Borers in Young Tree: Treat or Replace?

aufhebungApril 11, 2012

Hey everyone,

I have a lacebark elm that was planted just under a year ago and is approximately 12 feet tall. A few months after it was planted, I contacted the nursery because I was concerned about the ends of the branches losing their leaves (from the tips down the branches about a foot or so). An employee took a look at the tree and said the leaf loss was normal considering the extreme heat. I watered the tree religiously every other day throughout the hot summer (using a tree gator).

The tree wintered over and has greened back up, but the ends of the branches never got any leaves. A few weeks ago, I noticed a scar in the bark. The bark peeled back easily and behind it was a bunch of oval holes. I called the nursery again and the tree was diagnosed with "borers." They didn't specify what kind and I haven't seen any beetles around the tree. The nursery injected insecticide into the soil but I am concerned that the tree won't recover and will instead just die slowly.

If it were your tree, would you go ahead with the treatments, or would you have the nursery replace the tree? It is still under warranty.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

welcome to GW.. interesting translation of your name..

is it warrantied??

if so.. suggest that you would like to exercise said warranty .. and take delivery of a HEALTHY TREE ... like he warranted.. in the first place ..

should he choose to treat it.. let him treat it back at his nursery ...

the tips problems probably have nothing to do with the bug ...

but you now have a 12 foot tall bark-scarred tree ...

finally .. who knows if your watering was sufficient given the transplant size or the weather.. w/o digging a small hole.. and finding out if water was getting thru out the root mass on such a large transplant ... but again.. that has nothing to do with the bug ...

and if he balks.. suggest you will take an 8 foot tree in its place ... odds are.. it will establish easier.. and outgrow the larger transplant anyway.. in 5 years ...

i am not a fan of elm.. but all the power to ya.. if it is your choice ...

good luck

ken

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:30PM
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aufhebung

Thanks for the reply, Ken!

The tree is still under warranty, so a replacement should be covered. I did quite a bit of research before choosing a lacebark elm, so I am a little surprised to hear that you aren't a fan of them. Why is that? From what I read, they are hardy, drought-tolerant and pest-resistant trees...but now mine has pests, so perhaps what I read was wrong! Do you have a suggestion for a replacement, if not an elm?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:05PM
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drrich2(6)

We need your rough location, USDA zone, and a description of the size of the yard & what you're after (e.g.: max. 30 foot tall red-leaved shade tree, max 50 foot tall dappled shade, etc...), in order to give recommendations.

Richard.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

The tree is still under warranty, so a replacement should be covered. I did quite a bit of research before choosing a lacebark elm, so I am a little surprised to hear that you aren't a fan of them. Why is that?

==>> because i am inundated with the weed elms here ... i think they are loosely called Siberian/asian elms ... fast growing.. fast to damage [especially ice] .. self seed sowing .. nightmare of a PIA ...

and all planted within about 20 feet of my property ... ON NEIGHBORS PROPERTY ..and there isnt anything i can do about it ...

probably more hated than my maple fixation.. though i rarely mention it .. lol ...

i realize that probably has nothing to do with your selection of a named variety ... but since you asked ...

good luck with your tree .. let us know what he says ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:51AM
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aufhebung

Ha, I am sorry to hear about your traumatic experience with elms, Ken! I live in Oklahoma City (zone 7a) with a small yard. Looking for a medium sized shade tree that grows moderately quickly (already have a slow-growing ginkgo, which I love). I am also a sucker for dappled light. Here are links to some photos of my situation (for your viewing pleasure)--any chance the tree can be saved?:

http://www.arboristsite.com/attachments/plant-health/233297d1334243305-20120412_084505-jpg

http://www.arboristsite.com/attachments/plant-health/233293d1334243129-20120412_084617-jpg

http://www.arboristsite.com/attachments/plant-health/233295d1334243135-20120412_084605-jpg

http://www.arboristsite.com/attachments/plant-health/233294d1334243132-20120412_084550-jpg

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:18AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

links do not work.. says i have to sign in

ken

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:08PM
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aufhebung

Whoops, sorry! Here is a link to an album full of photos of the tree:

https://picasaweb.google.com/113811950745994565757/ElmTree?authuser=0amp;feat=directlink

Thanks for checking it out.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:29PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the extent of the healing already done.. indicates that the injury was pre-existing .. prior to the bark opening..

ken

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:16PM
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aufhebung

So do you suppose the tree is more or less doomed?

This afternoon, I went out to the nursery where I bought the tree to look for possible replacement trees, and noticed that both of the two "golden rey" cultivars they had in stock had dead branch tips and holes in the bark--just like my tree. I'm thinking the infestation may have started at the grower's. All of the other lacebark elms looked fine.

What do you think about a Japanese Pagoda tree as a possible replacement? I am hesitant to even consider another elm for fear that the borers that attacked my current elm will return.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 3:49PM
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treenutt(8)

borers are nasty. I planted a apple tree (6ft) and the next year I had a borer. I didnt have time to mess with it then so this past winter, I dug the borer out. I followed the path of destruction of the borer. All but a quarter of the cambium layer was left around about a foot of the tree. I decided to let it grow this year to see what happens. I looked at it this past weekend and the cambium layer is starting to spread out and leafing out nice. I hope it survives, but am ready to replace it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:56PM
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aufhebung

Good luck with your apple tree, treenutt! My tree has multiple exit holes in the bark, so I am thinking I probably have multiple borers eating into the sapwood. I might stick a wire in the holes and see if I can impale a worm or something, though--out of curiosity more than anything.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 9:21PM
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poaky1

To me borers mean the tree is going downhill, I am no expert but I had to cut down my sycamore because of them, they ruin the stability of the wood among the other crap they're doing in there. Japanese pagoda trees seem like nice trees, I just mentioned somewhere on here that if I had room I would try one. They may be messy though, some people don't like messy trees, I don't mind them being messy out in the country here. They get pretty huge too.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:39AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would presume.. that any similar tree in the same sellers lot is infected.. in other words.. all his like elms ... whether it is his fault.. or his wholesalers .. who knows ...

so i would not buy a duplicate from him ...

and i would want a PERFECT tree.. not something i have to go sticking wires into ....

is he honoring his warranty???

ken

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 9:31AM
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aufhebung

I went to the nursery yesterday to discuss my situation and they are honoring their warranty for the cost of the tree as well as the cost of planting. I picked out a beautiful pagoda tree, with which they will replace my infested elm on May 1. My new tree will come with a 1 year warranty and the nursery also offered to do a free preventative Bayer treatment on it so that it will have some protection against borers as it gets established. I was really pleased that the nursery seemed to want to make the situation right and I couldn't be happier with the way things turned out, all things considered.

Thanks for all of the advice you guys offered. You were extremely helpful! Perhaps I'll post a picture when the pagoda tree arrives.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 7:50PM
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