GUEST COMMENTARY | Save the White Fir, Douglas Fir, by Acting Now

05/08/14 | By | 545 views More

Action time has arrived for those of us who want to try and save our White Fir and Douglas Fir trees from the invasion of the nasty beetle.

More and more of Ouray’s surrounding landscape is falling prey to the beetle as it moves down into our beautiful valley area.  Determining the types of trees in your yard is the first step (the hardest) in our call to action, but after our informational outreach session last fall, hopefully it has been made easier for you to do this.

It is spring now and the beetles are preparing to start their search for new host trees in which to lay their eggs. If you want to save your trees, you must act now! This means spraying White Fir trees in June and July and adhering MCH pheromone bubble caps to Douglas Fir trees in the month of May. You can download and print a packet of information that includes contact information for tree spraying, tree removal, and tree identification professionals as well as information about how to identify trees on your property from the City of Ouray website: www.cityofouray.com.  Click on the “Community Topics” link (left side bottom of the page) and look for the Tree Health Resources packet.

The City of Ouray has ordered MCH pheromone bubble caps and will be adhering them to Douglas Fir trees on city property during the next two weeks. The city is also making the MCH pheromone bubble caps available to the community for purchase at bulk prices. A package of 10 bubble caps is being sold for $27.80, plus $2.20 sales tax, for a total of $30 per package. The bubble caps will only be sold in packages of 10, not individually. Packages of bubble caps, and instructions for application, can be picked up and paid for at the Box Canon Visitor’s Center on May 8, 9, and 10 between the hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Box Canon will accept cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover Card. In most cases, one bubble cap adhered to a Douglas Fir tree is adequate, though adhering two caps provides extra protection. Please contact Ann Morgenthaler, Community Development Coordinator, at morgenthalera@cityofouray.com or 325.7087.

The use of MCH packets is an extremely inexpensive procedure for Douglas-fir treatment so PLEASE don’t let this expense deter you from acting to save them.

For those with White-fir trees, the beetle scourge is continuing to take its toll on our surrounding mountainsides. Saving the White Fir trees uses a different type of treatment that must be sprayed on the entire tree during the late spring and early summer months. You can contact Linda Corwine, Montrose Landscape Consulting and Spraying, or Paul Stutzman, High Country Turf to schedule tree spraying. Contact information is available in the Tree Health Resources packet on the City of Ouray website mentioned above.

Unfortunately the White Fir treatment is a little more costly. If you haven’t already contacted someone, do it immediately and get on the spraying schedule. They will be extremely busy.

No matter what types of trees you have on your property, arborists explain that the most important strategy for keeping your trees healthy and able to repel any beetle attack is to water them thoroughly during the spring and summer months; that is less frequent deep watering throughout the tree canopy rather than more frequent shallow watering. The preferred method for knowing when to water is to dig a small hole about 10 inches deep on either side of the tree canopy and when that is dry, it’s time to water. Once you have done this a few times, you will have a better idea about how frequently a particular tree needs this deep watering. Our local True Value store in Ouray also offers insecticide to help protect your trees; contact Brad at True Value (970/325-0555) for more information.

Cutting down already-infested or dead trees will also help protect other trees on your property and ensure that the trees do not fall and cause damage to people and property. A list of tree removal companies and contact information is also listed on the City of Ouray website.

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