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Now that the snow has melted we can see the impact of prolonged snow cover on our lawns. A variety of turf diseases are causing dieback and decline of our lawns.
Snow cover can protect dormant turfgrass from desiccating wind and frost but can also produce an environment conducive to low temperature, turf damaging fungi. Gray snow mold (Typhula incarnata) and Red thread (Laetisaria fuciformis) are two turf diseases that have been active throughout the Northwest this winter. Snow mold appears as a mat of brown, straw-like grass blades that have died back to the roots. Red thread appears like tufts of pink cotton causing tip dieback and some cases back to the root system. Both of these diseases are directly causing turf health and vigor to decline resulting in thinning turf, weak grass plants, and overall decline in appearance.Close-up of damaged areas.
Try our new Organic lawn care program featuring compost tea and organic fertilizer to speed turf recovery and to help stop the diseases. Also watch out for Crane fly damage which can be identified by thinning turf density and the presence of brown grubs in the soil.
Bill Voight, neighbor to one of our long time clients, felt compelled to pen the following lines after watching six firs succumb to the pressures of Mother Nature. He shared his poem with our client, who, in turn, shared it with us. We wish to share it now with you.
6 Beautiful Old Trees,
reaching majestically to the sky.
They stood proudly, doing,
They were six among many,
When the wind reached itís peak,
The biggest, about three feet through,
I had been chosen, to witness,
It was just for a second,
Written By Bill Voight
Tom Townsend prepares a batch of compost tea in his 300 gallon brewer. Timely applications can help landscapes become lush and healthy.
For the past two years, our 72-year-old Portland area tree and plant care firm has been experimenting with replacing its conventional —and even its organic — pest and plant nutrition programs with the world’s oldest answer to plant nutrition and disease and insect problems: compost tea.
“We don’t know exactly how old the idea of compost tea is, but we know it was used by the ancient Egyptians and the Romans. This is the way healthy crops were encouraged before there were chemical fertilizers,” said Collier Arbor Care President Terrill Collier. “This is the greenest of the green. We’re aiming to be a leader in the area of sustainability and replacing conventional fertilizers and pesticides with compost tea is about as sustainable as you can get,” he said.
Under the guidance of Collier Production Manager Tom Townsend, a certified arborist, Collier has been brewing its own brand of compost tea in a 300-gallon aerated tank at its Clackamas headquarters since last September. The tea is Townsend’s own particular mix of water and organic products including Alaska humus (extreme Alaska temperatures help provide a particularly rich soil), humic acid, kelp and fish hydrolasate (a type of fish fertilizer). After brewing the tea the result is a concentrated complex of billions of beneficial biological organisms and natural nutrients that is then applied as either a foliar or soil treatment. This in turn promotes healthy biological soil processes that naturally releases plant nutrients, improves soil structure and helps prevent harmful disease and pest problems.
“I’ve been tweaking the formula as I’ve evaluated the results and now I’ve got a pretty effective mix for all our purposes,” said Townsend, who has 20 years of pest management experience and who called himself a skeptic when he accepted the challenge to develop the compost tea application from Collier a couple of years ago.Besides seeing the results of satisfied customers, Townsend has also been treating the landscapes of Collier employees over the last two years. He has been amazed at the successes. “I put this on my garden and it grew like crazy even though I didn’t use any fertilizers. After seeing results like that, I became a real convert,” he said.
Compost tea will be used in the following three Collier Programs to promote healthy plants in your landscape:
A row of hebe that died from the Arctic Blast in December 2008.
Arborvitae all over town took a major beating from the excess weight of the snows.
The arctic blizzard that blasted the Northwest this winter has left storm and cold damaged trees and plants in its wake. Two distinct types of injury occurred:
Symptoms like brown burnt foliage, dead buds and branch dieback have already started showing up. Plants that are affected include: daphne, escalonia, viburnum, hebe, cotoneaster and mock orange just to name a few. This list will certainly grow larger as we get into spring.
During the frigid weather, the ground froze preventing roots from
picking up needed moisture. Then the cold gale-force winds dried the
foliage, causing windburn symptoms. The cold temperature can split
bark, damaging or killing plant tissue underneath, killing buds and
also killing tender plants outright.
Minor damage: When only the smallest branches of the tree are injured this usually results in little or no permanent injury to the tree. All that is required is cleanup of the broken twigs and branches and perhaps a crown cleaning or thinning prune to restore a pleasing shape.
More severe damage: Large broken branches, split crotches, removal of bark, and splitting or splintering of the trunk — can be caused by strong winds and heavy ice storms. When a tree is severely damaged, the first question that must be answered is: “Is the condition of the tree such that keeping it is worthwhile?” A Collier Arbor Care Certified Arborist should be consulted to answer this question.
“Our arborists will take the time and effort to save a tree
only if the tree will still be healthy, attractive, and of value to
the property owner after repairs,” explains Terrill Collier,
Board Certified Master Arborist. “We may recommend removal of
a tree that has brittle wood and a branch structure that makes it
vulnerable to additional damage from future storms. Trees that have
been topped by storms are prime candidates for removal.”
At this year’s TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association) Winter Management Conference held in the Grand Bahamas, Terrill Collier, Board Certified Master Arborist, and President of Collier Arbor Care was installed as the new TCIA Chair of the Board.
TCIA’s Board of Directors is made up of 10 men and women who are proposed by the membership, selected through the Nominations Committee and the board, and elected by the members by mail ballot. The role of the board is to set policy and to strategically direct the future of the association.
Established in 1938 as the National Arborist Association, today’s TCIA is a trade association of more than 2,000 commercial tree care firms and affiliated companies. TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice, and management information for arboriculture firms around the world.
Through TCIA’s Accreditation program, consumers can be assured of hiring a professional, ethical tree care company that has been inspected by TCIA for proper business practices, professional employees, quality service and customer satisfaction. They provide continuing education, training, conferences and publications to promote the safe and appropriate practice of tree care.
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