Tick Season and Threat of Powassan Virus


Increased Ticks in Summer 2017

It’s predicted that ticks may prove to be a serious problem in Westchester and Fairfield counties this summer. An increase in the tick population is expected because Winter 2017 was unseasonable mild and with minimal freezing temperatures, more ticks were able to survive and reproduce. In addition, we can expect to see an earlier onset of tick season as temperatures have already began to rise into the 70s in recent weeks.  All this paired with the chatter around Powassan Virus and it’s no wonder residents in our area are anxiously looking for safe methods for tick control.

What’s Known About Lyme Disease

Westchester and Connecticut residents have long been aware of the threats of Lyme Disease and the importance of tick prevention. Roughly 20% of ticks in our area (1 in 5), carry Lyme Disease, with that percentage increasing as you head further north into New England. If left untreated, within several weeks, Lyme Disease can spread to effect a person’s joints, their heart and their nervous system. The good news is that Lyme Disease can be successfully treated if caught within the first month of infection.

Harmful Threat of Powassan Virus

What’s very concerning to Westchester and Fairfield County residents this year, is the predicted increase in prevalence of a more rare tick-bourne disease called Powassan Virus. While not new (first cases reported in the early 1950’s) doctors are anticipating an increase in the coming years. Unlike Lyme Disease, the Powassan Virus has virtually no window for diagnosis and treatment, as it passes from tick to human in as little as 15 minutes. The Powassan Virus is said to quickly attack the central nervous system, cause inflammation of the brain, as well as encephalitis and meningitis. It’s reported that 60% of Powassan Virus infections lead to severe disability, with 10% ending in death. For more information on the Powassan Virus visit (CDC.org)

Protect Yourself from Ticks & Mosquitos

While there is still much to learn about the Powassan Virus and it’s prevalence in Westchester and Fairfield Counties, it’s important to understand what you can do now to prevent tick-bourne diseases from affecting you and your family. Take the following steps, with help from the professionals at Emerald Tree & Shrub Care, and enjoy your outdoor space with a little peace of mind this summer.
  • Remove any standing water on your property
  • Apply Anti-Desiccant and Deer Repellant to your trees and shrubs (Organic Options Available).
  • Schedule monthly treatments using an Organic Tick and Mosquito spray with Emerald Tree & Shrub Care
  • Learn the signs and symptoms associated with all tick-bourne diseases (CDC.org)


Call Emerald Tree & Shrub Care

Keep your lawn pest-free and healthy this summer with the help of your friends at Emerald Tree & Shrub Care.  To schedule a pest control consultation, please call us at:
  • Westchester County Residents: 914-725-0441
  • Fairfield County Residents: 203-422-2441

Our Pest Control Services

Emerald Tree & Shrub Care offers a variety of safe pest control programs to ensure your yard is tick and mosquito free and your family healthy.  To read more about them, visit our website.

Why Are My Boxwoods Turning Brown?

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Why are my Boxwood’s Leaves Turning Brown? I have not done anything different to my front boxwood hedges, but this year they are not fully green and healthy looking. I tried fertilizer but that did not help, what is the problem?

There are several different problems that could be affecting the health of your Boxwoods.  For a true and accurate diagnosis, we would have to send a Plant Health Care Technician to your property to inspect, but for now, we will take some time explaining the few issues that we see quite often.


Boxwood Blight is a fairly new fungal disease that was originally identified in North America in 2011.  Signs of this include lesions or dark streaking on the stems, brown spotting on the leaves, and defoliation (leaves falling off the branches).  These warning signs should not be ignored, because if left untreated, Boxwood Blight will completely kill your shrub and can rapidly spread across a group hedge.  


When looking at your boxwood, if you notice the outside leaves appear yellowish in color and smaller than the green ones, as though they have shrunken, you probably have Leafminers. Leafminers are fairly noticeable to the common eye. If you look closely you will see little yellowish-orange larvae.  They tend to chew a tunnel through the top layer of the leaf, and then feed on the inside.  As the larvae mature, they grow into reddish-yellow flies that will swarm around your boxwoods awaiting new growth.  As new growth develops, they lay their eggs on the healthy leaves and so the cycle continues and your leafminer problem exponentially gets worse.  


Winter burn is a condition that occurs during cold winter months when the leafs of a plant have lost their water and the roots are completely frozen and unable to replenish. Despite the fact that boxwoods are a very hardy evergreen, they are particularly susceptible to winter burn. Signs your boxwood is damaged because of winter burn include: the damaged portions of your shrub face the area the wind blows from (usually South or Southwest), foliage is damaged and dried out, and in severe cases, the stems are cracked.  

In most cases, your Boxwoods can be revived and will bounce back to the hardy green shrubs you remember by next season.  Unfortunately, in some instances, as with Boxwood Blight, if the disease has spread significantly, we may recommend removal of the infected plant.  The goal with Boxwoods and all your precious greens, is preventative care.  This is the number one reason why we created our Plant Health Care Program.  Rather than always getting the calls to fix the problem, we want to help ensure the problem never happens.  Spraying your shrubs with Horticultural Oils several times a year will help ward off diseases and insects.  Also, ensuring your shrubs are nutritious and strong entering the winter season can greatly decrease the chances that cold weather will result in Winter Burn.  These services and more, are all part of our Planet Health Care Program.  Custom designed to meet the needs of your property and keep your plants healthy all year round.

For more info or to sign up today, please call us at 914-725-0441.