McNeary's Arborists Inc. ( A full Service Tree&Landscaping Company)
Seasonal Information for 2003-2004

The Seasonal Information page got pretty large so we are started over in early 2003.  If you want to go back to earlier Seasonal pages to see what happened in previous years, go here. These topics will change from month to month as we encounter things we find interesting. Hopefully, what interest us will interest you.  We update this page frequently. Not all the subjects listed below are updated every time we post.

Shade Trees Canker Worms Landscaping Ponds & Water gardens  Irrigation Night Lighting

 If you are local and want to get in touch with us by phone here is our  number. 704-332-4628

General information since the previous page got so long.  We saved to archive in April of 2003, and this link discusses our transition.  In general this page runs for a year or so and then gets large enough that I save it to archive and start over. Go to recap

 Shade Trees 

June 1, 3004

 Phytophthora ramorum (Sudden Oak Death) has been discovered in North Carolina.   This pathogen has been killing thousands of oaks in Central California since 1995.  It has affected the coast live oaks Quercus agrifolia, Callifornia black oaks  Quercu kelloggii and presumedly other types of oaks.  

It has been found in eastern North Carolina and the pathogen has been discovered on nursery stock in Charlotte.  Since I can not reference the Charlotte location, I will quote directly from the NCDA.

North Carolina is the 10th state to confirm the presence of a plant disease traced to shipments of ornamentals from a large Southern California nursery, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced on April 23, 2004.

To date, camellias at seven nurseries and garden centers in the state have tested positive for sudden oak death (SOD), a fungal disease that is fatal to several species of oak trees but is less harmful to certain ornamental plants and shrubs.

Infected plants were confirmed at two locations in Wake County and one location each in Cabarrus, Forsyth, Guilford, Johnston and Mecklenburg counties.  These were among 69 locations in the state that received host plants from Monrovia Growers in Azusa, California, during the past year.

The web site for the quote above is:

March 2, 2004

In 2003, we recovered from the December ice storm.  The work left from that storm kept us busy until mid summer of 2003.  Now in 2004 we have had the heaviest snow that I have ever seen. at one time.  We had 19 inches in my back yard and some areas a little south of Charlotte had 21 inches of snow.   That is really unusual because snow mostly comes one day and is gone in one or two days later.  Typically, in February we have a week when it is warm and one thinks spring is here.  February and early March can be months for bad weather but to see this much snow at one time is something else.

As far as tree damage, there was little.  The snow was wet and some evergreens broke.  We had one call for an uprooted tree but other than that there was not much tree damage from the storm.

In the south here we do not have roofs that have a snow or ice restrictors so lots of heavy wet snow came down on foundation shrubbery.  I had one large Clerea that lost lots of limbs.  In fact I can not see the damage because there is still about four feet of snow on the bed.  No doubt we will see more damage to shrubbery as the snow continues to melt.

January 19, 2004

So far no ice storms this winter, and it won't be long before spring.  We are still seeing lots of mushrooms at the base of willow oaks.  Technically, this is Inonotus dryadeus which is a hard to pronounce.  A very large percentage of our older trees seem to get this problem, and in most cases the trees have been damaged in some way.  Often there is a trunk wound exposed to the air which provides an opening for the fungus..

Old age slows the trees growth  and sidewalks and driveways get in the way of the trunk.  Then we have the drought of four years and excessive rain in 2003.  Since willow oaks are most affected, I think a more appropriate name and certainly one easier to remember would be  willow oak root rot ....... "WORR" for short.

December 22, 2003

December has been pretty normal.  Fortunately, we have not had a severe ice storm as we did last December 5th.  There is still a lot of evidence of storm damage in many trees from that storm.  I also think that our trees are under a tremendous amount of stress.  Prior to five years ago, we rarely saw the large mushrooms at the base of the willow oaks.  Now they are very common, and it would be interesting to make a survey of willow oaks impacted by streets or residential structures.  I include sidewalks, patios, curbs, driveways in the term structures.

When the roots are wounded, this creates openings for aggressive fungi.  Four years of drought also has stressed the trees and I personally believe that drought, ice damage, excessive rain early this spring all stress the trees and that is why we are seeing more fungi.

I have a large willow oak in my backyard that in 2002 developed an Inonotus dryadeus mushroom on one of the flare roots that protrudes into the gravel driveway.  I first noticed it when it was about the size of a silver dollar.  By the end of the fall, it was about a foot in diameter.  In 2003 it did not appear at all, and that in itself was interesting to me since I thought it would be larger and more spread out in 2003.   Past experience shows that once this fungi starts growing, it gets progressively bigger each year.  I will be posting some additional photos on this link ...  

October 13, 2003

We are finally seeing mushrooms of various sorts at the base of our oak trees.  It seems to me that the mushrooms were visible much earlier last year and I have decided to do a little basic study of them.  

One large Water Oak tree has had the Inonotus dryadeus many years ago and tried to photograph that tree with its mushrooms last year in 2002.  There were no mushrooms to be found.  Check out root rots for more information on this important problem.

September 30, 2003

Temperature dropped to the low 40's today.  It has been in the 80's almost every day and this drop is exceptional.  Many of our trees look bad and I think it is a combination of the ice storm last winter and the drought for four years.  Many trees such as our willow oaks have very sparse foliage.  I hope that fertilizing and treating with mychorizal fungi to help the roots will bring them back.

September 1, 2003 back to the top

About this time of year we start seeing evidence of mushrooms at the base of willow oaks.  By time you see the mushroom which is the fruiting body of the fungus, the fungus is well advanced.  With our four years of drought prior to this year, 2003, trees were badly weakened.  Learn more about  Rootrot.htm 

July 8, 2003 back to the top

Today will be the first day we officially break 90 degrees.  That is a record in that June is usually very hot.  This has done strange things to plants.  Brown patch is in most all  in lawns.  

We are still getting calls on tree damage from last winter's ice.  Many broken limbs are in the trees and as foliage begins to grow and add weight to some limbs, they fall and we get a call.

Be aware that there could be hidden damage in your trees and getting a pro out to look might be a wise idea.  If you feel inclined, using a pair of binoculars to study your trees would be a good move.

May 18, 2003 back to the top

This has been on the strangest springs I can remember.  It has been wet, cool, with very little hot weather.  At this time of year we usually have good hot weather.  The koi were late spawning since the water temperature has been cool.  Tropical water lilies are suffering and not growing like they should.  The water temperature should be 70 degrees and is must be in the low sixties.

The good side is that the spring blooms have hung around longer and the grass (and weeds) are particularly lust this year.  We have seen some disease problems that did not show up in the dry springs of the last few years.  Azalea leaf gall which gets on camellia susanqua leaves is particularly noticeable this year.

The storms have kept us busy and our backlog is quite large.  That is a good thing for tree work, but we hate to turn down or refer work.

April 26, 2003 back to the top  Recap_2003

Since we are starting a new page, I will give a little recap of the past few months or so.

Spring has been a long time coming this year. April has set a record for rainfall in the Charlotte area.  We needed it in that like many other parts of the country we have had a severe drought for over three years.

We are still swamped with calls about trees damaged during the ice storm of December 5, 2002.

I predicted that the cankerworms would come out on April 5th and was not far off.  The first ones I saw were on the 11th and considering how late spring was (and is) that's pretty good.

The water temperature in the pond is 60 degrees today and should be about 70 by now.  The koi spawn between 60 and 68 and tropical lilies can be put out in the ponds when the water temperature is 70.

The grass and azaleas look good this year.  Flowers have held their blooms and we did not have the freeze that killed the early flowers.  Our volunteer peach tree at the office pond is loaded with peaches and the farmers should like that.

Enough rambling...  It looks like another wet Saturday, and I have things to do.

Ponds and Water gardens  back to the top    

November 19, 2004

We had the latest Piedmont Koi and Watergarden Society Koi show on the 4th and 5th of November.  As usual it was good.  There were lots of fish and product vendors there.  The covered tent was full and I believe that there were about 30 companies there.  We had a booth for the third year in a row and each year we have a few more ideas.  Last year we had some 6 inch butterfly koi and sold most of them.  We also had lots of equipment and decided that this year that did not work.  We really did not have time to talk to many people because we were busy with the fish.

We collected lots of email addresses and had a drawing for a door prize.  We plan to send out information about koi shipments, when tropical water lilies are ready and other timely information.  We send out a 4 to 6 page newsletter a number of times during the year, and since that is a pretty hefty cost, it seems that would be something to send out as a PDF file.  If you want to be added to our list, drop me an email at   at McNeary's Ponds and Aquatic Plants .  ( a department of McNeary's Arborists Inc.)

October 28 2004

We are getting ready for the koi show.  That takes a lot of time, partly because we have a lot of fish this year and deciding what to take and what to leave here is an issue we did not have a few years ago.  We also have raised a great crop of small koi.  We mated three females and have lots of butterfly, some kokakos.  They will be ready next spring  (2005), however, some are going to the show.  It has been interesting to me that some of these fish are 9 inches long and some one inch long.  

We have also taken photos of the bog garden which is still in a transitional state.  Presently we have eleven large 18 inch koi in it which are almost finished their quarantine time.  Meanwhile we have seined the long pond and pulled out hundreds of the better young koi and since we are quarantining them too.  They have grown all season in the long pond and appear very healthy.  We have not salted because we have lots of plants in the long pond.  At the end of the season we will drain that pond because a lot of crud develops on the bottom.

The goal is to get all fish this fall in the same water.  The main pond 6000 gallons is connected to the bog garden which we can cut off the flow between the two.  We plan to have all our fish over the winter in either the bog garden or the main pond.

Our ponds for fish are  6000 gallons main pond: ...   1800  bog garden (which we refer to as the mud pond which I will explain on the bog garden page): ...   1800  Long pond where we raise our koi.  We also have about 800 gallons in various quarantine tanks.

More later

September 20, 2004

Summer has really gone by fast.  We finally finished the bog garden.  Well that is not totally true.  We haven't put the bog in yet.  What we have is what we call the mud pond.  The pond is 25 feet long by 6 feet wide and about 16 to 18 iubches deep.  At the moment we have a bunch of left over lilies in it when we ran out of space.  The because we were quarantining koi, we put some left over koi in and immediately it became the Mud Pond.  I momentarily forgot that young koi ( 6 inches long) love to go into plant containers that do not have gravel in them.  Over night the pond got muddy.

As it turns out the koi we put in it look absolutely great.  They have all these plants with lots of water hyacinths  and the ratio of fish to water and plants is great.  The colors are coming out really well. So what that means is that we will leave them in for a month and then remove all the hyacinths because of the cold.  We will probably drain the pond and get rid of all the mud.   The lilies we leave in over the winter will have gravel on the soil or flat stones.  1/3rd of the pond is to be filled with pea gravel and dammed with cinder blocks to contain the stone.  We will plant the gravel with aquatic plants and reserve the rest for water lilies and small fry.

Our original intention is to let the pond mix with the main pond.  The overflow from the bog garden feeds into the main pond.  At the moment it is capped because the mud from the fish also made the main pond muddy.  Check out bog garden.

August 10, 2004

I spent last week in Wilmington Delaware at the Pondapolosa meeting.  ..>

Pretty amazing  .... more later.


July 24, 2004

The time has come.  I never thought that we would get to this point, but we are running out of room.  We have prided ourselves on selling plants that are growing well, ready to if not already blooming. Big plants take up a lot of space and we are limited.  Our other departments take up a lot of space and we are on seven tenths of an acre.

So on August 21, 2004 we are going to have a plant sale.  Plants will be 40% off and we have lots of blooming hardies and tropicals and lotus.  We have Perry's Giant sunburst, Charles Thomas, Sunflower, just to name a few.

We also have a nice crop of butterfly koi coming along as well as some very fine butterfly that we have purchased for the fall koi show.  They will be out of quarantine by the time of the sale.

Come and look around.  If you want more details, call the office at 704-332-4628.

Click here to see some of the plants we sell.  Plantsforsale.htm  

Do you want to be added to our mailing list.  Send your information to Blackjack.

June 1, 2004

Our spring plans are working pretty well.  We have cleaned up the plant area have lots of aquatic plants.  Our situation is unique in that we have a fair amount of space and can grow plants and fish outside.  Our aquatic plants and water lilies are in two gallon containers and our lotus are in various sizes.

Most of the aquatic plants and lotus are under drip irrigation which is a big help because it is really hard to keep plant containers watered during the heat of the summer.  

When someone buys a plant, it is growing well and in the proper size container and fertilized.  For water lilies, there are usually bud or flowers in bloom.  You do not have to wait for months or next season to get blooms.

May 1, 2004

I started this mid April but had a computer glitch and lost the information.  So I am starting over.  This has been a very cool spring and tulips, azaleas, and all the flowering plants have lasted an exceptionally long time.

As usual, I salted my fish at .3 ppm back in March and seem to be doing ok now.  I have not observed any ulcers or other problems so the main 6000 gallon pond is set for the spring and summer.  Every year many of the same things happen and this year is no exception.

We have expanded our aquatic plant area quite a bit and have done some major advertising to let the general public know that we are here and have lots of aquatics, lotus, water lilies etc. We just sent out a spring newsletter to 3,700 clients and prospects.  We also post this newsletter on-line, but have not done so yet.

We have also brought in a nice crop of butterfly koi so feel we are set for the spring rush. One problem seems to be that there is a spring rush and then things taper off.  What do we do in the off season?  We install ponds and sell equipment so we will probably try to boost that part of our business.

Spawning 2004

I looked back on my archives and it appears we started getting serious about mating koi in 1997.  So seven years later, I do it much the same way but with some variations.  My first mating was a natural spawn in the main pond and that probably was in 1996 or so.  I first separated one female and two males in those early years and placed them in my 300 gallon quarantine tank.  I still do the same but with some variation.  Below is what I did this year, 2004.

It has been cool but the water temperature in my above ground tanks is a few degrees warmer than the main pond.  I caught one female Yamabuki  (yellow) and two male Yamabuki.  I also had a third fish which was a black butterfly koi.  These all went into the 300 gallon tank along with some parrot feather.  The water temperature was in the mid 60 degrees and the main pond was in the low sixties.  Almost immediately the female sensed that the parrot feather is a good place to lay eggs.  She starts rooting around in the parrot feather and from the males standpoint, it is like a lady lifting her skirt above her knee and showing a little thigh.  Males being what they (we ) are take the bait and by the next morning the spawn is over. 

When I come to the office, I can smell the odor when I am thirty feet away from the pond.  With four males in the mix, the water is almost milky white and eggs stick to everything.  I separate the parrot feather and place a few sprigs in each of my small containers.  The fish were placed in the tank on Friday, spawned Saturday and there were baby fry by the next Friday.  My koi are generally smaller at the end of the first season than commercial fish because I do not feed that as much.  I am partly dependent on natural food that forms on the sides of the pond and on the plant material.  I also grind up gourmet food in a coffee grinder and feed the powdered to the fish. 

Culling is important in that there can be 50,000 eggs from one female.  Many eggs are destroyed and thrown away immediately in the clean up process.  In this instance, I cleaned the container after returning the female to the pond.  I added an additional male Yamabuki and my favorite butterfly which is a doitsu orange and black koi.  This fish has been the parent for at least three or four years.  I have alternated her with a yellow Yamabuki female.  So, in this same 300 gallon tank, I produced a second spawn the next day.

Actually, it was the third spawn because I mated three nice kuhako in the long pond.  I should have a pretty good batch of red and white koi.

I wanted all the eggs to be about the same age so that one mating would not be a bunch of Tobies to the others.  Tobies are a few of the aggressive babies that tend to gobble up the food and become larger than their brothers and sisters.  They also are cannibalistic and one ends up with a few large fish and very few if any babies.

There are some other predators that eat the young fry.  One is the dragon fly larvae.  These swim in the water and if are partly mature eat a lot of young fish.  Presently, I have almost all the young in the long pond which has no small fish in it.  Hopefully, I major part of the brood will grow large enough to cull.

more later  May 1, 2004

One month later,  June 1, 2004, the koi are from 3/4 an inch to 1.5 inches in length. We will be culling soon.

January 19, 2004

We have had some pretty cold days but no real ice on the ponds.  I have tried to store lots of tropicals for the winter and placed them in sand and / or damp peat moss.  Each plant is in a plastic bag and in a room that is about 60 degrees.

Some of the plants were taken out after ice formed on the surface so the water temp was pretty cold.  Even today, I removed a tropical (Albert Greenberg) from a pond we take care of.  It has been down to 17 or lower a few times and the last few days have been about 20 to 25 in the mornings.   This tropical actually had some leaves still floating and a bloom that was pretty much gone.  When I pulled the plant the stems and leaves were mushy.  I am curious about what the tuber will do.  I have had panama pacific and blue beauty survive the entire winter outside, so it will be interesting.

December 27,2003

I missed a few of my tropical water lilies and let a few days when it was down in the twenties go by.  As said before, many of my tropicals are in lotus pots and these had about an inch of ice on the surface.  Since the water did not freeze solid I am assuming that the tubers are still good.  After I washed them of the roots all looked intact and I cut away the foliage and blooms.  I have since put them in plastic bags, labeled them and put three or four handfuls of damp peat moss in with them.  

I am storing them in a spare room in the office which has the heat vent blocked.  Lately, that room has been about 60 to 65 degrees, and it is close enough my office that I can inspect the plants daily if necessary.  In past years, I have lost lots of tubers, to mice, cold, freezing, rats, stupidity, and about every other thing that one could image.  It is not easy keeping tropicals if you live in a cold climate and do not have proper storage such as a green house.  This year should be better. 

December 22, 2003

Fall at the pond has been busy.  We are in the middle of a cold snap all the way down to 22 F degrees.  There is ice and has been ice on the smaller containers where I have been growing tropical water lilies.  I have taken a lot of them inside and stored the tubers.  There are still some tubers  in the outside containers, and since the containers are not frozen through, I will be curious to see if the tubers are still alive.

All of this and the fact that we participated in the Piedmont Koi and Water garden Society show in early November has kept us very busy.  The show was a success by it self and also for us.  I had fun talking to other hobbyist and also sold quite a few butterfly and koi.  

October 13, 2003

We are installing a bog garden as mentioned earlier.  There was  lot of discussion about bog gardens at Pondapolosa 

August 25, 2003

We had lots of eggs in the long pond  Pic00002.jpg (58912 bytes) which is where we raise or showcase some of our water lilies.  Unfortunate, we had a few larger fish that probably hid down in the drain and these fish ate a lot of the babies.  The survivors look pretty good and are colorful.  Unfortunately, it seems to have been a random mating since when I paired the females they spawned with no males.  At least that is what I think happened.

I  always put eggs in all the smaller plant containers for mosquito control and some of those small fish have gotten pretty large.  In the early spring I was cleaning out one of the lotus tubs which holds about 20 gallons of water.  This tub had some water lilies in it and I think it was there for two seasons.  When I dumped it out, there was two inches of muck in the bottom and five small koi about and 1.5 inches long.  These fish had survived for one if not two winters.  I never fed them and for that matter did not know that they were there.

August 23, 2003 back to the top

The pond has been a busy place.  I have gotten my first hybrid to bloom.  I cross pollinated in August of 2002 and planted the seeds in March inside in an aquarium.

The parents were a red flare seedling and Texas Shell Pink.  Here is a photo of the flower of which I am the proud parent.

firstPic030.jpg (36717 bytes)

If you want to see more about our tropical night bloomers, we will have a page on that soon.

Presently, I am working on a page about Bog Gardens.  Check it out.

July 18, 2003 back to the top

My koi spawned a few weeks ago. It was rather different from previous years.  In the past, I have taken koi out of my 6000 gallon pond and mated them in a separate 300 gallon tank.  It has always worked well, the female seeks the parrot feather and seems interested in it almost immediately.  The males in turn are interested in her and within a few hours or certainly the next morning.  there are lots of eggs.

This year was different, I had Hector move two females from the main pond to the long pond (30 feet by 4 feet).  It was my intention to introduce the males the next day or so.

The second morning the female or females spawned.  I assumed that I had made a mistake and that of the fish was a male.  There was not a single baby.  It appeared that all eggs became diseased.  

I actually think that the presence of the parrot feather got the females excited and that both of them spawned with out the presence of males.

Some weeks after that the entire pond spawned and did so for three consecutive days.  I had to do massive water changes to keep the ammonia down in the water.

Last year in 2002, the main pond did not spawn at all.

I am late posting this but I now have thousands of eggs in the small containers and the main pond.

July 10, 2003 back to the top

Last season we tried our hand at hybridizing water lilies.  We had some success in that we crossed a Red Flare (Tropical Night Bloomer) with a Texas Shell Pink.  We also crossed Saint Louis Gold (Tropical) with a Colorata.  This year I have some seedlings and it will be interesting to see how they turn out.  I planted the seeds in doors under a quartz light in an aquarium.  This was not the best way to do this but I do not have a greenhouse.  I started the seeds about the first of the year and have only gotten some of them up to a size to replant recently.  The cool weather slows up tropicals, especially the night bloomers.  They actually seem to like 90 degree water and we have not had much of that.  

It appears that it takes about nine months to go from seed to bloom the way I am doing it.  Hopefully, I will have blooms mid to late summer. 

July 8, 2003 back to the top

Today will be the first day we officially break 90 degrees.  That is a record in that June is usually very hot.  This has done strange things to plants.  Brown patch is in most all  in lawns.  Tropical water lilies are just now really growing.  Tropical night bloomers have just started blooming and are way behind normal.. For a look at some of our plants and pond stuff, click fishindx.htm.



September 22, 2004

We are well into the lawn renovation season.  Our procedures donot change too much from year to year.  A good reference is  lawnIns.htm.  This document tells how we approach lawn care during the fall.  It is a good reference and probably should be updated since prices change and new hybrids are coming out all the time.

August 15, 2003 back to the top

If you are planning on using Round-up to kill Bermuda grass you should look at this link.  Round-Up_Using ... killing Bermuda Grass.

September 1, 2003 back to the top

This is the time of year to reseed lawns in the southeast.  Go to lawninstall.htm  for more information.


If you would like to examine some of the issues we have addressed in past years, they are contained in our Seasonal Information Archives.

Seasonal Information Archives since 1996 back to the top

Email  to  Arbormaster

McNeary's Arborists Inc. 3521 Monroe Road Charlotte NC 28205  Phone (704)332-4628 Fax (704)375-8433

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Date last edited  11/19/04 04:02:19 PM

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