Well, my first week at Barton County Research and Extension has definitely has not been boring to say the least! I have hit the ground running and am learning something new every day. I have had several subjects brought to me, but one that has been talked about several times is boring insects in trees. This made me curious on why I would hear about this problem so much in a week’s time, so I set out to do some research to see what I could dig up.
What I found out is that when you have a severe drought like we have had the last several years, even trees with an extensive root system start showing signs of stress. When there isn’t enough water in the subsoil, water is then pulled out of the roots to even out the environment. When this happens, nutrients are concentrated to where the tree cannot access them, or the lack of water in the tree itself makes it difficult for the available nutrients to move through the tree to where they are needed. Overall, this is one reason that a tree will become un-healthy, and susceptible to diseases and infestations of insects.
Wood boring insects are very hard to catch early on in an infestation because most of them lay their eggs in a wound of a tree, and the only time you realize you have a problem is when the adult beetle exits the tree leaving a lot of internal damage, and an exit hole as evidence.
There are several things you can do to help to prevent infestations from occurring. Watering your trees weekly until the ground is saturated 6”-8” from the trunk across the canopy will keep the necessary water in place. Mulch under the tree to hold the water in the ground and so that it doesn’t evaporate as quickly. Get a soil test, and only add the correct type of fertilizer to the area so that the nutrients the tree needs are there in the concentrations it needs them in.
If you find that you do see possible signs of boring insects as you get outside and start working your gardens and lawns this spring, you can contact me by either coming by the Extension office at 1800 12th Street in Great Bend, or by calling 620-793-1910, or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.