If you have Scotch or ponderosa Pines on your Denver property, you’ll want to protect them from mountain pine beetles now infesting Front Range trees. The threat to your trees is real. The beetles can kill trees quickly. To date, affected Front Range communities extend from Teller and El Paso counties to the south to Larimer and Weld counties in northern Colorado.
I’m no stranger to mountain pine beetles. An avid skier, I’ve seen the beetles’ devastation to our national forests in Colorado’s high country. Beetles wreaked havoc on more than 3.6 million acres of Colorado and southern Wyoming, leaving a sickening number of evergreens a reddish-brown. The dead trees raise risks of wildfire and also pose danger to healthy trees due to winds toppling dead trees.
Now the mountain pine beetles are bugging Denver trees, according to the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. ALCC members first noticed beetle outbreaks last year. “We first saw the pine beetle in Denver last fall, but it has really exploded this year,” said ALCC member Tony Hahn.
ALCC experts claim that preventive measures are the only hope against mountain pine beetles. Once attacked, trees often die.
An ALCC news release reported, “Telltale signs that a tree has been attacked include “pitch tubes” – areas where the tree oozes sap in an effort to “pitch out” and drown the boring beetle. Pitch tubes are commonly located 10 to 15 feet off the ground and may look like popcorn-shaped mass on the tree. Pine beetles can kill a tree relatively quickly and within a year or two of the initial attack, render the needles a lifeless reddish-brown.”
Arborists monitoring pine beetle emphasize that prevention is crucial. If you have trees at risk trees, protect them now.
The ALCC urges hiring a reputable, licensed and insured contractor to treat trees with pesticides: “It’s illegal to apply these types of insecticides without being licensed. It’s also important to check references and ask for proof of insurance before hiring a contractor.”
To find a qualified arborist/landscape professional in your area, or to talk to a landscape expert for free advise, visit www.alcc.com and click on ‘find a landscape pro or ‘ask a professional.’
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