Tree Pests and Diseases Here in Colorado

Tree Pests and Diseases Here in ColoradoEveryone knows that trees are important to the environment, and they always look great when included in the landscape design for homes, cities and commercial spaces. But when tree pests and diseases here in Colorado strike, it can be a disaster. A Touch of Class Tree Service can help you manage these issues, as well as offer a bit of expert advice on how to keep infestations and attacks at bay.

A common cause as to why these pests get the upper hand is environmental stresses such as weed eater damage, lawn mower damage, salt from de-icing, construction sites, vandalism, drought and even extreme or unusual changes in temperatures. Some might even say that global warming has something to do with it. Trees and shrubs that are “stressed out” will suffer terribly and often die. But there are a number of things that you can do to keep tree pests and diseases here in Colorado to a minimum:

  • Plant native species or drought-tolerant trees if possible
  • Routinely mulch, water, and prune the proper way
  • Do not move firewood from the forest to your home

Diseases that Affect our Area

The Thousand Cankers Disease is a major problem here and a relatively new disease which is spreading rapidly to Black Walnut trees. It’s carried by the walnut twig beetle, which spreads a fungus that creates a canker around the tree. You can detect an infestation by looking at the branches to see if they are browning around the tree crown, and you should also keep an eye out for walnut dieback symptoms. 

Let’s look at even more:

  • CEDAR HAWTHORNE RUST attacks apple and Hawthorne trees mostly and creates a reddish-brown rust ring on leaves/branches.
  • ANTHRACNOSE is a fungus that attacks leaves and twigs and overwinters in dead leaves and fallen branches. Sycamore susceptible.
  • BACTERIAL WETWOOD aka (SLIMEFLUX) caused liquid to ooze out of cracks or wounds in the tree, foul smelling, caused by bacteria.
  • CHLOROSIS is caused by a lack of chlorophyll in plants which turns them yellow. Caused by insufficient nutrients from the soil.
  • CYTOSPORA CANKER is the #1 killer of Colorado Blue Spruce and caused by a fungus.
  • FIREBLIGHT is contagious bacterium disease is affecting apple and pear trees mostly.
  • DECAY is most often caused by fungi entering a wound.
  • DUTCH ELM DISEASE can be spread by the elm bark beetle, causing leaves to wither and yellow.
  • LEAF SPOTS are often caused by a fungus or bacteria and even some insects. Leaves turn spotty.
  • DWARF MISTLETOE is caused by parasites that cause severe damage to Pine trees mainly.
  • POWDERY MILDEW is caused by many species of fungi.
  • THYRONECTRIA CANKER is caused by a fungus and drought.

Four Main Critter Culprits

Beyond diseases, let’s not forget about the different tree pests out there that love to munch on our beautiful forests and landscaping.

  1. IPS BARK BEETLE: Groups of these beetles infest pine and spruce trees. The tree will start to die from the top down, and the beetles usually attack a tree that is already stressed or unhealthy. They are like a little weevil feeding on the inner bark of the tree, which eventually kills the tree from the inside out. The needles will turn an orange rust color and die.
  1. MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE: About the size of a grain of rice, it can do some damage. According to the state’s forest service, about 264,000 acres of trees in Colorado were infested by the mountain pine beetle at the start of 2013. In 2008, 1.15 million acres were affected. Ponderosa and Lodgepole pines are the trees of preference for these nasty beetles. They are truly an epidemic and need controlling. If you have an old tree kicking around or overcrowding, call on the professionals to give you some advice.
  1. EMERALD ASH BORER: This non-native insect made its way into Colorado in 2013 where it annihilated 27 states home to the Ash tree. A healthy or stressed tree may become infested and die within two years. A human-assisted spread is required, so we must all do our part to keep this pest under wraps. If you think your Ash trees may be affected, be sure to call A Touch of Class Tree Service.
  1. ELM BARK BEETLE: This beetle eats the Elm tree leaves and causes them to die eventually. The tree becomes brown and weak and is susceptible to wind breakage of branches and limbs. This beetle can also invade homes, looking for shelter in the winter time and hatch by spring, causing the homeowner alarm. We can remedy this situation also by treating the tree with effective products.

Here are just a few other common pests that do damage to our forests: Aphid, Codling Moth, Brown Headed Ash Sawfly, Leaf Hoppers, Plant Bugs, Spider Mites, Tip Moth, Zimmerman Pine Moth, Nipple Gall, Tussock Moth. You can get in-depth information on all these pests and more from the Colorado State Forest Service. Keep yourself informed and up to date on what is happening in your state so you can do your part in helping our forest survive these sometimes-deadly attacks on our trees.

Treating Tree Pests and Diseases Here in Colorado

At A Touch of Class Tree Service, we provide customers early detection by record keeping, diagnosis, and treatment. We also use safe and effective products to control pests and fungi such as insecticidal soaps, oils, and natural ingredients whenever possible. Proper fertilization is also essential to the health of your trees to keep them as healthy as possible. We recommend fertilizing every two years and offer a worry-free program to our customers so they never have to wonder when and if they should fertilize.

Tree pests and diseases here in Colorado are a serious matter. The more we can learn, the better off our forests and future forests will be. At A Touch of Class Tree Service, we are actual botanists, not just tree trimmers and landscapers. We care about plant and tree health, and it is the foundation of our business. We are knowledgeable and trained in detecting tree pests and diseases here in Colorado, and are ready to take on your outdoor landscaping needs from pruning and plant care, to tree removal, lot clearing, pest and disease help and so much more. Call or contact us today for more information.


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