View Full Version : Help with Tree ident. and disease diagnosis and treatment 56K beware

10-16-2004, 04:29 PM
I have a tree that recently shows sign off a disease or insect infestation. I have attached shortcuts to some pictures. They are pretty detailed so 56k be advised.
I noticed that there are small ants inside the bark (see first picture) and also noticed a larva or something after blowing up the picture. Any advice/help for treatment would greatly be appreciated. The tree was recently trimmed back and if I had to guess I would say that it is about 25-30 yrs old. Also, what type of tree is it? Location is in Las Vegas. Thanks in advance.

10-16-2004, 08:19 PM
That's a mulberry, I'm not 100% sure whether it's white mulberry (Morus alba) or red (M. rubra), or a hybrid.

What I can see in the pictures is evidence of advanced dieback of the cambium in the branches, with no obvious indication of the initial cause. I can tell you that the ants are not to blame (they come and burrow when the wood is already rotting for some other reason), and I don't see any evidence of beetle larvae at work. In any case, beetle larvae also usually attack only when the tree is stressed from some other problem. The "larva" you mentioned looks to me like an Isopod, again not the problem - just opportunistic.

A fungus or insect may be helping bring the tree down, but usually other stresses are to blame for making a tree vulnerable to pests and pathogens, so here's a few questions:

-Anything change around the tree lately? Any construction, landscaping work, something disturbing the ground near it?
-Has your area been experiencing drought conditions? Does it receive any watering?
-Other than the pruning, any injury to the tree?
-Are all the branches on the tree dying back like that? Can you post a picture of the whole tree?

My initial thought, given that this is Las Vegas, is that simple drought stress is most likely to blame. From those pictures, it looks like it may be a bit too far gone to save the tree, but a whole-tree picture or two would help make that judgement.

10-16-2004, 09:26 PM
Sure I can take a picture of the whole tree. Give me a minute and I will post it.

10-16-2004, 09:36 PM
These are at night mind you, but you can see the whole tree. No changes to it. Watering is the same as it has been. I don't really water it. Haven't been, since I don't want the grass to grow right now. But I didn't water it last year, and I grew like a weed. Cut a large amount off when pruning it though to reduce the size of it. It was just too tall and generally overgrown.

10-16-2004, 09:38 PM
Maybe I should start watering it. I am sure it couldn't hurt.

10-16-2004, 10:23 PM

That tree wasn't pruned, it was absolutely butchered. I hope you didn't pay for that. Oh, lordy.

I'm serious, that tree was "topped" in the worst way, and even if it survives and regains a good amount of foliage, will never have good structure again.

10-16-2004, 10:32 PM
Sorry for the extreme response - I wasn't expecting that :shock: I think we know why the tree is declining now!

Well, it's your call. If it were me, I'd remove it and plant a replacement - it's a time bomb as it is.

10-18-2004, 12:57 AM
It may be replacement time. :( I have a Pear tree which shriveled up and catches diseases every year I'm finally about ready to cut down.

To me your tree doesn't look large enough to be difficult to bring down in a controlled manor. If you hang Christmas lights on it or want to wait till the last moment that means you could plant its replacement a few feet away.

10-18-2004, 01:00 AM
No problem cutting it down. What about the existing root system? Removing the trunk? Advice on a new tree? I would like something that doesn't have the flowers like this one had. something that is bullet proof, doesn't get to tall 20' or so, and provides decent shade. I know I am asking a lot. Thanks for the help.

10-18-2004, 11:57 AM
There are some interesting lessons to be learned from this tree.
Topping is not the same as pollarding, which has been done for centuries to trees in Europe. At first I thought this tree had been pollarded, but it's definitely been topped.
Removing so much crown in one shot does not only starve the tree, but exposes the soil around the tree and the trunk of the tree itself to intense sunlight. This causes rabid evaporation, stress, and can also cause "sunscald" which is the warming and freezing of the bark on clear winter days. Young and sensitive trees such as maples and cherries will develop cracked and blistered bark on the south and southwest sides of the tree. These young tree trunks should be wrapped with white tape when the temperatures can drop below 32F. Once the bark gets a bit older and more coarse it tends not to happen.
People hired to prune trees should be in possession of proper credentials from the International Society of Arboriculture ( www.isa-arbor.com ). Hiring unlicensed, untrained, unskilled, and unregistered people to work on valuable trees is a recipie for disaster.

10-18-2004, 12:22 PM
Topping is not the same as pollarding, which has been done for centuries to trees in Europe. At first I thought this tree had been pollarded, but it's definitely been topped.

Yeah, I was thinking that this tree has probably been repeatedly topped - it looks like there was an unusual concentration of limbs cut off of the end of the stubs. It is kinda reminiscent of a pollard.

The tree might have been a decent candidate for pollarding, since I assume that the owner wanted to restrain its height... too bad whoever did it wasn't schooled in the technique.