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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.

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

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

Perennials That Survive the Winter

perennials that survive winter

For landscapers and professional gardeners, the hardy perennials that survive harsh winters are a blessing. These sturdy characters mean less work in the spring and create the starting point for the new year’s plantings. For property owners, some perennials provide continuing life and even color when not covered by a mountain of snow. They are also the first to “wake up” when the weather abates. Continue reading

Let Lawn Care Professionals Create Your Outdoor Dream Space

lawn care professionalsLet Lawn Care Professionals Create Your Outdoor Dream Space

As homeowners approach their do-it-yourself lawn care and landscaping projects, they frequently lose sight of the fact that limited knowledge often leads to limited results, disappointment, and higher costs. Moreover, in many cases, the time spent could have been used more favorably doing something else while landscape professionals create and maintain a more beautiful exterior environment. Continue reading

Benefits of a Professional Lawn Care Service

professional lawn careBenefits of a Professional Lawn care Service

A professional lawn care service does far more than drop by to mow the lawn and adjust the sprinklers. The commitment from a professional lawn care provider is to maintain the best looking landscape possible that matches the owner’s target ambiance and keeps every growing component in the best health possible. Continue reading

Landscape Myths Busted: Part One

landscape professionalsLandscaping Myths Busted: Part 1

Most amateur gardeners and landscapers love creating their outdoor ambiance. Planting shrubs, trees, perennials, adding pathways and setting borders can change the personality of your outdoor living space in many beautiful ways.

Moreover, with some planning, you can enjoy a different mixture of colors with each season.

Unfortunately, some efforts do not turn out as expected. Since landscaping is as much science as art, some long held beliefs may be the problem. Here are some landscaping suggestions to dispel common myths. Continue reading