A mild winter and potential early Spring season means your club’s tree canopy may be at risk for aggressive wood boring insects. Preventive measures taken now will greatly increase the likelihood that your tree canopy is protected from the damaging effects of opportunistic type insects such as the Small Southern Pine Engraver (Ips avulsus) and the Southern Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). This is especially important following severe weather events such as drought, wind, and floods that cause stress to the trees and in turn decrease their natural defenses against pests. The weather patterns of 2018 and 2019 have created a “perfect storm” and it is no longer a question of “if” but one of “when” trees on your property will be affected.
Insects lying dormant over the winter months will soon become active and emerge in force. Insect emergence typically correlates to the aggregate number of growing degree days1 (heat units) for your zip code and will vary from year to year. As a rule of thumb, insects begin to become active when you have 5-7 consecutive days of average temperatures above 50°F. This typically occurs in the month of May but can occur in late March or early April if the winter season was mild as was the case with the 2019-2020 winter season.
Having your club property inspected now by a certified arborist will identity potential problems before the warmer weather hits and the insects disperse. Often, problems can be identified in the early stages and corrective measures can be taken to prevent widespread damage. Unfortunately, once the Small Southern Pine Engraver or Southern Pine Beetle infest a tree, the damage is irreversible, and the affected trees will have a 100% mortality rate.
1A growing degree day (“GDD”) is a measurement tool for tracking the accumulation of heat units, which are necessary for monitoring the growth and development of plants and insects. See http://www.greencastonline.com/growing-degree-days/home in order to see how many GDD’s your area has experienced this year to date.
HMI has assisted hundreds of golf course superintendents and general managers in addressing damage to trees, turf and landscaping from wind, flood, disease and insects. Let us assist you in preventing damage before it occurs. Please visit our website at www.hmiadvantage.com.
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