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Lawn Care Blog

Emerald Ash Borer & Other Landscape Problems - Tree and Shrub Care

Landscaping and lawn maintenance is not rocket science. A lot of you already know that. For the rest of you (and believe me, I use to be in this group), I am here to help. I’ll be honest. I don’t know everything. But, what I do know, I’ll be glad to share with you. The way I look at it, you’re the one looking at the trees and shrubs all of the time. If you have a better understanding of what you see out there, I can help that much more; that much faster too! 

tree shrub care

So, let me make my formal introduction: My name is Nate Conover. For those of you that have our Tree & Shrub service, I’m that goofy looking guy you see tromping through your landscape, spraying your trees and shrubs during the season. For those of you that don’t have our service…

I’m not that goofy looking.

Either way, I’d like to help you identify the issues in your landscape. Like I said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure these things out.

I’m not.

In today’s article (or, as the hip kids call it, a blog), I’m going to list the signs of the most common insect and disease issues that you might see in your landscape this spring. Now, don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of information I’m about to lay on you here. As the season goes on, I’m gonna revisit these issues as they arise. Relax; I’m here for you!

The Emerald Ash Borer

I’m gonna cut right to the chase with this first one. It’s getting the most attention in the news recently and I’m going to help you identify it. It’s the Emerald Ash Borer. I’m sure that you’ve heard all the horror stories of how Michigan hardly has anymore ash trees because of this pest. Here’s what to look for.

1. Canopy dieback. In other words, look for the top third of the tree to have less leaves or, no leaves at all.

2. Watch for sprouts to come up from the roots. These are usually much greener than the other leaves on the tree. If your neighbor has an ash tree and he/she has this issue, you can impress them by telling them that these sprouts are called Epicormic shoots.

3. Another thing to look for is splitting bark. And, under the bark, you’ll see these snaking grooves in the hard wood. Again, you can impress that neighbor of yours by calling these serpentine galleries… And, no, that’s not a song by Earth, Wind and Fire.

4. The last things that you can look for are increased woodpecker activity and D shaped holes in the bark.

Common Spring Pests & Diseases

Let’s go over some pests and diseases that you may find in the landscape this spring. Remember, if you have any further questions about these things or if you see them, give me a call at the office and, when the weather lets up, I’ll come and check things out!

Apple Scab

Your crab apple trees can get this disease in the late spring; especially if it is a wet one.

  1. Watch for brown spots on the leaves.
  2. Yellowed leaves that have fallen to the ground.
  3. Lesions on the fruit.

Lace bugs

These guys feed on the underside of your azalea bushes. But, you can tell that they are there by looking at the top.

  1. The most tell tale sign is the speckling (numerous white spots) on the top of the leaves.
  2. You can also turn the leaves over and see black spots on the under side.

Aphids

These pests also occur in the spring. They’re not devastating, but they still do damage.

  1. Look for wilting on new growth; most commonly on spirea.
  2. You will see large groupings of aphids. They are yellowish to bright green; about the size of a pinhead.
  3. Black, sooty mold will be on the leaves too.

Scales

If you have euonymous or mugo pines in your landscape, you may have this pest. There are two different types. We’ll go over both.

  1. The shrubs will have many white speckles on the leaves/needles that give them a “frosted” look. This is euonymous scale or pine needle scale.
  2. The other type of scale (oyster shell scale) is larger and brown.
  3. These also leave a black, nasty residue on the branches bellow them.
Free Tree & Shrub Pest Identification Guide

To help you with identification of these problems, I've put together a FREE HANDBOOK that you can download by clicking the link below:

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Nate Conover is Weed Pro's Certified ISA Arborist and is in charge of Weed Pro's Tree & Shrub Program.