Tree & Shrub Care FAQ's
Step 1 – Select a Category Topic
Step 2 – Either scroll through the list or type a question in the search field for all related questions.
- Emerald Ash Borer
- Fall Fertilization
- Insect and Disease Control
- Landscape Bed Weed Control
- Pruning Trees and Shrubs
- General Office FAQ's
- 1. Where did the emerald ash borer come from?
The natural range of the emerald ash borer is from eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea. Before June of 2002, it had never been found in North America.
- 2. How did it get here?
No one knows for sure, but it most likely came in ash wood used for stabilizing cargo in ships or from the wood used for packing or crating heavy consumer products.
- 3. What type of trees does the emerald ash borer attack?
All types of ash tree species are susceptible. Larval galleries have been found in trees or branches measuring as little as 1-inch in diameter.
- 4. In North America, what states have the emerald ash borer been found in?
In 2002, the emerald ash borer was first reported in Michigan, but has since spread to other states. Currently this devastating pest has been confirmed in 20+ states. For a state map please click here.
- 5. What happens to infested ash trees?
The canopy of infested trees begins to thin above infested portions of the trunk and major branches because the emerald ash borer destroys the water and nutrient conducting tissues under the bark. Heavily infested trees exhibit canopy die-back, usually starting at the top of the tree. One-third to one-half of the branches may die in one year. Most of the canopy will be dead within 2 years of when symptoms are first observed.
- 6. What do emerald ash borers look like?
The adult beetle is dark metallic green in color, ½ inch-long and 1/8 inch-wide.
- 7. Does it only attack dying or stressed trees?
Healthy ash trees are also susceptible, although beetles may prefer to lay eggs or feed on stressed trees. When emerald ash borer populations are high, small trees may die within 1-2 years of becoming infested and large trees can be killed in 3-4 years after becoming infested.
- 8. What do Ash Trees look like?
The below guide should help in identifying ash trees, however, feel free to call our office anytime and we will send out a technician, free of charge, to check the trees you have on your property and let you know if you have any ash trees.
- 1. Why is the service Fall Fertilization scheduled in late Fall instead of the Spring or Summer?
During the growing season, landscape ornamental trees and shrubs are both growing above and below the ground. Providing nutrients at this time will typically be used up by excessive unhealthy foliage growth; if done late during the growing season, this may not allow enough time to harden off before the winter season. This service targets the development of the root system, therefore must be done after the growing season and just prior to the winter season. The products we use are scientifically proven formulations of quality nutrients that provide root development and maximum efficiency of foliage development the following spring.
- 2. Is Fall Fertilization only beneficial for newly planted ornamental trees and shrubs?
No, both newly planted and mature landscape ornamental trees and shrubs will benefit from the controlled release nitrogen in Fall Fertilization.
- 3. Why isn't the fertilizer applied directly on the branches?
The purpose of this application is to provide nutrients to the root system for both growth and health of the overall tree or plant. Spraying the product directly on the branches will not trans-locate to the root zone. Drenching the soil around the drip line ensures that the fertilizer will be absorbed by the root system.
- 1. What is the purpose for dormant oil?
During the winter months insect pest such as aphids, mites and scale nest in landscape plants. Spraying plants with dormant oil blocks the spiracles through which insects breathe, thus killing them by suffocating them. This is an effective and ecologically friendly way to handle many pests and even some diseases.
- 2. Can you get rid of Japanese Beetles?
Yes, we use both a contact and systemic insecticide that is very effective against Japanese Beetles as well as many other insects.
- 3. Will the insecticides used stain my home or hard-scapes within my landscaping?
No, the insecticide has a little white residue but does not leave a stain.
- 4. In referring to trees, what is the maximum height you can service?
Our spray equipment can actually spray upwards to 100 feet in height, however depending on the location of the tree, surrounding vegetation, neighboring property considerations and wind drift we prefer limiting our services to about 30 feet maximum.
- 5. How do you control bagworms?
Timing is very critical in spraying evergreen trees for bagworms. Our insecticide used not only prevents new bagworms from being established it also kills any that may be present at the time our tree and shrub treatment is applied.
- 6. Is your program safe for eatable fruit trees?
The dormant oil treatment is a safe ecological treatment but the remaining 4 treatments have combinations of insecticides and fungicides which are not safe on eatable fruit trees.
- 7. My burning bushes did not turn red, why?
Multiple possible issues, first your burning bush needs plenty on sun light, second the soil needs to be slightly acidic and not alkaline. But the most common issue we have experienced is spider mites. Spider mites feeding on a burning bush will cause discolored leaves and leaf drop. Spider mites will suck the sap out of the leaf. This can severely stress the plant. Hot dry weather and water stressed plants favors a population explosion of spider mites. You may see webbing on the leaves and branches. To determine if the plant is infested with spider mites, hold a sheet of white paper underneath some of the discolored leaves and tap the leaves. Tiny dark specks about the size of pepper that move around on the paper are spider mites. (See the next question for more information on spider mites)
- 8. I heard not all spider mites are bad, is this true?
Yes this is true. Predatory mites are natural enemies of other spider mites and typically predatory mites are red in color with longer legs and are more active. Spider mites are small and often difficult to see with the unaided eye. Their color range from red and brown to yellow and green, depending on the species of spider mite and their appearance can change throughout the season.
- 9. What is the difference between contact and systemic insecticides?
An insecticide destroys, suppress, stupefy, inhibit the feeding of, or prevent infestations or attacks by, an insect and the mode of actions that they work will either be by contact or systemic. Many pesticides are 'contact' pesticides. This means to be effective they must be absorbed through the external body surface of the insect. Other pesticides are systemic in action. Systemic pesticides can be moved (trans-located) from the site of application to another site within the plant where they retain a longer residual protection against insects. At TurfGator, we mix both modes of action contact & systemic for a highly effective treatment for controlling insects.
- 1. How often do you apply applications to control weeds within my landscape areas?
Our landscape bed weed control program consists of 4 treatments.
- 2. Are the weed control products effective in mulch and rock landscape beds?
Yes, very effective in both.
- 3. I was told a thick layer of mulch 3-4" would choke out weeds, why am I starting to see weeds everywhere within my landscape areas?
Freshly mulched landscape beds will choke out weeds for awhile but eventually the mulch will begin to decompose and the weed's seeds will start germinating within the much itself.
- 4. Do you offer the service of hand picking weeds?
Yes, initially until weeds are under control with pre-emergent herbicide and post emergent herbicides or in case where the weeds are tangled within the landscape plants themselves, hand picking of weeds may be the best option and we can provide that service. Eventually, hand picking of weeds is generally not necessary.
- 5. I receive your lawn care services and tree & shrub care, will the weeds in my landscape beds be taken care of with those services?
- 1. How long does the color last?
Natural hardwood that hasn't been dyed with a color will typically begin to fade in 1 to 2 months depending on its exposure to the sun. However, when dyed it can retain its color up to 2 years.
- 2. Can the dye used stain sidewalks, patios or driveways?
Freshly dyed mulch can temporally stain hardscape surfaces therefore special care including clean-up needs to be taken when mulching areas around sidewalks, patios or driveways. It is similar in regards to paint; there is no longer a concern of staining once cured or dried.
- 3. Does the coloring used wash out during rain storms?
No, once the dye is completely cured or dried it will not wash out during rain storms.
- 4. Will the coloring in dyed mulch hurt my plants?
The most common color pigments used in making dyed mulch are iron oxide (rust) and carbon. These are common elements present in the soil naturally and therefore cause no risks to landscape plants and trees.
- 5. Does mulch attract termites?
Research performed by the University of Maryland noted that termites were found equally underneath mulched areas, rocked areas and uncovered ground areas.
- 1. When should non-flowering shrubs be pruned?
Most non-flowering shrubs can be lightly pruned at any time during the growing season but it is best to wait until the shrub goes into dormancy, during the winter, before doing any major pruning or reshaping.
- 2. When should continuous blooming shrubs be pruned?
Continuous blooming shrubs, ones that flower throughout the growing season (spring, summer and fall) can be pruned throughout the year but avoid pruning just prior to winter as new stimulated plant growth can become susceptible to cold weather damage.
- 3. When should spring blooming shrubs be pruned?
Any ornamental tree or landscape shrub that flowers prior to June 1st should be pruned immediately after the spring flowering to avoid removal of the buds for the next growing season.
- 4. When should summer & fall blooming shrubs be pruned?
Any ornamental tree or landscape shrub that flowers after June 15th should be pruned in early spring, preferably before April 1st
- 5. When should evergreen trees be pruned?
Evergreen trees (trees that maintain their leaves or needles year-round) - Depending on the species, most pruning should be done between late-winter through mid-June.
- 6. When should deciduous trees be pruned?
Deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves once per year) - Ideally pruning should be done while the tree is dormant over the winter and it is recommended to wait until late-winter such as February or March.
- 7. When should ornamental grasses, ground-covers & vines be pruned?
Ornamental grasses and many ground-covers should be pruned annually before new growth appears in the spring. Perennial vines need to be pruned periodically to control their aggressive growth, but care needs to be taken to limit removing flower buds.
- 1. Do you have a referral program?
Yes, please ask our sales departments on information on our customer referral program.
- 2. How will I be billed?
After each service is performed, a detailed invoice will be left at the front door explaining the service that was performed with a remit slip for making a payment.
- 3. Is payment due after each treatment or after each month?
All payments are due upon receipt.
- 4. Can I pay my bill through the website?
- 5. Do you accept credit cards?
We accept the following major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
- 6. Do you have an installment plan?
Yes, we offer custom installment plans as a convenience to spread equal payments over multiple months.
- 7. Do you charge for service calls?
We provide free service calls for customers who receive our complete program. Example: if a customer takes our lawn care program which consist of 7 treatments and calls for a service call between applications we would provide a free service call. However, if a customer skips a treatment and calls for a service call, charges may apply.
- 8. Do you charge for estimates or lawn analysis?
Estimates and lawn evaluations are always free.
- 9. Will you call me before you come out?
For customers that request notification prior to any service performed, yes we can provide that as a courtesy. We prefer to send an email notification, but can call if requested. For customers with gates or pets left outside it is our standard procedure to send a notification prior to any service performed regardless.
- 10. What time will you be out?
While it is difficult to schedule exact appointment times for most service treatments, we can provide general time frames such as early morning, late morning, etc.
- 11. Do I need to be home?
No, you do not need to be home for our Lawn Care Services, but if you have a request or a particular concern, feel free to call our office, send us an email or leave us a note on the back of your remit slip. As for some of our Pest Control Services, you will need to be home, as our technicians may need to enter your home, dependent on the service performed.
- 12. What happens if it rains on my scheduled treatment date?
If we called you the day before letting you know that we would be out for a service treatment and it rains prior to our visit, you will then be scheduled for the following day. If it should rain following a service visit the same day, most of the herbicide products we use are rain-fast within an hour, but in cases where we are caught in the rain, we will apply additional weed control if needed on a dryer day. We just ask you allow 10 days to see if this is needed and give us a call if it is.
- 13. Do I need to renew my services from year-to-year?
Service will continue from year-to-year, unless we hear from you otherwise. If you should ever want to change services performed or cancel service, please call our office or send us an email as we will need to update our records accordingly.
- 14. Do you offer any discounts if I pre-pay for my services for the entire year?
Yes, if services are prepaid we offer a discount of 5% - 10% depending on the time of the year. We also offer the option to setup auto-pay after services are performed which provides a 5% discount.
- 15. Is your company insured?
Yes, we are completely insured and if the unexpected should occur while performing any service offered at your property our insurance covers all incidents.
- 16. Is your company accredited by the Better Business Bureau?
- 17. Are your technicians licensed?
Yes, all of our technicians are licensed by the State of Illinois, Department of Agriculture.
- 18. How long has TurfGator been in business?
The company was started in 2009 and has been growing ever since.
- 19. Does TurfGator offer snow plowing?
Yes, we offer snow plowing for our commercial customers only. We do not offer snow plowing for residential customers at this time.
- 20. Does TurfGator offer residential lawn mowing?
Yes, we offer lawn mowing for both our residential and commercial customers.