Bagworms and Cottonwood Borers Begone

I stumbled on Environmental Tree and Pest Solutions via Next Door. Looking at their website, I especially liked their focus on protecting the planet.

Here is Lauren, spraying the cottonwoods for borers on a day with little wind, and therefore not a lot of overspray. She’ll be back later this evening to help with the evergreen bagworms–I have one tree affected. She’ll also be treating my apple trees for leaf rust.

Sadly, in the last storm, one of the Granny Smith trees fell over. When I looked at the roots I found it had virtually none. Something’s been eating it, and so onto the burn pile it went. It’s hard to give up on a two-year old tree, but in this case, I think it’s better to just start over.

Here’s hoping our pests are a thing of the past–or at least till next spring–with little impact on the birds and the bees.

Partly Cloudy Sunday

Early Sunday morning. Found this leaf in the yard and asked, “Is it fall?”

Well no, technically not. Fall is arriving in approximately thirty-four days. It’s still summer, still August, and supposed to be still hot. But it’s not. We’ve had storms every night of the past three, and mornings have been cloudy and cool.

Once the sun burns through the clouds, though, it’s summer again, hot and steamy. So while fall garden clean-up has started, I work only early and retreat to air-conditioned comfort in the afternoon.

Those readers who follow my Monday gardening posts will be saddened to know that I do indeed have both bag worms and cottonwood borers. I’ll be posting the “fix” on Monday, weather permitting. And if the weather is bad, the blog will be delayed.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying this foretaste of my favorite season and sitting on my hands to avoid pulling out the Halloween decorations. Hope it doesn’t turn unseasonably warm in September.


Cottonwood Borers

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.