Mother Nature’s Moment - July/August 2017
by: Lesley Bruce Smith, ISA Certified Arborist
I don’t know if you have noticed, but we seem somewhat overwhelmed with how the rain and sun and rain, and rain and rain and sun have created huge amounts of growth on all our trees and shrubs, and all yours too! The trees and shrubs love mild (not too hot) moist conditions which trigger them to put out lots of green leaves=food producers=water evaporators.
Many of you have been concerned, and so have we, about the amount of defoliation we are seeing on some of our trees, especially those that are susceptible to fungal diseases. The Crabs and Hawthorns are some of the hardest hit. Suffice it to say that the mild wet conditions that have produced lots of growth, have also created ideal conditions for fungal leaf blights. Additionally, through out the spring, cool wet conditions are what make these diseases thrive, thus creating massive amounts of fungal spores that create disease symptoms no matter what protective measures are taken.
We have actually had the wettest spring in Illinois record keeping history. When we begin our spray season each year, we work hard to choose spray materials that will provide the best coverage with the least amount of toxicity to the environment, or dangers to our clients and our staff. We have to be careful to not use the same fungal controls every year to prevent a resistance in the diseases. We are always very sad when treated trees are looking poorly, especially ones in our care, but please know that unless another problem exists, they will not die, and they will come back. Working hard to keep it protected is an important goal and we cannot predict the weather or change what Mother Nature throws at us. Tree physiology is such that sometimes when we have wet cool spring weather and the trees over produce their leaves, their natural response to warmer/hot weather is to jettison some of their leaves. That is because those leaves evaporate water, and to conserve, the intelligent trees get rid of some of their evaporators. We realize how frustrating it must be to pay money for treating your trees only to have them look poorly in the middle of the summer. It is equally frustrating to us. We strive to provide the best possible care to your trees, but we are not willing to jeopardize your health, your family’s health, or the environment’s health.
If you want additional information ask for our Abstract on Apple Scab and Hawthorn Rust.
For additional information about heavy rains and your woody plants (trees and shrubs) see this helpful article from the University of Illinois Extension Service.