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They’re Not Bagworms, So What Are They? Fall Webworms Are Here!

fall webworms

If you’re wondering what that white webbing is all over your trees, you’re not alone. Numerous complaints have come into our offices about these sticky masses, and the caterpillars that emerge from them. While many may think they’re the bagworms of early spring, they are actually something different: fall webworms.

Fall Webworms?

Fall webworms create nests of webbing late summer and early fall and become most noticeable in August and September. This late summer pest is unattractive but rarely causes significant damage to the trees in which it nests as the leaves being eaten are soon to fall off anyway. This particular nuisance prefers hardwood deciduous trees so if you have these in your yard (and on Long Island, you’re sure to have some,) you may have seen their sticky egg sacks.

This year, we have seen a much higher incidence than usual of fall webworm. Webworm comes in two waves, and the first wave of the season produced higher than average webworm activity, so as we move into August, the second wave may seem more apparent than usual. While it is important to protect young, or previously damaged plants, do not chop off branches or light them on fire to get rid of these nests, as you will do far more damage than the worms would do. You can break up the webbing with a rake or a long pole to improve the cosmetic effect they have on your trees. Breaking up the nests will expose the caterpillars to natural predators such as birds, wasps, and yellow-jackets, and therefore will reduce the number of future outbreaks.

If you are concerned about these pests and want to find out how you can protect your hardwood trees, or would like to inquire about having your trees treated, contact Aronica Plant Healthcare today.

What Are Seed Ticks and Do I Need to Worry About Them?

seed ticksIf you’re outside this summer you have a good chance of encountering ticks at some point, whether they’re crawling on you, your clothes, or the dog. Some ticks may be relatively easy to see—such as dog ticks or an adult tick—but some, such as seed ticks, are not.

Seed ticks are ticks that have just hatched and passed through the larval stage. They are the nymph (or baby) stage of ticks and they can be as small as the period at the end of this sentence. While they are tiny (think little black dots with legs) they still feed on blood and can pass along tick-borne diseases as easily as adult ticks. Some of these diseases include Lyme Disease and the Powassan Virus.

Female ticks lay nests of several hundred to a few thousand eggs, and you’re most likely to encounter seed ticks near these nests. Eggs are the first stage of a tick’s life. Once they hatch they become larva, and then they become a nymph (or seed tick) before finally going on to become an adult. The size of a poppy seed, these tick nymphs are extremely hard to notice. They are part of the life cycle of all types of ticks, including the lone star tick, which has been particularly troublesome this summer season.

Are Seed Ticks Dangerous?

Just because they’re small doesn’t mean seed ticks don’t pack a punch. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seed ticks are actually the most likely to transmit Lyme disease or another tick-borne infection to humans than ticks at other stages, in part because they are so difficult to see and may remain on the body for so long. Their saliva contains an anesthetic, which means you are highly unlikely to feel their bites and, while they may not attach right away, it has now been shown that certain tick-borne illnesses—such as Babesiosis—can be transmitted within minutes of being bitten. Seed ticks are most active in the spring and summer months, so now is the time to be aware of them and the problems they can cause.

Having your yard treated for not only these tiny ticks but also their adult relatives is the best way to stay safe while at home. Aronica Plant Healthcare offers a family and pet-safe spray that can keep your yard safe from ticks. While away from home, make sure to use a repellent containing DEET to keep your family safe. Long pants and sleeves are also a good method to protect yourself if you are out near grassy or wooded areas. Remember, if they can’t reach your skin, the ticks can’t bite you.

Summer Lawn Care Tips To Keep Your Grass Looking Green!

Summer Lawn CareWe’ve already covered how to get your grass ready for spring and how to handle weed control, now we’re going to tell you summer lawn care tips and how to keep a healthy lawn all through the summer months.

We’ve had a very wet spring, which means you haven’t really had to water your lawn, but summer heat and drought are on the way. In the summer heat, cool season grasses such as fescue, bluegrass, and rye can have a hard time and will need a higher amount of water to keep from turning brown.

Summer Lawn Care Tips:

When the weather starts reaching about 80 degrees, and all through the summer months, you’ll want to make sure your lawn gets at least an inch of water a week. This will help to keep it from turning brown. Hot weather not only makes your lawn look tired, and it will behave that way too, becoming less able to handle the wear and tear of traffic and everyday use. To make sure your lawn gets all of the water you give it, set your water schedule to happen in the early morning (before 10 am) or in the evening so that it doesn’t all evaporate.

Another way to help keep your lawn healthy is to cut it regularly with a sharp mower blade. A dull blade is more likely to shred grass rather than cut it neatly, and this can allow diseases to infect your lawn. Most manufacturers suggest sharpening your blade after every 10 hours of use. When you do mow don’t cut your lawn too short. You want to make sure only a third, at most, of each grass blade is cut. So at the beginning of the summer season raise your blade. A taller lawn is more drought-tolerant as it can grow deeper roots to better reach the water you give. When you do mow, mulch the grass clippings right back onto your lawn. This will help it to retain water and stay green for longer.

Finally, if you choose to fertilize your lawn, be sure to do it before the summer starts. Once the real heat of summer arrives even organic fertilizers can sometimes burn your lawn, though they are less likely to do so than traditional fertilizers.

By following these summer lawn care tips you can help to keep your lawn green, healthy, and looking great all summer long.

Summer Is Coming and so Are Ticks. Which Tick Spray Is Best?

tick sprayBetween the warm winter and the number of small rodents around due to last year’s bumper acorn crop, this summer promises to be a banner year for the tick population. So, which tick spray is best for you and your family?

The best way to keep your family safe is to avoid ticks altogether, with long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and staying out of tall grass, or wooded areas, but, it’s summer. Shorts and bathing suits are the uniforms of the season, so when trying to avoid ticks, tick spray and repellants often the best option for your family.

The Health Risk of Ticks:

Ticks are more than annoying; they present a real health risk. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention mentions Lyme disease, the powassan virus, rocky mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and more as possible results from a tick bite. The longer the amount of time a tick has to bite, the higher your risk of contracting disease, so proper repellants, and a watchful eye are key to keeping you safe. With that in mind, here are some of the best-rated flea and tick repellents to help keep you disease free over the summer.

Before buying your insect repellent, make sure you check the labels. As found by consumer reports, certain compounds have been reliably found to keep you safe when applied to exposed skin. You want to look for sprays which contain at least one of the following active ingredients: DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin in amounts of 20-30%.

A tick spray containing these ingredients have proven to be effective at repelling fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. Of these, products containing DEET are more effective across the board.

Another technique to avoid ticks is to use clothing products treated with permethrin. You can also purchase permethrin spray to treat your clothing, remember that you should never spray permethrin directly on your skin.

Some people prefer to go with essential oils to try to kill ticks or use as tick repellents, however, according to Consumer Reports, outside of oil of lemon eucalyptus, which is not a true essential oil, no essential oils have been found effective to repel fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes.

Regular Scheduled Tick Spray:

Finally, if you’d prefer not to keep re-applying sprays while your kids play at home, you may want to consider a regular schedule of tick-spraying for your yard. Keeping your home base tick free can be a great way to get some peace of mind about ticks, at least while your family is at home.

How to Handle Tick Bites

Tick bites

The warmer weather is here and spending more time outdoors means more chances to encounter ticks and tick-borne diseases. Here on Long Island deer ticks are almost everywhere there are trees and grass, so learning how to handle tick bites is important for keeping you and your family safe.

Tick bites can spread a number of infectious diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and more. It’s very important to check for ticks every time you come in from the outdoors; the longer a tick remains on your skin, the better the chances for it to spread disease. If a tick has bitten you and you think it has been in place for more than 24 hours you should call your doctor.

Ticks are small—particularly the deer tick—sometimes the size of the period at the end of this sentence, so they can be hard to spot; be sure to look carefully because of the danger of them transmitting diseases.

Some of the potential signs and symptoms of tick bites are:

  • A small red bump near the bite site
  • A bullseye rash
  • Joint pain or feeling achy
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • An expanding red rash (called Erythema Migrans)

If a tick has bitten you recently you will want to remove the tick as quickly as possible. There are myths about removing a tick such as smothering a tick with petroleum jelly or burning it off with a match, but those are NOT how to remove a tick. In fact, doing those things can make the tick burrow even deeper which is something you definitely don’t want to happen.

To remove a tick, you should:

  1. Grasp the tick firmly with tweezers, as close to the head as possible.
  2. Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go, but do not twist or rock the tick as you pull. Use a smooth motion. If part of the tick breaks off, don’t worry, it will work its way out on its own.
  3. After removing the tick, wash your hands and the site of the tick bite with soap and water.
  4. Finally, swab the bite site with alcohol and place the removed tick in a plastic bag and call your doctor. The doctor may want to see the tick, so it’s important to keep it and date the plastic bag. Your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotics right away to help prevent Lyme and other bacterial diseases from taking hold.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to avoid ticks is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants and to stay out of grassy and wooded areas. This can be hard though, especially in summer, so getting your yard sprayed for ticks is the next best thing. This allows you to enjoy summer without having to worry about wearing extra layers. Companies like Aronica Plant Healthcare will use an organic, family and pet-friendly spray that keeps the ticks away and helps to keep you safe from disease.

 

Tips to Prep Your Property for Spring

That’s right, SPRING! After a very long winter, spring is finally just around the corner (give or take a snowstorm or two). Whether you plan on selling your home this year and want to offer the best face for real estate hunters, or you want to get the best curb appeal, prep your property now so you can be more organized when it’s time to get outside.

Time to prep your property for sping!

How to Prep Your Property for Spring:

The first thing you’ll want to do to get ready for spring is to take a look at your beds and address their edging. Neat edges on your beds will make mulching tasks easier and give the property an instant aesthetic boost. You should make a fresh cut around the edge of your bed and scoop out whatever has accumulated over the winter, such as leaves, unruly grass, soil, or mulch. This is a task you’ll want to do early in the season because it’s not dependent on plant growth and it can sometimes be time-consuming. Hate edging? Think about creating raised garden beds, which don’t need edging!

Another task you can do at any time is weeding. As soon as the weather warms even a little, weeds will wake up. Spring rains can make weeding easier as the ground is softer and weeds will come up easier. You want to pull up weeds as soon as you see them, and check for them regularly throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

Once the final risk of frost has passed, you’ll want to get a handle on your roses. Whether they’re climbing roses or shrub roses, you should prune them back to a more reasonable shape before new shoots reach half an inch. Remove dead stems, rubbing stems, or stems that are just outside of the shape you’re aiming for once blooming starts.

Here on Long Island, you’re looking at late March before it’s 100% safe to prune. 

Before new growth appears you’ll also want to remove old, dead stems from perennial plants. Don’t yank stems, as that can damage new growth, instead use gardening shears or hand pruners to cut the dead growth away. For ornamental grasses, you can use a hedge trimmer, and be sure to cut off old, dead tops before the new growth appears.

Finally, plants in spring are hungry after a long winter’s dormancy, so fertilizing them is always a great idea. Mix the fertilizer into the soil once new growth is seen and make sure to soak in the fertilizer, so it mixes with the soil.

Getting all of this done before your garden starts to come back to life can make a big difference in what you see come mid-spring through summer. It’s a lot of work and can be time-consuming, but worth it once you see those plants blooming and bringing color back to your garden.

If you’d prefer to have the experts take care of the dirty work, give Aronica Plant Healthcare a call, and they’ll be happy to prep your property! Visit our website to complete our contact form or call 631.928.9000.

Snow and Ice Removal Tips from Aronica

As January comes to a close, Aronica Plant Healthcare wanted to share a few snow and ice removal tips to prepare you for the rest of winter. Ice and heavy snow can be troublesome if you aren’t equipped with the proper tools or knowledge. Minimizing the time spent outside—especially as the temperature is scheduled to drop to 4 degrees—is an important part of staying warm. We want to share some tricks we learned through our decades of experience when it comes to snow and ice removal.

Snow and Ice Removal Tips

Use Cooking Spray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This might be the most well-known “trick” for handling heavy and wet snow because, well, it works! The cooking spray will help prevent heavy snow from sticking to your shovel.

Just be sure to wipe the shovel clean before returning it to storage.

Shovel on a Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

We know it can be difficult to motivate yourself to go outside in the middle of a snowstorm, but shoveling the snow every hour or two as it falls can save you a lot of work compared to shoveling all the snow after. Shoveling during the snowfall will lessen the strain placed on your joints and back when attempting to shovel several feet at once.

Be Aware of Snow Placement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continually piling snow against the side of the house could result in issues with the foundation. When the snow begins to melt it seeps into the ground and leaks into the foundation. This can speed the eroding of the foundation and cause real problems in the long run.

Snow Blowing

Snow blowers have made snow and ice removal a lot easier but you have to use it the right way!

Snow blowers have made snow and ice removal a lot easier but you have to use it the right way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When using a snow blower to remove the snow in your driveway, Aronica recommends starting in the middle. Place the chute toward one edge of the driveway, as you make a u-turn the snow will shoot to the other side and help you to avoid having to make a second pass over the middle.

Keep Your Phone with You

Believe it or not; phones can do more than take selfies. They can help keep you safe when shoveling

Believe it or not; phones can do more than take selfies. They can help keep you safe when shoveling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though some people may take their safety for granted when shoveling outside, there are dangers that can cause serious issues. From falling on the ice to throwing out your back, you might find yourself unable to recover from the injury on your own. With your phone readily available you can call for help if the worst were to happen.

Dangerous cold and ice can be tough to handle if you are ill-equipped for the situation. We hope you take our tips and tricks with you as we approach the end of winter. If you would like assistance clearing broken branches, preserving your yard from the harsh winter, or removing the ice and snow in your driveway; contact Aronica Plant Healthcare at (631) 928-9000 or use our contact form!

Keep Your Evergreens Safe with Anti-Desiccant Spray

Anti-desiccant spray can protect your trees from Winter!

The evergreens in your yard are the foundation of your winter landscape. Winter just wouldn’t be the same without their snow-coated branches swaying in the wind of a winter storm. But, while they may seem as though they can withstand anything as they stand against the winter elements, there is something that can cause them quite a bit of damage, and it’s not the cold temperatures. Winter weather can be very drying, which is the reason you develop itchy, flaky skin. The same way we use lotions to retain moisture, evergreens need an anti-desiccant to protect them from “winter burn”. Winter burn can occur when trees and hedges lose too much water through their needles as a result of exposure to dry winter air. While your dry skin can make you itchy, drying out through their leaves can kill your evergreens.

In winter, your evergreens cannot take in water through their roots because the groundwater is frozen. This isn’t a problem for deciduous trees like oaks and maples, because they shed their leaves and therefore do not have surface area through which to lose water. Because evergreens don’t shed their leaves before winter, they can suffer desiccation injury—that’s when the water loss through their needles is more than the water they can take up through their roots. Keeping water from escaping is the best way to prevent winter desiccation problems, and that’s where anti-desiccants come in.

Which plants can benefit from anti-desiccant spray treatments?

Most of the evergreens in your yard can benefit from an anti-desiccant treatment. Arborvitae, cedar, cypress, juniper, and pine are a few of the evergreens that can benefit from a protective treatment. Broadleaf evergreens such as azalea, boxwood, holly, and rhododendron are also great candidates for anti-desiccant treatment. Even the tender stems of bushes and shrubs like roses and hydrangea can benefit from treatment.

An important note:

DO NOT spray waxy-blue conifers such as blue spruce. These trees have a natural coating of wax to help them retain water. Application of an anti-desiccant can actually cause these trees to dry out, as their natural coats can be damaged.

Applying anti-desiccants

Weather is an important consideration when applying anti-desiccants. A dry day in the ’40s through the ’50s is just right for applying the spray. It’s also important to check and be sure that there won’t be any rain for a few days after. Your trees and shrubs should be completely dry for proper spray application. It is also important to allow the plant time to dry in a rain-free environment.

It’s important to wait for cold weather before applying anti-desiccant spray. Waiting until at least December is best to ensure that the trees are completely dormant before being spraying. During the dormancy phase, the water in the trees has moved down from the leaves to the roots. It can take several episodes of freezing weather for dormancy to happen, so waiting until at least December ensures that all of the water is out of the leaves. Any water left in the leaves at the time of anti-desiccant application can cause that water to become trapped in the leaves. If that happens, when the weather freezes again that water can burst plant cells.

As you apply your spray be sure to cover both the top and the bottom of the leaves of your plants because they lose water from both sides of the leaves. It can be tedious, but it is important that all surfaces of your plants are treated.

If you purchase your anti-desiccant spray in a home improvement store, be sure that you follow the label instructions.

Many people would rather have a professional do their spraying than do it themselves, as the job can be difficult. If you’re one of those people you should make sure that you have a licensed professional do the application. Aronica Plant Healthcare offers a wide variety of tree and shrub treatments that can keep your yard safe and your plants looking their best, all year long. To schedule an appointment for your anti-desiccant spray, you can either give them a call or visit their website for more information.

Winter Spray for a Great Spring Lawn

Winter Spray

How a pre-winter spray can give you a great looking spring!

If your shrubs and trees had a hard spring and summer—whether it was from pests and diseases, such as fungal diseases, or burrowing insects that damaged fruit trees and other garden plants—you may want to consider dormant winter spray treatments.

Dormant spray is an umbrella term that covers treatments such as horticultural oil, which smother hibernating insects—such as aphids, mites, scale—as well as their eggs.

Another type of dormant spray uses either synthetic fungicides or copper and to treat fruit and flower bearing trees and shrubs. This treatment gives your plants a head start into spring.

Sometimes, liquid lime-sulfur will be used on smaller fruit plants such as blueberries or blackberries to kill fungus and bacteria.

Dormant spray application should be after the growing season, but before the weather drops below 40 degrees. While a pre-winter treatment will suppress spring pests, it may not fully control them. Schedule regular treatments throughout the year may be necessary for the optimal health of your plants.

Common sprays may include:

A fixed copper fungicide containing elemental copper, such as tribasic copper sulfate, copper oxychloride sulfate or cupric hydroxide

Neem oil from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica )

Lime-sulfur is a mixture of hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) and sulfur

An important step to secure the health of their trees and shrubs that may be forgotten by homeowners, whether or not they choose to treat with a dormant spray is maintaining good housekeeping of their plants.

Remove fallen leaves from the base of plants to prevent pests from laying eggs, or hibernating for the winter. The leaves can contaminate adjacent plants, thus hampering success in disease control efforts.

An important step to securing the health of your trees and shrubs that is often forgotten—whether or not you choose to treat with a dormant spray—is maintaining good housekeeping of your plants.

 

Tree Trimming: When is the Best Time?

Without tree trimming falling tree branches can cause serious injuries

A tall tree without proper tree trimming can actually cause a lot of damage!

While tree trimming is important for the look and health of your trees, knowing when to trim is important too.

Both shrubs and trees require regular trimming to maintain their looks and health. In addition, practicing regular tree trimming can help prevent problems during inclement weather. During a storm, weak or damaged limbs can break off and damage your home, or even injure someone.

High and large branches require a professional tree trimming service. These tasks can be extremely dangerous and can result in damage to, or even death of, the tree. A reputable company such as Aronica Plant Healthcare will have professional arborists on staff; who will consult with you about which sections we can safely remove from the tree.

While professionals are definitely necessary for heavy tree work, there are a few jobs you can do on your own. As long as you do them at the right time of the year.

Evergreen Tree Trimming

You, or an Aronica specialist, can prune evergreens, non-blooming trees, and shrubs in late winter while they are fully dormant. If you require smaller shaping, you can do that any time of year. For larger cuttings, waiting for winter is best.

Summer Blooming Trees

Summer blooming trees and hedges should be pruned in late winter, and spring blooming plants should be pruned right after they’re finished blooming. Otherwise, you risk losing buds they are setting for the next year, as they set those immediately following their blooming cycle.

The trimming of small branches (those that can be cut with a hand lopper) or the shaping of hedges can be a year-round activity. Most importantly, for those of us who live on Long Island, removing weakened branches—during early spring before hurricane season and late autumn before winter storm season—is important. Removing weakened branches before the whole tree suffers an injury in a summer or winter storm could be vital to the survival of the tree.

For more information or for a professional consultation with Aronica please visit our website’s contact page: https://aronicaplanthealthcare.com/contact-us.php or call 631.928.9000