Butler County Times Gazette
  • Third year of hot weather biggest threat to trees

  • Between the hot, dry summers the last couple of years and other threats, trees in the area have suffered.
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  • Between the hot, dry summers the last couple of years and other threats, trees in the area have suffered.
    Larry Crouse, K-State Horticulture Extension agent, talked about some of the issues facing trees this year, including a new threat to trees in the state.
    “We've had several problems for years,” Crouse said. “The biggest one you know about is pine wilt. That hasn't changed. It continues to devastate pines throughout Kansas. It's moved from where it was originally found in Missouri and eastern Oklahoma.”
    It now reaches as far as Kansas and Nebraska.
    “We have no guaranteed way of keeping pines protected and we can't cure them once they get it,” he said. “It's one of the issues of bringing trees from another country into our country. These are non-native species that are primarily being affected.”
    Two of those affected most are Scotch Pines and Austrian Pines.
    Some headway has been made on pine wilt disease by Dr. Jason Griffin who is doing research at the John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Wichita. He has been going around the state to where pines have been decimated and propogating the survivors to see if there is any natural resistance.
    The other big issue is the Emerald Ash Borrer.
    “It hit up in the Detroit-Canada area and is coming down through Illinois,” Crouse said. “Ten to 12 years ago it began becoming a problem and it's spread like wildfire. One of the main ways it gets spread is by moving firewood from where it is cut to another location.”
    They are trying to raise awareness for people to use wood where it is cut.
    “It has devastated thousands of trees throughout the midwest,” he said. “It looks like it is going to be the next Dutch Elm disease.”
    They are looking at success with one product, the Bayer Tree and Shrub Pest Control, which is available to homeowners.
    Crouse said they have had some success in different parts of the country using this as a control.
    Last year, was the first year this disease appeared in Leavenworth County. It can take two to three years before a tree is diagnosed.
    Crouse thinks it will be a little while before it reaches this area.
    One other problem is the Ash Lilac Borer. He said the Ash tree is a good tree but they do have a lot of problems.
    But disease isn’t the biggest concern this year.
    “The worst thing that is going to hit our trees this year I suspect is excessive heat and drought,” Crouse said. “It looks like we are heading into a third consecutive summer of excessive heat and drought. I expect to see some of the larger, older trees to come down.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He said the stress on these trees has been accumulating the last two years and will begin to affect the trees.
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