Louisville Tree Care: More on Managing Disease in May

We are continuing our focus on fighting those pesky diseases for the month of May. We’ve covered two of the biggest tree care threats: Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer. Now, we will highlight a few more enemies of the arborist and tree fan. We believe it’s important to stay ahead and on top of these pests in the fight to save our trees.

Fire Blight
Fire Blight, Abundant Tree Care Louisville

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This one gets its name from the scorched appearance of infected leaves, stems, and bark. It mainly affects apple and pear trees, attacking their blossoms in early spring and then moving up through the twigs and branches. You’ll notice blossoms turning brown, wilting, and dying in just about 1-2 weeks after infection. You might also see an amber-colored ooze coming from the bark (Gross, right?).


Fight it by performing a comprehensive cleanup around your trees when fall rolls around. Move all debris, fruit, and fallen leaves away from the tree and destroy them to prevent the bacteria from spreading. Fertilizers can be helpful but you’ll first want to perform a soil test, or simply contact your local tree care professional to make sure it’s properly selected and applied. Prune any infected branches and be sure to sterilize your pruning tools. Fight fire with fire when possible by burning and destroying affected limbs.

Forest Tent Caterpillar
Forest Tent Caterpillar, Abundant Tree Care Louisville

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Small but deadly, the forest tent caterpillar’s larvae are voracious eaters. Their favorite feast involves sugar maples and poplars but they’ll also happily infect oaks, water tupelo and sweetgum in the coastal south, red alder and willow in the Northwest. They are known to defoliate extensive areas. These creepy crawlers produce one generation a year, appearing when leaves begin to unfold. The freshly hatched larvae will be black, hairy, and move in groups on twigs and the trunk. The destruction they leave behind includes a stripping of foliage from mid-Spring to early summer.

Fight it by using sprays and barriers; there are a variety available. Call us if you suspect your trees are under the influence.

Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew, Abundant Tree Care Louisville

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This one is an easy one to recognize as it appears as a white or gray powdery growth on leaves. Thankfully, it is usually not lethal but it can disfigure and limit the productivity of your plants and trees.

Fight it by planting in sunny sites, trimming inner branches in order to increase air circulation and limit the use of fertilizer. If the mildew has already claimed its place, prune and discard diseased portions and apply fungicide to the remaining leaves.

Athracnose, Abundant Tree Care Louisville

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Athracnose is actually a general term for a variety of fungal diseases that affect plants in similar ways. They typically cause dark sunken lesions on leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits, and can spread very quickly during rainy seasons.

Fight it by immediately removing and destroying any infected plants in your garden. When it comes to trees, prune out dead wood and destroy infected leaves. Certain fungicides can be utilized but we recommend having a professional out to help you choose the right one.

Again, if you notice any of these signs, don’t wait to call your local arborist. Some skillful tree pruning could slow down or even kill the progression of the disease. Even better, prevent the infestation from happening at all.  Abundant Tree Care Louisville will come over and inject the proper pesticide or fungicide into the tree, providing excellent protection against these threats. In the unfortunate case that the damage is done, we’d be happy to come over and see if tree removal is necessary.

Louisville Tree Care – May is for Managing Disease

May is the month that your Louisville arborists are focused on managing diseases and the insects that carry them. In truth, it’s important to pay attention to preventing these carriers and their infections every month as sicknesses of the tree variety are fast and determinedly contagious.

In order to help you discover these destructive pests faster, we will be highlighting a few of the most threatening ones.

The two most prominent issues in the Louisville area, and beyond, are Dutch Elm Disease and the rapid decay caused by The Emerald Ash Borer. We can’t emphasize enough just how important it is that you contact your local arborist and tree care professionals before it’s too late.

Dutch Elm Disease

This disease is believed to be originally native to Asia. It was an unhappy accident that it found its way into America & Europe. True to its name, it sticks to devastating elm trees. The “Dutch” part of the name comes from its identification in 1921 by Dutch phytopathologists (New Word Alert! Phytopathology is the science of diagnosing and managing plant diseases). The disease involves a beetle but the real problem is the fungus it carries. It can turn your elm trees into dead elm trees in a very short amount of time and so it must be treated ASAP!

Dutch Elm Disease. Abundant Louisville Tree Care

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Signs & Symptoms of Dutch Elm Disease

The first sign is typically an infection in the upper branch of the tree, spreading to the rest progressively. Eventually, roots will die as they are starved of nutrients from the leaves.
Look out for the yellowing and wilting of leaves which will eventually turn brown and curl up as branches die. If you peel back the bark of infected twigs or branches, brown discoloration is seen in the outer layer of wood.

For further visual guidance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzRuVWEx6Mg

Emerald Ash Borer

The EAB is a very small beetle that can cause very large damage to ash trees. Once the insect has taken hold, its contamination can spread quickly and cause trees to die at alarming rates. It was discovered near Detroit, Michigan in the summer of 2002. Since then its unpopular fame has spread to Ohio, Northern Indiana, Northern Illinois and so on (See http://www.emeraldashborer.info/ to follow along its path of destruction). Adult EABs nibble on ash foliage but actually cause little damage. It’s the babies who are the real problem. Larvae feed on the inner bark of the trees and disrupt the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.

Abundant Louisville Tree Care - Emerald Ash Borer

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Signs & Symptoms of EAB

The beetle itself is misleading in its beauty – typically bright, metallic, emerald green in color with variable amounts of brassy, coppery or reddish reflections. It comes from bell-shaped larvae and emerges from D-shaped holes.

Look out for…

Crown dieback – Trees begin to show dead branches throughout the canopy, beginning at the top

Random Sprouting – Stressed trees will attempt to grow new branches where they still can – possibly in previous dormant areas of the tree

Bark Splits – Looks exactly like it sounds… you’ll see vertical splits in the bark

Woodpecker Feeding: Woodpeckers like to feed on the larvae located under the bark – usually higher in the tree

For further visual guidance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwONMDCJkOc

If you notice any of these signs, don’t wait to call your local arborist. Some skillful tree pruning could slow down or even kill the progression of the disease. Even better, prevent the infestation from happening at all. Abundant Tree Care will come over and inject the proper pesticide or fungicide into the tree, providing excellent protection against these threats. In the unfortunate case that the damage is done, we’d be happy to come over and see if tree removal is necessary.

Three Trees to Plant this Earth & Arbor Day

This weekend we celebrate our magnificent home on Earth Day. A week later it’s all about the trees during America’s observed Arbor Day (April 29th). Abundant Tree Care would like to encourage you to take this opportunity to bring up more beauty with a variety of plants and trees.

If you’re in need of some ideas on which tree to plant, we’ve listed the details on three great options below. Contact our team with any questions.

(Great News: You can get a couple of the below trees, plus some others, for FREE at the Louisville Nature Center on Saturday, April 22, from 9am-1pm.)

White Dogwood   {Cornus Florida}

partial shade; moist, well-drained soil.

height:  20-30′    spread:  15-20′

Tough and stunning, the Dogwood is an excellent landscape choice in all four seasons. Flowers are showy in spring. Leaves turn red-purple in fall. Glossy red fruits attract winter songbirds.The inner bark of the flowering dogwood root contains the alkaloid cornin which Native Americans used as a treatment for malaria.

Eastern Redbud   {Cercis Canadenisis}

shade-full sun; high drought tolerance, few pests, low salt tolerance  

height:  20-30′    spread:  25-35′

Judas Iscariot was said to have hanged himself on a close relative after betraying Christ. The blooms of the tree, originally white, were said to have turned pink with shame or blood. Folk healers used the bark of eastern redbud to treat diarrhea and leukemia. The light magenta flowers are edible and look and taste great on fresh salads.

American Hornbeam  {Carpinus Caroliniana}

shade-full sun

height:  30′    spread:  25′

The wood on this tree is one of the hardest in our area. It is smooth and appears muscular.  Other common names for this tree are ironwood and blue beech. This tree is an excellent easement or median tree and tolerates the shade of other trees.

Arbor Day Around the World

It’s April and almost time for one of planet Earth’s favorite parties – Arbor Day

Arbor Day is a simple holiday in which we are encouraged to plant trees. In the U.S. it is celebrated nationally the last Friday in April, however, many states choose their own day to observe depending on the climate and most suitable planting season (Kentucky officially observes the day on the first Friday in April.).

The very first documented arbor plantation festival took place in the Spanish village of Mondonedo in 1594. The first American Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska on April 10th, 1872. The celebration is now observed across the world. Below are a few ways our neighbors honor the tree.

Without trees, where would this cute koala bear hang out?


The down under folks devote more than a few days to their beloved trees. Their Arbor Day is in June and then National Tree Day is the last weekend of July. Arbor Week is also celebrated at various times throughout the year according to the region.




In addition to Arbor Day, Canada celebrates Maple Leaf Day the last Wednesday in September during National Forest Week.




Arbor Day is celebrated in China on March 12th. This date was chosen to commemorate the passing of Dr. Sun yat-sen, known as the father of modern China.




In Israel, it’s Tu Bishvat or Tu B’Shevat (New Year of the Trees) and it’s celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat






In Namibia, a National Tree of the Year is chosen and planted. It usually takes place the second Friday in October



Fertilize Your Plants and Trees

Just like us, trees and plants require nutrients to live and grow. Also similar to us, the demand includes both macronutrients (like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) and micronutrients (Iron, Zinc, Copper). Different types of plants and trees established in different types of conditions need varying amounts of these nutrients, and deficiencies could result in a failure to thrive as well as stronger vulnerability to disease and vengeful insects.

Inside Louisville’s city lines, the threat can be even greater. Trees in urban and suburban environments are often under further stress due to conditions such as low moisture availability, competition with neighboring turf, and what is called the “urban heat island” effect.

But we do have some trusty tools in our belt to keep this risk in check. In addition to keeping newly planted trees watered and pruned, there are a variety of fertilizers available to nurture the soil your new tree or plant calls home. And these last months of winter, as we prepare for spring’s new growth, are a great time to act.

Finding the Right Fertilizer

Both organic and inorganic fertilizers can be used to supply these important nutrients. While inorganic fertilizers are highly soluble and more rapidly available to the plant, the effects are not as long lasting as organic fertilizers which take time to break down and release nutrients more slowly. A combination of both can be applied to tackle both immediate and extended needs, but Abundant generally prescribes organic, slow release fertilizers that we inject into the ground with a pump-driven soil probe.

The best indicator of the type of fertilization your plants and trees might need is a soil test. The samples are analyzed by a laboratory and a recommendation is made based upon the current level of each nutrient, the acidity or alkalinity of the soil, and the types of plants being grown. You can get a free soil evaluation by taking a sample to your local county extension office.

While the soil test is the most accurate indicator there are a few other ways you can measure what your plants lack and need:

Shoot Growth:If new shoot growth is in excess of 6 inches, fertilization is probably unnecessary. If growth is under 6 inches, fertilization might be applied.

Foliage Color:Yellow or off-color leaves could indicate a need for fertilization as these symptoms generally occur on trees which are not using up enough of one or more required nutrient.

Yard History: Trees and plants in yards that are fertilized for turf on a regular basis rarely need to have supplemental fertilizer applied. Resort to taking a look at your shoot growth to see if anything additional is required.