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What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees

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Cankerworm Information for 2018 and 2019

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Fly tying
 for 2018-2019

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  1.    backwords to Thanksgiving nov 23rd 2017

April 18, 2018
I expected to see cankerworms today but did not.  They should be out, but we had a very weak infestation in this area (Myers Park).  If anyone out there has information, let me know.  I went fishing over a long weekend and could have missed the hatch.  BTW I always enjoy the mountains this time of year.  The green spring foliage was on the lower mountains but not at any higher elevation.  Itwas interesting how much more green was visible on the way home four days later.

April 11, 2018
Spring is here... Several days ago (April 6, 2018) I happened to stumble upon ashort article I wrote back in April of 2000 which is 18 years ago. To me this has been a rough winter, but plants are starting to bloom on exactly the same schedule.  I thought our weird winter would slow things down. I would say that alaleas were  out in full bloom yesterday, April 10th.

Take a look:
April 4, 2000

Every year I wonder where we are in the spring as compared to last year or the year before.  Below are a few things happening right now which gives us an idea as to what will happen next year also.

Trees flower about 3 to 4 weeks earlier here in Charlotte, then they do up north in areas such as Rochester New York.  Washington is about 3 weeks behind.

To day the boxwood leaf miner came out.  I have seen the little orange fly emerge as early as the last day of March and as late as the 15th of April.  Most azaleas are in full bloom or will be in a day or three.  Daffodils are mostly gone, only the latest varieties are still hanging around.

Willow oaks in full leaf although some of the young trees in cooler areas only are partially out.  The tassels of the willow oak are falling but have not reached their peak.  They are a real mess and pollen from the oaks and pines will coat everything soon.

Sweet gum pollen will turn ponds dark coffee color.  We actually spray them soon to keep the sweetgum balls from forming.  This works well if you are interested.  It beats cutting down the trees and the balls are really a pain.

I will continue to post as plants come into leaf.

I observed the azaleas in my own yard starting to flower and even took a few photos which I will post here.

March 29, 2018
It feels like spring out there today.... finally.  So far we have missed the rains and tornados that are racing in from the midwest.  I did miss the nasty weather of a freeze, rain, and snow that was here a couple of weeks ago.  I was fortunate to be in South Africa where is was early fall, nice weather, but a severe drought in Cape Town.  Here is what one of the large resevouirs looked like from the Air.  Part of the issue for Capetown is that they have had double influx of people in the last several years and that has put a real strain on infrastructure.

  Lake near Capetown with very low water_0029 

Lake Capetown low water_0029

map above.

March 28, 2018
 I am back from a little time off and have reached a turning point in that I have a different focus on life.  Maintaining a business property takes work. There are taxes, property to be maintained and unexpected things that happen because of weather or other unforeseen things.  I plan to maintain these pages and keep my Observations to continue to add content to the site.

March 3, 2018
I guess we need to get back to the business of dealing with things that did not get sold at my sale.  We got rid of a lot of small things, but some of the larger items are still here.  I am moving stuff from the property as the new owner takes over soon.  I intend to remove the photos of what is gone which means that if the photo is still there, so is the item available. Give me a couple of weeks to get that done as I have other priorities.

February 23, 2018
Since the timing of the cankerworm seems to be on schedule I think we can assume that the emergence will be late March or early April.  The eggs are laid in the top of the trees and after the first cankerworms hatch, they will be green and about 1/16th of an inch long.  It used to be that you could see small cankerworms on the Tanglefoot trap, but since there are so few females, I have seen very few egg cases on the trunk. We will have to hear from others in areas where there were heavier infestations.  So much for now..

February 18, 2018
I have not seen any cankerworm for a week.  I think they are done for the season.  Since I have not heard anyone come up with a better thought as to why there have been dramatically fewer cankerworms, here is mine.  We had a drought just before te big freeze.  It was below freezing at sometime during each day for 10 days or more.

I saw plants die this year that have not before.  At my office I have had three separate     ten gallon containers with three types of water lilies in them.  They have lived happily for 15 years in those three containers and all of them foze oout this season.  The cold might have been the critical factor but the drought could have added to it by weakening the cankerworms just below the surface of the ground.

February 11, Sunday 0 cws today total  cws for the year 46.  .





December 19, 2017 Tuesday
I got a call today from the North West Charlotte that 4 cankerworms were spotted on a “pin” oak tree.  I suspect that the tree was a willow oak in that the long leaves of the willow oak often confuse people who have heard of the Pin Oak which has deeply indented leaves and has a more traditional oak leaf shape.  The pin oak also has the bad habit of keeping its leaves on most of the winter.  In other words you will have to rake leaves all winter long.

I put up my trap last night with no Tanglefoot on itsee more

December 17, 2017 Sunday
Looks like we will get a little rain over the next few days.  We need it, as we are in a drought which is not good for trees and shrubs going into dormancy.

December 13, 2017 Wednesday
Yesterday, the cities contract crew banded about 1/2 of the city trees along Queens Road West.  This morning about 10:30 am I took this photo.  It was windy and this is not the entire trap, but here within 24 hours there are a significant number of leaves in the trap.  Please note that there are a lot of leaves on the ground and invariably the city will send out a bunch of leaf blowers in a few days and really blow the leaves up on the trap.

leaves reduced on trap qrw day after


On the way back down the road, I saw that a lawn care crew was just finishing up cleaning a rather large yard,  There were three men with blowers and they did a really good job of getting the lawn clear of leaves. You can see them in the background in this first photo below.  The cankerworm trap is ruined.   see below

Hold off a few days from putting up your cankerworm traps and watch out for the leaf blowers.

It’s not just leaves, it is dust and other debris that clogs up the glue on the trap.  Look closely and you will see what I mean.   These traps have to stay on the trees until mid April ...4 months.

wio 3 reduced blowers qw ruined trap

December 12,2017 Tuesday
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get the traps up.  I see city traps with tanglefoot full of leaves already.  In much of Charlotte, the trees still have lots of leaves.  There are more details on the cankerworm page.  The cold front should arrive tomorrow and that has delayed the real cold that we need to bring them out to crawl up the trunk.  more on cankerworms
December 10, 2017 Sunday  
The temperature only dropped to 28 last night; I expected 26.  I started thinking about the cold weather coming and all the other things I needed to do this Christmas Season.  About 3:00 Am after a good sleep I woke up and realized I had not protected several outside faucets.  One in the back yard is a copper pipe that stands up from the ground about 24 inches.  If it freezes and burst, it is a pain to fix.  Fortunately, I know a little about soldering copper, and if I were to not take care of this I know I would have a broken pipe.

At the same time I have 3 hoses in the front and back yard each of which has a spray nozzle.  If they are drained they are not affected by the cold, but if there is water inside them they will break.  I gathered the faucets up also and went back to bed and slept

December 6, 2017

The leaves are flying from the trees, and with the coming cold front and wind, I think most of the trees will be rid of their leaves soon.  If you are doing the banding yourself you should put the bands up now, but do not put Tanglefoot or other sticky material on the band. (see more on banding).

When I used to rake my yard, I realized that it would take about 100 leaf bags to clean up all the leaves.  It  did not matter if I raked leaves once a week during the leaf falling time, or if I raked once a month, or waited until the end  of the season, it always took about 100 bags.  I have fewer willow oaks now, but my neighbors might not.  All of these leaves came from one yard.

 Sixty Three ( 63) Bags of leaves from one residential yard on QRW.

   63 wio reduced leaf bags on Queens Road West Dec 5,17


December 2, 2017 Saturday
It will several more days before we see female cankerworms start climbing the trees.  The 10 day
forecase for Charlotte shows us getting into the 25 and 28 degree range by Saturday December 9th.  Shortly after that I would expect to see some activity. There are certain areas around Charlotte that are not as affected by the heat of the city, and they might experience colder temperatures sooner than we do.  I have several people who report when they see cankerworm activity and that is a big help to all of us. I still see lots of trees loaded with leaves.

wio big reduced to 4%

Big Willow Oak

 I photographed this large willow yesterday (Friday Dec first), and as you can see there are many leaves to still fall.  At the same time a light wind was blowing leaves out of the trees, and we are expecting rain soon.  If that is the the case then certainly on large trees the leaves will fall, and it would be ok to put up traps  I is ok to put the band on the tree now, but do not put the sticky material on until we 3 good cold days.

Personally I would wait a few days to put Tanglefoot on because I always put a very thin 1/2 inch band on my lone large tree and will not put up the remaining tanglefoot until I see modest activity. 

I also recognize that lots of people hire tree companies to put up the Bug Barrier trap and the way it is made to shield the glue this trap can be put up earlier than the traditional Tanglefoot trap. There are other reasons I don't care for the Bug Barrier trap and you can read about that here.

November 3, 2017  Thursday Thanksgiving Day

 Charlotte, NC 28207
Phone: 704.618-6214