Tree insects or pests
Through direct or indirect invasion insects and pests can cause considerable damage. Alongside the application of pesticides, pest control has evolved to include other options. Collectively these methods are referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a complex strategy that involves comprehension of how pests interact with their host, with the general climatic conditions, plant health, and nutrition and with each other.
The pest management method should be compatible with other tree management strategies. Not all the insects present in a landscape cause economic or physical damage. Pesticides should not be applied indiscriminately just by sight of a few insects. Other climatic and cultural factors that may reduce the pest numbers should first be considered.
The most popular pests and insects that attack trees include; aphids, mealy bugs, elm leaf beetle, bronze birch borer, leaf miner, spider mites and many other insects. These insects severely reduce the ably of trees to fight other biotic or environmental conditions like drought and heat.
Categories of insects and their control.
Boring Insects: These include elm bar beetle, Asian longhorned beetle, dogwood borer amongst others. The tunnel deep into the stems cutting off waster conducting tissues. If left untreated for a long time they can cause the death of the tree.
Control of these insects can be achieved by pruning, watering, fertilization, and mulching. The goal is to keep the tree as healthy as possible. Dead wood should be removed from the field.
There a number of chemicals and sprays that can be used for the treatment of affected trees. These include the multi insect killer tree injection kit. This is injected directly to the tree’s trunk. The soil can also be drenched with insecticide once a year. This is applied in the fall or early spring and can help fight the borers throughout the growing season.
Chewing insects: Examples include tent caterpillars, leafminers, gypsy moth, cankerworm, Japanese beetle among others. These insects are broadly categories as defoliator. The migrate to leaves and fruits and cause damage by chewing.
Insecticides can generally be used to kill the insects. Physical barriers can also be used for controlling movement up and down a tree and hence interfering with their lifecycle. Healthier trees are more likely to withstand pest attacks. Maintaining trees in good health and vitality helps with the immunity of the trees.
There are a number of effective sprays and chemicals that can be used for treatment. These include bug buster and safer’s trounce yard and garden insecticide. However, these should probably be recommended by an arborist.
Sucking insects: These include aphids, trips, spider mites and scale insects. They can literally suck the life out of a tree. Most of these are relatively immobile. They form a hard-protective coating on the plant parts they derive juices from. In return, they produce a sticky substance known as honeydew.
Various insecticides such as aphid chaser, bug buster, and insecticidal soap can repel these insects away.
Pest control methods generally.
Spraying: Sung recommended pesticides and insecticides in a spray helps to cure and prevent invasion. The particular chemical to use should be recommended by an extension officer. Proper precautions should be exercised while handling farm chemicals.
Injection: injections are the best option for controlling insects that live deep within the cambium layers of a tree. Injections also address any environmental concern that comes with spraying insecticides. Injected chemicals can also hardly find their way to groundwater supplies.
Fertilization and watering: These practices maintain health and vitality of trees which indirectly helps fight insect infections. addition of nutrients strengthens the tree defense system. A strong tree can fight the impact of leaf-chewing insects.
What is root rot?
Root rot is a disease that attacks the roots of plants. This disease is caused by fungus especially the phytophthora. Other fungus that may cause root rot include Ganoderma armillaria, Fomes and Inonotus. Root rot has adverse effects not only n garden plants but also in trees. There are multiple species with the genus Phytophthora. These fungi occur naturally in almost all places n the world n areas of poor drainage and in anaerobic soils.
In garden plants, root rot often causes death of the plant and is difficult to treat. However, there exists some preventive measures or others to mitigate the situation before it gets completely out of hand. These include:
- Avoiding irrigation until the soil is almost completely dry.
- Keeping the soil as dry as possible
- Pulling back sol to allow escape of water through evaporation for as much as possible.
Root rot can spread in any one of two methods. The fungus can spread airborne through dispersal by spores or through the growth of mycelium between neighboring trees, across grafts and contact of roots. A planter can transfer the fungus from one place to another while transferring diseased plants.
Spreading can also be achieved through splashing rainwater, runoff water or even during irrigation. The fungus Phytophthora can persist in soils for many years as long as the sols are poorly drained and have poor oxygen levels.
Late fall and early spring, when the weather s cool and wet, is the most conducive period for spread of root rot. When sols remain saturated for between 6 – 8 hours, conducive condom are created for the fungus.
Symptoms of root rot.
Root rot basically inhibits the process of absorption of water and nutrients from the soil. Therefore, the tree often exhibits characteristics smear to those of malnourishment from lack of enough water and nutrients. Close observation of the tree, in particular, is extremely necessary. Symptoms are most likely to manifest during stress periods when the rainfall is low.
Symptoms range from poor growth, loss of normal color of leaves (discoloration to brown or yellow) and wilting. For several inches above the soil line at the base of the tree, there’s discoloring of the wood too dark brown and the loosening and eventual separation of the dead lower bark.
In severe cases the shoots and foliage dieback and eventually the entire trees des. Uprooting a tree with root rot reveals roots that are weak, soft and brown as opposed to firm and white roots in healthy plants.
Management of root rot.
The most efficient method of controlling root rot is prevention. Some of the prevention strategies include:
Improving soil drainage: Before planting, improvement on the soil structure should be made. addition of organic matter helps in improving drainage. Water should never be allowed to flood at the base of the tree. Heavy compaction of soils should also be avoided during planting to improve the aeration.
Using raised beds for planting: Where drainage cannot be improved for various reasons raised beds that allow plant roots to sit above the sol should be used. This discourages pools of water from forming around the trees. Plant on molds and never at a depth lower than the one trees had at the nursery.
Planting less susceptible varieties: A planter should consider varieties that have been shown to be more resistant to root rot. Such trees include the American Arborvitae and white cedar.
Other measures include removal of piled up soils to expose the root flare. Fungal infections are more likely to occur in such sols especially when damp. The farmer should also plant trees separately according to their various irrigation needs to avoid overwatering some.
There are biological agents and chemical fungicides that are labeled as treatment for root rot. These chemicals should however never be used unless the specific fungal infection has been established. Local agricultural extension officers should be contacted to help in diagnosis. The extension officer can then recommend the right funded to use.
Caution should be exercised in the handling of fungicides due to their toxic nature. The instructions on the labels should be followed strictly. The chemicals should always be stored in their original containers away from reach of children.
Fertilization and spraying service is important for any type of tree planting. Fertilization can help to grow a site strongly and effectively and Spraying can help tree stay away from insects.
The need for this service is occasioned by the presence of inadequate nutrients in the soil. Nutrients can be present naturally in the soil from decomposing plant matter. However, nutrients can be deemed inadequate when the three core nutritional elements are missing. These are Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. In the presence of adequate nutrients in the soil, vigorous growth is expected. Mostly in urban setting the soil composition keeps varying due to drainage and construction activities. Addition of fertilizers can also serve the purpose of remedying the soil pH (acidity or alkalinity of sol) through addition of lime.
A good indicator of inadequate nutrients is when trees start exhibiting poor growth characteristics like stunting, dead twigs and production of small off colored leaves despite the presence of adequate moisture. Symptoms of the absence of nitrogen are the most noticeable in a tree. Arborists recommend taking of soil samples from 0 – 6 niches and from 6 – 17 niches separately for testing. When the average concentration levels are below 3 parts in a million the soil requires addition of nitrogenous fertilizer. The inaccuracy of the test however requires experienced arborists who can study the plant features correctly. Potassium and phosphorous are not required in large quantities and may be added during routine annual fertilization.
Care should be taken during application of fertilizers so as not to fertilize plant that actually exhibit symptoms of drought. This alleviates the danger of scorching the leaves and damaging the roots. An exception is made where irrigation is available. Application should also be done to plants with an established root system since it can inhibit growth of roots in young trees and lead to their death. Soil tests can establish the pH values of the soil from which an expert can recommend amendments whether to lower or raise the pH. Different trees thrive under different pH levels. Generally, the incorporation of lime per 100 feet of area raises pH a half to one unit on the scale. Twice the recommendation of lime is required when wood ash is used. On the other hand, lowering of pH levels can be achieved by application of sulfur.
What are the types of fertilizers?
There are three different kinds of fertilizers containing the three core nutrients. There are those containing nitrogen, phosphorous as phosphoric acid and potassium as potash. The labels on fertilizer containers indicate the percentages of the nutrients. Eg 20-6-4 indicates the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium respectively. They are always listed in that order. The application method most preferred is the even broadcasting of the fertilizer granules. Application of fertilizer through spraying- a practice known as foliar feeding- is recommended for application of minor nutrients like iron directly to the leaves.
Spraying is necessary for control of insects and pests and the treatment/prevention of plant diseases. Insects and pests cause the loss of foliage and damage of roots and stems. Other prominent symptoms of insect infestation include appearance of holes on leaves leading to brown dead leaf portions, wood decay, dead branches and disease infections. Evergreen trees are especially susceptible to various types of fungus and tree scab. Spraying must be done in good time since most plant pests and diseases have defined life cycles. The particular chemicals to be used in the spray should be recommended by an expert. Spraying as noted above can be used for application of plant nutrients directly to the leaves. The benefits of spraying various chemicals must outweigh any potential harm to the environment. Commercial licensed applicators with the required equipment and safety gear are recommended. These are held to high environmental and public safety standards by the government.
Safety precautions while spraying.
Caution must be exercised before and during spraying tree to avoid accidents. Goggles during mixing of chemicals are necessary to prevent splashing or spill chemicals from getting to the eyes. A full spraying gear should also include full length pants and shirt and unlined rubber gloves. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water after the exercise. Eating or smoking should be avoided during spraying. Application of pesticides and other sprays should be done during calm weather to prevent drifting of sprays off the intended targets. Finally plant chemicals should be stored in their original containers in secure places away from reach of children.