This was the year of the march of the 13 year cicadas across the state. For eight long weeks I couldn’t hear myself think they were so loud like a whole neighborhood of burglar alarms going off. According to the experts up to 1.5 million of these critters can be found on an acre. I think I inherited a lot from some one else’s acreage.
Every time we had a wind storm the ground would be littered with small limbs. Several of my trees had broken branches hanging off like Christmas ornaments all over the tree. Several of my smaller trees looked like some one had taken a mind to stand there and snap off several limbs here and there. Steve one of my co-workers at work and I were talking about the damages we were seeing. He said that if you look at the limbs that have fallen, you can see the nymphs where the break is, and along some of the limbs it looks like some one had been slicing the branches open. You know he was right.
I was putting up Japanese beetle traps getting ready for the next invasion after the cicadas and I noticed a couple of my trees were dying. So many holes are in my Wilson delicious apricot that enough sap to make several gallon of syrup is dripping from every limb on the tree. Half of the tree is dead and the other half looks like it is dying. My 20th Century pear loaded with pears of the first time has died. All that remains is a black shadow with mummified fruit on it. My Starkrimson sweet cherry and Black Tartarian cherry are also dripping sap and look pale. I’m not sure if they will survive. A newly planted white crabapple is snapped in two, but is coming out below the break.
Supposedly weak or stressed trees usually fall victim to these “harmless” bugs. A Summit Cherry which was split several years ago by a very late cold spell that froze the sap in the trunk and split it open down the middle survive the critters fine. Also a couple of dogwoods which had the bark pop open due to the freeze are doing fine. I keep expecting to remove these trees each spring. These losses on top of this past winter killed Red Pygmy Dogwood, Snow Fountain weeping cherry, a pink weeping cherry, and a paperbark maple really hurt. So don’t tell me these things were harmless, don’t bite, etc.
Oh by the way if you use the Japanese beetles traps locate them in a spot away from what you are trying to protect. Each trap will hold a least a thousand bugs. A couple of mine are filling up daily and after the fourth bag, I was able to relocate the trap to help another area. Just think how much pesticide you would have to spray. I’ve also used milky spore to eliminate the June bugs. I hardly see them in the treated areas these days. One area around my fruit needs treating. With the drought last year I didn’t get to put some down. You need some moisture to keep the nematodes alive after treatment. After 4.82 inches of rain today, it would have been a good time to sprinkle.
Check out my blog post for Father’s Day on Grit magazine when you can spare a moment.