Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are your trees defoliating?

There is a new pest defoliating local trees - especially maples, cherries, and blueberry bushes called "winter moth".
The caterpillar was first noticed on Cape Cod in MA in 2003 and in Rhode Island in 2005.  Coggeshall Farm has plenty. Ditto Juniper Hill Cemetery. The best way to treat the disease is with a parasitic predator wasp that kills the moth after being eaten by it from the inside out. Apparently Cape Cod has used this method with success but it takes a long time (years) to work. Spraying with a pesticide is another method although drifting spray is a real problem and is also toxic to bees. The moths can be seen flying between Thanksgiving and Christmas and are attracted to light. They were thick on the road to Coggeshall Farm last winter. Apparently the moth can kill a tree if they successfully defoliate it two years in a row.  Sam ("trees - r - us") Kinder, Bristol Tree Warden and Kinder Tree Company president is investigating the best way to approach the problem locally. He is joined by his associate and scientist Clem De Jardin. If you have questions please call Sam or Clem at Kinder Tree Company on Hope Street in Bristol at 253 7700. Post a comment to let us know how you made out. Thank you Halsey Herreshoff for bringing this problem to the attention of the Town Council.

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