The leaves are falling…what’s your tree been hiding?

It’s the holiday season, and the leaves are falling (…or they’ve fallen completely, as is the case at Tree Geeks Headquarters here in Minnesota). Now that the bark on your trees is more visible, it’s an ideal time to discover what your trees may have been hiding all summer.

The next time you’re outside – grabbing the mail, shoveling snow, enjoying your neighbor’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-esque foray into holiday lighting – take a moment to look up and scan your trees for the following:

Emerald Ash BorerEmerald Ash Borer (EAB) signs: Examples include woodpecker damage; small, d-shaped exit holes; and epicormic branching (bushy branching near the base of the tree). It is possible to prevent EAB infestation of your trees, but treatment may not be an option once an infestation is too severe. Learn more about Emerald Ash Borer prevention.

Bronze Birch BorerBronze Birch Borer (BBB) attacks: This wood boring beetle attacks birch trees that are stressed by drought, compacted soil, or other insects. Signs include tunnels visible under the tree bark and d-shaped exit holes. Learn more about BBB.

Scales: As foliage falls almost all scales are more visible. Both hard and soft scales infest a wide range of tree species throughout the United States.  Heavy infestations of some types of scales can kill weakened trees. Signs of scale infestation include small bumps on twigs and stems, and sooty mold growing on honeydew (the sticky, sugary liquid excrement of sucking insects) on or around the tree.

For those folks in more temperate climates, trunk injection for prevention of these pests may still be an option. For those homeowners already heading into the winter chill, preventive options may be available in the spring (so be sure to mark a DIY treatment or arborist visit on your 2014 calendar!)

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