Do I/don’t I have borers in this cottonwood tree?
According to my Google research, the cottonwood borer is a longhorn beetle, Plectrodera scalator found east of the Rocky Mountains. Well, that’s Kansas. Problem is, looking at the photos of this beetle, it’s both large (inch and a half long) and distinctive, having a white body with black striations. I’ve never seen one. Promise.
Meanwhile, between the caterpillar chewing on my sweet gum tree, this cottonwood, and a Eastern Red Cedar that looks to have bagworms, I’ve called in an expert tree pest person. Arriving Friday to give me a bid. So it’s another cliffhanger today.
But here’s the backstory on this cottonwood. Seven years ago, I planted five cotton-less cottonwood trees. I needed a nice-enough tree that was also a fast grower. And for the first five years, all was well.
And then, one dark and stormy night, a deer stomped through my yard, stopping to rub itself against the bark of one of the cottonwoods. Resulting in damage to the bark, shown in the following photo.
Wowzer. I think this damage gave invitation to the borers, a little like inviting a vampire into one’s home. Please come in and drink my blood, said the tree.
If I lose this cottonwood to borers, I’ll plant a slow-growing, hardwood tree instead. A white oak or a sawtooth oak. What’s the saying? Planting a tree is a gift to future generations.