Zimmerman Pine Moth

Dioryctria zimmermani

Zimmerman pine moth, Dioryctria Zimmermani, is a lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) insect native to the northern United States. Its larvae burrow into pine trees and other conifers and feed on the sap that is produced by the trees. This burrowing weakens the infected branches and can lead to limb failure.

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Treatment Strategy

Zimmerman pine moth is an opportunistic insect that generally only attacks trees under stress; thus the Zimmerman pine moth treatment strategy generally involves two aspects.

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Zimmerman Pine Moth Treatment Option 1

The first step in Zimmerman pine moth treatment is making the tree healthier through cultural practices.

Mulching

Maintain a 3 inch deep mulch ring around the trunk of the tree to help keep the roots moist and increase the important fibrous root system. The optimal size for a mulch ring is one foot for every inch of trunk diameter. However any size mulch ring is beneficial.

Fertilizing

Apply a complete LOW NITROGEN fertilizer every 2-3 years. This can be helpful in urban or non native soils.

Watering

Periodic watering of your trees in drought-like and hot conditions will help the trees’ defense system and keep invading pests out.

Remove Infested Trees

Remove heavily infested trees or, if you are a Christmas tree grower remove all trees with any signs of the insect and either burn or chip them.

Application Type – Cultural Practices

DIY Equipment Needed:

Soaker hose (for watering)

Mulch

• Rake and shovel

• Low nitrogen fertilizer

Zimmerman Pine Moth Treatment Option 2

The second step for Zimmerman pine moth treatment is helping the tree with its defense system by killing the pests and keeping them out.

• You must use an insecticide that kills Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) insects. Many standard insecticides do not kill this insect type.

• Use a well timed bark spray with Upstar® Gold applied to the trunk 2 times per year in early to mid April and again in August. You should soak the bark of the trunk.

Application Type Foliar Spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• >Upstar® Gold

• Gloves and safety glasses

• Pump up sprayer with wand

Zimmerman Pine Moth Treatment Option 3

The second step in Zimmerman pine moth treatment is helping the tree with its defense system by killing the pests and keeping them out.

• You must use an insecticide that kills Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) insects. Many of the standard insecticides do not kill this insect type.

• Use a well timed bark spray with Tengard® Gold applied to the trunk 2 times per year in early to mid April and again in August. You should soak the bark of the trunk.

Application Type Foliar Spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Tengard®

• Gloves and safety glasses

• Pump up sprayer with wand

Zimmerman Pine Moth DIY Kit

Option 1

Application Type – Cultural Practices

DIY Equipment Needed:

Soaker hose (for watering)

Mulch

• Rake and shovel

• Low nitrogen fertilizer

Option 2

Application Type – Foliar Spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

Upstar® Gold

• Gloves and safety glasses

• Pump up sprayer with wand

Option 3

Application Type – Foliar Spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

Tengard®

• Gloves and safety glasses

• Pump up sprayer with wand

How Is It Spread?

This moth spends the winter as a young caterpillar in a shallow pit that it digs in the bark. In early April, the caterpillar emerges and begins feeding near branch attachments. Late in June through July when the caterpillars are deep in the trunk, the wounds look gummy and are covered in frass. By early August they emerge as moths and lay eggs on the trunk. Eggs hatch and dig their shallow pits to overwinter.

Susceptible Trees

Any pine tree is susceptible to Zimmerman pine moth, however those that are drought stressed or non native are most likely to succomb.

Symptoms

Wilting and browning of new foliage.

• Branch ends wilt and turn downward.

• Resin masses are visible with white, sawdust sized crumbs near the whorls.

• Broken leaders where the caterpillars have been feeding.

Lookalikes

None

Related/Similar Problems

Drought stress

Timing

Spring and Fall

Urgency

High

Risk of Spreading

Moderate

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