DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Insects in my Trees

We often get calls with clients stating insects are attacking their trees and would we come spray them.

Before you have a chemical spray application done, make sure you really have insects...

August is a time when heat has had a lot of effect on the tree's ability to move water throughout the leaf canopy. Often the vascular system can not move enough water to support all the little individual cell membranes in that leaf. The result is the membrane dies and is blown out by the wind, creating an effect we call leaf tatter. This may look like insects are chewing on the leaves.

So before you spray, look for the actual insects at different times of day and inspect the actual damage for chew marks or the irregular shapes of individual cells.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

TruGreen and your Trees

TruGreen and Trees

Recently we have had a half-dozen calls asking us for a second opinion on a clients Tree health because TruGreen had told them the trees were infested with insects and needed to be chemically sprayed.

I examined two properties and another ISA Certified Arborist went to two other locations and did thorough examinations. In each case, the maximum we found was one to two scale insects and older bore holes.

Chemical companies are supposed to be in compliance with what is called IPM or Integrated Pest Management. This is environmentally conscious application of not advising clients to kill everything in the yard but exercise discretion by setting a Pest Threshold; the amount of pest that actually present a problem. We are not trying to kill everything in the yard, that amount of chemical destroys beneficial insects and actually creates a situation of dependence on chemicals.


Scale is equivalent to a tree having a cold, one or two scale insects is barely a sneeze. Bore holes remain for years after the larvae is gone. Please be aware of this sales strategy that uses fear to try and manipulate people into doing what is not actually the best thing for our trees.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Raised Garden Bed Help

Raised Beds take more care and to truly get nutrition out of your vegetables you need to focus on soil and growing environment.

The Green Team Booklet on Tree Health and Growing Nutritious Gardens has a simple to understand help on building better soil biology for your plants to grow in.

I'll be teaching free classes on this during the spring so check on the blog for post of a class near you or if you want a personal evaluation and review of your garden it's $39 which includes the booklet.
We also have Soil Testing available.
email greenteam.ted@gmail.com

Next Raised Bed Garden Class: Evans Building Supply Eagle Idaho 10am Saturday April 15th

Friday, February 3, 2017

Idaho Gardening

I am very excited about this great solution to backyard gardening.

We've worked with many of you setting up garden programs with better quality soil. Getting that soil into backyards has often been very difficult. This new way of controlling garden soil is just what we've been looking for.
It's called the GARDENSOXX;
an elastic material with the toughness of landscape fabric, easy to fill with quality compost and a built-in drip system.

The SOXX can be any length. A three-foot section is simple to carry. Can be put anywhere, on top of your existing beds, in the lawn, on the patio, the options are limitless.

Weed control is essentially built in. The unit can be moved if needed as the sun changes angle at the end of the season.
Pricing is very affordable.
  

For more information email me at greenteam.ted@gmail

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Idaho Trees and Clay Soil

The most overlooked problem in Idaho is how clay soil affects our trees. Trees roots need macropores or "air space" or you literally suffocate them. Clay is not "bad" soil, it's just too compact and needs organic matter to  create that air space.
Back East the Arborist effectively fix this with what is called an Air Spade; however Idaho has been slow to get this critical aeration tool working on our trees. Over eighty percent of the tree evaluations I am called out on have soil compaction that is creating the symptoms. Over compacted soil slowly suffocating a tree, and making it unhealthy, invites in other disease and pests that target sick plants. An uninformed Pest Control person will advise pesticides but what we really need to do is improve the environment the tree is in and make it healthy so it can fight off those issues.
So what do we do?
It is a simple process of using high-pressure air to break apart that soil without damaging the roots as shown in these two videos.
Part One showing the trenches for Air Spade Repair
Part Two Showing the Air Spade in Action

If you want healthy trees in heavy clay; you have to fix the problem. Fall is an ideal time on dormant decidua trees. Cost usually starts around $475 to get the equipment, people and materials on the first tree but then subsequent trees are $165 clear down to $50 for smaller trees.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Landscape fabric and tree health

Years ago we were told landscape fabric was the answer. But as we start to check trees showing health issues we are seeing more and more examples like this photo.

This was peeled back (just bark on top) at a client in Nampa who's property was just ten year old. Most of the tree roots were on the surface searching for water and oxygen. The fabric was NOT breathing but the little pores in it were clogged from the organic matter break down. Water was running off so the roots were getting almost none of the irrigation.

I have seen this all over the treasure valley. You need to dig around your trees and pull the fabric back. If this is happening; remove the fabric several feet past the drip line.

You'll find roots growing into the fabric as well, especially small feeder roots. Unfortunately a lot of this will have to be removed but if you don't do it now it will end up killing the tree.

In this case we did airspade work and used the high compressed air to separate the root growth from the fabric and then did trenches to help with the organic matter in the soil.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Truth about spraying Organic Oil

Organic Oil; aka Dormant Oil or Horticulture oil, is done usually in the winter to coat the tree in a thin oil sheen that suffocates overwintering insect eggs.

I feel it is a must because it IS organic, inexpensive and good to coat open wounds after winter pruning.

The truth about Oil is that, although not toxic like a chemical insecticide, it is more difficult to apply because of the amount of water volume needed to do it right. The common mix rate is 1 to 100 or in most cases one gallon to 100 gallons of water. It has to be applied to "run-off" which means to get adequate coverage you need to really use a lot to cover the entire tree correctly.

The photo shown is not enough material to really do the job, even a small fruit tree can use as much as 7 to 8 gallons to reach complete run-off and a large Maple could use as much as 30 gallons.

This means you either buy a dedicated thirty gallon tank with a gas pump that can shoot the material thirty plus feet high, or you hire a professional. The material cost is not that much so what you really pay for is the $5,000 of equipment to apply it right. Still, that fruit tree shouldn't be more than $10 a tree after the minimum stop fee (price to get the equipment there). I do this with a large pump system in a truck and still the average yard costs is $65.

The other important item about the equipment is agitation. This is oil and water...we know that old saying, they don't want to mix. So the tank must be aggressively agitated the entire time, so the guy in the photo should be shaking that tank continually.

My advise is to have the bigger equipment do the organic oil sprays so you know it's being done right. Often this is all you need in pest control for the tree. If a situation arises where you are forced to do an insecticide on your fruit trees, the above photo would be fine because you'll be using a lot less material and just misting the product on (not to run-off).

If you've pruned...make sure the oil is sprayed...insects love to lay eggs on new wounds.