Operation Save The Pine Tree *or* Kill The Pine Beetles

So. We have a problem. Potentially, and likely, a lethal one.

The southern pine bark beetle.

So, when we moved into our house this summer we had a lot of dead pine trees. Many were victims of the drought last year but I’m sure many were finished off by pine beetles. We have taken all but one of the large pines down except for one and there are two smaller pine trees that were left near the fenceline, one of which we felled this weekend. That one was a doozy and happened to be right next to the tree we are having problems with.

Chris noticed the dust near the base of the tree which signified there was definitely a problem. Not to mention he also saw the beetles as he was cutting up some of the felled trees that have been lying around our yard since July/August. Yikes.

We went to our favorite local nursery looking for some advice on treatment and were basically told the best way to not have beetles is to have a healthy tree in the first place. The bummer is that this tree didn’t seem to be stressed, we haven’t been in a drought, but maybe it was still stressed from last year. We were told that we could try permethrin but it is mostly a preventative and we’ll have to apply it to the whole tree—which is going to be difficult as it is quite tall.

Our other steps were to start babying it and the other hopefully healthy trees immediately. We only had time this weekend to work on this particular tree, but we put a thick layer of compost, mulch, and some extra pine needles we’d bagged that had collected on our roof.


Our next step was to purchase some of the nursery’s own blend of organic fertilizer and drill holes for deep root fertilizing all around the tree.

We went back and forth about spending the money on the fertilizer but we decided it was worth it in order to try to save our trees. There were at least eight or nine pines that were initially dead along with a couple of other hardwoods, so our shade had become more sparse than we would prefer.

Tree fertilized, we followed up with a deep watering yesterday afternoon.

Truth be told, we won’t know the results for a few weeks. If more than a couple pine needles start turning brown, it’s a goner.

Comments 3

  1. Erin wrote:

    Fingers crossed all your TLC pays off!

    Posted 26 Nov 2012 at 10:02 am
  2. arundelarboretum wrote:

    How sad 🙁 please let us know how you get on!

    Posted 29 Nov 2012 at 6:19 am
  3. Donna wrote:

    Hope it makes it!

    Posted 20 Jan 2013 at 7:57 pm

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