One of two Engleman Spruce trees in the southwestern yard of the Touber Building is infected with the Ips beetle and will be removed to prevent the insect from spreading to nearby trees.
Ips beetles are a common species affecting spruce trees in landscaped settings. They are capable of attacking weakened trees of all sizes. The beetle most likely flew to the tree last spring, and recently the tree is showing obvious signs of death.
A tree stressed by the urban environment is a compromised tree, and it struggles to protect itself. Beetles bore into the bark of trees that do not have a proper defense. The adult beetles chew the tree underneath the bark and create areas to lay their eggs, called “galleries”. The eggs hatch quickly and continue to tunnel under the bark, creating more galleries. The problem with these galleries is that they cut the flow of water and nutrients within the tree, therefore not allowing the tree’s plumbing mechanism to carry on its life-giving functions.
Next to the infected tree, a second tree is connected by underground roots and a fungal network, which means the death of one will share the fate of the other. Death will come either through wind-throw resulting from the absence of the shared support or through beetle infestation as a new generation of beetles emerge and fly the short 10-foot distance to the companion tree.
As a result, the City of Salida hired Terra Firma Forestry, an ISA Certified tree company, to remove the spruce trees and properly dispose of any wood with the beetle infestation. The City has acted responsibly and in quick measures to prevent the beetle from spreading to other landscaped pines and spruce trees in the neighborhood. The trees are scheduled to be removed in early March, weather permitting.
If you live in the City of Salida, it is recommended that homeowners and renters take note of a change in your trees’ health or appearance. Avoid urban stress factors such as root compaction and take all precautions to keep heavy equipment and high traffic away from the tree canopy dripline. Concrete, foundation, and excavation work will stress a tree and reduce its ability to defend itself.
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