Ask BrightView: Episode 24
Native to Southeast Asia, the spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that first made an appearance in the United States in 2014. In addition to the damage it can cause to your landscape, the spotted lanternfly poses a large threat to both the ecosystem and the economy. Bill Paige, a certified arborist and BrightView’s spotted lanternfly remediation expert, shares tips for prevention against spotted lanternfly infestation.
(For the full transcript, see below.)
Spotted Lanternfly: Tips for Protection
BILL PAGE, expert:
I'm Bill Page with BrightView landscape services here in southeastern Pennsylvania and just recently we've run across this spotted lanternfly problem which has become a huge issue here in Pennsylvania.
How did they get here?
In 2014, a shipping decorative stone which sent old quarry here in southeastern Pennsylvania and on that shipment of stone were spotted Lanternfly eggs which have since hatched and spread. Between 2014 and now, we have this infestation of spotted lanternfly’s. What we're seeing today, which we think is going to get far worse than it is now, is it's been found in 16 counties in Pennsylvania as well as a few sightings in Virginia and New Jersey. They are originally from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and parts of China. In the US they have no known predators and are multiplying.
How does it infect a tree?
The spotted lanternfly sticks its nose in its host, sucks out the sugars and amino acids. They then begin to secrete a honeydew. This honeydew becomes food for fungus, which stains the host the black and it blocks the trees ability to produce its own food and over time weakens the tree and eventually they die.
The host range here is not only Tree of Heaven but seventy other species of garden plants and commercially important agricultural crops, including grapes hops and some vegetable crops. Not only is this a problem aesthetically for the trees in your yard but this could also have a huge economic impact, not only for Pennsylvania, but for surrounding states, as well homeowners.
How can I protect my tree?
You can periodically take a look at trees and scout for the egg masses. You can physically remove them but be aware that they may be higher up in the tree and at some point you may need some other control measures to take care of this problem.
There's a number of contact insecticide available to the homeowner, which you can purchase it any of the hardware stores that easily control spotted lanternflies. You may need to reapply it several times throughout the season. They is are also what are called systemic insecticides which you can mix in a bucket. You can take a trowel or a shovel and make a trench around the crown of the tree. These materials are applied in that trench and are sucked up by the tree. This can give you up to four months control. The most important thing as you're doing these applications is to follow the label and the directions as they are toxic and you should be aware of people, pets, neighbors etc.
How do they spread?
Spotted lanternfly’s are not very strong fliers. They rely on wind current or wind direction to actually float from one location to the other. It's also important to keep in mind that they can be transported in vehicles on playground equipment, firewood camping equipment, lawn furniture, or anything outside where they could be hiding or hitch a ride to the next location. You have to be cognizant of the fact of where you're moving from and to.
The campus at the University of Pennsylvania offers a natural oasis of serenity directly in the middle of one of our nation’s largest cities. The campus is filled with flowerbeds, shaded walkways, turf areas, and more than 6,000 trees. However, this fall semester, students have returned to a campus that is even more green, and quiet.
BrightView, the nation’s leading landscape services company, has been maintaining the landscape at Penn since the early 2000s and announced last year a commitment to begin deploying electric mowers and other equipment across the country.
The team that maintains the campus is now operating entirely with low-emission electric mowers and hand-held equipment. With each mower running an average of 300 hours per year, the team expects this will eliminate the amount of emissions equivalent to approximately 1,500 cars averaging 12,000 miles each year. These numbers are based on findings from a recent study on emissions by lawn and garden equipment by a California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“This equipment significantly reduces the environmental impact of maintaining our campus which includes noise-pollution,” said Craig Roncace, Urban Park Manager for the University’s Facilities and Real Estate Services Division.
According to the manufacturer, the mowers BrightView uses on the campus emit only 78 decibels versus a standard gas mower that emits 95 decibels.
“Studies show that less noise pollution translates to better student outcomes, more productive workplaces and a more calming environment,” said Tariq Ahmed, Branch Manager at BrightView.
BrightView has been using the equipment on campus this summer and faculty have confirmed that while sitting near a window in a campus building you cannot hear the mower running just outside.
While BrightView uses this equipment across the country, the Philadelphia team is the first to go 100-percent electric.
“Our partnership with the university played a big role in getting our team to this milestone,” said Dante DeMaria, Associate Branch Manager at BrightView. “It’s quite a process because the equipment requires charging stations in both our branch and trailers to keep running all day.”
“We take pride in the opportunity to create a more sustainable and quiet campus for the students and faculty here and it’s only possible through a great partnership, said Ahmed. “We continue to look for ways make our operations more environmentally-friendly and assist clients in achieving their sustainability goals.”
Native to Southeast Asia, the spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that first made an appearance in the United States in Berks County, Pa., in 2014. Since that time, it has been found in other parts of Pennsylvania, as well as New Jersey and Virginia. In addition to the damage it can cause to your landscape, the spotted lanternfly poses a large threat to both the ecosystem and the economy. The potential impacts are serious enough that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine for portions of the state to help control the insect’s movement.
How to spot the spotted lanternfly
Despite its wings, the spotted lanternfly is a planthopper, meaning it’s not a true flying insect. Measuring about 1-inch long and 1/2-inch wide at rest, the spotted lanternfly is most easily identified by its distinctive red, black, white, and grey markings on its wings. Immature spotted lanternflies — which won’t yet have red patches — are black with white spots and about the size of a pencil eraser. Once mature, it will feature grey wings with white spots and a red underwing.
The spotted lanternfly favors Alianthus (Tree of Heaven) and is also known to feed on grapevines and fruit trees. Weeping, greyish, or black wounds are a telltale sign spotted lanternflies have been feeding on your trees. Their feeding creates a sugary substance called honeydew, which attracts other hazardous pests, including ants, wasps, and yellow jackets. It also generates sooty mold, which can damage your plants and cause unsightly staining on your property.
Fall and winter is critical to preventing the spread
Spotted lanternflies lay their eggs in late fall on trees and smooth surfaces — including outdoor furniture and the wheel wells of cars. The egg masses have a grey, muddy appearance, and as they age, resemble columns of brown, seed-like deposits. If you find a spotted lanternfly or egg mass, place it in a container with alcohol or hand sanitizer, which will kill it. Report the sighting to your local department of agriculture, or call us and we can assist.
One of the best measures of prevention is to have a certified arborist evaluate your risk and prescribe an appropriate prevention and treatment plan to keep your trees and property safe. Properties with trees of heaven are most susceptible, and may want to consider removal or treatment. Our experienced tree care professionals can help you properly identify your trees and make the right choice.
BrightView Principle Mark Carlos explains how the design team utilized the natural environment and themes of the community to create a palette for residents and a sustainable landscape at Greenwood in Tustin Legacy in Southern California.
(For the full transcript, see below.)
A sustainable community landscape
MICHAEL BATTAGLIA, CalAtlantic Homes Vice President of Project Development:
Hello and welcome to Greenwood in Tustin Legacy. My name is Michael Battaglia and I'm Vice President of Project Development for CalAtlantic Homes Southern California Coastal Division. We really cherish the relationship we have with BrightView. Over the years, we've done a lot of new home communities with them here in Orange County, but this one is particularly special for us. It's really about the collaboration and the vision that we both shared coming into this that resulted in the community you see behind us.
MARK CARLOS, BrightView Principal:
The natural landscape really serves to create a palette for us as we're designing communities, from the trees that we select to the ground planes, it really helps us understand the ecosystems that are brought into communities such as this and at the same time, it not only creates the composition, but it also helps us meet regulatory guidelines.
Here at Greenwood, we spent a lot of time planning this new community with BrightView. We had a vision, we worked together to collaborate to come up with the themes of the agrarian approach, and the themes to the military history here in Tustin and it really came out in the design and how we executed the design-build portion of this new community.
From a home owners' perspective, one of the approaches that we use from a regional standpoint is that we give them a palette. They have a palette they could choose from that not only is ornamental, because that's what they're looking for, but it's done in a responsible fashion. Tying the landscape and the palette into the environment creates a palette that residents can pull from that are going to, in turn, be sustainable as well, so they're designing front and rear yards that tie into the overall theme of the community.
In working with Mark and his team, we spent a lot of time trying to understand how the landscape palette fits in with the water issues we have here in Southern California and frankly, we wanted to do something very different and really focus on a drought-tolerant palette that really is acceptable to the home owners and to the Home Owners Association for the ongoing maintenance. We were very successful in that design and you can see that behind me in some of the pictures.
As we're designing landscapes, we have maintenance in mind. We're thinking two, five, and 10 years down the road and the plant material that is selected, based on the location of the site, is one consideration, but as we design, we're also keeping maintenance in mind so that we're using plant material that is appropriate and to the scale of the areas where it's being used.
Through the master planning of the community, we had three influencing factors: the military heritage of Tustin, the agricultural component, as well as the natural history of the hillsides that influenced the Tustin Legacy.
As home owners started to move in to Greenwood, we actually brought Mark Carlos and his team out on Saturdays to share that vision so that the home owners could really understand our commitment to water savings and drought-tolerant planting. Mark was able to share the vision on how that comes together and how we're actually conserving water out here with the lush landscaping that we have.
As landscape architects, these are just some of the elements that we use on a daily basis as we're designing and creating unique spaces and some of the items we've touched on are things that home owners, on a different scale, could use as well.
The Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards Coalition has recognized Oracle’s two area campuses with the overall award for efficient water use. BrightView worked with Oracle to achieve a savings of $573,000 and 91 million gallons of potable water in one year.
BrightView maintains the landscape at Oracle’s World Headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., and their Santa Clara facilities, both of which were recognized for efficient water use.
“Oracle’s expectation is for these campuses to be state-of-the-art and our team was excited to help make that happen,” said Brandon De Young, Vice President General Manager at BrightView. “We brought in HydroPoint and highly recommended their smart irrigation products and how we use them on site to preserve water.”
BrightView installed HydroPoint WeatherTRAK smart controllers to the irrigation system, which helped to reduce water consumption by 29 percent. It was a three-month project to convert more than 50 conventional controllers to smart controllers.
“We take the plant type, sprinkler type, slope, and soil type and combine them into a formula to determine the water needs for each zone,” De Young said. “The controllers also alert us of any issues from the last water cycle.”
BrightView teams across the country have been pioneering enhanced water management through smart controller technology. Oracle also has decided to have smart irrigation products installed at all of their locations in California.
In addition to installing the irrigation controllers, BrightView planted California native plants, which require less water, and changed the irrigation to drip and high-efficient matched precipitation rate nozzles.
“It has been great working with Oracle and HydroPoint to support Oracle’s long-term goal of making their campuses more sustainable,” De Young said. “We all take pride in this achievement of being recognized and look forward to continuing this journey with them.”
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The world’s bee population has been significantly dwindling over the past few years, startling many globally. Many know that bees are important and understand their role in pollination, but are surprised to hear that they are responsible for the growth of over one-third of our food supply. Industrialized land often replaces flowers and plants that are needed for their survival, leading some hotels to step up and turn their rooftops into homes for bees.
One of our valued clients, The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla., is one of 10 hotels recognized by USA Today as helping to save the bees. The resort created a haven for 200,000 bees and in return, the hotel uses the honey for the spa’s honey butter wrap and even in the Lobby Bar to create a special Amelia’s Blossom cocktail.
There are many steps, homeowners can take by planting bee-friendly gardens, using organic plants and plant material that is local to their region. Here is a list of 10 bee-friendly plants that can be grown in window boxes, containers or gardens.
BrightView, the nation’s leading landscape services company, is cutting a new path within the landscape maintenance industry in response to growing trends and customer requests’ for zero-emission, low-noise equipment.
“We design, develop, maintain, and enhance landscapes for clients who have unique requirements regarding noise or environmental impacts and, in many cases, both,” said Jeff Herold, President of BrightView Landscape Services. “Recent advances in zero-emission technology are allowing us to look at this equipment in ways that will have great appeal for customers and help minimize our environmental impact.”
BrightView has purchased and is in the process of deploying electric mowers and other electric landscaping equipment in several markets this spring, Herold said.
“We continually look for ways to operate in a more environmentally conscious way and to assist our clients in ways that help them achieve their sustainability goals,” he said. “We’re proud that BrightView is able to help lead our industry and pioneer the commercial use of this kind of equipment.”
BrightView plans to have 200 electric mowers deployed by this year’s mowing season. The company also is piloting the use of electric charging trailers, blowers, trimmers, and edgers with the goal of having select teams pilot new models of completely emission-free equipment this summer.
“When you think about the priorities of our clients, less noise can translate to better patient and student outcomes, more productive workplaces, or a more calming and serene community environment,” said Tim Russell, Vice President of Operations at BrightView. “This equipment has little environmental impact and allows us to be at the forefront of a changing industry.
Our long term goal is to significantly expand the use of environmentally friendly equipment that can withstand the rigors of commercial use.”
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There are number of ways to reduce water usage on your property. Often, the perception is that you have to make a large, upfront investment for a water management program to pay off. However, there are a number of small changes you can make to your daily and weekly maintenance program that will make an immediate impact on your water consumption. Here are some easy changes you can make today:
- Water early in the morning, right before dawn. It reduces losses to wind and evaporation.
- Water only when needed.
- Adjust sprinklers to avoid waste and ensure uniform distribution.
- Test the spray patterns of sprinkler systems. Check for clogged lines and mixed nozzle sizes of sprinkler heads and be sure to repair leaks.
- Use drip irrigation for ornamental shrubs to reduce water usage.
- Install rain shut-off devices or in-ground moisture sensors.
- Set lawn mower blades higher to increase ground shade and water retention in the soil.
- Mulch around shrubs and planters to reduce evaporation and cut down on weeds.
- Use a broom rather than a hose to clean driveways or sidewalks.
- Use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas is a building dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge. That noble purpose now extends to – of all places – its roof. BrightView Landscape Development collaborated with Hensel Phelps Construction, Sasaki Associates and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to install a 17,000-square-foot green roof above the sixth floor.
In addition to its aesthetic and environmental benefits, the roof serves as an experimental space for researchers at the Wildflower Center to evaluate materials and methods used on the project through site visits and sensors to monitor the roof’s performance.
The green roof is made up of 7,000 individual plants, 500 cubic yards of lightweight soil, and a gravel perimeter for drainage. BrightView’s team assembled 600-pound sections of pre-cast curbing to create raised beds with varying depths to accommodate plants with larger root systems. These beds and materials were hoisted by crane and a custom tractor lift attachment was used to move materials on the roof.
“We partnered with Hensel Phelps and were able to use their crane after hours and on weekends to lift our materials,” said John Faske, Assistant Branch Manager at BrightView Development.
The plan was designed with both aesthetics and function in mind by considering the appropriate spacing needed for the full-size of each plant species. The team used colored irrigation flags to map out planting patterns in 5-by-5-foot grids that each contained six to seven plant varieties. Wildflower seeding was performed afterwards to enhance the plantings.
"The green roof provides great scenery from higher floors of the building as well as energy benefits and a living laboratory for researchers,” said Jeff Lennon, Senior Vice President at BrightView. “Our team has also installed green roofs in Dallas and San Antonio and is thrilled to see a demand for these projects across the state.”
BrightView recently completed a similar project at another University of Texas campus and has four other projects in the works including the installation of balcony plantings at Rowling Hall in the next few months. The green roof at the Dell Medical School has been submitted for a TEIL Award from the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.