SavATree ISA Certified Arborist
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Tree Service & Lawn Care Expert Serving Cambridge, MA

Jeff Bourque, ISA Certified Arborist

ISA Certified Arborist

Territory:

Jeff operates out of SavATree’s Lincoln, MA branch providing comprehensive tree, shrub, lawn, tick and deer services to Cambridge and Brookline, MA. Some services that Jeff and the team offer to clients in the Cambridge area include tree removal, tree pruning, tree and lawn fertilization, tree disease and lawn disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, shrub services including Boxwood Blight treatments, organic lawn care and other organic care options, pest control including mosquito and tick treatments, lawn aeration, lawn seeding and deer repellents. If you would like to keep your property healthy and thriving throughout the entire year, then get in contact with Jeff to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

Email: jbourque@savatree.com
Phone: (781) 795-2504

Qualifications:

Jeff has been providing tree care and plant health care services for over 20 years in the Greater Boston area, and is specialized in urban forestry and tree preservation.

Education:

Jeff studied Natural Resources, with a concentration in Government and Public Policy at the University of Maine, as well as further studies at the Essex Agricultural and Technical School.

Industry Involvement, Awards and Certifications:

  • Massachusetts Certified Arborist #1975
  • ISA Certified Arborist #NE-6743A
  • MA Commercial Pesticide License for (36) Shade Tree and Ornamentals and also (40) Right-Of-Way
  • Elected Tree warden for Town of Hubbardston, MA
  • Member of the MA Arborists Assoc., ISA, and MA Tree Warden’s and Forester’s Assoc.

Personal:

Jeff lives in Hubbardston, MA with his wife and two children. He enjoys camping, hiking, sports, and being outdoors.

Why He Became an Arborist:

“Trees are fascinating living things, and there is so much to know and learn to properly care for them. Being an arborist means that there is no limit to what I can learn to do my job effectively, and I enjoy the opportunity to better myself so that I can be of value to my clients.”

Customer Service Philosophy:

“Under-promise and over-deliver: I always want to be realistic with my clients’ expectations, and try to provide the best service that I can.”

Social Network:

Click here to visit Jeff’s LinkedIn profile!

What are Jeff’s Clients Saying?

“I am still a relatively new customer with SavATree, but I am very impressed with Jeff Borque and his knowledge of trees. I have 3 older and different trees in the front of my house that are very important to me and my family. I learned quite a bit from Jeff that I did not know about my trees that I grew up with. I plan on being a long term customer with SavATree. Thank You!”
John K., Medford, MA

Community Involvement:

Green Industry Partners

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July 18, 2019 – We get asked to do many things, but we cant do it all. Part of maintaining a high level of service is to do what you do well and recognize when to call in other professionals. Pictured here is Jenny Talbot, who owns Talbots Creative Gardens, and she is my go to person for garden planning and maintenance. Jenny’s team is highly proficient in perennials, annuals, and bulbs, as well as routine bed maintenance. We are able to work closely on many properties, which makes our team very beneficial to our common clients!

Observations in the Field:

Magnolia Scale 

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August 14, 2019 – It’s that time of year again when magnolia scale becomes very evident. This large sessile insect will feed on the sap of magnolia and its excrement will generally turn into a black and sticky mess on anything under the tree (see the leaves in the picture above). This sticky sweet substance will attract lots of ants, bees and wasps. Left untreated, this pest will weaken and potentially kill the host tree, so contact your arborist today if you see this pest on your magnolias.

Girdling Roots

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August 10, 2019 – It’s all too often that we get called to look at a tree that is failing, and need to determine why it is dying. Trees will struggle when they have their vascular system compromised by girdling, which can be done by cutting or strangling. Roots can often strangle a stem if they grow around the base of the tree. Sometimes we will see a rope, chain, or wire put on a tree but then never removed. When this happens, as the tree grows, the rope will end up girdling the stem, as seen in these pictures of a failed tree. Water can no longer move in the vascular system, and the tree or tree part gets choked out and dies. Before attempting DIY tree care, contact your local SavATree arborist!

Stem Cankers

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August 5, 2019 – Stem cankers are a bit of an unknown to most homeowners, often times going unnoticed until a tree starts showing advanced effects of infection. Cankers are typically caused by fungi that infect a part of the vascular system and, as they grow, they restrict water movement in the tree. When multiple cankers are present, they can coalesce to great large dead patches in the vascular system, girdling the tree. When this happens, we will see bark splitting, branch dieback, and dead treetops. Consulting your arborist regularly may be your best bet to identify potential cankers, and if possible, treat them before the damage is done. Contact SavATree to schedule a free evaluation of your trees, shrubs and lawn!

Carpenter Ants

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August 1, 2019 – Carpenter ants are destructive pests. While they will not kill a tree, as they do not eat living plant tissues, they will tunnel and nest in the heartwood of a tree, which can make it weaker over time. Because they spend most of their time inside the tree, they can he hard to deal with. We do have a treatment for these pests that uses a bait gel- the ants collect this thinking it is food, they bring it back to the nest then the product does its job. Let us know if you see carpenter ants in your trees!

Included Bark, Stem Failure

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July 25, 2019 – A tree defect we often come across is known as “included bark”, where 2 stems of a tree grow against each other but are not physically attached. Over time, this defect can become a significant point of failure, as seen in these pictures of this red oak on one of our client’s properties in Boston, MA. Trees with included bark can be corrected when very young and when they are older, practices such as cabling and bracing can help to secure these weaknesses. If you notice an issue like this in one or more of your trees, contact SavATree!

Don’t Do This

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July 21, 2019 – There are many past arboricultural techniques that we just don’t practice anymore, as research has proven such practices to be ineffective or detrimental to the tree. This tree was filled in with bricks and mortar with the intent to strengthen a hollowed tree. However, this filling of a tree cavity will further damage this tree; trees are dynamic and they need to move in the wind. A rigid filling will further abrade the interior of this tree, causing more of a cavity. When it is time to remove this tree, the crew assigned to this task will be very displeased, as chain saws do not cut though brick. Make sure you are working with a certified arborist who is educated on the latest best practices in tree service. SavATree’s team members are professional, certified arborists and will always provide you with the best advice and the highest quality tree, shrub and lawn care available. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with your local arborist.

Unusual Trees

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July 18, 2019 – While visiting a property in Cambridge recently, I came across this unusual tree. I had only seen one other like it and was unable to identify it then. I really liked the texture of the foliage, and the striking pink plumes at the top. Google can be a very useful tree identification tool, so I was able to identify this as a Tamarisk, or salt cedar. While it can be invasive in southern climates, the tree stands out in the northeast.

Dead Tree Safety

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July 9, 2019 – Dead trees can pose a threat to human health and safety, especially in an urban setting. In the pictures above are a dying ash and a dead elm; the ash is dying of emerald ash borer infestation, and the elm succumbed to Dutch elm disease. These are two species that deteriorate quickly when they are dying or dead, as they will quickly start dropping small branches, followed by larger limbs within a couple of years. If you have an ash or an elm that has started dying, do not put them off for too long, as they deteriorate quickly, can become a threat to your property and become more difficult to remove as time goes on. Contact us to schedule a free assessment of the health of your elm or ash trees. 

Viburnum Leaf Beetle in Chestnut Hill

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June 24, 2019 – The viburnum leaf beetle is a voracious feeder of certain types of viburnum. The larvae of this insect will skeletonize the leaves of the viburnum in May and then pupate. When the adult emerges in the early summer, they will return to the host plant and continue the feeding damage. In the pictures, you can see one plant with some minor feeding damage, while the second one was completely defoliated. The plant will put out new leaves, but cannot do this every year, so controls are necessary to maintain the health of the viburnum. Contact your local SavATree arborist to find out how you can control this insect.

Woundwood Formation and Tree Healing

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June 21, 2019 – I came across this old white oak, and noticed how well this tree had healed over some large pruning wounds, created when someone removed these large low limbs. At the time of removal, these limbs would have been roughly 12″ diameter. These cuts are completely healed over now, which likely took over 20 years to occur. Woundwood (not callus wood) is the reactionary wood of a tree in response to an injury, and grows at a rate of 1/4″ to 1/2″ per year. If these limbs were 12″ diameter, it probably took over 20 years to heal these pruning cuts. Some trees are faster healers than others and usually cuts of this size can lead to internal wood decay. Contact your local SavATree office to schedule a free consultation with a certified arborist and get your trees pruned by an experienced professional! 

Azalea Sawfly in Cambridge, MA

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June 18, 2019 – Azalea sawfly, a leaf-chewing insect, is very difficult to find as it camouflages well with the leaf of the deciduous azalea. It’s more conspicuous when the leaves of the azalea are chewed down to the veins. This pest can be controlled by hand picking if you can find them, or by treating systemically or with foliar applications. Contact your local SavATree arborist today for recommendations. 

Identifying Poison Ivy

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June 2, 2019 – Poison ivy can be found almost anywhere, and in many forms. Many people may remember the saying “3 leaves bright, stay out of sight”, but there are a couple of other ways to help identify it. Often the petiole (the stem of the leaf) will have red in it. When young, the leaves are very glossy and always come in sets of 3. Poison ivy can also grow as a vine; some vines will be several inches thick and can grow 30-40 feet up a tree. The vine will have many tiny hairs growing off it, and will have branches with leaves. This is often the most dangerous form, as one can easily walk into it without knowing, and get the urishiol oil in their eyes, which will require a trip to the doctor. If you suspect poison ivy is growing on your property and want to discuss mitigation strategies, contact your SavATree arborist.

Tree Decay in Chestnut Hill, MA

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May 18, 2019 – A property in Chestnut Hill was recently remodeled, which included the landscape. Unfortunately, this sugar maple suffered too much damage to the roots and began to decline rather quickly. At first, it had some loose bark on the main stem and soon began to develop horizontal cracks. This happened very quickly. We removed the tree yesterday, and as you can see in the picture of the frost section, only 1/3 of the wood was alive. We were amazed this tree was still standing. Make sure to contact a certified arborist before performing any significant landscape projects. Contact SavATree today!

Black Knot of Prunus

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May 16, 2019 – Black knot is a fairly common fungal infection of prunus trees such as plum, cherry and  apricot. While not usually fatal, it can significantly affect individual branches by restricting vascular flow. However, if it forms on main branches and stems, tree death may occur. This is a disease that is difficult to control, as there are no effective treatments to prevent or stop it from spreading. This disease is managed by pruning out infected plant parts and, if a tree is heavily infected, removing it to reduce the spread to other valuable trees. Consult your arborist if you have prunus trees you wish to preserve.

Espalier Pruning in Waltham, MA

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May 13, 2019 – Some trees are specifically grown to fill a 2 dimensional plane, known as espalier. This is most commonly done with apples, but can be done with most any ornamental tree. Yew, Japanese maple, and smoke bush are a few others I have worked with. Here you can see before and after pictures. When done annually (some times twice annually), this tree form can be very productive, while taking up less space. It also offers architectural interest when placed against a plain surface, such as a featureless wall of a house. These trees are usually purchased as espaliers from the nursery, but can be carefully trained in the landscape with practice and patience.

Gypsy Moth Caterpillar Hatch in Barre, MA

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May 9, 2019 -Gypsy moth caterpillars are hatching across the state! These pictures are from Barre, MA. You can see the newly emerged caterpillars on and around their egg casings, and they will soon climb up the tree and out to the limbs where the leaves are. They will feed through June and, where populations are high, they will completely exfoliate the host tree. Scout for egg masses on tree trunks and on the undersides of main limbs. If populations are high, they can be treated. Contact your local arborist for treatment suggestions.

Planting in a New Landscape in Chestnut Hill, MA

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April 30, 2019 – Often times, older homes are sold, significantly remodeled and flipped. This usually includes new landscaping, especially a new lawn and shrubs. Much of this work is done by general contractors and, unfortunately, many of these plants and lawns fail. Why? In the above images, you will see 2 arborvitae – the first one is buried in mulch, which makes it difficult for the plant to get sufficient water. The second is planted too high, which will cause the roots to desiccate and die back. Both of these errors are incredibly common. Take the time to plant your trees and shrubs properly and they will reward you for years, otherwise you will find yourself replacing plants on a regular basis. Need advice? Ask your local SavATree Arborist. Contact us today!

Stump Excavation in Brookline, MA

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Brookline MA Certified Arborist

April 24, 2019 – We recently took on a project with a custom home developer to excavate some stumps at the site of two new homes in Brookline, MA. The developer needed the stumps out, but also needed to preserve the surrounding native trees. Simply pulling the stumps would have damaged the surrounding trees, and using the stump grinder was not an option. To accomplish this, we employed an air excavation tool to remove soil from the base of the stump, which allowed us to cut all the major roots of the stump. Once cut, an excavator was easily able remove the stump without disrupting the root systems of the surrounding trees. A very unusual project, but successfully completed.

Seven Son Flower

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September 27, 2018 – If you are looking for a distinctive and unique ornamental tree, consider seven-son flower. A cousin of the honeysuckle, this tree, native to China, is an attractive ornamental tree in the northeast. The tree exhibits dogwood-like foliage, and exfoliating bark similar to honeysuckle. Seven-son flower will grow well in most soils, but does very well in wet soils. It can be grown as a large shrub, or pruned into a tree form, such as in the pictures shown above, and will mature at roughly 20 feet tall by 20 feet wide. In late summer, the small and very fragrant flowers are very attractive to honeybees and butterflies, and during the dormant season it shows its exfoliating bark giving it year round interest. It is a great addition to any landscape.

Grape Arbor

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September 21, 2018 – Grapes – yes, we do that too. Two years ago, a client of mine had a tenant at a multifamily property “prune” their grape arbor, which is to say they lopped the whole vine down, leaving a 3 foot stub from the ground. My client was very upset by this, and since we had worked at their primary residence, they reached out to us for help. After reviewing the empty grape arbor, we put together a plan. We needed to rebuild the framework of the arbor, and then train and redevelop the vine to grow back up on the arbor. I explained that this would be a 3 year process, so we agreed that I would make 3 visits over 3 years to prune the vine as needed, and guide the vine onto the structure. Being a well established plant, it re-sprouted quickly. I was able to get the new vine to grow up into place, and started securing it with AgLock to keep it in place. Upon each visit, I would trim off sprouts growing from the base of the plant, train the newer vines to fully cover the arbor, and to keep it contained to the arbor structure. The above photo shows the vine this summer, fully grown back, with a hefty crop of grapes this year. You can see where the vine was cut, and how it grew out. This project was a little out of the ordinary for us, but we were able to take it on, and could not be happier with the results.

Oak Acorn Plum Balls

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August 21, 2018 – While visiting a client today, she asked about these odd looking “fruits” all over her lawn. She had quite a crop of them scattered about her lawn, and was concerned about the dog eating them. She has a large red oak in the backyard, which is producing these almost golf ball sized balls. These are oak acorn plum galls, and are produced when a wasp lays an egg in the cap of a developing acorn. The larvae grows inside the gall to maturity, and then the gall will drop from the tree. A similar gall is the oak apple gall- this one is much lighter, and is made by a wasp laying an egg in leaf tissue, resulting in a nearly hollowed shell for the larvae to grow in. These galls do not harm the oak tree, and may not appear every year.

Camperdown Elm

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August 21, 2018 – Camperdown Elm, Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’, is a variety of Wych Elm that you might find in the planted landscape. Dating back to the 1800’s in Scotland, this tree is noted for its sprawling, weeping habit. They can produce a large diameter trunk and attain heights of up to 15 feet, and can spread 20-30 feet. Elms in general grow in many soil conditions and do not require a lot of care with one exception, Dutch Elm disease. These trees are prone to this disease, and should receive preventative treatments to ensure health. Not many Camperdown Elms are planted these days, but once in a while you may see this distinctive tree growing in an urban landscape. Stop and take notice of this remarkable tree.

Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

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August 21, 2018 – Emerald Ash Borer continues to spread into the Boston area as I am seeing new infestations in Newton, Brookline, and Chestnut Hill. Uninfested trees can be treated preventatively this fall, and should be treated and monitored annually. The picture above shows the exit holes of the borer, which are a distinct `D` shape, signifying a flat-headed borer. All varieties of ash trees are susceptible to this insect pest, and prevention is critical to the future of your tree. Emerald ash borer is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees, originating locally in Detroit, and having spread throughout the northeast and midwest, and continuing to spread east, south and west throughout the U.S.

Territory List:

Middlesex County
Cambridge
Cambridgeport
East Cambridge
East Somerville
East Watertown
Medford
North Cambridge
North Waltham
Somerville
Tufts University
West Somerville
Waltham
Watertown
West Somerville
Winter Hill

Norfolk County
Brookline
Brookline Village
Chestnut Hill
Dedham

Suffolk County
Allston
Beacon Hill
Boston
Charleston
Roxbury

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