30% of Poplar Trees Will Die From This Infestation in Alberta

By: albertaarb - July 4, 2016

Some small bugs are causing big problems for Alberta's trees.

According to Global News, the warmer and drier conditions this year in Alberta are fostering larger insect populations, and the province's droughts are making it harder for our trees to defend themselves. As a result, many trees are being harmed. Saperdas and mountain pine beetles in particular are taking advantage of the current conditions.

What Are Saperda?

Saperda are long-horned, wood-boring insects with lifespans of several years. In Alberta, they largely affecting poplars, but The City of Grande Prairie website reports that they also harm aspens. They attack both stressed and healthy trees, making holes in the wood. Affected trees are left with wounds oozing sap. An infested tree needs to be removed and disposed of, as larvae will continue their life cycle, even emerging from a stacks of firewood made from trees that had been infested.

What Are Mountain Pine Beetles?

The mountain pine beetle is a black, oval beetle about 6 millimetres long with a lifespan of about a year. Natural Resources Canada explains that these insects, although small, can cause serious problems for pine trees. In addition to carving out homes in living wood, mountain pine beetles also introduce a fungus into infested trees, which colonizes the infested pines, "interrupting tree function and defence in addition to changing the moisture and chemistry of tree tissues in which insects are developing." Trees starved of nutrients and water by mountain pine beetles change colour; after an initial period, during which the tree still looks healthy and green, the needles will turn red. Eventually, the needles will fall off. The tree will die and turn grey.

In an effort to combat the spread of these destructive beetles, standard action by both provinces and territories is to remove and burn infested trees.

Who to Call in the Case of an Infestation

If you don't know what to do about an infestation in your yard, contact the professionals. We can safely remove infested or dead trees.

At Alberta Arborists, we have helped countless people get rid of trees safely and efficiently, and we can help you, too. Our highly experienced arborists are trained to deal with tree removal in any location and can ensure no damage is done to your property.

Click here to contact us or call the number at the top of the page for a free, no-obligation estimate of your job.


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