An insect infestation in a beloved landscape tree must be treated quickly and effectively. Even if you act promptly, the tree may not survive. Knowing when to remove the tree is vital so that it doesn't become a hazard.
What Type of Insect Is Causing the Damage?
Some insects are easier to control than others, so it is important to have the tree assessed so you can pinpoint the problem pest. Insects like aphids, for example, rarely pose a long-term danger to a tree's health, but they may indicate that the tree needs some pruning to open up the crown. Other types of insects, like Asian beetles that attack ash trees, can be devastating, and the best solution may be to immediately remove and destroy any infested trees.
Has Treatment Already Been Attempted?
Another consideration is if you have tried treating the pest in the past. If you have followed an integrated pest plan, which means combining chemical pest controls with improved cultural control of the tree, and the pest keeps coming back, then it may be time to cut your losses. Consider removing the problem tree and replacing it with a variety that is either better suited to the location or less prone to insect infestation.
How Extensive Is the Damage?
A tree is much more likely to recover if you catch the issue early before the damage becomes extensive. If there has already been significant die-off in the tree canopy, or if the trunk is showing signs of stress like bark loss or fungal growth, consider removing the tree. Chances are that the tree is too far weakened to recover fully, particularly if other diseases have begun to affect its health. If you are very attached to the tree, you can wait for a season to see if it begins to recover before making the final decision.
Can the Pest Affect Other Trees?
If you have several similar species of trees on your property or growing on nearby properties, you need to consider the health of the infested tree's neighbors. A pest that can spread rapidly between trees, particularly if it is known to kill trees, may necessitate the rapid removal of your infested tree in order to save other trees in the vicinity.
Does the Tree Pose Any Immediate Danger?
Another concern when a tree is badly infested is if it now poses a hazard. Trees suffering from extensive pest damage are more at risk of falling or dropping large dead branches, which can damage property or cause injury to anyone below. Have the tree assessed to see if it has become a hazard. If it has, then removal is your best option.
Call in a removal service for more help if you are unsure whether the tree can be saved, or for more information about tree removal.