Help Your Trees Resist Pests

June 16, 2005

On your property, insects and microorganisms abound. This is a natural and bene─cial state, since insects and microorganisms are key components in nutrient recycling, decomposition, plant succession and natural pest control, and wildlife habitat.

Periodic outbreaks of destructive tree insect pests, as well as diseases, occur as part of natural ┼uctuations in ecosystems. The actions of homeowners make these outbreaks more severe or lessen their impact locally. To promote a healthy landscape and to prevent pest outbreaks, take steps to ensure diversity and vigor on your property.

Increase Diversity
Many property owners have lots with just a single or a few trees. Others have small backyard woods, which have become an important component of the urban environment. Small woodlands with a mix of tree species are often less susceptible to pest outbreaks than woods with a single species.

A diversity of tree ages also reduces the risk of pest outbreaks. As with species diversity, age diversity increases the complexity and stability of the ecosystem. A natural balance of organisms is more likely to develop as age diversity increases. For example, potential pests of young trees could be regulated by parasites and predators already well established on older trees.

“A healthy landscape is less susceptible to pest outbreaks and is more resilient if an outbreak does occur,” stresses Peter Grestenberger, senior advisor for safety, compliance and standards for the Tree Care Industry Association. “When trees are overcrowded in your landscape, competition for light, water and nutrients results in increased stress. Trees under stress are more likely to be attacked by pests.

The ─rst clues of a tree health problem may be symptoms like yellowing needles or leaves, thinning foliage or dieback on upper limbs. Insect pests or disease pathogens may cause these problems; or they may arise from factors like soil problems, construction damage, drought, pollution or herbicide injury.

For more information please contact your local tree care specialist at 688-5580.

A Tree Care Industry Association Article


Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care
P.O. Box 1147, Santa Ynez, California 93460

(805) 688-5580

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