Archive for the ‘Tree Service, Cincinnati’ Category

This year we’re finally getting some rain!  But our trees have suffered through four droughts in six years, plus other extremes. Too wet too long, and too dry too long. Our heavy clay soil has been like concrete, causing great stress to our trees. If trees were dropping leaves prematurely last season, it’s a sign they are stressed.

Make Your Trees Happy and Healthy…
To regain the health of trees stressed by drought, insects, and disease, aggressive action is required.

VMF1.  We pneumatically install two inch holes, ten to twelve inches deep, every three to four feet under the canopy of the tree.  These safely decompact and aerate the soil, stimulating the tree’s roots.

2.  We then back fill these holes with a special aggregate mixed with a slow release tree fertilizer, offering nutrients to the tree for the following 18 months.


  • Decompacts and aerates heavy clay soil
  • Directs water straight to the roots to preserve tree health and save your trees
  • Reduces the amount of water needed, and saves money
  • Time release fertilizer stimulates new root growth and promotes tree health.

We are following the lead of scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, adapting their methodology to local conditions. To read about their dramatic tree recovery results, go to Dramatic tree recovery methodology from Kew Gardens.

Vertical Mulching and Fertilizing is recommended every two years, especially after our last six years of extreme weather.

Act now to save your trees from effect of extreme weather, insects and disease.  Call me at 513-742-8733.




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This is a question that our salespeople and technicians get asked quite often.

The quick answer is YES.  As can be read in other posts such as Our process to protect valuable ash trees, the method that we use keeps the formulation within the system of the tree.  The formulation is injected into the tree trunk via small plugs, which act as one-way valves, and it stays in the tree.

Other systems such as soil drenching, put pesticides into the environment.  In a letter to the USDA, concerned citizens in Pesticide Action Network North America, Toxics Action Network, and The SafeLawns Foundation, stated the  following with respect to soil drenching.

“…we believe direct soil applications of imidacloprid presents the vast potential for too many unintended consequences. Among imidacloprid’s known deleterious impacts are known to be:
a) Toxicity to birds, fish, crustaceans, earthworms and most especially honeybees, which are essential for the pollination of vast amounts of the world’s food;
b) Potential for migration into water. Imidacloprid can persist in soil for 26.5 to 229 days in soil and has been detected in both ground and surface water in New York. California put imidacloprid on its groundwater protection list due to its potential to contaminate groundwater;
c) Potential impacts to humans. Imidacloprid has been linked in animal studies to reproductive, mutagenic and neurotoxic effects.
d) Several nations, including France and Germany, have banned soil-based applications of imidacloprid due to its aforementioned toxicity issues.”

Although the article is specifically about the Asian Longhorned Beetle, the same process and pesticide is used by some companies for Emerald Ash Borer.  Therefore it is important to ask any company that may treat your ash trees what is the method they use, and what chemical they use.

It is also noteworthy that TREE-age (ememectin benzoate) is more effective over a longer period of time than imidacloprid.  See past post Insecticide Options for Treating Emerald Ash Borer

The complete letter, and associated article, can be read on the following link…

Government Considers Soil Drenching of Pesticides in Boston

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Over the past few weeks many people in Cincinnati have asked when the best time is to treat their ash trees for the Emerald Ash Borer.  Several mentioned that they had heard that April was best, and some said a friend told them that is was too late in the season to treat ash trees for Emerald Ash Borer.

In order to answer this question we need to be aware of two variables; the life cycle of the Emerald Ash Borer, and the type of treatment used.

The adult beetle emerges starting early May, leaving its distinctive “D” shaped exit hole 1/8th inch in diameter.  Adult beetles continue to emerge through June. Eggs are laid starting mid May and continue through  to August.  These eggs take seven to ten days to hatch.  The larvae then tunnels under the bark and starts feeding.  This is the highly destructive phase of the cycle and lasts through October.  The larvae pupates over winter and in early spring the adults start to emerge.

There are several treatment types.  Two of the most common are soil drenching and injection.

Soil drenching: A channel is dug around the tree and filled with imidacloprid formulation.  This takes four to eight weeks to be absorbed into the root system and take effect.  That’s why some say April treatment is best, because the soil drenched tree will be ready for the emergence of the adults in May, and continue to kill the larvae through the fall. Because of the delay in soil drenching taking effect, treating later in the year is less effective. Also, this method need to be repeated every year.

Read about the unintended consequences of soil drenching.

Injection:  The solution that Back Tree Service uses is tree injection with TREE-age.  This has the advantages of taking effect within only 72 hours and remains effective for two years.   Therefore injecting late in the cycle is just as effective as in the beginning of the cycle.

Therefore, the answer to the question on the best time to treat for Emerald Ash Borer is Spring though Fall with TREE-age when the leaves are on the trees.  Let’s face it, if the trees are getting consumed right now, why put off treating it until next year?  Once the ash borer infests an ash tree, it takes only two to three years to kill that tree.  So the earlier they are treated, the less damage to the tree.

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When treating ash trees in the Cincinnati and Dayton area, a question that we are commonly asked is “What is your process to protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer?”

This is a good question and has many people curious to learn the answer.


As you may already be aware, we inject the ash tree with a special solution of Emamectin Benzoate, called TREE-äge.  But how exactly is that done?

Well, we use small plugs that are placed in the trunk around the tree, and approximately six inches apart.  To do this, we drill the holes into the trunk two inches deep and close to the base, maybe a foot or two from the ground.  The plugs are then tapped into the holes, and set.  These plugs are then injected with the TREE- äge formulation.

Arbor Plugs

Plug Placement








In order to determine how many plugs to install, and how much TREE-äge to inject, the first step is to measure the diameter of the tree at 4.5 feet above the ground.  This is called Diameter at Breast Height, or DBH.  Some people are fascinated that we use a special tape measure that has the linear measurement already divided by Pi to give the diameter.

Once we have the DBH, a chart is consulted that shows how many plugs, called sites, are to be put in the tree, and how much TREE-äge per site.  As one might expect, the larger the tree’s diameter, the more sites (plugs) it needs and the more TREE-äge it needs per site.

For example, a six inch ash tree would have three sites at six milliliters of TREE-äge each, an 18 inch ash tree nine sites at nine milliliters, and a 32 inch diameter ash tree would take 17 sites at 15 milliliters per site.

The key is to get the right amount of TREE-äge into the tree.  And, under ideal conditions, the formulation will be up in the twigs in 72 hours.

The Emerald Ash Borer larvae feed on the inner bark of the ash tree.  Any larvae are exterminated by the TREE-äge formulation on contact.

This ash tree treatment has been proven effective for two years, and so we contact our clients every two years in order to renew the protection of their trees.

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The following guide was put together by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Canada.

As the title indicates, it provides a simple, straightforward explanation of how to detect ash trees with the Emerald Ash Borer.

As you drive around the Greater Cincinnati area, you can see ash trees in that clearly show signs of stress, especially in places like Anderson Township and Morrow.  This guide will be of assistance in detecting if your tree might be infected with EAB.

A Visual Guide to Detecting Emerald Ash Borer Damage

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As you may already know, Back Tree Service has successfully treated over 5,000 trees saving them from the Emerald Ash Borer.

One of the questions the our technicians are frequently asked by clients is how long will it take to inject their ash trees.  This depends on what some technicians refer to as “The Mood of the Tree.”

In the Greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky areas, the most common ash trees that we inject are White Ash and Green Ash.  Typically the White Ash takes the TREE-age formulation injection faster than the Green Ash due to its physiology.

One of the most profound revelations on how fast a tree will accept the formulation came at YMCA Camp Kern.  You may know Camp Kern as the location of the Ozone Zipline.

A couple of months ago, we went to Camp Kern to treat ash trees that were used to support some of the Ozone Zipline platforms.  These were very tall trees, perhaps 90 plus feet high and over two feet in diameter.

We injected the first ash tree without much delay.  But after starting to inject the second ash tree, it just shut down.  In other words, it just stopped accepting the TREE-age formulation.  And within a minute or two the rain started.  It was as if the ash tree knew that it was going to rain and stopped in anticipation.  This was truly remarkable as we tend to think of trees as fixtures, and not sensitive living things that sense and respond to changes around them.

Another influence in how fast ash trees take up the formulation is the amount of moisture in the soil.  Too much and the tree will not be “thirsty”.  If the ground has been dry for a while the tree will also be slow to accept the formulation.

If the tree trunk has damage, or flat spots that indicate that part of the tree slowed in growth, or the roots have been damaged, the tree will most likely take longer to inject.

Large trees take more formulation, and are also slower in accepting it.  This is especially true later in the day when the temperature is high.

Other factors include humidity, clear sky vs. cloudy, and soil condition.

In conclusion, a healthy tree is more likely to take the formulation faster than a tree that is stressed, but the time to inject depends on the “mood of the tree.”

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This article from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture gives a clear strategy to combat the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.

This is useful advice to everyone, whether in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, Dayton, or anywhere in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

‘Buy Local, Burn Local’ firewood to help stop spread of emerald ash borer

Monday, May 23, 2011
For more information contact:
Bill Clary
(502) 564-1137

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer reminds all Kentuckians that they can do their part to control the emerald ash borer by always buying local firewood.

The emerald ash borer (EAB) was first discovered in Kentucky two years ago on May 22. The week of May 22-28 is recognized as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week nationwide.

“A good rule of thumb for firewood is ‘buy local, burn local,’” Commissioner Farmer said. “That’s an easy thing Kentuckians can remember to help stop the spread of the emerald ash borer while helping our state’s hardwood producers.”

The movement of infested firewood contributes to the borer’s spread. Quarantines have been established in Kentucky and other states with confirmed infestations because EAB larvae can survive hidden in the bark of firewood.

Commissioner Farmer and other officials urge Kentuckians to take the following steps:

  • Don’t move firewood, even within Kentucky. Don’t bring firewood with you from home to campgrounds or parks. Buy all your wood there, and don’t take extra wood back home.
  • Don’t buy firewood from outside Kentucky. If someone comes to your door selling firewood, ask them where the wood came from. If it came from outside Kentucky, don’t buy it.

The EAB (Agrilus planipennis) likely arrived in the U.S. in 2002 in southwest Michigan hidden in wood packing materials commonly used to ship goods. On May 22, 2009, officials with the Office of the State Entomologist announced the first confirmed findings of the EAB in Kentucky.

State officials since have quarantined 22 Kentucky counties, prohibiting the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, green ash lumber, and other ash materials. The quarantined counties are: Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Campbell, Carroll, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Grant, Greenup, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Scott, Shelby, Trimble and Woodford. The EAB has been found in Boone, Boyd, Campbell, Fayette, Franklin, Greenup, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Oldham, Owen and Shelby counties.

For more information about the EAB, visit http://pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/EAB/welcome.html.

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