Arborcare / Plant Health Care

Insect and Disease Management

The staff at Bassett, Inc., uses the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to help identify and treat insect or disease problems of your landscape trees and shrubs. By pooling the talents of our plant pathologist, our team of certified arborists and the local resources at the UW-Madison Department of Entomology and Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic, we strive to provide targeted treatments and preventative control solutions for total landscape management.

Japanese Beetle Control
Insect ID
Insect Diagnostic Lab
Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic
Emerald Ash Borer, City of Madison

Tree Fertilization

Trees in high stress environments often suffer from moisture competition, poor soils and soil compaction, physical or chemical damage, and nutrient deficiencies due to soil pH. To aid in the health of your trees there are several avenues to take, from root zone injections and foliar applications, to compost tea soil injections. These will all improve soil health, increase nutrient uptake, encourage root growth and boost plant vigor.

Compost Tea [PDF]
Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

Growth Regulation

In smaller urban locations, under power lines, or near housing, decks and patios, it may be necessary to limit the overall size and shape of trees by the use of growth regulators. Growth regulators offer advantages over pruning. When a tree is pruned it becomes stressed due to a loss of leaves and branches, nutrient producers. Due to this, a tree will grow new shoots. Because growth regulators slow the re-growth response, a tree is better able to fight diseases and insects, and environmental stressors such as drought. The effectiveness of growth regulators depends of tree species, environment, application rates and time of year applied. Trees will be more compact and appear denser and with a darker green color.

Tree Injections

Licensed professionals at Bassett, Inc., can offer you the option of treating your trees with injections, rather than spraying with pesticides or chemicals. Tree injections are applied directly beneath the bark and into a plant's water conducting system, and any chemicals injected are translocated upward with the flow of sap. Tree injections are used for treating insect pests, fungal and bacterial diseases and for nutritional supplementation.

Insecticides target destructive chewing and sucking pests that feed on shoots and leaves, as well as wood boring larvae. Fungicides inhibit or slow the growth of harmful diseases within the tree's vascular system. Growth regulators let you effectively manage tree growth or reduce fruiting, and nutrition injections help improve tree health and appearance. This may help boost recovery from chlorosis, drought, or transplanting.

There are two methods of tree injections- Macroinfusion and Micro-Injections. Macroinfusion is where holes are drilled into the bark and into the xylem (active sapwood) along the base of the tree, and into the root flares at and below ground level. Infusion tubing is attached and large amounts of active ingredients mixed with water is slowly infused and taken up by the tree. Dutch Elm Disease prevention is a common use of this method, as well as Oak Wilt or Anthracnose treatments, and nutritional deficiencies such as iron chlorosis. Micro-injections use less injection sites, chemicals and are sited higher on the tree. This system is used for scale, fungal disease prevention and nutritional supplementation, and is being tested for effectiveness for the treatment and prevention of Emerald Ash Borer.

The advantages of tree injections are that the chemicals are put directly into the tree, away from you, wildlife, beneficial insects and other non-target organisms. Applications can be done in inclement weather, unlike other treatment methods, and the volume of material is less, creating a cost-effective option for treatments.

"I wanted to compliment the guys that came to work on my trees. They were courteous, answered all my questions and concerns and did a great job! Thank you for taking the time to evaluate our trees and give us treatment options that will help save our trees."
—Jason, Waunakee

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive pest that affects all species, age and conditions of Ash Trees. Larvae feed in the inner bark layer in galleries that disrupts the trees' ability to translocate water and nutrients between the roots and the rest of the tree, eventually killing it within a 2-4 year window.

Proper Identification of this small, metallic insect is important in control and management. The small, D-Shaped exit holes are a good indicator. Other signs of infestation are a flagging or thinning canopy, advantageous sucker growth sprouting low on the trunk, peeling, flecking bark or increased woodpecker feeding on the insect larvae beneath the bark.

While the insects cannot fly very far, they often hitch rides on firewood or nursery stock. Management practices include strict quarantine regulations to help slow the movement of the insect.

If you have ash trees, even healthy appearing ones, getting your trees evaluated and into a treatment regiment is important. Treatments, done as a trunk injection, need to be addressed every two years for the remainder of the trees' life. If you do not choose to treat a tree, it will become infested and eventually die, necessitating removal at some point.

Even if your trees are found to have some signs of Emerald Ash Borer, treatments are effective. We can help determine if a tree is a viable candidate given its location, size, age and condition as some trees are valuable landscape assets. Other trees may not be acceptable candidates and should be considered for removals in a timely fashion as Ash trees become extremely brittle quickly after they die, and become much harder to remove as they are unsafe to climb.

Whatever route you decide to go, our certified arborists can help you make the correct decision. With over 130 years of combined experience in plant health care and tree work, we have the background and certifications to offer you the best possible solutions and results.

Emerald Ash Borer in Wisconsin

Dutch Elm Disease Management

Dutch Elm Disease has decimated the vast majority of our native Elm tree populations. It is vectored by bark beetles or through root grafts and although the symptoms manifest differently, both result in upper crown flagging (die off in large sections) and rapid death. Management of DED requires careful strategies including sanitation, control of the insect vectors, removal of root grafts, preventative fungicides, and the use of newer resistant plant varieties. With a plant pathologist on staff and our certified arborists we can offer the best management plan possible to you preserve this magnificent species.

Identify and Manage Dutch Elm Disease

Oak Wilt Management and Treatments

Oak Wilt is transmitted via root grafts with diseased trees or via the Picnic Beetle insect vector during the summer months. It is for this reason that Oaks are to be pruned between the winter months of November 15 and March 30. Oak Pruning dates are subject to change due to temperature fluctuations in the fall and spring. Fungicide injections can protect red, white and bur oaks at risk and also can be used as therapeutic preventative measures for white and bur oaks. We will evaluate your oaks and provide a proper diagnosis, recommend the appropriate treatments as well as maintenance and a management plan for follow-up health care.

Oak Wilt in Wisconsin: Biology and Management
Oak Wilt: U.S. Department of Agriculture [PDF]

Girdling Root

Girdling Root is when roots begin to grow around the main stem of a tree, which reduces the flow of the amount of water, nutrients and stored food reserves up and down the cambian. The main reasons for girdling root are usually attributed to poor cultural practices- either planting the tree too deep or if the plant was container grown and started developing poor root structure in the pot. (circling roots) Our certified arborists can evaluate your trees for girdling root by carefully removing the soil around the trunk. While the removal of a girdling root will wound a tree significantly, taking no action results in the eventual loss of the tree. We can help you make the decision about whether to remove and replace the tree outright, or if corrective measure would be of benefit.

Girdling Roots -- A Problem of Shade Trees

Compost Tea

Compost Tea is a highly concentrated microbial solution made by aerifying compost and beneficial microbes in water. It can be used in any lawn care program, for landscape ornamentals and trees, as well as vegetable and perennial gardens. The tea is used as either a foliar application or applied directly to the soil. Because it contains aerobic organisms, there are many benefits to our soils, such as the suppression of harmful insects and diseases. It can also degrade toxic pesticides and other chemicals present in the environment.

Compost tea provides soluble micronutrients that either feed soil organisms or react with nutrients locked in the soil, making them available for plant uptake. This helps create a healthier and self-sutstaining landscape. We will often recommend a compost tea application after a landscape installation to offset plant culture shock and helps plants establish quicker.