Wood Acres Tree Specialists MD, DC, VA
Call 1-888-464-3926 for tree service MD, DC, Northen VA
10315 Kensington Parkway, Kensington MD 20895-3358
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Newsletter

Drought Stress – Again?

For the past six years Maryland has experienced an extensive drought. Most of us don’t realize it but it starts during the winter months before the growing season even begins. I know most of us feel that snow causes problems with travel and adds an additional chore to our already hectic schedules as we have to clear driveways and cars. However, the snow pack is vital in replenishing the water table. The snow pack that melts in spring does so at a slow enough rate to allow the water to penetrate deep into the soils profile. When we have very little snow fall in a winter, the water table is not being recharged by early spring when water requirements are highest for our trees and shrubs as they break dormancy and develop leaves and flowers.

The primary effect of drought (dry soil) is damage to the root system. The first roots to be damaged are the fine, fibrous feeder roots which are located in the upper 12 inches of soil. These roots are responsible for water and nutrient uptake. When these feeder roots become nonfunctional a water deficit develops as the roots are unable to provide water to the top of the plant.

Drought stress (depending on species) can be subtle and symptoms are oftentimes not evident for as many as two years after the actual damage occurred. Symptoms of drought stress can be seen as wilting, curling, and yellowing of leaves, leaves and needles dropping from the tree early, and branch and tip dieback to name a few. These symptoms mirror damage inflicted by insects and diseases which make diagnosis more challenging.

In addition to root dieback, drought causes general tree stress and predisposes them to secondary invasions from insects and disease. Stressed trees emit chemical pheromones into the atmosphere that certain insects pick up on. These insects will travel to the site knowing that there is a tree with its guard down and they can make an easy home out of it. This secondary attack will oftentimes kill the tree.

Recognizing drought conditions and taking action before damage occurs can save you time and money. Watering with a soaker hose when moisture is in low supply and adding miccoriza (live spores) to the root zone is a great start. The water keeps the root systems intact and the live spores stimulate roots to develop fine, fibrous roots that are responsible for water and nutrient uptake. This material is also suspended in water which replenishes the soil with moisture while delivering root stimulating spores.

Pruning: Is There A Need?

As landscapes mature they begin to outgrow the intended site and begin to encroach on our homes. It is necessary to prune to maintain proper clearance to your homes roof, siding and gutters. These limbs can work their way under shingles, behind siding and gutters as the wind blows the trees canopy around. These limbs can cause large headaches and unnecessary repair costs. It is better to have the limbs properly headed back before they cause you and your home problems. This is also true for dead limbs in the upper canopy. Not only are they providing habitat for insects and disease, they can unexpectedly fall and cause damage to your property.

Our arborists have been visiting your property this winter to look at your trees while the leaves are off. This time of year allows us a chance to look at the structure and presence of deadwood and in some instances damaged limbs from wind, ice and snow. These are things we can not see so clearly while the trees have all of their leaves attached. If you have questions about any of the trees or shrubs on your property that were not mentioned in your 2008 Proposal please send us an e-mail message at service@woodacrestree.com or phone the office. We are more than happy to address any of your concerns.

Gypsy Moth - Why the Concern?

Native to Europe, the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is known as one of the most notorious pests to our hardwood trees in the eastern United States. It was accidentally introduced in Massachusetts by a French scientist in 1869. The caterpillars hatch in large numbers, from egg masses which can contain up to 1,000 eggs. Since they are not native to North America they have few predators and this allows them to flourish in their new environment. By 1980, the population soared to levels where a million acres each year were being defoliated by this pest. A record 12.9 million acres of forest were reported to be defoliated in 1981. The tree species most vulnerable to the gypsy moth are oak and aspen. The gypsy moth prefers hardwoods, but when their food source is scarce they are known to cross over to several hundred of the surrounding tree and shrub species commonly found in our urban landscape.

The healthier the tree is before defoliation the more likely it is to rebound after an attack. Proper soil moisture and nutrient levels are important in keeping the health of trees high.

Trees use energy that is stored in their systems to refoliate lost leaves. This refoliation, if repeated in consecutive years, weakens the tree due to unnecessary energy loss. The weakened tree is then vulnerable to attack by insect and disease. Gypsy moth damage that is complicated by drought, soil compaction or construction damage will oftentimes kill the tree in one to three years.

The best actions to take are those that preserve a high level of health of your trees. Trees whose canopies have suffered 60% or greater defoliation are at high risk. These trees can greatly benefit from watering. The best method of watering is with a soaker hose placed around the base of the tree for an hour a week during the months when rain is scarce. This method of watering will allow the water to penetrate deep into the soil profile where the majority of roots are located. The addition of fertilizers and live spores will also help rebuild root systems that have been subjected to drought and provide the proper level of nutrients to help encourage refoliation.

Plant Health Care Visits: Protecting Your Investment

Wood Acres offers a plant health care program for all landscapes big and small. Our arborists can create a program specific to the plant material that makes up your landscape. Each program is designed to target specific pests and disease that are most common for the plant material. Each insect and disease has a list of plants they favor and a specific time of the season that they tend to emerge. It is important to treat for that insect or disease at the proper time to gain control of it before its population can grow out of control and can cause irreversible damage to your plant material.

Many insects have multiple generations per year and their emergence is triggered by temperature. Each site is different from the next which makes certain insect’s emergence time fluctuate. For example, the temperatures are generally warmer in the city causing trees to bloom before those same species in the outlying suburbs. This warming trend will also cause insects to emerge before others. However, some plants in the suburbs that may receive radiant heat from the side of a home or driveway will have the same warming trend of that in the city.

The most effective approach to caring for your property is to have a monthly visit by our Certified Arborists and maintaining that schedule annually. When the visits are less frequent or when our expertise is requested after a major problem is observed by the homeowner, it can take more than one growing season to gain control of the problem.

In some situations optimum control would result from a neighborhood effort. Wood Acres can assist in deterring insects and diseases from crossing property lines. Bagworms are an example of a pest that can have devastating effects on evergreen shrubs and ornamentals. The damage will not be limited to a single property. The bagworms float easily and multiply quickly. Bagworms that originate on one property can quickly spread to several properties by the end of the growing season.

Tree Permits – Get the Scoop

Maryland is one of six states which make up the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed. Forests play a crucial role in helping to protect this resource by improving and maintaining water quality. They do this by absorbing and slowly releasing sediment and trapped nutrients collected from the land. While acting as filters for water trees also provide habitat for wildlife, offer recreational opportunities, removes greenhouse gases, and provide economic return to local communities.

Unfortunately, the forest supporting the Bay’s watershed is shrinking and becoming much more fragmented. It is estimated that 100 acres of forestland within the watershed is being destroyed each day. As a result of this declining resource many communities in our area have developed specific tree removal permitting processes for private property owners restricting the removal of trees.

Certain communities have developed their own set of restrictions and permitting process for tree removal. Applications are available online which can be downloaded for your community. If you have questions about your community’s tree removal process please call your county’s forest extension service for the restrictions specific to your area. Below is a list of websites where you can view your areas permitting process and tree removal restrictions:

It’s Official

Wood Acres Tree Specialists has been accredited under a new Tree Care Company Accreditation program administered by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) which has a membership of over 2,000 tree care companies and built on the threefold foundation of ethics, quality, and consumer confidence.

The new program represents the only business practices and compliance audit process in the tree care industry. Under the process, businesses undergo extensive review of professional practices aimed at safeguarding consumers. The review includes: best business practices, ethical business conduct, formal training and certification of employees, compliance with industry standards, consumer satisfaction, adherence to safety standards and insurance coverage.

TCIA Accreditation means Wood Acres Tree Specialists adheres to all the accreditation standards and has undergone a rigorous application process. TCIA verified this by conducting an on-site audit of Wood Acres Tree Specialists facilities and work sites.

According to TCIA president Cynthia Mills, “TCIA Accreditation provides consumers a way to find tree care companies that are trustworthy in their business and tree care practices. Our TCIA Accreditation program is the only one of its kind in America and will give consumers peace of mind.”

The process of becoming accredited is no easy task. According to James Harris, president of Wood Acres Tree Specialists, “The process is incredibly thorough. They left no stone unturned. We are pleased to be recognized as one of the best tree care companies around.” Mills echoes that sentiment. “Wood Acres Tree Specialists has made a commitment to excellence in all facets of its business. I applaud their efforts.”

Certified Master Arborist

Wood Acres Tree Specialists is pleased to announce that our very own Forest Bowen has achieved the ranks of Board-Certified Master Arborist. This is a certification offered by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) to provide for the professional growth and development of arborists around the globe. It requires significant knowledge, advanced education, following ethical standards and applying this to landscape plants. This credential is the highest level of certification in the industry of tree care and it was developed for arborists who have reached the pinnacle of their profession.

Wood Acres is not just your ordinary tree company - we stand out among the rest and want to help make your landscape your own personal wilderness.

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