Southern Pine Beetle – Is This the Next Evergreen Epidemic?
In 1985, Hurricane Gloria blew through Long Island and after all of the devastation and destruction, it left behind a longer lasting legacy on one of our favorite evergreens. Up until then Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) was a Long Island favorite for screening. A little pest known as woolly adelgid has been ravaging our population of hemlocks ever since.
Now a new pest with an unknown potential for damage and devastation to our pines and spruces in addition to our already stressed hemlocks has been discovered on Long Island. The Southern Pine Beetle. This destructive little bug has worked its way north. Three separate manifestations have been noted in Suffolk County, a first for New York State. Our pine barrens and even the evergreens on our property may be at grave risk.
Here on Long Island, the preferred host for this destructive pest is pitch pine, however all types of pine, spruce and even our currently ravaged hemlocks may be susceptible. If you have any of these evergreens on your property, be vigilant. Have your property inspected by an arborist or horticulturalist that is aware of the telltale signs that this beetle may be present. Scattershot pattern holes or popcorn shaped clumps of resin on the exterior bark of the evergreens, or an S-shaped web of tunnels under loosened bark (see picture) are a few signs to be aware of in affected trees. Affected pine trees usually show discolored needles. By the time the needles are turning color or large chunks of bark start to fall off, it may be too late to save those trees. You may be able to salvage other trees on your property with quick action.
Our certified arborists, professional landscape designers and certified nursery professionals will conduct a complimentary inspection of your evergreens to help ensure the integrity of the landscape. If you have any questions, just call our office at (631) 271-6460 or email us and we’ll be happy to help you.
Written by Sal Masullo