Useful Resources & News

What to Do: Japenese Beetles in Colorado | Splintered Forest Tree Services

By Splintered Forest - November 8, 2022

What to Do: Japenese Beetles in Colorado | Splintered Forest Tree Services

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. 

Japanese Beetles In Colorado

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. 

Got Beetles?

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.  

What Should You Do?

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. 

Hand Pick Adult Beetles

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. 

Try Companion Planting

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. 

Create a Barrier

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. 

Apply Neem Oil

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.

Be Weary of Chemical Sprays

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.

Get a Professional Opinion 

If you are concerned about the mitigation of the Japanese beetle in Colorado, contact Splintered Forest for a free assessment. Our Licensed Applicator (with the Colorado Department of Agriculture) is ready to help you protect your landscape.

Identifying Emerald Ash Borer Signs of Damage | Advice From Splintered Forest Tree Services

By Splintered Forest - September 30, 2022

Identifying Emerald Ash Borer Signs of Damage | Advice From Splintered Forest Tree Services

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.

Do You Have an Ash Tree?

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. 

What is an Emerald Ash Borer?

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.

Emerald Ash Borer Signs of Damage

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. 

Identifying an EAB Infestation

There are a number of symptoms of EAB that homeowners should be aware of in order to protect their trees. 

Look at the Bark

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.

Inspect the Crown of Your Tree

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.

Look for Emerald Ash Borer Signs

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.

How Can You Prevent EAB?

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.

Contact Splintered Forest

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.


Getting A Colorado Fire Mitigation Grant

By Splintered Forest - September 6, 2022

Getting A Colorado Fire Mitigation Grant

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. 

What is 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.

What is a Defensible Space?

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.

Who is at Risk for Colorado Wildfires?

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. 

Where Can You Apply for a Colorado Fire Mitigation Grant?

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:

Fire Mitigation for Insurance Compliance

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. 

Contact Splintered Forest to Schedule Fire Mitigation Services

Get a thorough, personalized fire mitigation plan from Splintered Forest and apply for a Colorado fire mitigation grant to help pay for it. We have ISA Certified Arborists ready to assess your property, discuss your concerns, and provide you with a written estimate. The goal at Splintered Forest is not to come in and clear cut but rather to work with the natural aesthetics of your property while also creating a safer environment. Using selective thinning practices, we first remove dead, diseased, and dying trees and only remove healthier trees when necessary. Reach out today to discuss your fire mitigation needs and to get a free estimate.

How to Fix a Leaning Tree | Splintered Forest Tree Services

By Splintered Forest - July 21, 2022

How to Fix a Leaning Tree | Splintered Forest Tree Services
Having a leaning tree on your property is not likely the look you had in mind when you planned out your landscaping. If you’re dealing with this issue, you’re likely wondering how to fix a leaning tree. Can it be saved? Do you need to cut it down? When is it time to call in the professionals?

Why Do Trees Start to Lean?

As small, young trees grow, they may start to lean due to various factors. High winds could push a tree over enough to keep it rooted yet allow it to lean. Heavy rains can also contribute to a leaning tree. If the soil surrounding the tree stays too wet for too long, the tree could start to lean. While this isn’t always going to harm the tree, it can look out of place and may eventually start to lean more as it grows and matures, which could cause issues later on. Mature trees can also start to lean if the soil conditions are wet enough. 

What To Do When Young Trees Lean

If your newly purchased sapling endured a rough night of windy, wet weather, you might notice it is now leaning. Knowing how to fix a leaning tree in this situation can save your tree from growing crooked or possibly dying. If the soil is still wet, it shouldn’t be too hard to do, but it the soil dried out, you can soak it with a garden hose first. Here are the steps you can follow:
  1. Use a mallet or sledgehammer to drive 2-3 stakes into the ground, at a 45-degree angle, around the tree. Take care not to place them too close to the tree to avoid hitting the rootball. 
  2. Push the tree upright using even pressure along the trunk. This could take more than one person if the tree is already a decent size. If the tree was already fairly rooted, this may take a bit of effort, but use slow, steady pressure to avoid damaging the trunk or branches. 
  3. Use straps meant for staking a tree (found at the hardware store) and secure the tree to the stakes. Using straps that are wide and made of canvas is ideal to avoid damaging the tree. Never use rope, cables, or barbed wire as this will harm the tree and leave it susceptible to disease and pests. 
  4. Check the position of the tree after you’ve tied the straps to the stakes and reposition if necessary by tightening one side or the other to get it fully upright. 
  5. If the soil around the base of the tree has shifted, gently push it down to keep the roots protected, and further support the tree. 
  6. Give the tree time to anchor itself in the new position. You may want to keep an eye on it for the first several months, especially if it has been windy or rainy, to ensure the straps haven’t come loose, allowing the tree to lean again. 

How to Fix a Leaning Tree That Is Mature

Even mature trees can end up leaning when the right conditions are present. The sooner you can start to correct a mature tree that is leaning, the better. The steps to fix a leaning tree that is mature are similar to the ones listed above for a younger tree. However, you will need to use heavier-duty stakes placed further away from the tree to avoid damaging the large root base. You will want to drive these stakes at least 18 inches into the ground for stability. If there is another large tree nearby and in the direction you want the tree to go, you could attach your straps to it. Be sure you protect both the leaning tree and the other tree with padding around the trunk if you choose this route. You may also need longer or thicker straps to bear the weight of the heavy tree. 

An important thing to remember when correcting a mature tree is that it will take time. Once the tree is straight, you may need to leave the cables in for several years to maintain the straightened position. 

Pro Tip

If the tree that is leaning appears to be posing a hazard to a nearby structure and you are unable to correct the leaning yourself, it may be time to remove the tree. Mature trees are very heavy and if one ends up falling, it can cause a lot of serious damage. If the tree does not appear that it can be saved, a tree removal business will have the experience, knowledge, and tools to safely remove your leaning tree. 

Call Splintered Forest Tree Service For Tree Removal

Splintered Forest offers a wide range of tree-related services, including tree trimming and tree removal. Splintered Forest has two knuckle boom cranes and experienced operators to complete the job. If you’re unable to fix your leaning tree and need it removed, call in the experts at 303-819-9840 today or click here to get a free estimate!


Douglas-Fir Tussock Moth

By Splintered Forest (June 10, 2020)

Have you noticed that your trees have shriveled and started to turn a reddish-brown color?  You may have an infestation of the Douglas-Fir Tussock Moth.  The first signs of attack usually appear in late spring (around bud break).  Here is what you need to know and the treatment options that are available:

A young tussock moth caterpillar can be a green/black-like color with long body hairs that produce brightly colored tufts of hair as they grow larger.  A mature larva is about 1.2 – 1.4 inches long and has a gray to brown body and a shiny black head.  They have two, prominent, tufts of black hair that come out from their head; a similar tuft sticks out from the rear of the body. 

In a forest setting, the tussock moth prefers the Douglas-fir tree although it can occasionally be found on true fir trees or spruces.  In an urban setting, blue spruce trees are attacked. 

Since the female moths are flightless, they rely on wind to move the young larvae to initiate new infestations. 

The tussock moth has a one-year life cycle.  It spends the winter months as an egg and the eggs hatch in the spring, typically in late May (around the bud break time).  The caterpillars start out feeding on the newer foliage causing the partially consumed needles to turn brown.  The older caterpillars, will move to older needles as the more tender and desirable needles are eaten.  

In the late spring, you may start to notice the first signs of an attack by the tussock moths.  The young larvae begin feeding on the current year’s foliage causing it to turn a reddish-brown color.  The damage begins at the top of the tree and outward branches and works its way to the inner branches and downward as the season progresses. 

Severe defoliation can lead to the death of the tree or make the trees more susceptible to an attack by a bark beetle. 

While the tussock moth does have some natural predators including birds, it is best to have your trees assessed and to create a treatment plan with a Plant Health Care technician. Contact the team at Splintered Forest to get a free consultation today! *

The hairs on the tussock moth larvae can cause an allergic reaction to humans known as Tussockosis.  A skin irritation is most common, but some can experience rashes, sneezing or watery eyes.  If you suspect you have come in contact with the larvae, wash after your exposure and always try to avoid handling the larvae. 


* Plant Health Care services provided by Fisher Tree Care (State License #16484) 
** Photo provided by Colorado State University Extension