COVID-19 UPDATE: Arborwell is Open and Performing Essential Tree Care Services at this time

Arborwell is Open for Essential Tree Services

COVID-19 UPDATE: Arborwell is Open and Performing Essential Tree Care Services at this time

Arborwell is Open for Essential Tree Services

Jerry White

certified arborist

The Role of an Arborist for Commercial Landscaping

There are many facets to caring for the grounds of your commercial property. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with these tasks, from regular maintenance like pruning and irrigation to soil health, and pest and disease control. These areas are where the skills of our San Diego certified arborists shine. What role can an arborist take in caring for your commercial landscaping?

Site Evaluation

Our arborists can evaluate your grounds, compiling an arborist report based on current or planned uses for your property, gathering essential data on:

  • Tree species and condition
    By identifying the type, location, number, and condition of trees on your property, our arborists can recommend a specialized care plan to support each species’ health and lifespan.

  • Microclimate
    Identifying the unique climate of your property, and how it differs from the surrounding area, can help you address tree health issues and select the best plant species for your grounds. 

  • Types of soils on your property
    Our team has a thorough understanding of local soil types and how they impact tree health, irrigation, and fertilization needs.

  • Watering and irrigation
    Our San Francisco Peninsula experts know you can save water, manage drought, and improve the health of your trees with proper irrigation.

  • Fertilizer use
    Our knowledgeable arborists can identify fertilizers you’ve used in the past, how they’ve affected your soil, and the need for additional soil amendments.

  • Pests and diseases
    With an expert eye, an arborist can quickly detect ailing trees, recommending proper treatment options.

Learn more about our San Francisco, Oakland, and East Bay area services.

Landscaping Design

Once we’ve gathered essential information on your commercial site, we will enhance your landscape design. Our experienced arborists can help you select and plant trees ideally suited to thrive in the environment on your property. We have a thorough knowledge of tree species, providing you with a variety of noninvasive, native, drought-tolerant options. We can find solutions to enhance privacy, provide shade to reduce cooling costs, serve as a windbreak to reduce heating costs, improve air quality, control erosion on your San Jose area property, and more.

Planning for Long Term Plant Health

With proper care and maintenance, your trees will remain healthy, valuable assets within your landscape. After addressing the immediate needs of your plants, the knowledgeable arborists at our Seattle office will devise a long-term strategy to support the future health and longevity of your trees. Like the healthcare of people, vibrant, flourishing landscapes are the result of small, consistent investments in preventive care, directed by a professional arborist. 

Tree Safety and Maintenance

A skilled arborist can quickly identify the safety and maintenance needs of trees on your Sacramento property. Our knowledgeable arborists can help you control property liability ensuring adequate clearance surrounding trees for pedestrians, vehicles, and utilities. We perform regular trimming and pruning to remove damaged, diseased, or dead branches, clean up messy fruit that can pose trip hazards, and identify other potential risks before damage or injury can occur.

Meticulous Care, Unparalleled Services

Our professional arborists are renowned for their technical expertise, attention to detail, and superior customer service skills. We excel in providing tree care solutions that enhance the community while supporting and protecting the environment. Let us help you transform your west coast commercial or residential property, adding value and appeal with beautiful, healthy well-groomed trees.

Proper care of trees is an investment that generates considerable returns. Learn more about the complementary role an arborist can play in your commercial landscaping care program. Schedule a tree assessment, or contact your local San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, or Seattle Arborwell office to learn more today.

arborist tree care, arborists, certified arborists, isa certified

Arbor-wellness: Tipu Psyllids

The “Tipu Tree” or Rosewood is widely grown as a landscape ornamental and shade tree in southern California. They are popular because they are drought and frost tolerant, are thornless, and have attractive clusters of bright yellow flowers. About twelve years ago, an exotic pest called the Tipu psyllid was found in San Diego county and has established itself throughout the region, causing damage every year by feeding on the leaves and dripping honeydew on the ground and objects below the trees.

Trees infected with the Tipu Psyllid often lose their leaves prematurely.
Both the larval nymphs and the adults feed on the young leaves and branches of Tipu trees. When present in large numbers, the leaves will curl and drop off. Both produce the honeydew (the sticky sap underneath the trees). When honeydew is present on the tree, a black sooty mold will also tend to grow and becomes one of the more obvious signs of the insect’s presence.

In South America, where the Tipu psyllid is native, there are insect predators that help to keep Tipu psyllid in check. Unfortunately, none of the insect good guys are established in Southern California. So, treatments are generally warranted when the insect has established itself in the area.
It is best to proactively treat Tipu trees during the winter or early spring to prevent these insects from establishing, but there are measures that can be taken during the spring and summer if an infestation is discovered.

Your Arborwell arborist can provide a program to identify and if needed treat your Tipu trees. Fill out the form below to contact us and set up an inspection!

psyllids, southern california, tipu

tree care

Proper Watering of Bay Area Landscaping Trees

Droughts are a frequent occurrence in the Bay Area, making care for your landscaping trees a challenge. Your trees provide many benefits, delivering cool shade, improving air quality, controlling water runoff and erosion, and increasing your property value. To safeguard their health and prevent drought conditions from making them vulnerable to pests and diseases, ensuring your trees have the water they need to survive this stressful time is essential.

Large Trees Need Deep Watering At Least 1-2 Times Per Month

Any tree species accustomed to regular watering can experience stress in drought conditions. Water-loving birches, redwoods, and maples are especially at risk. During a drought, you can transition mature trees that have been surrounded by a generous layer of mulch to a regimen of deep water irrigation 1-2 times per month. However, we recommend closely monitoring your trees. When temperatures reach or surpass 95 F, more frequent watering may be necessary.

Tips for Watering Bay Area Landscaping Trees

  • Look to age and species to determine frequency
    Our ISA certified arborists  can help you determine the best watering schedule for your trees. Young, newly planted trees require more water than established trees, up to 4 times per week in the summer. Native trees, such as California oaks, need far less water than non-native species, requiring only one or two deep soaks over the summer season.
  • Install irrigation carefully to avoid trunk rot
    Concentrating water at the base of a tree can cause trunk rot. To avoid this and get better root coverage, run your drip line in a spiral from the outer edges of the tree canopy, spiraling toward the trunk. Use a soaker hose or low-flow stream rotator heads, avoiding the use of wasteful sprinklers/sprayers.
  • Time your watering to minimize waste
    When irrigating your commercial property or residential complex, it’s best to water in the early morning or after sunset to minimize water evaporation.
  • Water to the proper depth
    Unlike grass, which has shallow roots, your trees require a deeper soaking. After watering, check the soil beneath trees, verifying it is moist (not soggy) to at least 18 inches deep.

Boost Your Irrigation Efforts with Mulching

Integrating wood chip mulch as part of your drought protocol can be a fantastic aid to your watering efforts, keeping moisture in the soil longer, and reducing water consumption by 10-25%. Adding a thick, 4-6 inch layer around your trees also protects roots from any extremes of cold and heat, as well as reducing the prevalence of weeds and grass that compete for water and nutrients.

Uphold the beauty and value of your property with the proper watering of your Bay Area landscaping trees. Contact Arborwell Professional Tree Management at 888-969-8733 to request an arborist consultation on your San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Livermore, or Palo Alto property today.

irrigation, mulching, tree health, water

Fire Blight

Common Tree Diseases in California Cities

Do your usual tree management tactics seem to be falling short? The California climate, temperature extremes, and pollution can certainly do a number on landscaping, impacting tree health. However, the Arborwell team knows that disease may also be to blame. How can you distinguish environmental stress from illness? Check the trees on your California property regularly, watching for signs of these common tree diseases.

Anthracnose

Anthracnose is a fungus that affects a variety of plants and trees. It thrives in warm, moist conditions and multiplies very quickly during rainy spells, spreading through infected plant debris. Our plant health care experts identify it by the dark, sunken lesions it produces on affected flowers, fruits, leaves, and stems, which begin as small, irregular yellow-brown spots that darken and spread. Fortunately, with proper tree care from our knowledgeable arborists, anthracnose is not lethal.

Fire Blight

The Arborwell team frequently encounters this bacterial disease in the early spring. Though it doesn’t affect a wide variety of tree types, it is incredibly contagious and can cause significant damage very quickly. Fire blight attacks all parts of the tree, including blossoms, leaves, and branches, giving them a dark brown or black scorched appearance. It spreads through many vectors, including wind, rain, insects, and birds, and is frequently seen on California’s apple and pear trees. Left unchecked, it can kill a tree, necessitating removal and replacement.

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is another widespread fungus we frequently see throughout the state. It is known for attacking food crops such as tomatoes and bananas and is one of many diseases affecting California palm trees. Fusarium oxysporum can live indefinitely in the soil without access to a living host and spreads easily, making it difficult to eradicate. The infection begins in the roots, interfering with water transport, causing lower (older) leaves to wilt and yellow. The disease then progresses to new growth until the plant eventually dies.

The Role of Pests and Disease

Experienced arborists know that weak and diseased plants are naturally more susceptible to pests. Infestations can quickly go from being an unsightly nuisance to a major problem, claiming the life of the trees on your commercial property. Watch out for these common offenders on sick or diseased trees:

  • Royal palm bugs
    These tiny, oval, yellowish bugs feed only on the freshly opened leaves of royal palms. Though they can make your palms weak and unattractive, if addressed quickly, we can save your trees.
  • Cabbage palm caterpillar
    Cabbage palm caterpillars feed on palm flowers, weakening the tree. Their reddish-brown larva also stains the tree, leaving behind an ugly mess. 
  • Palmetto weevils
    If young leaves on your palm trees are wilting and quickly dying, you may have palmetto weevils. If you don’t eradicate them fast, these black or red-winged pests can quickly kill your trees.
  • Gold spotted oak borers
    These tiny, invasive beetles kill oak trees and are fundamentally changing the landscape in the region.
  • Oak worms
    Oak worms feed on oak leaves, quickly consuming lush canopies to leave behind a scruffy, leafless tree. Caterpillars fall off trees en masse in May, littering patios, cars, and people.

Identify and manage common tree diseases in California cities with the help of Arborwell Professional Tree Management. Fill out our online form to schedule an arborist assessment for your ailing trees, or contact us at 888-969-8733 today.

Anthracnose, Fire Blight, fusarium wilt, tree health, tree management

pruning

Mature Tree Pruning

Mature Tree Pruning: Essentials for Proper Care

Mature landscape trees require meticulous care to remain healthy, structurally sound, and beautiful. Unfortunately, many well-meaning property owners unknowingly damage established trees, shortening their lifespan with improper  tree pruning techniques. Older trees have unique needs. To ensure the optimal health of large trees and maintain the aesthetics and value of your commercial property, it is crucial to learn these mature tree pruning essentials.

Proper Pruning Requires Arborist Expertise

Our arborists perform tree pruning with a thorough understanding of tree biology. We know that each cut impacts and potentially changes the growth of a tree, so no branch should be removed without good reason. Because trees store sugar within their dense crown of leaves, we are also cautious of over-trimming that could rob a tree of nutrient reserves, causing significant stress.

Reasons to Prune Your Landscape Trees

Routine thinning does not necessarily improve tree health. Instead, landscape managers should trim trees to correct existing problems or prevent issues from occurring. When should you prune your large trees?

  • Aesthetics
    Trimming can improve the form and enhance the beauty of your trees.
  • Cleaning
    Removing dead, diseased, or weakly attached branches reduces cleanup on your property and prevents potential damage and injury.
  • Thinning
    Thinning branches can increase the ability of light and air to filter through the tree canopy to the ground below.
  • Clearance
    If your trees do not leave adequate, safe clearance around landscape features such as buildings, walkways, roadways, and electric lines, it is beneficial to trim them.

When to Prune

It is safe to prune the trees on your Sacramento, Peninsula/Los Altos, Palo Alto, Burlingame, Hillsborough, or Redwood City property at any time of the year. However, our certified arborists know that trees heal better following pruning procedures performed before the spring growth flush. We avoid the heavy pruning of trees after this growth because your trees have spent a great deal of energy producing it, and heavy pruning at this time can cause significant stress, particularly in weak trees.

Our knowledgeable team understands that mature trees do not tolerate heavy trimming as well as younger trees, taking care to remove no more than 25% of the crown, or less, depending on age. When making cuts, we are mindful of making clean cuts without damaging bark, while protecting the branch collar, and subsequently, trunk tissue, upholding the tree’s ability to heal and thrive.

When trimming diseased trees, such as those with oak wilt, we know it is best to use caution. Our arborists avoid pruning during active transmission periods when the disease spreads more easily.

Avoiding Tree Pruning Dangers

Pruning large, mature trees is not a do it yourself job. It usually requires working from tall heights using power equipment. Our licensed, insured arborists have the skills necessary to manage these physically demanding tasks safely. We believe safety is no accident, using the necessary protective equipment, proper tools, and techniques to eliminate hazards on-site.

Protect your trees with skillful mature tree pruning services from Arborwell Professional Tree Management. Contact us at 888-969-8733, or request an arborist consultation using our online form today.

tree care, tree health, tree landscaping, tree pruning

tree wellness

The Value of Trees in an Urban Environment

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban towns and cities. Due to socio-economic factors, this number is only expected to increase. In most situations, the rapid expansion of cities takes place with little if any planning, leading to disastrous consequences for nearby forests and green areas, increasing pollution, and decreasing the availability of food and other natural resources.

With tree planning and management, trees can reduce these adverse effects, even with the amplification of these issues from climate change. In fact, the value of trees and green spaces in the urban environment is so great that many areas are beginning to look at ways to increase their tree count. Just what makes urban trees and plant life so valuable?

The Environmental Benefits of Trees

Trees absorb carbon, fighting climate change
Mature trees can absorb hundreds of pounds of CO2 annually. Trees sequester and store atmospheric CO2, using it during photosynthesis to produce sugars for energy, and releasing oxygen as a by-product.   

Trees filter pollutants from the air
Trees clean the air, absorbing dangerous contaminants like carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides and filter out fine particulates like smoke, dust, and dirt.

Trees cool the air, decreasing the “heat island” effect
Strategically placed trees can reduce the “heat island” effect, cooling the surrounding air between 4 – 15 degrees F. This helps people feel more comfortable, reducing AC use and energy consumption, and offering energy savings of up to 30%. They also insulate against wind, reducing heating bills by 20-50%.

Trees and greenery regulate water flow
Healthy trees and greenery can help control water flow, thwarting runoff, and preventing flooding. One mature evergreen can intercept more than 4,000 gallons of water annually.

Trees increase biodiversity
Planting and caring for native trees and plants increases urban biodiversity, offering a safe habitat for plants and animals.

The Socioeconomic Benefits of Trees

Trees provide a healthier environment
Trees improve air quality, producing oxygen and filtering pollutants and particulates from the air, helping reduce the incidence of disease and supporting the health of urban populations.

Trees can contribute to food security
The fruits and nuts from trees can provide food for humans and animals or composted and used to improve the quality of the soil.

Access to green spaces improves mental health
Multiple studies show proximity to green spaces is strongly associated with improved physical and mental health, decreasing high blood pressure and stress, and contributing to a more pleasant neighborhood environment. 

Trees can boost property value
Planning to include trees in the design of your San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, or Seattle urban property can increase its value by up to 20%, attracting residents, tourists, and businesses.

Enhance the value of trees in your urban environment. Safeguard the health of your trees for future generations with proper care, or learn more about ways to increase your green space with the help of Arborwell Professional Tree Management. Contact us at 888-969-8733 today.

root care, tree health care, tree trimming, urban forest

palms.corporate1opt 470

Types of Palm Tree Pests in San Diego

There is no shortage of palm trees in San Diego. Sadly, there’s also no shortage of palm tree pests. In recent years, invasive, non-native insects have taken on a toll on these icons of the West Coast, making it challenging to keep your palm trees looking their best. Which types of palm tree pests do our San Diego arborists find causing the most damage to area landscapes?

Red Palm Weevil

red palm weevil

The Arborwell team frequently encounters red palm weevils when compiling arborist reports. One of the biggest threats to area palms, these giant 1.5-inch red-brown insects feed on over 40 different palm species. They have caused millions in economic losses globally.

A delicacy elsewhere in the world, these pests are believed to have been introduced when they were brought into the U.S. for food. However, red palm weevils can fly about a half a mile per day, and they quickly spread through the region by flight and through palm tree sales. Difficult to detect, no one identified the escapees until landscapers noticed area palms slowly dying, the trees looking brown and droopy.

Red palm weevils are tunneling insects with a long, slender snout, which the female uses to penetrate the bark of palms to deposit her eggs. Once hatched, the larvae burrow deep into the tree, consuming it from the inside out, and leaving behind a foul-smelling mush-like substance. Because damage begins high in the tree, where new frond growth emerges, the sound of the gnawing insects often goes unnoticed until tree wellness suffers.

Our arborists are familiar with the signs of red palm weevil infestation, which we often encounter during routine trimming. Our trained professionals know to watch for signs of red palm weevils, including larval tunnels and feces within leaf bases in the tree canopy. We can help you quickly quarantine and rid your grounds of these invasive pests using traps and trunk injection treatments.

Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer

arborist services palm tree

Unlike the massive red palm weevil, polyphagous shot hole borers are small; only the size of a sesame seed! Though tiny, these beetles have decimated hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California, including healthy palm trees. Polyphagous beetles were discovered in the late winter of 2012, infecting several backyard avocado trees in Los Angeles, and have since spread to surrounding areas.

The pests were possibly introduced via shipments from Southeast Asia, though their specific origin remains unknown. The pest cannot fly but can hitchhikes in landscaping equipment, tree waste, and firewood. Another outbreak occurred a year later, found to be a second species of polyphagous beetle, the result of a second introduction rather than a spread of the L.A. infestation.

Polyphagous shot hole borers attack dozens of landscape tree species, tunneling within. They carry Fusarium, a fungus causing fusarium dieback, which affects hundreds of species. Unlike red palm weevils, these wood-boring beetles do not eat tree bark. They lay eggs in certain species that serve as reproductive hosts, such as California, Fountain, Jelly, and King palms, among many others. Like tiny farmers, they also use the tunnels they excavate to grow Fusarium, their primary food source, cultivating it within infested trees.

Our arborists can quickly recognize the signs of polyphagous beetle infestation and Fusarium dieback, dubbed the shot hole borer-fusarium dieback (SHB-FD) complex. Property owners typically notice limb dieback from the fungus, which blocks the transport of water and nutrients to leaves. When we see tiny little pinholes in tree bark, with sawdust-like powder around the holes, we scrape back bark to look for the tiny beetle in its circular galleries. As ongoing trials using natural predators progress, we use tree injection treatments to exterminate the polyphagous shot hole borer, devising a customized tree care plan to protect your landscape.  

Are pests taking a bite out of your landscape? Arborwell Professional Tree Management can help you control many types of palm tree pests in San Diego. Contact us at 888-969-8733 to speak to one of our ISA certified arborists, or to schedule an examination of potentially infested trees today.

palm tree pests, palm trees, palm weevil, tree health, weevil

plant health

What Does Soil Drainage Have to Do with Plant Health Care?

Many plants suffer or die in soil that is too wet or too dry. Knowing what type of soil you have and how it affects the greenery on your commercial property can dramatically impact your chances of successfully growing healthy, beautiful foliage. Your soil varies depending on your region and even how your property is situated. For example, hillside properties almost always drain well, while bottomland can be extremely poor in drainage. There is also diversity in soil structure that influences soil drainage and plant health care needs.

How Your Soil Type Affects Your Plants and Trees

What do soil type and drainage have to do with plant health care? As with the value of commercial real estate, the key to plant health is often “location, location, location.” Soil drainage affects the availability of water and plant nutrients. Many commercial landscaping sites lack the ideal drainage conditions. Because each plant species has different nutrient and irrigation needs, understanding the soil type on your property can help you manage issues integral to plant health.

Common Soil Types

Do you know which of these common soil types you have on your Seattle or Bay Area commercial property?

  • Sand
    Sand particles are quite large, draining quickly. Because sand does not retain moisture or nutrients well, plants grown in this type of soil require more frequent watering and intensive plant nutrient management to ensure health.
  • Clay
    Clay particles are extremely fine, sticking tightly together when moist. Clay is packed with nutrients and holds water well, but drains poorly, making your plants prone to fungal issues. If water displaces air, your plant’s roots, which thrive on oxygen, can suffocate, and they may die. Because of its dense composition, it can be difficult for the roots of young plants to penetrate clay.
  • Silty soil
    Typically found along riverbeds and lakes, silt particles are between sand and clay particles in size. Silty soil is one of the most fertile soil types, because it retains nutrients and moisture well but drains more quickly than clay. 
  • Loam
    Loam is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Providing the benefits of all three types of soil, it is the ideal growing medium. Some loams possess a higher proportion of sand or clay by volume.

What Type of Soil Do You Have on Your Commercial Property?

Arborwell plant and tree health care services experts have identified these types of soil in our commercial landscape management service areas:

  • The Bay Area is fortunate to have soil made of clay with loam, including rocky clay loam in the hills and gravelly loam in the valley.
  • Seattle Area soil is primarily Tokul soil, which is quite rare. Tokul soil began as volcanic ash. It is one of the most productive soils in the world. Tokul features a surface layer of gravelly loam, rich with plant matter, a reddish middle layer infused with iron oxides, and a cemented, root limiting layer of glacial till 20-40 inches below the soil surface. Though its top layers drain well, the cemented glacial till layer has high water and precipitation storage capabilities.

Finding the Right Balance

At Arborwell, we can help you analyze your soil on your commercial property, identifying issues, and taking corrective action when necessary. Depending on the unique composition of your soil, we may need to employ solutions such as soil amendments, to correct drainage and nutrient issues impacting plant health. Because each plant species has different requirements, this can complicate the plant health care landscape. Fortunately, Arborwell experts are well-versed on the soil types in your region, expertly assessing the irrigation and nutrient needs of your plants to help you achieve the right balance.

Are drainage issues destroying the landscaping on your Seattle or Bay Area commercial property? Schedule a plant health care consultation with an arborist in your area. Contact Arborwell Professional Tree Management at 888-969-8733 today.

plant health care, soil drainage, soil types

Arbor-wellness: Brown Rot Blossom Blight

Flowering cherries are one of the favorite sights in spring. the light pink or white flowers fill the spring landscape and say goodbye to Winter and welcome to Spring. for most in the Northwest west, it’s our favorite spring blooming tree.

One of the most serious problems that can affect flowering cherries and other flower fruit trees is a disease called Brown Rot Blossom Blight. This disease affects both the flower and the twig ends, leaving them brown and curled. These dead ends of the branches tend to hang on a long time so a severely affected tree looks quite distressed in the landscape. Unfortunately, this disease needs to be treated before flowers emerge in the spring, so being proactive is very important. We also know that soil conditions can play a big role in reducing Brown rot problems.

My flowering cherries don’t look good, they have lots of dead tips and brown flowers, is it dying?

It’s not dying, but it probably has a serious disease that is important to treat before it spreads too much. It is called Brown rot blossom blight and is common in the Pacific Northwest and places that have moist spring times. Unfortunately, we can’t cure the dead tips, but we can take steps to prevent the problem if we treat early enough.

Does it spread to other trees, too?

Besides cherries, it is common on flowering and fruiting peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. In the worst springs, quince and a few other trees can get it too.

What can it do about it now?

The best thing is to prune back the dead twigs in the summer and remove any dead fruit that is on the ground. Throw these pruning’s away, because they hold spores that can re-infect next year.

How do I prevent it next year?

We can treat your trees before bloom season to reduce the number of infections and help the tree combat the problem internally, without putting products in the air. But this needs to happen before bloom season starts.

Are there organic or other solutions.

There are, but these involve treatments on the tree itself. Timing is important though and it usually takes several treatments to be successful. Also, we can look at the soil conditions. When certain minerals are in short supply in the soil, they can make your tree more susceptible to the disease. Proper pruning and the right time and keeping your trees healthy can make a real difference too.

If you are concerned about Brown rot blossom blight on your trees, fill out the form below to contact your Arborwell arborist and schedule an inspection.

blight, blossom blight, brown rot, browning, plant health care

Arbor-wellness: Spruce Spider Mite

Spruce trees are one of the most popular trees in the Pacific Northwest. Seeing conifer trees with shades of green, gray and blue-green in the winter is refreshing and brightens the otherwise dull winter.  Spruce trees are common to this area and very hardy trees. The blue spruce – native to Colorado – is a favorite on public and private landscapes.

We do see a particular problem on these trees that can cause the tree to decline fairly rapidly. The spruce spider mite is a very fast reproducing insect that will quickly harm spruce trees and most other conifers if not treated. They feed on the needles and create a stippling effect, eventually turning the leave brown as they die off. We are seeing more of this pest the last few seasons, so it is important to pay closer attention to spruces, arborvitae and firs in particular.

Treatments done early can prevent damage most of the season, but if damage is noticed in the fall, it is important to treat quickly as that is when they do the most damage.

The needles on my spruce tree are turning bronze colored and falling, what is wrong?

This is most likely being caused by spruce spider mite, a fast reproducing insect that feeds on the needles of spruce trees and other conifers. They feed by “rasping” the needle with specialized mouth parts and the needle starts to turn yellowish, the bronzy as it dies. When they turn bronze like that, it is a sign that you have a fairly bad infestation. With spruce spider mite, you might also notice some light webbing too.

Can my spruce be saved?

At this point, it is imperative to treat quickly to with a fast-acting treatment to get the problem under control. But yes, in most cases we can save the tree.

What other trees do they affect?

They will feed on most conifer trees, but mostly on spruce trees, fir trees, and arborvitae. They are most active in the cool season, so damage is done in the spring and again the fall. (Often the summer is when you notice the damage though because the weakened tree has a harder time with the stress of summer heat.

 When do I treat them?

When you see damage in the summer or fall, it is important to treat them right away with a fast-acting product. You should also avoid spraying products on the tree during this time, because you will harm the predatory insects that feed on spider mites. Those are the good guys we want to keep. In the fall or early spring, we can do a proactive treatment that prevents the population from building up too high. This allows the tree to recover more quickly. Without any treatments, populations can build so high they may eventually kill the tree.

What else should I know?

Spruce spider mites are a cool season spider mite, but there are warm season mites that feed on other tree types and do most of their damage in the summer. Your Arborwell arborist knows what to look for and can help spot problems before they get too bad. Remember too that keeping trees healthy helps prevent trees from becoming stressed, which allows insects to attack trees more easily. Proper feeding and proper watering will go a long way to reducing spider mite problems.

If you are concerned about spider mites on your Spruce (or other) trees, fill out the form below to contact your Arborwell arborist to help you solve this problem for you.

insect, plant health care, spider mite, Spruce

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