By Splintered Forest - November 8, 2022
If you're noticing that the leaves on your plants suddenly look like a lacey skeleton, the issue may be Japanese beetles. On the front range of Colorado, Japanese beetles tend to strike in late June, July, and August. They can be identified by their metallic blue-green head, copper back, tan wings, and twelve tufts of white hair around their abdomen.
The Japanese beetle arrived in Colorado in the early 1990s from nursery stock acquired in the mid-western United States. Scientists and specialists were surprised by the pest's ability to establish itself in the Colorado area, believing that the Japanese beetle, an insect that prefers wetness and humidity, would never become a problem in the dry Colorado environment. However, the urban landscape regions, on the other hand, are an oasis of lush, irrigated plant material that the beetle likes to consume and grow in.
Japanese beetle is comparable to a noxious weed in Colorado commercial nurseries and garden stores. This pest is not tolerated at all because it has severe economic ramifications for nurseries that export stock to western states. If Japanese beetles are found in nurseries, landscaping contractors, or garden centers, strong chemical treatment is required. Retail nurseries would never sell a noxious weed, and they make every effort not to sell Japanese beetle-infested plants.
This bug is equally harmful to homeowners, landscape managers, and Colorado farm producers. In Colorado, ornamentals, grasslands, and fruit crops can sustain substantial damage. Controlling the Japanese beetle in Colorado will take some effort, but it is necessary to keep this pest at bay.
There are certain plants, flowers, and trees the Japanese beetle in Colorado love to munch on. Fruit trees like plum, roses, Virginia creeper, linden trees, birch, crab apple, rose of Sharon, raspberries, and pin oak are likely to attract Japanese beetles lurking in your yard.
If you notice that Japanese beetles have been ravaging your plants, you're going to want to take action quickly to save the rest of your greenery from suffering the same fate.
This may sound tedious, but hand picking the beetles is one way to start gaining control of the situation, especially if you catch it early. It will require lots of attention for several weeks while the beetles are feeding. You can put a drop cloth under the affected plant and give it a good shake. This will cause the beetles to drop and you can collect them and drop them into a bucket filled with soapy water. Once you've done this, remove any other dead beetles or damaged leave to minimize attracting more beetles.
This isn't always an immediate solution, but in the future, you can plan on incorporating plants in your yard or garden that repel Japanese beetles. These include garlic, chives, catnip, odorless marigold, white geranium, rue, or nasturtium.
To protect your plants from further attack, you can create a physical barrier between them and the beetles. Use row covers during the feeding period, and that should help shield them from becoming a Japanese beetle's snack.
Neem oil is considered safe for bees and other beneficial insects when used properly, so you can try using this botanical insecticide at the first sign of beetle damage. Mix 4 teaspoons of neem oil per gallon of water. Only spray it at dusk or dawn to avoid burning the leaves or potentially harming other pollinators. You can use a sprayer to soak your entire lawn or concentrate on the areas around the affected plants. Apply about every 7 days while the beetles are feeding.
Running to the store and buying a product that claims to get rid of these pests may not be the best course of action. Some products have not been proven effective at protecting your plants. In fact, some of them can be quite toxic and kill off other good insects in your yard like bees. If you want to spray for Japanese beetles, it is best to consult with a professional.
By Splintered Forest - September 30, 2022
Emerald ash borer, or EAB as it is commonly referred to, is an emerald green beetle that feeds on ash species of trees. What do you need to about EAB? Will this pesky little beetle harm your trees? Here’s everything you should know about EAB straight from the Denver tree service experts at Splintered Forest.
It is important to be certain you have identified your tree as an ash tree before you decide to treat it for emerald ash borer signs. In rare cases, EAB can affect other trees, but if the affected tree is not an ash tree, it isn’t likely that EAB is the issue.
Ash trees have large canopies with multiple stems and offer plenty of shade. Amongst the ash tree species, there are a few things you will find to be consistent including:
They all have opposing buds on the stem that are easy to see
The leaves are compound leaves, meaning they are composed of leaflets. Ash trees have 5-7 leaves per leaflet.
The bark tends to be smooth on younger ash trees and begins to roughen up as they age. The bark of the green ash tree takes on a diamond shape.
Green ash, black ash, and blue ash trees have a yellow color in fall, while white ash has a purple fall color.
EAB prefer all types of ash trees except for the mountain ash, because these are actually not ash trees; rather they are part of the rose family.
The Emerald Ash Borer originated in Asia and was first discovered in the United States in 2002 in Detroit. This tiny beetle is smaller than a dime, usually about ½ to ¼ inch long and about ⅛ inch wide, with a bright metallic green color. They typically make themselves known in mid to late May. Larvae bore into the ash tree and feed underneath the bark.
One of the most challenging parts about an EAB infestation is that there may not be any emerald ash borer signs on the outside of the tree until damage has already been done. EAB larvae feed off of the inner bark of the tree, so the damage is happening under the bark. This larvae feeding frenzy prevents the tree from being able to transport water and nutrients to other areas. Over time, the area above the infested part of the tree will begin to thin out and die. The adult beetles nibble away at the bark of your ash trees, which can also go undetected for a period of time. It is estimated that one-third to one-half of a tree infested with EAB will be dead within one year, so it’s important that homeowners act quickly by contacting a professional as soon as possible.
There are a number of symptoms of EAB that homeowners should be aware of in order to protect their trees.
First, look for vertical splitting in the bark. This occurs when the EAB larvae begin to destroy the interior of the tree, and often, you may be able to see the larvae beneath the split.
If you frequently see woodpeckers in and around your ash trees, you may want to investigate further. Woodpeckers feed on EAB larvae, and when there are a lot of larvae for the woodpeckers to eat, the birds can strip pieces of bark off of the tree to get to them. This will usually occur on the higher portions of the tree, so don’t forget to look up when checking for signs of damage.
You may also notice the crown of your tree dying, which occurs after larvae have been feeding on the inner tree for long periods of time. Or, your tree could also be sprouting new growths at the base of the tree, according to our professionals.
Homeowners may see the bugs themselves, but if not, look for tiny, D-shaped emergence holes, which is how adult EABs exit the bark. The outer bark will usually hide signs of larvae, but if you strip back the outer layer of bark and see an s-shaped pattern beneath it, this is a sign the larvae are feeding inside your tree.
Consult with your local tree experts to determine whether your tree is healthy enough for EAB pesticides and prevention. Some of the most effective treatments are injected into the tree each year for continuous protection. Treatments are only recommended if you currently live within 15 miles of a known EAB infestation, so not every homeowner will need it.
Splintered Forest is a leading fire mitigation and tree services business serving the mountain communities/Denver Metro Area and is committed to delivering the best service in the industry. The crew includes ISA Certified Arborists, experienced tree climbers, and expert tree fellers. If you think you may be seeing emerald ash borer signs of damage, contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation estimate.
By Splintered Forest - September 6, 2022
In Colorado's wooded areas, wildfires are common. You may be vulnerable to wildfire damage if you reside in Colorado's wildland-urban interface, where houses and other structures coexist with forest vegetation. Taking the appropriate actions and planning ahead can boost the probability that your home will survive a wildfire. Fire mitigation is an investment, so applying for a Colorado fire mitigation grant can help you pay for proper fire mitigation.
Fire mitigation is the removal of fuels near your property that might cause greater heat and exposure in the event of a wildfire. Grass fires, brush fires, and forest fires are all examples of wildland fires. The effect of these fires can be reduced or managed by establishing a defensible space and taking other measures to lower the intensity of the fire and assist fire services in fighting flames that may endanger your property. The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is the key state agency in Colorado for fuels mitigation expertise and a great resource for citizens who want to learn more and take action to reduce the threat of wildfire where it matters to them most.
The goal of defensible space is to keep a fire from spreading from the forest to your home (or vice versa), as well as to provide firefighters with enough area to move. A defensible space is a zone surrounding your home where fuels and plants are removed, reduced or treated to slow fire spread. Firefighters can use this area to safeguard your property from an oncoming wildfire. Without defensible space, firefighters cannot battle the fire safely. By constructing a defensible area, you enhance the likelihood of your home surviving a wildfire.
Clearing brush, mowing grass, and thinning trees near your home lowers the severity of the fire. Creating openings in the vegetation surrounding your property, particularly spaces between trees, creates natural barriers that help firefighters delay the fire and lessen possible loss.
There are over 3 million Coloradans who live in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The WUI is any area where man-made improvements are built close to, or within, flammable vegetation. If you live in the WUI, you are at risk and getting a Colorado fire mitigation grant can help you pay for fire mitigation services.
The Colorado State Forest Service website has information about their Forest Restoration & Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) Grant Program. For 2023, applications are open from August 17, 2022 through October 19, 2022. Those who can apply for this grant include:
Registered HOAs or formal neighborhood associations that are in or close to the WUI
Municipalities, counties, fire protection districts, and other districts in or close to the WUI
Private or public utilities with land ownership or infrastructure in high-risk areas
State agencies that own land areas with high risk
Non-profit organizations that engage in fire management or firefighting activities or promote hazardous forest fuel reduction efforts
Private landowners also have access to fire mitigation grant applications through these programs:
Aside from helping reduce the likelihood that severe damage will occur in the event of a wildfire, taking steps for mitigation can help you stay compliant with your insurance company. Many insurance companies are requesting homeowners take precautions to protect their homes to remain insurable. If you're unsure whether your policy requires fire mitigation, you should contact your insurance company directly.
By Splintered Forest - July 21, 2022
By Splintered Forest (June 10, 2020)