2013 Summer

In this Newsletter…

– Japanese beetles down
– Oak wilt on the rise
– Still not enough water
– MN State Capitol Elms
– MN State Fair Volunteering

Japanese Beetles – The past few years have held peak populations of Japanese beetles throughout the metro area.  The population of the beetles is naturally cyclical, yet is certainly influenced by the weather.  Mild winters allowed more larvae to survive underground, and reproduce the following year.  At this point, it looks as though the length of last winter has helped to control the population of Japanese beetles.  Initially beetles were found well over a month ago, and the population numbers have not continued to expand.  There are some pockets where damage is noticeable on lindens and birch; however city wide the population numbers are down.  Treatments for Japanese beetles depend on the plants in a landscape as well as the homeowners’ tolerance for damage.  Rest assured, at Premium Tree Protection, we will not simply recommend any treatment unless it is warranted.

Oak Wilt – Cases of oak wilt, both in bur and red oak, seem to be on the rise in 2013.  The most likely cause is the abundance of spring storms that occurred during the early summer infection season.  Oak wilt can be particularly difficult to control in some situations.  Every property with oak wilt is unique based on the species composition of the landscape and the level of infection.  The first step to treating oak wilt is an accurate diagnosis.  Though the disease is easy to identify in red oaks in the field, often laboratory testing is required to diagnose the disease in bur oaks.  We have worked with the University of Minnesota plant disease clinic on several cases this year that required laboratory confirmation of oak wilt.  Our experience with oak wilt will then be used to develop a treatment schedule.  If you are experiencing an oak tree losing leaves during the growing season, early detection is crucial in saving as many trees as possible.

Thin Maples and Oaks – We have received a great deal of calls this spring and summer regarding maple trees.  Many trees that we have seen, mostly sugar, Norway, red, and autumn blaze maples varieties, have stunted leaves and look thin at the top of their canopy.  Some are beginning to show color already.  In the last two weeks, many bur and white oaks have begun to show thinning foliage within the canopy.  In most cases this condition can be tied to the dry conditions that we have experienced over the past two years.  Maples on boulevards and oaks in dryer areas of the landscape are showing this condition the most.  The damage can be reduced in most cases, with a more aggressive watering regimen.  A ring of mulch can also help hold some moisture near the tree during dry times.  It is a reminder that as the summer dries up our landscape, we need to not only water our gardens, but our trees and shrubs as well.

Capitol Work – We have just completed work on 16 elm trees on the Minnesota state capitol grounds.  The work was done on these valuable trees the first week of August to protect against Dutch elm disease. We feel that it is an important “feather in our cap” that such prominent trees were entrusted to our care.  Over the years we have done several projects on the capitol grounds, and the effectiveness of our treatments has earned us the care of the capitol elms as well as a beautiful 40+” elm at the governor’s mansion on Summit Avenue.

State Fair – Adam and Jason have just finished volunteering for the Minnesota DNR at the state fair in the invasive species room.  A great deal of time was spent talking about Emerald ash borer with fair-goers and the questions reminded us that there is much work to be done in educating the public.  Despite a great deal of media attention, many homeowners are unaware of the threat that EAB poses or the successful treatments that are available for trees that warrant protection.