The majority of bugs that are in gardens and lawns are beneficial to plants, helping cultivate growth and ridding your yard of harmful bugs. However, some are damaging. The first step in protecting your trees is learning to identify bugs that kill trees. Then you can take the necessary steps to protect your trees from these harmful bugs. It doesn’t take much to protect your trees so they can grow strong for years to come. Read below to learn how to identify which bugs are a threat and how to keep them out of your yard.
Look for Signs
Bugs that kill trees leave signs of damage. These bugs can be region-specific and species-specific, so it helps to look up common bugs for your area. These common pests can range from aphids, beetles, moths, and caterpillars to borers and weevils. Though aphids are not typically damaging, larger colonies can be problematic and lead to stunted shoot growth.
Examine the trees on your property, looking at the trunk, branches, bark, and leaves. Some harmful bugs will leave behind external signs, such as exit holes and sawdust-like debris from boring insects, holes in leaves from chewing insects, or the presence of a sticky sap called “honeydew” from sucking insects. It is also possible to finds nests or the insects themselves.
Other signs may be less noticeable at first because the damage is more internal or structural. Certain beetles lay eggs in holes within tree bark. When the larvae feed, it weakens the tree from the inside. Other signs to look for are defoliation, loss of needles, withered leaves, or early leaf drop. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to take action. The sooner you catch these signs, the more likely you can save your trees and rid them of harmful infestations.
Hydrate and Feed Your Trees
One of the best ways to protect your trees is to take preventive action. Promoting health and regularly caring for your trees will keep them strong and make them less of a target for harmful bugs. Typically, insects attack trees that are already in a weakened state due to injury or sickness. Tree strength can be achieved through hydration and nutrients.
Properly hydrating your trees will keep branches from getting too dry and eventually breaking off. Not only can this endanger you or your property from falling branches, but it also leaves your tree vulnerable to bug infestations.
Make sure to also maintain proper soil health. Different species of trees require different pH levels of soil. For many trees, if the soil is too alkaline, it will prevent the tree from drinking in necessary nutrients and therefore will limit growth. Check the pH levels of your soil and adjust accordingly. Soil pH can be managed by using nitrogen fertilizers and maintaining proper irrigation. Improper irrigation will leech the soil of nutrients.
Keep Trees Trimmed
Another key step in maintaining tree health is regularly pruning your trees. Keeping your trees trimmed will allow light and healthy airflow. Additionally, remove any dead or damaged branches. Make sure to clean up any fallen leaves, branches, or fruit surrounding your trees. Dried up or rotting fruit, fallen leaves, and branches can attract harmful insects, putting your tree at risk. Regularly trimming your trees will promote growth and keep your trees strong. Removing dead or damaged branches, foliage, and fruit will deter insects.
Treat Infestations With Oils
Though pest infestations are commonly treated with pesticides, these products also kill beneficial insects necessary for tree health, such as bees. Instead of pesticides, opt for products that use oils in their spray. Plant oils control infestations, deterring harmful insects without killing helpful insects. Simply saturate the infested areas regularly. This may not be viable on a commercial scale but can be effective for residential property.
Polyculture is a form of agriculture that practices companion planting. More than one species is grown at the same time in the same area to promote the diversity of ecosystems. This type of companion planting helps neighboring plants by naturally deterring insects that target a particular species. Certain plants also attract natural predators such as ladybugs, dragonflies, and spiders. These predators eat harmful insects, protecting neighboring trees from potential infestations.
Call an Arborist
Though you can do much on your own to protect your property from bugs that kill trees, sometimes calling a professional arborist to diagnose your trees is the best way to protect them. A skilled arborist can best recognize symptoms of an unhealthy tree or infestation and find things you may have missed. They are also knowledgeable in recommending the best remedy.
Tree trimming is dangerous work. A trained arborist has the skill and equipment to remove these hazards safely, without putting you or your property at risk. Improper pruning can also weaken a tree and leave it vulnerable to further infestation. An arborist understands what cuts to make and where to make them encourage growth, rather than compromising the structure of your tree which may eventually kill it.
If you notice symptoms you think are related to an insect infestation, it may be time to call your local arborist. If you live in the Portland area, Mr. Tree specializes in residential, commercial, and industrial tree services. We have a 24-hour emergency service, and our professional and certified arborists have the experience to take care of all your tree needs. We take pride in our quality of service and customer satisfaction. Call us today to handle your tree care needs.
Being able to identify the signs of harmful bugs and removing these harmful insects, while promoting natural predators, will ensure your trees are healthy and strong for many years. Not only will it protect your trees, but it will enhance their look so you can have a yard you are proud of. It doesn’t take much to preserve their beauty, just some regular care and maintenance, yet their yield is bountiful.