Pine Bark Coming Off?

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Last week, we looked at some loblolly and slash pines concerning the outer bark pealing. This stand is almost 20 years old and random trees appear to have this damage. The damage is only to the outside bark on not to the cambium layer (white later). We were confused about the damage since the bark was hard to pull off. UGA Extension Forester Dr. David Moorhead says he has seen this from time to time and it is from animal activity. This damage does look similar to a fungus in hardwoods called Smooth Patch which works on the outside bark. Concerning this stand, either birds but also fox squirrels have caused this damage. There may be other animals involved too. Most of the time they are looking under the bark for insects.

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Are beetles a concern?

We were concerned about beetles being attracted to the damaged trees. The resin that is leaking from the wounds can attract beetles. Ips beetles are a concern since they carry the blue stain fungus. However, Dr. Moorhead says that although Ips beetles are notorious for attacking injured trees, they can also disturb healthy trees. Sometimes the resin crystalizes quickly and it’s not a problem. Ips beetles can enter high on the tree, so preventative sprays are difficult. The good news is that Ips beetles hit a few trees and leave the sight. They do not damage a stand like Southern Pine Beetle. We usually do more damage to a stand cutting down trees from Ips beetles than leaving them alone. Also, by the time we notice an Ips attack, the beetles are already gone.

Black turpentine beetles do not carry the blue stain fungus. Unlike Ips beetles, they enter the tree from the bottom. Spraying preventative for these beetles is effective. A pyrethroid insecticide, like Onyx, can be sprayed, but must be used every few weeks, because it has less residual.


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