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Flatheaded Appletree Borer

Flatheaded Appletree Borer
October 01, 2013 03:33PM
I planted 2000 cider varieties this past April, and have a terrible infestation of Flatheaded Appletree borers. I have carved out approximately 250 thus far. About 30 of the trees are completely dead and the rest might not be far behind. I plan to continue examining the trunks of all the trees until they are all cut out.

I can not seem to find where they are coming from. My neighbor has an orchard with no borers. I also talked to a fourth generation orchardist about 15 miles down the road and he has never even seen one. I am thinking they might have come from the nursery. Does anyone out there have any insight on the possibility? Also, I have looked hard to find an adult, but have not seen a one. Any ideas on how to control an infestation like the one I have on hand? Any thought would be greatly appreciated.

Billingsley Cider Orchard

Zone 5a Stevensville, Montana
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
October 02, 2013 01:32PM
Hi Michael,

I feel for you brother. I was up against the ropes with a flathead apple borer nightmare myself 3 seasons ago on a new planting.

First, it is possible that the trees you received already had eggs laid on them and/or larvae within them. I would certainly be in touch with the nursery you received them from. You placed a large order and as a reputable firm, they will be willing to help.

#1 weak link, that is key to the borers coming on strong, is stress to the young trees themselves. The adult beetles will seek out diseased or weakened trees to lay their eggs on. Drought stress and sunburn (to the trunk) are two most common paths to be on if you wish to see borers in your orchard sooner than later. Stress from the new planting, prior to getting established into their new location, is also plenty good enough to bring an infestation of borer.

Very important . . . Paint your trunks - Always! A 50/50 mixture of interior grade latex paint (white, or close to it) at the time of planting is very important as a preventative to sunburn and the borers that will follow. Paint from a few inches below the soil line to the top of the tree, for new plantings . . . yes, every branch too, if there is any feathering on your new plantings, not just the trunks. On established trees, paint from 2 inches below the soil line to at least the 1st scaffold branching, and I often go higher if I feel that particular branches, or portions of the trunk, are going to be subject to intense southern exposures

Keep in mind that these borers do not solely feed on Apple Trees. They can be found on dozens of other types of deciduous trees in the nearby forests, and neighborhoods, including oaks, maples and willows too.

When your trees showed stress, to these beetles, the invitation was accepted.

It is possible that your neighboring orchardists do in fact have borers but they are much less noticeable (can often be a non-issue) on fully mature trees. Also, those orchardists may be spraying pesticides into their trees to battle other known pests and the residuals of those chemicals keeps the borers at bay too.

You are working to become holistic in your approach and the chemical counter attack is not part of your greater plan. I understand the heart break that comes with borers. It is gut wrenching and despairing. Resist the chemical short cut if you can.

Your trees will heal. Apple trees are very resilient. Your holistic commitment to them will make them only that much stronger. If any of your trees are especially damaged, you may want to consider staking them, as they will need the extra support with this winters snow & wind coming.

Since you just planted these trees this year, you might consider replanting any that were especially badly damaged. Skip the hopeful rehabilitations and start over.

Good luck!

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
October 09, 2013 10:20PM
Right on Paul--also besides painting the trunks---good old Neem oil. I only have about 100 young trees to worry about and we go out maybe 3 times and hit the trunks from a back pack sprayer during stress season. I am doing a nearly full on Neem program this last year and have seen no new infestations this year and a 30-50% recovery rate on those who were succumbing. I think maybe Neem drives them out??? Good luck!
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
May 09, 2015 06:17AM
Two new products:
1. Azasol water soluble neem, that is systemic, put on as a drench, should get young borers as they start to bore into trunk. Available from Arborjet (tree injection equip & materials) , Woburn, MA. See my post at round headed apple borer thread for more info
2. Bt galleria for beetles available as beetleGONE from www.GreenEarthAgandTurf.com, Branford, CT. See my post under Japanese beetle thread, for more info.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2015 05:20AM by Dan Lefever.
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
June 04, 2015 12:06PM
I agree with Dan that beetleGONE! is likely to control apple tree borer, I would expect it to only control the adult stage. The adult would need to eat the beetlegone either on treated foliage or bark after they emerge from over wintering as pupae but before the female lays eggs. I recently read that apple tree borer will eat tender bark before they lay eggs.

I would also like to add that beetlegone has been tested extensively against related Agrilus species such as Emerald Ash borer and in California, Gold Spotted Oak borer. In both cases, the product was targeted to disrupt reproduction by controlling the adults before they could mate and before the female could lay the eggs under the bark. Like the BT kurstaki products for leafroller, the BT galleriae strain in beetleGONE! must be consumed for control of the adult beetles.

There is also activity against some weevil species, in the future we hope to field test against apple blossom weevil.

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
May 19, 2016 12:15PM
A quick question about using whitewash...I bought some white latex paint to use on our young tree trunks and I noticed it said LATEX ACRYLIC on the can....thisisn't what I want is it? Can a person buy just LATEX paint?


thanks
Joanne
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
May 19, 2016 01:54PM
My understanding is that you want interior latex paint. Supposedly the exterior has something in it which is toxic to the trees, (although whether this is really an issue, I am somewhat dubious). Acrylic latex is, I believe perfectly OK. (I think what you are thinking of is Alkyd, which is based on petroleum solvents).
But to the best of my knowledge we do not have flat-headed apple borer in NS. We do have round-headed borer, Saperda candida.

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Flatheaded Appletree Borer
May 22, 2016 01:01PM
thanks David! I was asking about the paint ini regards to the RHAP.....of which I now discover I have 8 trees infected with sad smiley(( All said trees are from the same place so I am assuming they came in with the trees.

Joanne
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