March 24, 2009

Eastern Tent Caterpillars Active

The eastern tent caterpillar was seen in full force yesterday. Mostly a pest of Black cherry Prunus serrata here in the Southeast, it can sometimes be seen in several other common trees as well. The caterpillar forms a dense, white 'tent' in the crotches of tree branches, where the caterpillar rests.

While it is not a particularly damaging insect, it can weaken already stressed trees by causing the host tree to sprout new leaves. This resprouting leaves the tree with a short energy deficeit in the early spring.

It is rarely worth trying to control this insect unless they are active in a high-value tree. Broadcast sprays of insecticides work well but are environmentally risky; professional systemic control with Acephate is confined and effective.

March 18, 2009

Cobb County Tree Planting Continues

Keep Cobb Beautiful’s program "Cobb Trees" is hosting its season finale tree planting on Saturday, March 21, at the walking trails of Al Bishop Park, 1082 Al Bishop Drive, Marietta.

This comes on the heels of Marietta's recent mass, citywide tree replacement program.

Volunteers are needed to help preserve and beautify this area. Check-in and refreshments begin at 8:30 a.m. with a demonstration and planting at 9 a.m. To celebrate the successful season, a cookout will follow the tree planting.

Pre-registration is required to ensure adequate food, supplies and planting materials for volunteers. To volunteer, visit Keep Cobb Beautiful, or call (770) 528-1135 and ask for the Cobb Trees program.

March 13, 2009

Ambrosia Beetle Activity Sighted in Georgia Nursery


The dreaded Asian Ambrosia Beetle has made its seasonal appearance. Asian ambrosia beetle damage was found at two Georgia nurseries [names withheld], attacking an October Glory red maple and some other woody plant material.

The Asian Ambrosia beetle is a minute ambrosia beetle of Asian origin that was first detected in the continental United States near Charleston, South Carolina. It apparently has spread along the lower Piedmont region and coastal plain to North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and East Texas.

Xylosandrus crassiusculus adult beetles and larva bore into the trunks of trees, excavating a system of tunnels and introduce a fungus on which they feed. The fungus clogs the xylem, killing the plant. Beetle damage can be seen as spines of boring dust, with the appearance of a broken toothpick, protruding from tiny holes. Unlike other ambrosia beetles, which normally attack only stressed or damaged plants, Asian ambrosia beetles can attack reasonably healthy plants.

Preventative insecticidal sprays can reduce infestations.

Thanks to Tim Thoms, of Thoms Trees and Plants, Inc. for the tip.