Baffle bark beetles by pruning pines in winter’s cold

by Carol Guild, The Union Newspaper

The winter months are not the usual time when we think about tree care – unless (knock on wood) Old Man Winter blows one over. But this is the best time to care for your conifers to help ensure strong, healthy trees year-round.

“All the pests that attack them are dormant during the wintertime and active during the summer,” explained Aero Acton, certified arborist and owner of Leaf It To Me, a Nevada City tree service. “We wait for freezing temperatures, which can be December through February or even March, depending on the season,” to prune trees.

The bark beetle’s job in nature is to thin the weak trees out of the forest. All these boring insects are attracted to weak and damaged trees by sense of smell, and they can detect them from as far away as 7 miles.

“A pruning cut is an injury,” said Acton.

This may not be as important to a logger out in the middle of the woods, but In the yard, you don’t want to increase your chances of attracting the beetles, he said.

It’s not to say that you would definitely attract them with spring or summer pruning, but you certainly increase your chances, Acton said.

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