Within the fantastic world of trees lies one other world - that of the organisms which harbor in trees as pests and parasites. Of those there is no finish in numbers or selection. New dwelling owners are scarcely to be blamed for becoming dismayed, as they often do, upon encountering one invader after another for the first time. This writer's counsel to shoppers undergoing such baptism has always been: Cheer up, few kinds of assault on timber are fatal. Research of the trees' foes-studying to anticipate and counteract them - is a sporting proposition in itself. It's possible you'll lose a few skirmishes, but there is a nice deal that you your self can do to win this struggle. Only occasionally will an proprietor, particularly of young bushes, need to call in a tree-service task pressure.
The timber' invaders are from two kingdoms - the animal and the vegetable. The former are insects (and one hen) ranging from king-dimension larvae of the massive moths down to microscopic mites, mini-wasps, and scale organisms no bigger than a pin level. The vegetable hordes are fungi, bacteria, and viruses. These are all primitive plant types, but there's one plant parasite that is something however primitive besides in its role, assigned by mankind, as a love image. That is mistletoe, one of many deadliest invaders of all.
Mistletoe may effectively be spelled "missile toe," for its first tiny rootlets have the power to insinuate themselves into the host tree's living tissues just like the fangs of a vampire. Its pallid, waxy berries, resembling seed pearls, are carried by birds and dropped into bark crevices where they germinate under protection of their very own gum. Mistletoe cannot stay in soil however must steal its nourishment from a number tree's sap veins.
The place it fastens on, grotesque swellings ensue and the host's deformed members writhe away from the vampire as if in horror. No quantity of chopping-out wanting limb amputation will eradicate the mature bushes. Fortunately for timber, and for the human kissing customized, and for Oklahoma whose State "flower" mistletoe is, the deaths it inflicts are sluggish and painless. Its glaucous clumps aloft even confer a macabre magnificence upon the elms, hackberries, walnuts, gums, pecans, mesquites, and (hardly ever) oaks, which it reduces to skeletons.
Mistletoes abound from decrease New Jersey to Key West, all throughout the South, and up the west coast into Oregon. In a lot of this vary they're accompanied by an much more picturesque growth called Spanish Moss, a member of the pineapple household. This stringy, grayish stuff hanging from trees, making them seem like shaggy Arthur Rackham wizards, will not be a real parasite. It is a typical air plant, of which lichens and orchids are different examples. Air vegetation do not suck a tree's life-juices but can smother it to dying if allowed to run rampant.
Another conspicuous parasite, this a real one, is named witches'-broom. It shows up as dense, deforming twig clumps in hackberry, larch, and honey locust. It is brought on by the sting of gall mites or by spores of a mildew fungus - possibly by both. Pruning is the only remedy, if there's any.
Pruning or tissue surgery can typically head off one different class of parasite - the canker-forming fungi. At any time when such mechanical aids are tried they need to be followed up by feeding, usually with a excessive-nitrogen, to assist the tree shortly seal off its canker lesions with wholesome new cells earlier than remnant fungoid mycelia (thread-roots) can unfold, as in animals' fibroid tumors. Getting rid of these parasites is important if you wish to have healthy trees.