Wow! Look at the size of that root ball. It's bigger than our ball cart! How do little Pillywiggins manage such large trees? They call in the machines to help. These trees were delivered in the morning & planted the same day! See how we did it below.
Tree Planting 101
We were called to a site recently to meet with a new customer and his neighbor to discuss their landscaping needs. Of particular concern were the new trees that had been purchased and installed about 2 months prior by another nursery/landscaping company. The owner said the trees looked healthy when they were planted but soon began to show signs of stress & decline. The trees were already beginning to die. A quick glance was all that was needed to determine the problem.
When burlap is exposed (as shown in these photos) it acts like a candlewick drawing moisture from the earth up to the surface where it simply evaporates. The problem is the burlap underground completely surrounds the tree's root ball. Leaving a tail of burlap exposed like this is a direct attack against the tree's root system. Wicking moisture away from the earth surrounding the root system is starving the tree!
Further investigation revealed all 8 of the trees installed had exposed burlap and/or large tails of attached burlap covered only by a light layer of mulch. (A few trees were left with the wire root basket handles poking out of the ground!) NONE of the trees were planted deep enough as you can see in the photo above. Note the highlighted area. That hump isn't a mulch volcano, it's the top of the tree's root ball covered with mulch!
B&B trees (balled & burlapped) are larger trees with root systems too large to fit in a plastic container. Instead, the roots are bound in burlap to keep them safe. Burlap is a woven fabric made from natural organic materials such as jute or sisal so it is biodegradable and designed to be planted with the tree. However, when you unbind the twine that secures the burlap & root ball, you must also cut away all of the excess burlap at the top of the root ball. When planted, ALL remaining burlap must be buried deeply underground with the roots.
Jason recently found a patch of Japanese Knotweed growing along the edge of a customer's yard in Antrim County between the Villages of Central Lake & Bellaire. (Way too close for my comfort!) Jason immediately alerted the homeowners. They had noticed it growing but had mistakenly identified it as Basswood saplings so they left it be. They were shocked to learn of the devastation caused by knotweed, and how difficult it is to eradicate it.
It's easy to see how knotweed can be misidentified or overlooked until it becomes a problem. Knotweed is a pretty plant. Unfortunately, it can and will spread quickly. If left unchecked, knotweed can destroy structures, kill vegetation & it will eventually consume your entire property. Seriously folks. I'm not being dramatic here. People have lost homes to knotweed & millions of dollars are spent on litigation, education, control & eradication measures.
LEARN TO IDENTIFY JAPANESE KNOTWEED
The State of Michigan offers a free printable PDF on Japanese Knotweed. For more information on other invasive species in Michigan visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.
Japanese Knotweed is a perennial herbaceous shrub native to East Asia. It was first introduced here as an ornamental plant. It is not native to the U.S. and its cultivation is prohibited in Michigan.
Oh come on now!
IS KNOTWEED REALLY THAT BAD?
Anyone offering pesticide application services for hire (including advertising & bids) MUST HAVE a Pesticide Applicator Business License (PABL). PABL expires annually on December 31st. If you look up a firm offering pesticide application services & do not find them on this list, please report it to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) - Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division at 517-284-5771.
So, if you can't dig it out, burn it, cut it down or spray it...
What are you supposed to do?
REPORT JAPANESE KNOTWEED!
Now that I've scared the bejeebers out of you, is there anything good to be said about knotweed? Well, actually, yes. Japanese Knotweed leaves, shoots and roots do have culinary & medicinal uses.
Ok friends, here's your assignment...
Take a walk around your property to look for knotweed and other invasive species. If you're up north over the 4th of July holiday, keep an eye out every where you go. Hiking, biking, kayaking. Everyone has a cellphone on them these days. Download the MISIN app to document and report knotweed and other invasive species.
THANK YOU FROM THE PILLYWIGGINS!
Are the needled trees in your landscaping looking brown & sickly? There's a good chance it's due to one (or both) of the needle cast diseases sweeping though our area. Rhizosphaera Needle Cast & Stigmina Needle Cast diseases are devastating local needled tree populations. Both are caused by fungi and both can infect your trees at the same time.
The best way to prevent tree loss and the spread of both diseases is to AVOID PLANTING ALL TREES SUSCEPTIBLE TO THESE INFECTIONS. Unfortunately, most nurseries & plant catalogs are still full of them!
When a large blue spruce in our front yard began losing needles we started looking for answers online. What we found was all bad news. Most articles we read warn there is still much to be learned about Rhizosphaera & Stigmina Needle Cast Disease. Limited information is available online, even fewer options exist for successfully treating these diseases. Bottom line, we expect to lose a few of our trees and you probably will too. Here's what we know so far.
Our Best Advice,
Watch Your Trees Closely & Please Avoid Spreading Disease.
DO NOT PURCHASE OR PLANT SUSCEPTIBLE SPECIES
(Until more info & effective treatments become available)
Greetings! My name is Julie. I'm a bookkeeper by trade, an artisan by choice & the author of this blog by default. :)