All posts by Dave Tally, ISA Certified Arborist

Sudden Oak Death

Phytophthora ramorum is the oomycete plant pathogen known to cause the disease sudden oak death. The disease kills oak and other species of trees and has had devastating effects on the oak populations … Wikimedia

One of our customers in Rock Hill lost a 80+ year old White Oak to Sudden Oak Death. This customer has four very old White Oaks in very close proximity to the one that died. The White Oak pictured below (right) is definitely showing symptoms.

The trunk of the oak that died was completely covered in English Ivy, preventing the detection of the bleeding. Had it been caught in time, we may have been able to save it.

Wetwood, Slim Flux
Wetwood, often referred to as Slim Flux is a bacterial infection that is usually the result of an injury to the tree. It has a foul odor and more of a liquid.
Phytophthora ramorum
With Phytophthora ramorum, the bleeding is sticky and spotty. The White Oak pictured above is definitely showing symptoms.


Don, one of our service techs is spraying Agri-Fos, a systemic fungicide used for control of vascular fungal diseases. It is one of the few fungicides to successfully control phytophthora.

After removing the English Ivy, Poison Ivy and everything else covering the trunk of this tree, we discover this tree had succumb to the very pathogen that killed the neighboring tree, Phytophthora ramorum.

Please keep the ivy and other vines from covering your trees!  The tree that died was covered nearly to the crown!


Tea Scale Insect Identification

Tea scale populations, can infest a number of woody ornamental plants, yet are most commonly found  on Camellia shrub foliage.

In many situations Cottony Scale and Tea Scale will be found together making pesticide application timing important.

Tea scale is the most serious insect pest of flowering camellias. Tea scale also attacks hollies, citrus and the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) as well as a few other plants. Tea scale is a small insect that attaches itself to the leaf and sucks plant juices much like Cottony Scale

Tea Scale Main Symptoms

Black sooty mold on the upper leaf surface in winter-spring; scale insects and white egg masses on the underside of leaves in spring and early summer.

Most Active

All year round


Like other scales, tea scale decreases the vitality of its host by sucking phloem sap from the leaves, twigs, branches, and trunk. Feeding can result in defoliation and die back of twigs and small branches when infestations are extremely heavy. Like other soft scales, cottony cushion scale excretes honeydew, which is usually accompanied by blackish sooty mold growth and ants.

Self Defense

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid you know that certain types of trees warn each other when they’re being attacked by insects?

It has been found that Willow and Poplar Trees produce an excess of chemicals to not only reduce the nutritional value of their leaves for the insects, but also warn neighboring trees. Following the warning, nearby trees will begin to produce the same chemicals, defending themselves from similar attack.

Why we have Fall color…

fall Color
Red Maple

Do you know What Produces the Different Colors in Tree Leaves?

Yellow Pigments = Carotenoids

Carotenoids are pigments that have been present in the leaf cells all the time during the leaf’s life. They provide the yellow that leaves exhibit when the chlorophyll is not present.

Red or Purple Pigments = Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are pigments that form in the cell sap of some species in the summer and fall. The combination of dwindling chlorophyll and resulting sugar breakdown, along with bright sunlight, cool temperatures, and transfer of phosphorus from the leaf to the steams, produce the red and purple anthocyanin pigments seen in maples and other species.

Orange Pigments = Carotenoid’s and Anthocyanin’s

It is the combination of the two pigments that bring out orange colors in trees.

Green Pigments = Chlorophyll

During the spring and summer, the green chlorophyll pigments dominate and mask out other pigments in the leaf.

Brown Pigments = Tannin

Tannin’s cause the brown hues often seen in tree like oaks. Tannin’s actually act as a defense system for plants against pathogens, herbivores and poor environmental conditions.