While aspen removal, zimmerman pine moth prevention and cottonwood tree trimming all continue to be big issues for Parker homeowners in 2013, (refer to links at the end for more info) I wanted to highlight a new area of concern and revisit an old topic that also could use clarification.
Austrian and Scots Pines Dying
Austrian pines are a beautiful tree and privacy shield that we see in a lot of Parker backyards. Austrians in Nebraska, Kansas and recently in Colorado have been declining very quickly and scientists believe there is a link with the pine sawyer and the microscopic passenger they carry, the pinewood nematode.
“The mysterious disease is called pine wilt and the pinewood nematode seems to be the culprit. Pine wilt has the potential to cause mass devastation throughout eastern Colorado. Nematode disease has gone rampant due to the unusually warm and dry weather. Other parts of the world that are affected are Nebraska and Kansas who have seen high tree loss.”
Pine wilt manifests on Austrian and Scots pine causing them to lose color very rapidly, seemingly overnight in some cases. Usually the loss of color will be more gradual over a 6 month period. All observed trees have shown loss of color within a year. The tree will typically change to a gray-green color before eventually browning and losing its needles.
Unfortunately there is no cure once the tree is infested and no preventive spray or tree injection to stop pine wilt from infecting a Scotch or Austrian pine.
Immediate removal of an affected pine is the best option. It’s shown to reduce the spread of the disease to other of the same species in your yard or the neighborhood. Native Colorado pine such as white pine and lodgepole appear to be immune.
While we prefer to highlight tree care issues that we have a solution for, pine wilt is important to recognize so removal can be arranged. Plus at least knowing why your trees faded so quickly may provide a little closure and steer you towards a different species to plant.
Managing Tree Trimming and Shrub Cycles
We find that our Parker clientele typically have more trees then the average yard and less time to manage them. Parker is home to many of Colorado’s movers and shakers too busy to deal with the trees and shrubs themselves. More then other cities, Parker residents ask us to evaluate their entire yard and furnish an itemized bid, which we will gladly do. Here are some low stress ways to manage your trees and shrubs.
1. Sign up for winter watering. Trees especially pine and spruce need water in the winter. Keeping them hydrated will lower disease management, spraying and removals down the road.
2. Ask us to itemize the quote by tree. This gives you a comparison point and the true cost of each tree.
3. Stagger work over a schedule. Avoid one big bill by breaking up the work over a given time period. Certain trees are best trimmed and maintained at certain times of year. We trim crab apple trees and other species prone to blight in the winter for example. Bush trimming needs to be done yearly. Ash trees need to be trimmed every two years but a well maintained maple, cottonwood or locust can usually wait three to five years between trims.
4. Remove trees before they get massive. Larger trees especially ones that become hazard trees can increase in removal costs more then proportionally to their size. In other words a 30 foot cottonwood isn’t necessarily half as much too remove as a 60 foot cottonwood. As trees get larger, two things happens. The pool of contractors with the ability (or willingness) to remove them begins to shrink. The second is it becomes more dangerous to remove. Removing and replanting is always a stress -free way to maintain your trees.
Hope these tips allow you to feel more control of your ongoing tree maintenance.