Diagnosing & Treating Plant Problems

Causes of Tree Decline and Death:

When a tree is declining it is usually suffering from a combination of stress factors such as:

  • Insect or Fungal Infestations
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Compacted soil
  • Lack of water
  • Incorrect sunlight amount
  • Poor initial installation

Insects or diseases are often secondary, attacking the weakened tree. However, in such cases, it is important to come to the defense of the tree by treating the insect or disease problem and then seeking to remedy the underlying stress factor. In other cases, it is the insect or disease itself that is the primary cause of tree decline.

Addressing either situation is our primary business occupation.

The Certified Arborists at the Tree Doctor will first diagnose tree problems and then recommend solutions.

Kinds of Treatment:

  • Organic sprays – designed to achieve significant control without use of pesticides.
  • Chemical sprays – over 2500 chemicals are licensed for insect and disease control – The Tree Doctor restricts usage to approximately fifteen (15) products which are chosen because they combine effectiveness with low toxicity. We notify all clients before we apply any spray material – all DEC safety and treatment requirements are followed “to the letter”.
  • Micro-injection – we inject an appropriate chemical directly into the vascular system of the tree – no chemical in the air or in the ground – this treatment is typically employed for killer diseases (spruce canker) and lethal insects (bark borers).
  • Tree IV (Arborjet) – with the use of flexible tubing, specialized plugs and a reservoir of chemical powered by a pump, we inject chemicals and fertilizers into the vascular system of the tree. This system is used primarily to treat ash trees for Emerald Ash Borer. Using the same system we also treat Fire Blight, nutrient deficiencies, numerous other insects, and diseases like sycamore anthracnose and dutch elm disease.
  • Soil injection – whenever feasible we inject an appropriate material into the soil around the tree – one common application involves the soil injection of Merit to control tree borers and some of the more destructive leaf-eating beetles.
  • Root collar excavation – Many tree problems start with compromised root systems. Using a tool called the air-spade we can safely remove soil to examine and treat root systems, relieve soil compaction and replace deficient soils.

When insect or disease treatment seems advisable the Tree Doctor will do the following for you:

  • Provide a written account of what is causing the plant problem – our on-site evaluation carries no obligations for you.
  • Ascertain whether your tree stress is acute or chronic.
  • Prioritize recommendations.
  • Specify what sort of spray (or injection), or other treatment would address the issue at hand.
  • Provide a written contract which itemizes the time, cost and method of any treatments.
  • Notify you in advance of the application of any pesticide on your property.
  • Send a licensed pesticide applicator to perform any application.
  • Practice “target” sprays rather than “cover” sprays in order to reduce the amount of chemical used but still gain adequate control of the insect or disease.
  • Use sprays which specifically attack only the target organism and which do not kill beneficial insects.
  • Monitor the result of our treatment and keep you informed of our observations.

Common “problems” which we treat in this area are the following:

  • Chewing, sucking insects such as aphids, scale, gypsy moth and tent caterpillar
  • Evergreen parasites such as spider mites (especially spruce and juniper)
  • Leaf fungi such as apple scab, maple tar spot, pine tip blight
  • Vascular fungi such as verticilium wilt and spruce canker
  • Cambium feeders such as emerald ash borer and various pine borers
  • Leaf and root feeders such as the Japanese beetle and black vine weevil
  • Household insect problems such as those sometimes caused by ants or bees (see PestRx)
  • Disease vector insects such as mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus and ticks which spread Lyme disease