Christmas Tree Picking

As Christmas approaches, our schedules get busier. I’m sure your to-do list is loading up quicker than you can check the items off. Between baking, buying gifts, decorating, wrapping presents, and more, “purchase a Christmas tree” is on the list (unless you’ve gone to the dark side and opted for an artificial one).

Let’s talk about some of the differences in trees you may see at the Christmas tree lots.

  1. Needles

Our best recommendation when it comes to any tree is run your hand down the branch to make sure a whole bunch of needles do not fall off. This is a sign that your tree is already drying out and will only lose more needles as you wrangle it into the house and decorate. Also, make sure there’s no browning needles or large bald spots as this is also a sign of an unhealthy tree or not freshly cut. 

Different conifers will have different needle shape, length, and texture. If you’re looking for a tree with soft needles, you’ll want to look at mainly fir trees, and some pines. Spruce trees all have sharp needles, as do some pines: perfect for deterring pets or children.

2. Branches

If you’re looking for trees with strong branches to hold your beautiful, heavy ornaments take a look at the Noble or Fraser Firs, the Blue Spruce, or the Scotch Pine. If heavy ornaments aren’t an issue, look at the Balsam Fir or White Pine.

3. Fragrance

Do you like to walk into your home around the holidays and instantly get hit in the face with the smell of your christmas tree? I know I do! It’s one of the main reasons I could never go for the artificial choice. The Farmer’s Almanac ranks the Balsam Fir as the most fragrant Christmas tree choice, while the Eastern Whie Pine doesn’t have a strong scent at all. Check out the Concolor Firs, also known as White Fir, if you’d like a more citrusy smell.

4. Size

ALWAYS know how tall your ceilings are in the room you want to place the tree. Remember to account for the stand and tree topper as well. Trees will have tags that state the size or the tree, but it’s always a great idea to bring your own tape measure to confirm. If you’ve found the perfect tree but it’s just a bit too tall, ask them to cut some off the bottom of the tree. No matter the size, they should always cut a little sliver off the bottom for a fresh cut to allow the tree to drink better once you get it home.

Let us know if you have any other tips or tricks for the christmas tree lot or Christmas Trees in general. Don’t forget, there are also many Christmas Tree farms in and around Bucks County, PA that you can go to purchase a fresh cut tree. Another great option is buying a dug up tree that you can plant in the spring! Regardless of the tree you chose, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas this year!


It’s Fall: What Stage will I currently see the Spotted Lanternfly in?

Now that the community of Lower Bucks County has seen Spotted Lanternflies first hand, we hope you are all wondering what you can do to help. Spotted Lanternflies are a destructive, invasive species. Even though they do not bite or sting humans and animals, we must try to kill them because they are a huge threat to Pennsylvania’s agriculture (hops, timber, fruit trees, grapes, etc).

SLF STAGES:

  • Eggs: Late September-May
  • Nymphs: Late April-Mid October
  • Adults: Late July-Mid December

Tis the Season:

The Spotted Lanternfly lays her eggs from September through December. The eggs will hatch between May and June, making nymphs and adults visible late April through December. Each egg mass contains 30-50 eggs that are covered and protected in a mud like covering. Now is the time of year to search for these egg masses and destroy them, along with any adults you may see. Spotted Lanterflies will lay their eggs on any hard surface including trees, cement blocks, cars, rusty surfaces, decks, rocks, etc.

Steps to destroying Egg Masses:

1) Locate an Egg Mass

2) Use a plastic scraper or putty knife to scrap eggs into a bag or container

3) Pour isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer into the bag and discard

4) Eggs can also be squished or burned before discarding

At Home Management:

  • Destroy Egg Masses: Late Sept.-May
  • Sticky Bands on Trees to Capture Adults/Nymphs: May-Early Nov.
  • Registered Insecticides by Professional: Mid May-Mid Nov.
  • Remove Tree of Heaven
  • Kill any adults, nymphs, or egg masses that you see
  • Check vehicles and objects before driving to prevent transporting
Image provided by Penn State Extension
https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly

Have YOU Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses?

Did you know Spotted Lanternflies are laying their eggs now?  The adult Lanternfly lays eggs from September to December. Visit www.RicksEXPERTTreeService.com for more info!

What to look for – Spotted lanternfly egg masses look like unevenly spread mortar smeared on almost any outdoor surface. The egg masses contain 30-50 eggs and are protected with a mud-like covering, giving them their grey color and cracked-mortar appearance. When the egg masses are first laid, they can resemble a light grey putty and can be shiny in appearance.  Over a few weeks time, they will harden and start to crack.

Where do they lay their eggs? – They will lay egg masses not only on tree bark, but on any smooth surface.

What to do if you find egg masses – Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, double bag them, and throw them in the trash or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.

Should you report a Spotted Lanternfly sighting? – YES!!! All sightings of Spotted Lanternflies, in any stage, should be reported. Please call 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359)

 ~Nichole Long

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Mass

Photo Credit: Penn State Extension, E. Swackhamer.

BREAKING NEWS: Have we finally found the answer to the Spotted Lanternfly crisis?

This time last year, our team was earning their Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training completion certificates through the Penn State Extension. At the time, Bucks County was in the quarantine zone but we really hadn’t seen any signs in Lower Bucks County. 

If you haven’t heard, the destructive, invasive pest known as the Spotted Lanternfly was first confirmed in Berks County on September, 22, 2014 by The Pennsylvania and US Department of Agriculture. It’s believed they slipped into Southeastern Pennsylvania from Southeastern Asia around 2012 and went undetected feeding and multiplying. Spotted Lanternflies are a huge threat to Pennsylvania’s agriculture and natural resources. In fact, it is now confirmed in 14 counties in PA. It is so important for us to find ways to get rid of them and keep them from entering new territory. 

HOW TO STOP SPOTTED LANTERNFLIES:

The first steps taken to try to contain the invaders was to set up quarantine zones, first by township but as the species started to spread they switched to naming whole counties. Everyone was advised to check their cars before driving out of a quarantine zone, as these pests are great hitchhikers and is likely the reason they have spread to such a vast area, and kill any that are seen. Scientists tested different pesticides and plans of action, such as tree banding and removing the Tree of Heaven, to try to terminate them. The hardest part is the time it takes to see if these strategies work, which also allows more time for the Spotted Lanternflies to destroy and multiple.

Last year, on October 19, 2018, a large number of dead Spotted Lanternflies were found in Antietam Lake Park in Lower Alsace Township. Researchers from Cornell University discovered that they had died from two fungi that naturally grow in Pennsylvania: Beauveria Bassiana(Beauveria) and Batkoa Major(B.major). Scientists found that 97% of the Spotted Lanternflies found on the trees were killed by Beauveria. As for the ones found on the ground, a little less than half were killed by Beauveria and the rest by B. major.

Spotted Lanternflies do not have any natural predators in the US like they do in their native home of Asia. They are able to move around, eat, and multiple without watching their back. Scientists are now importing wasps from China that help keep the SLF population under control across the sea. Two species have been brought to Delaware and are under tight security so they can’t escape while researchers test their theory. These wasps lay their eggs inside baby lanterflies and essentially eat the fly from the inside out. More testing is needed to make sure it is worth introducing another invasive species. Could they possible attack other native US species or agriculture?

YES, YOU SHOULD KILL SPOTTED LANTERNFLIES. HOW TO KILL THE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY:

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a spotted lanternfly. I was at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA and one landed on my son’s stroller. Then I saw another on my car when I came out of my son’s appointment at CHOP Chalfont, PA.  It’s all too real now seeing people in Lower Bucks County posting pictures of sightings in our local towns. 

Researchers still need our help! Spotted Lanternflies are currently in their adult states through December and have even started laying their egg masses this month. If you see any egg masses on trees, or anywhere, scrape them into a ziplock bag and pure rubbing alcohol on them to destroy them. You can pick up your FREE Spotted Lanternfly kit that includes all the materials you’ll need, along with information at Rick’s Expert Tree Service 1907 Bensalem Blvd, Bensalem, PA 19020 or Bensalem’s Fall Fest, Saturday, October 5th from the Rick’s Expert Tree Service tent. Please destroy them and any adults you may find. Check your vehicles before you leave so you do not transport them to other areas. 

Keep a look out for upcoming blogs with more information on Spotted Lanternflies and how you can help fight the crisis, along with other updates to help keep our trees thriving and beautiful.

                                ~ Amanda Logan


BREAKING NEWS: Fungi could be answer to Spotted Lanternfly Crisis

If you haven’t heard, the destructive, invasive pest known as the Spotted Lanternfly was first spotted in Berks County in 2014. It’s believe they slipped into southeastern Pennsylvania from southeastern Asia around 2012 and went undetected. Berks County was the first area to go under quarantine and the quarantine area has spread to cover most of southeastern Pennsylvania, including Bucks County.

If you haven’t heard, the destructive, invasive pest known as the Spotted Lanternfly was first spotted in Berks County in 2014. It’s believed they slipped into southeastern Pennsylvania from 

Southeastern Asia around 2012 and went undetected. Berks County was the first area to go under quarantine and the quarantine area has spread to cover most of southeastern Pennsylvania, including Bucks County. Spotted Lanternflies are a huge threat to Pennsylvania’s agriculture and natural resources. It is so important for us to find ways to get rid of them and keep them from entering new territory. 

On October 9th, 2018 a large number of dead Spotted Lanternflies were found in ANtietam Lake Park in Lower Alsace Township. Researchers from Cornell University discovered that they had died from two fungi that naturally grow in Pennsylvania: Beauveria Bassiana(Beauveria) and Batkoa Major(B.major). Scientists found that 97% of the Spotted Lanternflies found on the trees were killed by Beauveria. As for the ones found on the ground, a little less than half were killed by Beauveria and the rest by B. major. They published their findings April 22nd, 2019.

Beauveria is already found in some environmentally friendly pesticides. Researchers will continue this year studying the effects of these fungi and other pesticides to see which ones we can rely to terminate these pests. May is the first month the insects hatch. 

Researchers still need our help! If you see any egg masses on trees, or anywhere, scrap them into a ziplock bag and pure rubbing alcohol on them to destroy them. You can pick up your free kit that includes all the materials you’d need, along with information at Rick’s Expert Tree Service located at 1907 Bensalem Blvd Bensalem, PA 19020.   May is the first month that the first instars hatch from these egg masses. Please destroy them. Check your vehicles before you leave so you do not transport them to other areas. 

Keep a look out for coming blogs with more information on Spotted Lanternflies and how you can help fight the crisis and other updates to help keep our trees thriving and beautiful.


5 Measures to Take Before a Storm: Protect Your Trees

In Bucks County, PA, we experience the full spectrum of all four seasons. We see heavy rainfalls, thunder and lightening, snow, ice, blizzards, strong and light winds, and blisteringly hot, sunny days. Our area has beautiful natural scenery that truly adds to the look and atmosphere of living here. Unfortunately, those tall trees can’t always stand up to the challenges that spring, summer, fall, and winter bring.
We’ve all seen trees which were damaged by the weather. Trees split, fall, become damaged, or uproot. They can fall on homes, cars, fences, electrical wires, and other property. Dealing with a fallen or damaged tree can be difficult or dangerous. The weight of the tree or limb can cause more damage if not taken care of as soon as possible.

The best way to try to prevent damage to your trees is to take preventative measures before a storm hits.

Some of these include:

1) Planting native, strong trees to your area
3) Consulting with an arborist
2) Annual pruning by a trained professional
4) Removal of hazardous trees or branches
5) Keeping crotches in your tree clear of dirt and leafs

Remove Unwanted Tree Stumps from Your Yard

If you have a large, unsightly tree stump hanging around your yard, you might think that there are no options strong enough to remove it. However, our tree removal experts in the Philadelphia, PA area know that with a little planning, the right technique, and some elbow grease, even the toughest of stumps can be removed quickly and safely.

The first thing you need to know about stump removal is that the best course of action is usually to call a professional. Tree stumps in our yards can be a huge eyesore, so it can be tempting to try and rip them out of the ground ourselves.

However, removing a tree stump isn’t as simple as grabbing a shovel and going to town on it- you would have to educate yourself on the best course of action depending on the type of stump and purchase costly equipment.

Additionally, the time spent on removing the stump could be better spent on other household projects, making the tree stump removing more of a time sink than a financial one. Together, these factors can make the cost of removing a stump much higher than if you would have hired a professional.

By turning to us for your tree services in Philadelphia, PA, you will receive the results you are seeking. Hiring a professional is a one-time expense, and will equal out to less than you would spend purchasing the needed equipment to remove the stump, plus you can spend the time you would have used on research and removing the stump to enjoy yourself. Additionally, our professionals have experience removing stumps and other types of tree debris, so they can get the job done quickly and with less of a chance of injury.

If you have a stump that needs to be removed, we encourage you to call us here at Rick’s Expert Tree Service today.



What to Do If a Tree Falls in Your Yard

The sky swiftly switched from bright and sunny to black and cloudy within seconds. The dark clouds quickly sprawled across the sky as low crackles of thunder could be heard from a distance. Silence was suddenly replaced with heavy winds as the downpour commenced. As the thick rain continues to pound your home, the howling winds increase and the tree in your backyard dangerously begins to sway back and forth before finally caving in.

Timber!

So what now?

Good thing we at Rick’s Expert Tree Service are here to help with your tree removal in Huntington Valley, PA, and surrounding areas. Our crew has decades worth of experience handling cranes to ensure the job is handled correctly and efficiently. Here are a couple things you should know if you have a fallen tree in your background.

  • If a tree falls and lands on your property, causing structural damage, your homeowners insurance should aid you with the cost of removing the tree and repairing the wreckage.
  • If you notice that the fallen tree hasn’t caused any damage, you may not be covered by your homeowners insurance and might be forced to pay for the removal of the tree out of pocket.
  • If the tree falls into the street, check in with your city or municipality to determine who is ultimately responsible for removing the tree. If the city takes it, they may only remove the portion that’s in the street and you’d have to take care of everything else. Your insurance may help if there’s any structural damage.
  • Let’s say a tree caused structural damage, but it didn’t come from your yard. Your homeowners insurance may still be able to help you out despite it not being your tree. It depends on the circumstances. For example, if it’s determined that the neighbor was  inattentive and neglectful about the handling of his tree, you may get reimbursed.
  • Your car insurance and not your homeowners would likely cover the costs of damage if the tree fell on your car. You may, however, have to cover the costs of removing the tree from the top of your car.

Providing excellent tree services in Warminster, PA, and surrounding areas, interested parties are encouraged to visit our website http://ricksexperttreeservice.com or call 215-785-2168. Free estimates are also available to those in need.


Get Stumped – Tree Trivia from Rick’s Expert Tree Service

Late October is reserved for creative costumes, candy, tricks and treats. This blog will come in the form of a trick and a treat: a (fun) quiz!

Costumes are optional while taking part in our first edition of “Get Stumped.”

Let’s get started …

  1. How many leaves does it take to grow a big, Delicious apple?

a.) 25

b.) 50

c.) 100

  1. What is the minimum soil temperature required to allow for root growth?

a.) 32° F
b.) 23° F

c.) 10° F

  1. Which of the following do not grow on trees?

a.) mangos

b.) macadamias

c.) money

  1.  From what tree do we harvest some of the densest, darkest black wood?

a.) Black Cherry Tree

b.) Black Walnut Tree

c.) India Ebony Tree

  1. Which tree bears acorns?

a.) Pine Tree

b.) Oak Tree

c.) Redwood Tree

— [BONUS FUN FACT – Rick’s Expert Tree Service handles tree removal services for any kind of tree in Richboro, PA.] —

  1. True or False: Trees first appeared on Earth long before the dinosaurs did – about 400 million years ago.
  1. Trees produce ____ and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

a.) Nitrogen

b.) Helium

c.) Oxygen

  1. About ___ of the United States is covered by forests.

a.) 15%

b.) 33%

c.) 50%

  1. True or false: A tree is a plant.
  1. What is the name of the tree that stars in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy?

a.) Star-Lord

b.) Woody

c.) Groot

Ten questions seems like a fair way to start. How do you think you did? Were you surprised by the amount of fun facts there are about trees, roots, and forests?

Grading Scale (scroll down for a list of the correct answers):

0-4 Correct Answers – Back To The Drawing Board (which is made of wood)

5-7 Correct Answers – Worthy Of Celebration.

8-9 Correct Answers – Very, Very, Very Impressive!

10 Correct Answers – Certified 5-Star Tree Genius!!

CORRECT ANSWER LIST:

1 – B

2 – A

3 – C

4 – C

5 – B

6 – True

7 – C

8 – B

9 – True

10 – C

We hope you enjoyed this quiz. Stay tuned for more “Get Stumped” Tree Trivia in the near future. In the meantime, call 215-785-2168 if you need stump grinding or tree removal in the Philadelphia, PA, area!