Best Tree Service in Hampton Roads
26 McDonald Rd Hampton, VA 23669
Mon-Sat: 7:00AM-7:00PM
14 Mar 2018

Diseases Of Pine Tree Service Hampton Roads


Pines grow in most every state of the U.S., and are planted for many reasons. They offer year-round color, protect homes from wind and snow, subtle fragrance, harborage for wildlife and a great backdrop to help show off ornamentals planted in front of them. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to several maladies.

It’s important to keep pines viable by providing good tree care for your customers, especially in two areas, separating trees from turf and proper planting procedures. These basic, but foundational factors are all-important and should always be a reference point when diagnosing tree maladies such as ones on pines.

Separation & Planting

Why are separation and planting so important? There are many reasons, but perhaps the most influential is that these are implementations that get a tree off to the best start possible if done correctly and mistakes that can’t be corrected if not.

Separation – This means designing or re-designing the landscape so that the trees are here and the turf is over there. Think about it. Tree Service Hamptons are woody, while turf is herbaceous. Turf usually receives moderate to high volumes of water and fertilizer, and requires mowing. When trees are growing in a co-located landscape setting, they are usually over fertilized and over watered, and constantly run into with lawn mowing equipment; not a healthy environment.

Planting – Good planting practices include: digging a wide but shallow hole, pulling tangled roots apart, placing the root mass such that the uppermost lateral root is even with or slightly above grade, using existing/native soil instead of amended soil to backfill around roots, watering thoroughly to settle the roots, placing wood chip or pine needle mulch over the roots but not the bole and checking the soil moisture weekly to make sure that it’s moist but not soggy or dry. These are all important parts of the process. Way, way too many times trees are planted too deeply, in heavily amended soils, watered once and forgotten, covered with rock mulch and planter boxes built over the roots and more — these practices prevent tree success.


Diseases are not just biological — it’s both — pathogenic and abiotic causes that challenge the overall health of pines. Regular scouting, often referred to as monitoring will help identify possible concerns that are site related (mower blight, leaving stakes on too long, deep planting, over mulching, etc.) and ones that are caused by fungi, nematodes and bacteria. Inspection packages go a long way toward avoiding tree troubles.

Common Pathogens:

Pine wilt — Perhaps the most destructive disease, pine wilt has the capacity to completely kill a tree within two years. If that wasn’t bad enough, even more frustrating to property owners is the deceiving nature of the disease. In most cases, a tree can be healthy looking in April and May, start looking a bit off-color in June, and be entirely brown by July. All pines can become infected, but most cases involve Scots or jack pine.

Pine wilt is similar to Dutch elm disease in that it is carried to the tree by an insect. The carrier for elms is the elm bark beetle. The culprit for pines is the pine sawyer beetle, which carries the actual killer, the pinewood nematode. Once infected, the sap flow throughout the tree declines rapidly, causing death. It typically affects trees that are more than 10 years old.

The pinewood nematode is transferred throughout the disease cycle in two phases. Phase one is relatively straightforward. The sawyer beetles feed on young shoots of healthy trees. Then, the nematodes that are in the bodies of the beetles enter the pine tree through feeding wounds in twigs. Once inside the tree, the nematodes multiply and clog the resin canals, which quickly results in tree death.

Phase two begins when the sawyer beetles lay their eggs in the bark of dead or dying trees. The larvae develop, bore inward and begin feeding on blue stain fungi that have been transmitted by bark beetles that were attracted to the dead trees. After feeding, the nematodes move to the sawyer beetle pupae and are eventually carried along when they develop into adult beetles, after which phase two is complete, and the process starts over again with phase one.

Various approaches have been examined to control pine wilt, including insecticide iHampton Roadsections and topical protective sprays. A satisfactory degree of control can be achieved with an iHampton Roadsection of abamectin, or Greyhound insecticide. The iHampton Roadsection must be made before the onset of symptoms and will generally protect the tree for two growing seasons. Be sure to follow all label directions.

A moderate degree of control can be achieved in a stand of pines if infected pines are removed as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. To be certain that the nematode is not transferred by the sawyer beetle, it is recommended to burn, bury or chip the logs of the infested tree. Using the trees for firewood is not prudent, as the beetles can continue to emerge from the logs over time.

Pine disease: Sphaeropsis/diplodia tip blight

Sphaeropsis/diplodia tip blight. Photo: John C. Fech

Sphaeropsis tip blight — Formerly known as Diplodia tip blight, this disease causes the new shoots to die before extending fully. Of course, this is a serious outcome, because unlike deciduous trees, all future growth to sustain the tree comes from the apical meristem at the ends of the branches. If an insect, disease or adverse environmental condition causes an oak or beech tree terminal to die, new growth will sprout from lateral buds and can usually be directed to replace the damage. The long-needled pines, such as Austrian and ponderosa pine, are most susceptible.

The first recognizable symptom is a dotting of brown throughout the silhouette of the tree. Closer inspection reveals that the fungus has killed the new shoots. The disease can be further affirmed by pulling the needles loose from the killed shoot. If infected, they can be removed with a gentle tug. Look closely at the base of the removed needle; several small, black spores will be present if Sphaeropsis is involved. Secondly, inspect a cone from the damaged tree, either fallen or attached. Again, small, black spores are likely to be present on the outer scales of the cones. Tree Service Hamptons that have been infected for several years are likely to contain several branches that are entirely dead.

Sphaeropsis blight can be controlled by applying cover sprays of copper sulfate, propaconazole and thiophanate-methyl in mid-spring. Thorough coverage of the needles is required. If the disease has heavily infected the tree, consider two applications of fungicide, applied two weeks apart.


Dothistroma needle blight. Photo: John C. Fech

Dothistroma needle blight — A disease that is equally as problematic in aesthetic terms as the first two maladies is Dothistroma needle blight. Infected trees often appear wind burned or scorched from extreme heat. All pines can become infected, but Scots and Austrian are most susceptible.

As the name would indicate, the symptoms begin with discoloration of the needles. The blighting takes two forms:

1. Small, olive brown to dark brown markings that extend the circumference of the needles, encircling them as if the needle was wearing a thin, flat wedding band.

2. Needles that are brown, starting in the middle and extending to the tip. Some needles are completely brown.

Because the disease does not typically kill the buds, it is generally less worrisome than pine wilt or Sphaeropsis tip blight. However, a pine depends on its needles to photosynthesize and send sugars and carbohydrates throughout the rest of the plant. The more brown needles that a tree has, the less chance it has to remain a healthy part of the landscape.

Control Dothistroma needle blight in much the same as for Sphaeropsis tip blight. Because the disease overwinters on old needles, thorough coverage is required to prevent the disease from spreading. Bordeaux mixture and copper sulfate can be used. Be sure to follow all label directions.

Common Abiotic Maladies:

Desiccation — The drying of needles and stems, usually in winter is caused by extended periods of strong winds and cold temperatures. In many situations, consideration given to this potential malady during landscape design can prevent desiccation.

Drought Stress — The lack of adequate moisture in the root system leads to wilting and drying of all tree tissues. Probing the soil and checking for moisture content on a regular basis will assist in managing drought stress. Irrigation equipment that provides a slow soaking is best.

Herbicide IHampton Roadsury — Commonly caused by air-borne drift or overzealous applications by lawn care applicators, symptoms often appear as a twisting of new growth or a burnt appearance to older needles. Herbicide iHampton Roadsury is only controlled through prevention.

Overwatering — As described above, the lack of separation of turf and trees often leads to overwatering. The root zone soil should be moist, not soggy or dry.

Over mulched — If a little is good, then more is better, right?  No so with mulch. Two inches of wood chips, beginning 3 inches away from the trunk and extending to the periphery of the canopy is best.

Surrounded By Pavement — The growing conditions should always be taken into account when considering maladies of trees. If surrounded by impervious surfaces such as asphalt or concrete, air exchange and moisture infiltration are severely limited.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 2008 and has been updated.

The post Diseases Of Pine Tree Service Hamptons appeared first on Tree Service Hampton Services.

14 Feb 2018

Weather’s Impact On Tree Service Hamptons

In the world of arboriculture, or at least the arborist, a variety of factors impart effects on the trees we care for each and every day. One of the most impactful, or at least most commonly referred to is weather. The adage goes like this: “Can’t figure out what’s wrong with a customer’s tree? Well, you can always blame the weather.”

A few terms are helpful to consider: Weather is what we experience day to day and week to week. A forecast is what we expect, or are told to expect. Climate is an accumulation of weather events over a long period of time.

Leaf scorch is a temporary shortage of leaf moisture. Photo: John Fech

In a sense, weather can be a good answer for the unknown or the hard to determine, as it is such a major influence. There’s nothing like it terms of impact. After all, it’s multi-component factor with winds, flood, hail, heat, drought, sun, rain, snow and ice. It’s an all-season and ever-present factor. There is no rest from the weather; it’s dramatic – extremes seemingly are commonplace these days — and, it’s a mimic because weather related maladies are often difficult to diagnose because they closely resemble insect or disease related iHampton Roadsury causes.

Drought stress can occur easily when no one is responsible for newly planted trees in a limited root zone. Photo: John Fech

Good and Bad Weather Conditions

Weather is often defined in black and white terms of good or bad, at least from the human perspective — but what’s good weather for a tree? Perhaps it’s best to describe it in two ways, in the establishment phase and the maturity phase, or even year one and year two and beyond.

Initially, even if a tree is touted to withstand soggy or dry soils such as a baldcypress or a chinkapin oak, most trees tend to be favored by moist, not soggy or dry soils, moderate temperatures and moderate winds. Sure, eventually drought tolerant species will be able to survive well on limited water, but at first, moist soils, favor the development of roots and shoots. Likewise, exposure to gentle to moderate winds encourage a tree to respond by developing a strong structural root system and bole to resist wind throw. After establishment, good weather conditions are those where most days are in the desired range for the species in terms of moisture, wind and sun.

Conversely to the above, bad weather conditions are those that present a tree with significant time outside of the desired range for a given species.

An important caveat to the good and the bad is the ugly, which is the time lag or the length of time that it takes for symptoms of iHampton Roadsury that are due to weather to express themselves. For herbaceous plants such as tulips, turfgrass or hostas, there is a short time involved with the visibility of a cause and effect of weather ie. it’s hot and dry for 4 weeks, without supplemental irrigation, Kentucky bluegrass is going to wilt in the heat and appear highly stressed. With established woody plants, the symptoms often show up several months later or even the next year in response to the same heat and drought. Most customers simply cannot fathom this difference in responses to weather; therefore it’s wise to try to explain or at least warn them in advance of what could come to pass.

Effects of wind can be significant, like the storm damage to this backyard tree. Photo: John Fech

Commonly Seen

Here are some of the more commonly observed/encountered maladies due to weather:

Drought iHampton Roadsury and leaf scorch — Caused by extended periods without adequate rainfall or supplemental irrigation. Prevent it by providing even moisture, mulching to retain moisture once received, monitoring often with a soil probe/screwdriver to gauge moisture content.

Leaf scorch is a temporary shortage of leaf moisture. Photo: John Fech

Winter desiccation — Caused by strong, consistent winds that dry out leaves; worst on broadleaf evergreen species such as holly and arborvitae. Prevent it by irrigating to moisten soil and enter the winter with roots fully hydrated, apply an anti-desiccant product 3-4 times as per label instructions, install wind screens in high value situations.

Winter desiccation can be devastating in some years. Photo: John Fech

Sunscald — Caused by solar rays that warm the surface of thin barked trees in winter, causing it to be warm and cold in a series of diurnal cycles. Prevent it by installing white wrapping or PVC drain tile to reflect solar rays in late fall, remove in late winter.

Prevent sunscald with white wrapping. Photo: John Fech

Sunscald damage to this thin barked tree. Photo: John Fech

Hail Damage — Caused by ice chunks striking the bark with sufficient force to break the surface and allow desiccation and entry of pathogens. Correct it by pruning out badly affected branches.

Wind Encouraged Herbicide Drift — Caused by movement of broadleaf herbicides from adjacent areas. Prevent and correct it by discussing potential for damage with nearby property owners. Provide for future needs of tree but avoid overwatering and overfertilizing.

Effects of wind can be significant, like on this broken ash. Photo: Nancy Null

Frost IHampton Roadsury – caused by cold temperatures received after buds have broken dormancy. Prevent or correct it by avoid species that are prone to frost iHampton Roadsury. Prune out badly affected branches.

Wet Soils – caused by overabundant moisture from flood, irrigation system leaks and zealous turfgrass irrigators. Prevent or correct it by measuring rainfall and irrigation amounts received and adjusting accordingly.

Effects of wind can be significant. Photo: John Fech

The post Weather’s Impact On Tree Service Hamptons appeared first on Tree Service Hampton Services.

02 Feb 2018

Tree Service Hamptons Take Time In Growth And Care

Tree Service Hamptons Take Time

Tree Service Hamptons are not the sum of their parts nor can they be reduced to a simple math equation. Fortunately for us, trees are extremely complex and, in fact, they are so complex that caring for them has been described as being equal parts science and art.

To be sure, trees are biological entities, causing them to fall under scientific parameters. They also provide pragmatic, functional benefits that can be measured. Yet, trees also possess an aesthetic quality difficult, if not impossible, to quantify. As such, trees are sometimes best expressed by song or on canvas or a poem. Tree Service Hampton service professionals have the privilege of working with one of nature’s greatest wonders.

It has been said it requires 10,000 hours of work to acquire enough experience to be considered highly skilled. The 10,000-hour rule is explained in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers,” as, “the idea that 10,000 hours of appropriately guided practice was ‘the magic number of greatness,’ regardless of a person’s natural aptitude.”

I think the 10,000-hour rule applies for arborists and, interestingly, I also think the same rule applies to trees. It takes many years for an oak to grow “majestic.” It takes centuries of stress and competition for that Sitka spruce to “tower” over the forest. It takes decades for that woodland grove to mature enough for the understory trees, such as redbuds or dogwoods, to cause the forest to “glow” come springtime. “Majestic,” “tower,” “glow;” these are all artistic descriptions, and great art is not created in an instant nor are great arborists.

If there is a single attribute we most admire about trees, and tree workers, I believe it is endurance. Endurance implies long-suffering, and there is no denying the job requires a great deal of hard work. That sense of time-spent pervades everything we do. We understand better than most how many years and how much stress it takes for a tree to become a valuable addition to a landscape. Their maturation, as well as ours, requires some time.

That presents us with a problem.

We may well understand that it takes years to grow great trees, but customers don’t always understand that. One of the most difficult concepts to convey to customers is that we can’t fix their tree with a single service. One spray will not correct an aphid infestation. One pruning will not resolve decades of neglect. A trunk iHampton Roadsection is not the same as a vaccination. Diseased trees need multiple applications and likely will require them for years. If it is a chronic issue such as apple scab or anthracnose or the emerald ash borer, the tree may require annual treatments indefinitely.

Even when we are pruning, which is one of the few services that provides instantaneous results, we are still cutting off branches (or should be) because we are picturing in our mind what that pruned tree will look like in the future, envisioning its appearance five years down the road, if not longer.

We sometimes forget that our customers are not on the same page as we are. Not meaning to, customers often look at trees as pieces of landscape furniture they wish would never grow any larger. We, on the other hand, look at trees as living, growing and moving structures. They can sway – violently. Their trunks, roots, limbs and twigs swell. The roots spread underground. Branch tips lengthen – all of them. Much like glaciers, a tree’s movement is inescapable, and when not taken into account, can be catastrophic when planted below power lines or over playgrounds.

As arborists, we understand that it takes many years to deliver proper tree care. We just sometimes forget to mention that. We need to help people envision the future, and unfortunately, it is an explanation we often leave out of the conversation. We mistakenly presume the client knows a prescribed service needs to be repeated, maybe even slip into selling the moment, which is not much different than buying that cheaper tool and complaining later it wore out in less than a year.

I recommend our pruning estimates provide a time projection for how long before a second pruning is needed. An estimate for pest control should also provide when the next treatment is necessary. When writing a management plan, provide a time projection for when the plan needs to be updated.

To help clients picture the future, I use neighboring trees as examples. The conversation typically goes, “Mrs. Smith, one day the red pine you just planted (within 10 feet of her home) will be as big as Mr. Jones’ pine next door.” Mr. Jones’ tree may be 80 feet tall with a 50-foot crown spread. As she gazes upward at her neighbor’s tree, the realization dawns in her eyes that one day she, or someone else, will have a big problem.

If we can remember that the public forgets that tree care takes time, our work will become much easier. And, easier would be welcome.

The post Tree Service Hamptons Take Time In Growth And Care appeared first on Tree Service Hampton Services.

04 Oct 2017

Deep-Root Watering For Tree Service Hamptons During Drought

High & Dry

One challenge of weather is its unpredictability. Rain one day, sun the next, cool then hot and back to cool, and on and on. But if variability is challenging, consistency can be much harder to handle. Imagine life if it rained every single day. Or, even worse, if it never rained. When Mother Nature dries up and stays dry, it becomes a threat to every living thing — including trees.

In severe cases, this means a drought, which the National Weather Service says is “a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, resulting in a water shortage causing adverse impacts on vegetation, animals and/or people.” And drought conditions require a change in tree management practices.

Travis Evans, district manager in The Davey Tree Service Hampton Expert Company‘s Santa Cruz, California, office, got a firsthand look at the impact of the four-plus-year drought that California recently suffered through. “Over the first year or two, most of the mature trees in the landscape handled it. But by years three and four, we really did start to see an increase in certain trees being stressed out,” says Evans.

Lindsey Purcell, urban forestry specialist with the Purdue University Extension Forestry and Natural Resources, inspects the leaves of a tulip poplar for signs of drought stress.

Image Courtesy Of Purdue Extension


p class=”art”>And it wasn’t only hard on the trees. “The last couple years of the drought were extremely challenging as an arborist, because there were a lot of times where you had to step back and let the client know that you have to do more research,” says Evans. “We started seeing new pests as a secondary issue for drought-stressed trees — things we had never even seen before.” So scouting for insects becomes more important during drought, including looking beyond the normal pests. For example, Evans says the drought led to an increase in borer activity on conifers in that area, “which we hadn’t really seen a lot of in the past.”

Drew Zwart, west coast technical representative with Bartlett Tree Service Hampton Research Laboratories, says that the California drought made good, basic tree care practices all the more important. “The first thing that I like to see when I walk on a landscape during drought is a large and fresh mulch ring around a tree,” says Zwart. “That is the number one easiest and most effective and impactful thing that you can do, both because it helps to conserve moisture in the soil, and it helps to regulate soil temperatures, especially with shallow-rooted trees.” One other benefit that’s often overlooked, he adds, is that when you have mulch around a tree, there is no grass or other understory plants “that will compete, and probably win, for the water that is available.”

Zwart says that the same rules for mulch in normal circumstances apply in drought conditions: Ideally the mulch will extend out to the dripline, “though that’s obviously not always possible with the rest of the landscape plan, so as much as you can do — and 3 to 4 inches deep is as much as I’d ever recommend … It’s a soil treatment, not a stem treatment … you don’t want to be piling it up volcano-style.” Another tip he offers: Be sure to stir the mulch up at least once a year, otherwise it can actually form a hydrophobic layer and start to work against you. Zwart also recommends, when possible, using fresh, out-of-the-box chips with some bark and twigs mixed in. If a homeowner wants to use a dyed or painted mulch product for aesthetic reasons, it’s especially important during droughts to avoid dark or black types that will soak up heat from the sun, he advises.

Water supply

Of course droughts are not unique to California and can strike nearly anywhere. For example, extreme drought conditions were experienced in parts of the Midwest from 2012–2014. “And we are still experiencing those impacts,” says Lindsey Purcell, urban forestry specialist with the Purdue University Extension Forestry and Natural Resources.

Cultural practices — notably mulch and water — become even more important during droughts, says Purcell. Older trees with a more developed root system typically respond more slowly to drought, he explains. “But we lost some really big trees; I never thought that would happen,” Purcell adds. That’s why it’s important not only to provide water for newly planted and juvenile trees, but also “veteran” trees, he notes.

“The most important thing with water is being able to calculate the amount of water the tree needs,” says Purcell. He has calculated those figures for most species of trees in Indiana; when in doubt, check with your local state extension office to see if they can assist in providing or calculating this information.

To help care for trees during the drought, Evans says that Davey crews were undertaking supplemental watering during the driest months of the year. “From May to October, every four to six weeks we were offering a deep-root watering — actually iHampton Roadsecting the water subsurface — because it’s a more efficient way to water as opposed to having clients just use a hose on top of the soil and having the water dissipate into the atmosphere.” So subsurface watering is not only better for the tree, but it also reduces wasted water, which is especially important during any drought, when municipalities are likely to have limitations on water use. “We can really utilize the limited amount of water that we have to use,” says Evans. For clients who didn’t want to opt for the deep-root watering service, Davey recommended the use of soaker hoses. “Then, based on the species and the size of the tree, we would tailor a plan for them and help them with the amount of gallons and how frequently they should be doing that,” he adds.

Landscape trees used to getting water from landscape irrigation are prone to damage when that water is typically shut off during droughts, says Evans. “A lot of our clients were doing their part by not watering their landscapes due to water restrictions. While that’s great, it had an additional impact on the trees. That’s why doing that supplemental watering helps.”

Zwart has observed a somewhat related problem that can take place, especially during droughts. “When people are replacing their lawns with synthetic turf, they forget that a large portion of the water that their trees were getting was from when they watered their grass,” he explains. The same situation is true when homeowners try to do the right thing by shutting off their lawn irrigation in a drought. “You’re also cutting off water to the trees,” he points out. “Especially with mature feature trees, we really like to see dedicated irrigation zones, so the tree has its own zone that can be programmed independently from the lawn. With most decent irrigation systems, it’s not hard to do, it’s just not frequently done.”

This brings up another misconception: that native trees will be fine during droughts. “But when it’s a true drought, that’s not the case,” says Zwart.

Even native trees need occasional deep watering. The amount of water a tree needs depends on the species and canopy size of the tree, among other site-specific factors, but Zwart says that as a general rule, during significant droughts, a deep watering — getting the water down at least 12 inches — at least once a month is a good rule of thumb.

And sometimes, when water use is strictly regulated, it’s necessary to prioritize which trees in the landscape to water. “It’s certainly a lot easier to replace a shrub or a citrus tree than it is a 400-year-old valley oak,” says Zwart.

“So, if either the volume of water or the water bills are a concern, then it makes sense to prioritize the large stuff that you won’t get back in your lifetime as opposed to the smaller stuff that you can just run down to the nursery and replace.”

The post Deep-Root Watering For Tree Service Hamptons During Drought appeared first on Tree Service Hampton Services.