looking trees can be uprooted or sustain broken limbs through wind, rain and snow. Although storms can damage trees, a cracked or decayed tree can fail under its own weight, regardless of weather conditions.
Trees are genetically designed to withstand forces experienced in storms, but all trees will eventually fail – and defective trees fail sooner than healthy trees.
To a professional arborist, certain structural defects are indicators that a tree has an increased potential to fail.
Cracks in tree trunks or other limbs are one indicator of an unstable and potentially hazardous tree. Cracks can be formed from a variety of factors such as poor closure of wounds or by the weak connections of branch unions. These types of defects vary in severity and can be found in branches, stems or roots.
Horizontal or transverse cracks run across the grain of the wood and often develop just before tree failure, making them very difficult to detect. Vertical or longitudinal cracks run with the wood grain along the length of the tree and may appear as shear or ribbed cracks.
Shear cracks can run completely through the stem and separate it into two distinct halves (arbtalk.co.uk).
Shear cracks can run completely through the stem and separate it into two distinct halves. As the tree bends and sways in the wind, one half of the stem slides over the other, elongating the crack. Eventually the crack enlarges causing the two halves of the stem to shear apart.
Cracks in any portion of a tree increase the risk of failure and when combined with other structural defects or site factors, create extremely hazardous situations.
If you have concerns about a hazard potential with any of your trees, contact your Certified Arborist at Barrett Tree Service East to schedule a time to discuss your concerns and management strategies to reduce potentially hazardous situations on your property.
Gypsy moth larvae have red and blue spots and consume deciduous foliage until early July (bugwood.org).
Over the past few years, the gypsy moth population in Massachusetts has steadily increased. The summer of 2016 produced record numbers of these invasive leaf eating pests, defoliating over 100,000 acres across the state.
Since the devastating regional outbreaks of the 1980s, a soil-born fungus has helped keep gypsy moth populations managed naturally. However, the extended dry weather and drought conditions throughout 2016 interfered with the prevalence of these beneficial fungi, causing caterpillar populations to skyrocket.
If the 2017 spring weather continues to be drier than normal, state environmental officials predict continued widespread gypsy moth caterpillar damage. However, if there is a moderately wet spring season, a sufficient amount of fungal spores may be produced to again provide a natural control of gypsy moth caterpillars.
Gypsy moth overwinters in tan-colored, irregular shaped egg masses laid on the trunks of trees and contain 50 to 1500 individual eggs (K. Bernard).
Gypsy moths overwinter in tan-colored egg masses laid on the trunks of trees and begin hatching in early May. Larvae grow and consume foliage until early July, then pupate. The adult moths emerge in late July or early August, mate and lay eggs which lie dormant until the following spring, when the larvae feeding cycle begins again.
Homeowners can inspect their trees and property for egg masses in the fall or winter.
While most trees are tolerant of some partial defoliation, multiple years of defoliation, combined with other stress like drought, can lead to tree mortality. Gypsy moth outbreaks are especially prevalent in areas dominated by oaks, a common tree in eastern and southern Massachusetts.
Protecting ornamental and shade trees in gypsy moth infested areas is important. State forest health specialists are advising homeowners to work with Certified Arborists and licensed applicators to manage defoliation damage on valued landscape trees.
Gypsy moth outbreaks are especially prevalent in areas dominated by oaks, a common tree in eastern and southern Massachusetts (UMass).
We continue to monitor the situation in Greater Boston. While outbreaks in our area have not been rampant, be aware of the potential and plan to prevent unnecessary damage to your important trees. We recommend targeted control treatments in areas with past gypsy moth defoliation or confirmed insect presence.
If you have seen evidence of gypsy moths, caterpillars, eggs or your trees have experienced past defoliation, contact your Certified Arborist at BTSE to discuss management strategies to protect your property.
The severity of winter damage is determined by a number of factors, including the species and conditions under which the plant is grown and the timing of weather extremes. Contrary to popular belief, plant damage is not generally caused by an unusually cold winter. Low temperature injury is more often associated with extreme temperature fluctuation than with prolonged cold weather.
TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATION Plants that are dormant but not fully acclimated can be stressed or injured by a sudden, hard freeze. Rapid or extensive drops in temperature following mild autumn weather cause injury to woody plants. Extended periods of mild winter weather can de-acclimate plants, again making them vulnerable to injury from rapid temperature drops.
LOW TEMPERATURES Some species or cultivars are injured if temperatures fall below a minimum tolerance level. Plants most likely to suffer winter injury are those that are marginally hardy for the area or already weakened by previous stress. In general, low temperatures are much less damaging than rapid and extensive variations in temperature.
FROST CRACKS Frost cracks, sometimes called radial shakes, appear as shallow to deep longitudinal cracks in the trunk of trees. They are most evident in winter at temperatures below 15°F. Frost cracks often occur on the south or southwest sides of trees because this area experiences the greatest temperature fluctuations. A sudden drop in temperature causes the outer layer of wood to contract more rapidly than the inner layer, which results in a long vertical crack at weak points in the trunk.
SUNSCALD Sunscald often develops on the south or southwest side of trees following a sudden exposure to direct sun. In winter, the temperatures on the sun-side of the trunk may exceed air temperatures by as much as 20°F. This is thought to trigger de-acclimation of trunk tissue. Sometimes only the outermost cambium layer is damaged and a sunken area appears on the trunk. Affected trees often have sparse foliage, stem dieback, and stunted growth.
WINTERBURN A browning or scorched leaf tip on evergreen foliage is a form of winter injury. Browning usually occurs from the needle tips downward. Winterburn is usually attributed to desiccation or loss of water through leaf transpiration. Winter sun and winds dry needles. Water in the stems and roots is frozen and unavailable to replenish the loss. Applying antidesiccants, helps reduce transpiration and minimizes damage to the foliage.
ROOT DAMAGE Root tissues apparently do not acclimate to temperatures much below freezing and can be killed or severely injured by soil temperature below 15°F. This is especially true for shallow rooted plants. The presence of mulch, leaf litter or snow cover can insulate most soils sufficiently to prevent soil temperatures from falling much below freezing. Plants with frozen roots may wilt and decline after growth resumes in the spring.
BREAKAGE Heavy snow and ice storms cause damage by bending and breaking branches. Improper removal of ice or snow from the tree or shrub might increase damage. Removing ice encased on branches can cause additional damage and should not be attempted. Instead, allow ice to melt off naturally. Properly pruned trees are typically less prone to storm damage.
SALT DAMAGE Salts used for deicing pavements can cause damage to trees and shrubs. Symptoms of salt damage appear in spring and early summer and include browning of evergreens, leaf scorch, branch die back, and dead areas in turf. Branches and twigs can be killed from aerial deposits, and roots can be damaged from salt remaining in the soil. Salt will leach through well-drained soils, but damage can be extensive in poorly drained soils.
While ticks are active all year long, fall is often a time we see numbers of ticks surge, so be on the lookout. Ticks are arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks) and dog ticks are found throughout Massachusetts and may spread different disease-causing germs when they bite you.
Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis are common tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts. You can take precautions to avoid tick-borne illness, including, checking yourself, children, and pets once a day for ticks when you come inside, using insect repellent, wearing light-colored clothing, and avoiding brushy areas. Find out more about ticks and tick-borne diseases here.
If you are bitten by a tick, you can submit the tick to the UMass Laboratory for Medical Zoology for testing. For information on tick testing, click here.
A typical round exit hole of the adult Asian Longhorned Beetle (extension.umass.edu).
Have you checked your trees for signs of invasive pests? Insects like the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer threaten trees across Massachusetts. We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to check trees in their yard – or in nearby parks or forests – and to report any suspicious tree damage. Learn how to recognize the signs of Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) and Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) damage, and report possible sightings.
Adult Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) shown on maple, chewing an egg site (aphis.usda.gov).
The most easily recognizable ALB tree damage is the perfectly round exit hole (a bit smaller than a dime) that the adult beetle makes when it bores out of the tree. Female beetles make small divots in the bark of the tree when they lay eggs. Keep an eye out for “frass,” a sawdust-like material excreted by larvae and adults as they chew their way through the wood. The common host trees for ALB are maple, elm, willow, birch, and horse chestnut, ash, poplar and several other hardwood trees. ALB does not attack oak, fruit trees or softwoods (conifers like pine, fir and spruce).
EAB causes upper dieback and trunk sprouting (bugwood.org).
Another foe of trees that threaten Massachusetts trees is the Emerald Ash Borer. EAB only attacks ash trees, which are commonly planted as street trees or shade trees. The first confirmed find of EAB in Massachusetts was in August 2012, and as of July 2016, have recently been confirmed as far east as Newton. EAB cannot be eradicated and is expected to spread much further and faster than ALB, potentially leaving thousands of dead ash trees in its wake. Through early detection, we hope to slow the spread of this pest.
The emerald ash borer is smaller than a nickel (forestryimages.org).
The damage caused by EAB can kill an ash tree in just a few years. Rather than boring into the heartwood of the tree like ALB, EAB larvae tunnel directly under the bark, creating S-shaped galleries that quickly cut off a tree’s nutrient and water supply. When an EAB reaches adulthood and bores its way out of the tree, leaving a small D-shaped exit hole about 1/4” in diameter. Other signs of EAB include loss of foliage of the upper third of the tree’s canopy, increased woodpecker activity, and the presence of small branches that emerge in shrub-like bunches below the dead parts of the tree.
Anyone can contribute to stopping the spread of ALB and EAB in our state. Check your trees. Here are a few easy helpful things you can do:
Take ten minutes and survey your own property for signs of both beetles.
Organize a talk and/or survey for a local group or organization in your area.
Buy firewood only where you intend to burn it, and chip wood onsite following yard work or storm cleanup. Don’t move wood long distances because you could be accidentally spreading pests.
Invite friends and family to go on a tree check walk to look for signs of infestation.
Because the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) are active this time of year, it can be easier to spot it or the signs of these beetles. Take a 10-minute walk around your yard or neighborhood and inspect your trees. If you see any signs, report them here.
Don’t take firewood with you on your camping trip, RV adventure, or up to your hunting camp. Don’t bring firewood back from your second home to your place in the suburbs. Don’t bring it with you on your scout’s camping trip. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it.
Tree-killing insects and diseases can lurk in firewood. These insects and diseases can’t move far on their own, but when people move firewood they can jump hundreds of miles. New infestations destroy our forests, property values, and cost huge sums of money to control.
When we say local firewood, we are referring to the closest convenient source of wood that you can find. That might be from down the street, or a state forest in your county. As a very general rule of thumb, 50 miles is too far, and 10 miles or less is best. Visit our State-by-state map to help you figure out how far is too far in your area. In many states there are rules, regulations, and quarantines that clearly state how far is too far. Always acquaint yourself with local rules and regulations when transporting wood from one jursdiction to another.
Even taking a walk down a tree-lined street in an urban area could prove beneficial to your mental wellbeing.
Many have felt that trees and nature can be a useful tool in helping reduce psychological stress associated with our busy lives. While nature is often cited for its positive, mood-altering properties, recent research has helped to quantify what those who enjoy trees and natural areas have long known.
A new study by researchers at University of Illinois reports viewing trees helps people become less stressed – and the effect increases the more trees are visible. The research subjected a large group of volunteers to mildly stressful scenarios. After undertaking stress-inducing activities, the volunteers used Virtual Realty headsets to view a selection of six-minute 360-degree videos featuring urban areas with variable amounts of visible tree canopy coverage.
The participants’ levels of stress were measured and the results revealed a positive, linear association between the density of trees and recovery from stress recovery. According to the researchers, these findings suggest that viewing tree canopy can significantly aid stress recovery and, interestingly enough, that every tree matters. In other words, the denser the forest, the lower the stress, which suggests that even taking a walk down a tree-lined street in an urban area could prove beneficial to your mental wellbeing.
The study is only the latest in a body of research that has demonstrated the positive psychological benefits of trees and spending time outside in natural environments.
Another study at Glasgow University in 2012 found that any activity in tree-lined areas, from a stroll in the park to a run through woodland, can have a positive effect on people suffering from depression and anxiety. The study also reported that the positive effect on people’s mental health was 50 percent greater than they might expect from a workout at the gym.
Viewing tree canopy can significantly reduce recovery and, interestingly enough, the denser the forest, the lower the stress.
The Glasgow research looked at natural and non-natural environments for physical activity, including walking, running and cycling, and found that being around trees and grass lowered brain stress levels. The study involved nearly 2000 physically active participants. Only activities carried out in a natural environment outdoors were found to be associated with a lower risk of poor mental health.
As arborists who work with trees every day, we are not surprised to learn about yet another benefit trees provide…that the human brain reacts positively to being in a tree-filled environment. So if you’re looking for a simple way to reduce the amount of stress in your life, something as simple as taking a walk down a tree-lined street, or taking a moment to enjoy a tree during your busy day, has the power to significantly decrease your stress.