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The pine beetle took off after the 2002 drought. The 2012 drought could do the same thing. If you live in a mountain pine beetle hot spot, Arborscape Inc Denver is issuing a watering alert to all pine tree owners on the Front Range.
“While statistical evidence is variable, anecdotal evidence shows that there is absolutely a connection to tree health and its ability to resist mountain pine beetle, we are recommending watering high profile pine trees once a month at 10 to 15 gallons per dbh,” Jeff Disler Plant Health Care manager said.
MPB attacks are more successful when trees are stressed and while the stress on the tree can be due to many factors, lack of water is one of the most likely and damaging of them.
When a tree is strong and healthy it can fight off attacks by beetles but when stressed it has little chance of surviving.
If you fail to water your trees and the beetle inhabits them you will see clear signs, the following year, when your tree begins to look discolored or presents large holes in the trunk. At this point your only option is to allow the tree to die or cut it down to prevent further spread of the beetle colony.
If you want to do all you can to keep your high profile trees alive and healthy consider a deep root fertilization. This will not only feed the tree nutrients but will help break up the soil so more moisture and air can get in.
Take care of your trees while you can!