Happy Anniversary RITree 1991-2016

Rhode Island Tree Council Celebrating 25 YearsWe are planning many events and activities to be held throughout the year to celebrate this wonderful birthday. Some involve tree plantings, others informative lectures and workshops and there are a few social gatherings as well. So watch for your invites and come and celebrate!

Celebrate Arbor Day

You are cordially invited to celebrate Arbor Day with the Rhode Island Tree Council, National Grid, RI Department Environmental Management and The Newport Tree Society on April 29, 2016.

Arbor Day recognizes the importance of trees. Trees purify the air, provide cooling shade and soothe the human psyche. Their ability to slow and absorb storm-water saves taxpayers millions of dollars in annual flood damage and treatment costs. Trees also beautify the places where we live, work and recreate. There are literally hundreds of benefits derived from trees that help to improve the planet and the welfare of the human race. As you can see, trees are special, so special, in fact, that RITree plans to honor them on Arbor Day and we would like for you to attend.

Largest Living American Chestnut Found In Maine

The odds of hitting Powerball are probably much better than finding a living 100 foot tall American Chestnut! But, sure enough, one was discovered in the State of Maine. Researchers hope the tree will be able to give them some clues on ways to combat the deadly fungus that has all but virtually eradicated this one-time common species from the American landscape.

Tallest American Chestnut Tree Found In Maine

2015 Rhode Island Champion Trees edition is now available

The 2015 Rhode Island Champion Trees edition is now available and can be obtained by making a $15 donation to RITree's Champion Tree Fund. In this publication find out about Rhode Island Beeches. Also, included are summary lists of the top 25 trees by trunk circumference, height, crown spread and, of course, by total point score.

Click here to see the complete 2014 Champion Tree list.

Backyard Fruit Tree Growing Course (5 sessions)

Registration Open!

DATES: Saturday, April 23, May 21, June 18, September 10, and October 22.

LOCATION: RITree’s Fruit Tree Demonstration Orchard, 2953 Hartford Pike, Johnston, RI 02919

DESCRIPTION: How To Grow Fruit Trees presents a safe, reliable, and fun way to grow fruit in the confines of your own backyard.  The course was developed for busy people who always wanted the thrill of harvesting home grown apples, peaches and pears but never had the time to learn how.

Cranston Planting for the Future

Innovative Planting Project

The City of Cranston successfully implemented a Set-Back Tree Planting Project this past spring. A total of 40 home-owners participated in this inaugural project. A 10-foot shade tree- Red oak, Tulip-tree or Sugar maple- was installed on their front lawn.

Big Trees Fall in Warwick

Sad Day For Our Champions

Warwick got a little less green when four beautiful shade trees growing on the same property met the developers' axe over the past winter. All lost trees were members of Rhode Islands' Big Tree Registry. They included a Cucumber magnolia, American linden, Tuliptree and Weeping European beech ( see chart below for their vital statistics).

Rhode Island State Tree: Red Maple

The Red Maple is widely planted as an ornamental tree in public park settings, along streets, and in private yards throughout North America. It is relatively easy to cultivate from seed and grows very rapidly once established.

Reprint from City Trees - State Coordinators

In Rhode Island, like many other states, there are numerous community-led groups and non-profits that have a passion for the environment, and many that look to better the world through planting trees. I would like to introduce one of those organizations: the Rhode Island Tree Council, which strives to provide our state’s citizens with the knowledge and education to make informed decisions for the care and planting of trees. Download the reprinted article.

2016 Cranston Neighborhood Planting Program

A partnership between the City of Cranston and the RI Tree Council

FREE trees for planting on private property are now available to Cranston residents who meet program eligibility requirements. A Red maple between 8-10 feet tall with a 4-6 foot crown spread will be available. They will be furnished and installed in spring 2016 (April 1 – May 30) at no cost to the home-owner. That’s a $250 value!!

Caterpillar Damage

While most spring defoliators (Winter moth, Cankerworms, Gypsy moth and Eastern Tent Caterpillar are mostly done for the season, the larvae of the Forest Tent Caterpillar (FTC) are still feeding on foliage. The larvae are black with hour-glass-like spots running down the middle of their abdomen. Treat with registered pesticide, if the infestation is heavy.

Caterpillar damage is pretty bad this year. For some plants, this was the second year in a row that they defoliated.

Disease Management

Hot, humid summer weather is just around the corner. That means fungal diseases cannot be far behind, especially when a sudden rainfall event is added to the mix. Here are a few tips to follow to help keep your plants free of the blights and needle-cast diseases that can wreck the summer for your trees and shrubs.

History of Arbor Day

image003The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan. Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture. But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.

Soil & Tree Growth Research

Soil & Tree Growth Research

A five year study to evaluate the effects of organic and inorganic fertilizers on soil quality and tree growth was recently completed by researchers at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.

The substrates tested were hardwood mulch, compost, aerated compost tea, synthetic NPK fertilizer and a commercial biological product (mycorrhizae). The results showed that soil compost and mulch had the most dramatic impact on soil quality. Likewise, tree growth was greatest with mulch and compost.

Pests to Watch Out for by Growing Degree Days

Growing degree days (GDD), also called growing degree units (GDUs), are a heuristic tool in phenology. GDD are a measure of heat accumulation used by horticulturists, gardeners, and farmers to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, a pest will emerge, or a crop will reach maturity.

  • Gelatinous Tendrils

    Gelatinous tendrils

    Be on the lookout over the next couple of weeks for the following critters as well as rust diseases incited by fungi.

    Gelatinous tendrils on galls on Juniperus species will soon be noticeable. The inch-long galls range in color from reddish brown to orange and contain millions of fungal...

  • Gypsy Moth

    Gypsy Moth Caterpillar

    Caterpillars of the Cankerworm, Winter Moth and Gypsy Moth have been actively feeding on deciduous hosts since May 8. The first two of these defoliators can be identified by their light green larvae; the latter by its black larvae. Damage symptoms caused by the young larvae range from small, irregular...

  • Winter Moth

    Adult Male Winter Moth

    Winter Moth- Fifty-three readers responded in the affirmative when we asked if anyone had witnessed winter moth activity in a November-December 2013 informal survey. Of this total, only 4 came from sightings north of Providence. The majority of the rest came from Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and South Kingstown. ...

  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

    Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

    Look for cotton swab-like cushions at the base of needles on hemlock. These are the female ovisacs of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA). Newly hatched crawlers will be emerging from these sacs to feed on the hemlock foliage from now until June. Use, insecticides, insecticidal soap, or insecticidal oil sprays...

  • Lace Bugs

    Lace Bugs

    Monitor for Lace Bugs showing up over the next several weeks on broad-leaved evergreens such as Andromeda, Azalea and Rhododendron. Nymphs are black and covered with spines and feed on the undersides of the leaves. Black fecal spots mark the places where they have been feeding. Yellowing and stippling of...

  • Mites and Psyllids

    Now is the period to check Boxwoods for the presence of mites and psyllids. Immature mites are yellow-tan in color with many legs. They feed on the leaves causing them to yellow, turn brown and drop off prematurely. The psyllid nymphs are green and flattened with fluffy white wax on...

  • White Pine Weevil

    White Pine Weevil

    This insect had a banner year in 2013, killing the terminal shoots of white pine, spruce and fir across RI. The adult weevil overwinters in the duff and soil beneath the host trees becoming active as soon as the daily temperature reaches 50ᵒF. The adult weevil climbs up the trunk...

  • Cooley Spruce Gall Aphid

    Cooley Spruce Gall Aphid

    Overwintering females can be found near the base of terminal buds on spruce shoots and the undersides of needles of Douglas-fir. Apply a dormant oil spray to crevices of bark on terminal twigs and bases of buds on susceptible hosts. Do not apply oil to Blue spruce since it may...

  • Emerald Ash Borer

    Emerald Ash Borer

    Update. This destructive pest is getting closer and closer to Rhode Island. In summer 2012, it was found for the first time in Prospect, CT about 125 miles from Downtown Providence. Later that fall, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts reported the discovery of EAB attacking ash trees in Dalton, MA (Berkshire...

  • Bagworm Larvae

    Lace Bugs

    Bagworm larvae (1/2" grayish-black, worm-like) were reported recently munching on Arborvitae and Red cedar. Other hosts are White cedar, juniper, and Leyland cypress. Treat with Spinosad, BT var. kurstaki, or tebufenozide (Confirm)

  • Spider Mite

    Spider Mite

    Spider mite populations are rising with the increase in temperature. Coniferous landscape trees and shrubs are most vulnerable. Treat with Insecticidal soap, Spinosad or Summer oil.

  • New Pests Arriving Soon

    Rhododendron Moth Damage

    Rhododendron and Dogwood borer- Check large branches on rhododendron, azalea and dogwood for cracks, tunnels and frass caused by these borers ( ½" white, worm-like larva with a brown head). Use pen-knife to extract borers from tunnels. Prune out affected...

  • Oak Skeletonizer

    Oak Skeletonizer

    Look for pale-yellow caterpillars hanging down on silken threads between feeding on leaves of Red, Black, Pin and Willow oaks. The second generation of this pest occurs in August-September. Heavy infestations may require treatment with a registered pesticide.

  • Scales

    Scales are sucking insects with tube-like mouth-parts they insert into the leaves to extract the nutrient rich sap found within. Their feeding causes the foliage to yellow and shed prematurely.

    Monitor plants for the following scale insects starting in mid-June. Wrap double-sided sticky tape around twigs to monitor crawler...

  • Japanese Beetle

    Japanese Beetle

    Japanese Beetle adults are ½" long, broadly oval-shaped with brown wing covers and metallic green body. They skeletonize the leaves of many plants sometimes defoliating them. Weekly sprays of insecticidal soap, permethrin and pyrethrins will provide partial control; systemic insecticides (imidachloprid) applied as a soil drench will also provide some...