UACES Facebook Borers

Borers

June 2012

QuestionI had a beautiful Lilac Bush that was just gorgeous Easter day. It had more blooms than it ever has. We planted it 6 years ago. It came through the summer heat last year just fine, and then within two weeks after Easter, the bush was dead. The leaves were all dried up and curled. No sign, that I could see of bugs. Could you tell me what could cause this? I have another lilac bush 30 feet away, and it is fine so far.

 

AnswerI had a beautiful Lilac Bush that was just gorgeous Easter day. It had more blooms than it ever has. We planted it 6 years ago. It came through the summer heat last year just fine, and then within two weeks after Easter, the bush was dead. The leaves were all dried up and curled. No sign, that I could see of bugs. Could you tell me what could cause this? I have another lilac bush 30 feet away, and it is fine so far.


April 2012

QuestionOur family moved into a new house in January. We have a tree in our landscaping near the house, and I'm not sure what it is. The parts that are blooming and leafed out look healthy and pretty. However, there are several branches with nothing on them. I'm not sure if I should go ahead and cut those branches out now, or if I should wait until after it's done blooming. If I cut them all out, there may not be much left. Also, do you know what could have caused this? There doesn't seem to be any fungus or pest on it anywhere that I can see.

 

AnswerThe tree in question is a flowering cherry. They are one of the most beautiful spring flowering trees, but not the longest lived in our area. The trees are susceptible to a host of insects and diseases, with borers being quite common. The fact that your house was for sale probably during last summer, could also have played a factor. If it wasn’t watered as well as it could have been, that would have stressed it even more. I would go ahead and cut out all the dead wood, enjoy what few blooms it has and then shape those branches to see if you can restructure the tree. Once it is bad as yours is, probably an easier alternative would be to plant another tree nearby and remove this one eventually.


Oct. 2010

QuestionWe have a twenty-five foot magnolia tree which is 10 years old, in our yard that became a victim of wood borers this spring. All the leaves on the tree started turning brown and now are crispy but a few actually fell off. The tree and especially the borer holes (1/8 to 1/4 inch very shallow holes horizontally across the trunk) that could be seen were sprayed multiple times in the spring - early summer. During the last thirty days or so the tree has produced several new green leaves. The first ones were seen around the base of the tree on new branches and now there are two old lower branch that have sprouted new leaves. The branches further up the tree still seem to be dried up and dead. I was about to cut the tree down last week when I noticed all this new growth and I just noticed that there is more new growth now then last week. Is there any hope that the tree can/will return to its old self in a relatively short period of time and is there anything I could/should be doing such as spraying, trimming or taking off the dead leaves to help the tree? Or should I face reality and go ahead with the execution. I hate to lose the tree and have to wait another ten years for a new one to reach its height.

 

AnswerIf it is putting on new growth, then there is hope, but it doesn’t sound good. It sounds to me like the tree actually is dead at the top, but there is life in the base. This summer was tough on many plants, but do continue to water. I question whether you actually have borers or woodpeckers. Magnolias can be a favored host tree for woodpeckers. Are the holes in a circle around the tree or in rows up and down? If so, that is birds not borers. Something has stressed the tree, so continue to water and assess how well it starts growing next spring before removing it. If it kicks into high gear next spring it might be worth salvaging, but if it struggles, a new tree might be a better option.


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