The Cocoa Tree: New Threats It Faces

cacao tree drawingThe Cocoa Tree is one of the world’s most valuable commodities, because chocolate is one of the world’s favorite flavors. Besides craving the creamy and delicious tastes of chocolate bars and candies, we enjoy chocolate in hot beverages, cakes, pies, and puddings, and as a very popular flavoring in milk. Chocolate ice cream, along with all of its many collaborations with other flavors, is also a global favorite.

Perhaps surprising to some, Americans consume less chocolate per capita than many of their European counterparts. According to a 2015 Forbes Report, the Swiss lead the way with 19.8 lbs./capita. The United States only ranks 9th at 9.5 lbs/capita consumption.

Overall, the world consumed approximately 7.7 million metric tons of chocolate so far in 2018, according to Statistica.

Cocoa Trees are Under Threat

Scientists and other experts are predicting trends that may be threatening the healthy development of cocoa production. Chocolate is made from the beans of cocoa trees. Mostly, the cocoa trees thrive in hot and wet conditions within 10° of the Equator. Most of the global output is harvested in the West African countries of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

Threats to future cocoa production come from several fronts. First, according to bigpictureeducation.com, several diseases are increasing the risks to overall cocoa bean output.

These are:

  • Black Pod Disease: A type of water mold, Phytophthora, blackens and kills the cocoa pods that contain the beans. The damaging spores are carried by wind and water as well as insects, bats, and rodents which cause the pods to rot.
  • Witches’ Broom is a fungus that stunts the growth of the flowers and pods.
  • Mirids are insects that feed on the trees, leaves, and branches and cause death.
  • Other threats are frosty pod riot, vascular streak dieback, and pod borer.

Long-term Threat: Global Warming

While these insects and fungi remain a growing threat to cocoa tree farmers, global warming represents a real long-term concern. Scientists are predicting that the change of climate will change the climate conditions required to grow cocoa and will create a substantial reduction in capacity.

ProLine™ Nursery and Landscaping Equipment

For decades, Heritage Oak Farm has worked with professional landscapers and nursery professionals to design time, labor, and money saving landscape and nursery equipment that is ideal for managing trees and large plants. One product, Proline™ Grapple collects and hauls branches, logs, and boulders with ease.

For more information regarding the ProLine Series of time-saving equipment, visit the website or call 1-888-288-5308.

Fall Treatment For Leaf Blight

AnthracnoseAs autumn kicks in and a new array of responsibilities appear, landscape professionals begin to prepare their crews and clients for taking the necessary steps to protect trees, bushes, and plants from the elements of winter as well as common things like leaf blight and to ensure each returns to brilliance when spring arrives.

Trees are the most valuable and critical elements of any landscape. Specific treatments during the weeks before winter ensure that they are not affected by the fungal spores that cause leaf blight.

What is Leaf Blight?

Leaf blight, more scientifically known as Anthracnose, is caused by fungus growth on twig and leaf tissue and is particularly prevalent in wet climates. Usually developing in springtime, the fungus causes considerable leaf damage and early loss. Many trees are susceptible to one or more species of Anthracnose. These include oak, ash, maple, hickory, elm, linden, birch, walnut, sycamore, and dogwood.

Early detection can save later problems. The condition is noted by red or tan lesions that develop on the leaf edges and veins. If the problem has progressed, an abnormal amount of leaf loss for the time of the season will indicate the problem.

Best Time for Anthracnose Treatments

While spring applications are useful, a fall treatment will work well to prevent an early emergence of the fungus condition. Fall applications work better for most professional landscapers since springtime schedules are so densely booked.

Also, if the tree already shows signs of leaf blight, picking up and removing all leaves, twigs, and fallen branches surrounding the tree during the fall is essential to eliminating the fungus from the area.

Fall pruning of old limbs and dead wood will also help prevent the occurrence or a relapse of the condition along with a fall application of industry recognized and proven fungicide chemicals, injections, or sprays to clear up the problem and ensure healthy spring leaf growth.

Ensure trees have the proper amount of sunlight, water, and fertilizer to keep them strong enough to withstand a fungus attack as weakened trees are most susceptible.

ProLine™ Tree Handling Equipment

Heritage Oak Farm has been a key player in the tree management business for several decades. Through their broad experience in the industry, they have invested their time and labor to create their money-saving ProLine equipment for tree handling, transporting and planting.

One essential piece of ProLine equipment specifically designed for landscapers and tree farms is the patented ProLine GRABBER. The GRABBER has a unique paddle design which eliminates trunk or ball damage while retrieving healed-in or in-ground B&B stock.

For more information, visit the ProLine website or call 1-888-288-5308.

Keeping Your Lawn Beautiful in the Summer

droughtDuring the winter, we often fantasize about a lush green, beautifully trimmed yard on a lovely summer day. But, as the heat and dryness of mid-summer arrives, we are faced with the challenge of maintaining an overly stressed lawn that is suddenly being damaged by foot traffic, weeds, and insects.

What should we do when the temperatures go up, and there’s not a cloud in the sky? Continue reading

Why is Fertilizing in Spring Important?

fertilizing in spring

As the final vestiges of winter fade away, homeowners and professional landscapers begin to compile the annual list of things to prepare for the new growing season. Raking away debris and leaves that may have remained after the winter, servicing equipment, and clearing gardens are some of the routine operations needed in order to get ready for the glorious renewal of spring. Continue reading

Dead Tree Removal

dead tree removal

Unfortunately, like all of nature’s bounty, our tree friends will die. Sometimes, for whatever reason, homeowners leave these gentle giants standing years after the last leaves have fallen. Possibly, this is because they are accustomed to the tree’s presence in a unique space in their landscape and do not wish to experience the effect of its departure. At times, a large tree may serve as a privacy barrier, even without foliage.

In any case, keeping a dead and rotting tree around can have some serious adverse effects. Continue reading

Planning Drip Systems for Healthy Trees

drip system for trees

Trees can be more complicated than the rest of the plant world. They grow to greater heights and require more water and nutrients than smaller shrubs, bushes, and plants. And, to be healthy, their root systems must grow to greater depths to create long-term stability.

Young trees may seem to do well with lawn irrigation and rainfall. However, a supplemental drip system for trees is needed to encourage long-term root growth and depth. Continue reading

Winter is the Best Time to Design a Landscape

winter landscape design

For many home and business owners, winter landscape design might seem like a contradiction. But once the lawnmowers and shovels are out of sight and the leaves fully raked, professional landscape designers have more time to re-imagine all that an outdoor space can be.

Winter is an ideal time to work with a professional to set the stage for a stunning presentation for the upcoming year. Continue reading

Gardening and Landscaping Tips –gear it toward winter time

gardening and landscaping

Gardening and Landscaping Tips: Winter Time Considerations

Even though temperatures have fallen below freezing and snow may be on the way, gardening and landscaping planning does not need to go into hibernation.

Although your colorful plants are now sleeping and color has faded, the winter season is a great time to re-plan your landscape to provide year-round enjoyment. You may not be planting anything during this season, but a closer view of those bare plants and limbs can spark ideas for the coming season. Some possibilities include adding new stone and other hardscape features that will add definition to your landscape. A new wall, perhaps some statuary or strategically placed boulders, can dress up a winter landscape. As plants and vines wind their way through these features, your garden will eventually take on a sophisticated and elegant aspect. Continue reading