Something as small as an insect can destroy a large tree if you don't use caution. Fortunately, many insect problems can be avoided or quickly handled if you know the proper ways to protect your tree from pests.
1. Practice Good Cultural Care
Trees suffering from drought stress or poor nutrition are more likely to be infested by insects and to succumb to the pests. Trees that don't receive regular irrigation, such as from a sprinkler system, require watering every 7 to 14 days during dry periods. You should also fertilize trees at least once a year to ensure the plants are receiving all the nutrients that they need.
2. Keep a Clean Yard
Piles of brush and yard waste, like fallen leaves and overly long grass, can harbor insect pests or their eggs. You reduce the chances of pests making their way into your trees if you keep all fallen tree debris rake up and prevent other plants from encroaching on the tree trunk. Installing mulch around the base of the trees can help prevent your yard from being a vector for tree pests.
3. Prevent Open Wounds
Many wood dwelling pests ignore trees until there is an easy access into the trunk. Cuts or holes in the bark provide this access. Avoid damage to the trunk as much as possible. Mowing or using a weed trimmer too closely to the tree is a common cause of trunk damage, so extra caution is needed when operating equipment near landscape trees. Further, use sharp tools when pruning so that cuts are clean and able to heal over quickly. Make all cuts flush to a branch collar to further encourage quick healing.
4. Plant for Diversity
The problem with planting only one type of tree in your landscape is that if one tree gets infested by a particular insect, all of your trees are at risk. Many insects only attack one or two different types of trees. If you plant a diversity of tree types, you reduce the chances of a pest infestation. Further, if a problem does occur, at least you can rest assured that only one of the trees is likely at risk.
5. Treat as Needed
Sometimes you need to be proactive and treat for insect before your tree is infested. For example, having trees sprayed when a particular moth with tree-infesting larvae is laying eggs can prevent any of the larvae from infesting your tree. At other times, treatments need to be applied at the first sign of insect issues. Check your trees each time you do yard work so you can schedule treatments as soon as they are needed.
Contact a tree insect control service in your area for more help.