Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Oh no you don't!
When I was driving down the block the other day I noticed that some of the trees alongside the culvert appeared to be dying...shades of brown that don't bring to mind autumn days. I've grown to accept that laurel wilt has done in our red bays and try not to get too upset at their stark brown carcasses interweaved in an otherwise healthy looking woods. My concern was that a lot of the brown trees were young pines...pines in the bottlebrush stage of life. I wondered if the county had done its herbicide thing to keep the culverts clear...an environmental tragedy that has no justification. Despite complaints, it seems you can't fight city hall of that subject. Since so many other species of shrubs and treees seemed green and fine, it had to be something directly related to the pines....much like the red bays demise with that darn ambrosia beetle.
I've made an effort to nurture those pines that are growing naturally on my property. Long Leaf Pines are especially essential to the well being of so much of our wildlife.
I made a mental note to check on my pines which probably number around 15 or so in grass stage or just moving into bottlebrush stage.
I finally got around to my pines and thankfully the ones in the back were all healthy and bright green. Then I noticed my "surprise" pine....just outside the front fence, it grew into bottlebrush stage practically overnight probably jumping for joy realizing that someday someone FINALLY didn't cut it back. Unfortunately, It looked a little bare. On closer inspection I saw the gang of thugs munching away. Meet the Red-headed Pine Sawfly (Neodiprion lecontei). They like to eat young pines. I headed to get the soapy water killing jar and shook the little buggers off the tree. Hand picking is relatively easy since they seem to stick to the younger pines where they are within easy reach to be shaken and booted off.
I've been monitoring the rest of my trees daily and haven't seen nary another of these guys on any of the trees. I just wonder if they are the culprits that are doing in our pretty little young pines around the neighborhood. Hopefully mother nature is just naturally weeding out trees to give all a chance at proper nutrition. Time will tell.