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A friend of mine is an Arborist and I just love her monthly newsletter. (Sign up for it!)
So often, when diagnosing tree decline or what have you, we can’t see the forest for the trees, or rather beetles. In her March newsletter, Faith Appelquist of Treequality , describes how a weak tree will be attacked by predatory entities such as aphids, scale, fungi, termites and, of course, beetles.
She tells the story of the Red Pine and Pine Bark beetles. They’ve had a relationship with each for thousands of years. In the circle of life, Faith says, bark beetles are opportunistic members of Mother Nature’s clean-up crew.
Under favorable conditions healthy trees can defend themselves by drowning the tiny pine beetles in resin. But as temperatures have risen in recent years, the insect’s population and winter survival rate have skyrocketed. Additional stresses make it nearly impossible for trees to defend themselves from the massive beetle onslaught.
This is straight from Faith’s newsletter (it’s not posted on her website yet):
- Minimize beetle populations through removing, chipping or burning infected trees before April 1.
- Proactively replant a diverse selection of disease-resistant, drought tolerant tree species.
- Do not use nitrogen fertilizer which can increase tree stress.
- In some cases, the application of an approved insecticide that coats the entire tree trunk and branches, may be warranted to protect high-value landscape trees from infestation.
- Avoid compacting, physical damage, or pavement over roots.
- Provide adequate spacing (15 to 20 feet) between trees.
- Maintain proper soil nutrient and pH levels by using needle or pine bark mulch over the root zone in place of turf grass.
- Provide supplemental deep watering during extended drought periods.