Plant Healthcare / Treatments

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 New and Established Trees

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.

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive pest that threatens all species of ash trees. In Wisconsin, it is estimated that about one-fifth of all street trees are ash, and now the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Madison, Dane County.

Identifying this pest and the trees they affect is the first step in treatment. Then, a certified arborist can make the proper recommendations for the health and safety of your landscape trees.

Proper Identification

Ash trees are easily identifiable from other trees in that they have opposite branching, a compound leaf structure (more than one leaflet per bud) and heavily furrowed V-shaped bark.

The Emerald Ash Borer is a metallic green beetle about 1/2" long, about the size of a grain of rice. (Mountain Ash are not affected as they are not true ash species.)

From May to July, adults emerge to mate, leaving a distinctive D-shaped exit hole in the bark. The eggs are laid in the crevices of bark and after hatching, the larvae chew into the tree, where they feed and grow over a two year period. This feeding creates S-shaped winding tunnels, or galleries, in the tissue right under the bark. The damage to this tissue inhibits the tree’s ability to move water and nutrients between the roots and the rest of the tree, causing decline and eventual death.

Signs of infestations are a thinning canopy, the D-shaped exit holes, new branches sprouting low in the trunk, racked, peeling bark or increased woodpecker feeding on the insect larvae beneath the bark.

Treatment Protocol

The good news is that treatment is effective.

Evaluate your trees with our certified arborists to determine what trees are worth treating. Depending on location, age, amount of crown thinning, or compromised structure, some trees may NOT benefit from treatments, while others may be deemed valuable landscape assets.

Treat every two years with a trunk injection, or ask about available organic options. If treatment is not a viable choice, consider removal and replacement with a more appropriate species.

The Professionals

Bassett, Inc., has seven certified arborists that are members of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and Wisconsin Arborists Association (WAA) and a plant pathologist to help you protect and maintain your valuable landscape assets. With over 130 years combined experience in plant health care and tree work, we have the background and certification to offer you the best possible solutions and results.

"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 text time to evaluate our trees and give us treatment options that will help save our trees."
—Jason, Waunakee

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.