When trees start leafing, tree care companies call customers to recommend that they get injections in their trees to protect themselves from pests. Otherwise, some risk losing entire trees.
Caleb Russell, a sales representative for Tiger Tree in Laramie, told Cowboy State Daily that triage injections are done every two years and cost about $160, depending on trunk diameter.
“That’s $80 a year to protect your tree and make sure it’s safe,” Russell said.
This is per tree, of course, so a yard full of them can get expensive.
Is it worth the price or is tree care a scam to sell tree services?
Experts say the injections might be a good idea, but it depends.
Some but not all
Russell said the main pests that injections protect against are the ips beetle and the emerald ash borer.
The drills have not been seen in Wyoming but are widespread in northern Colorado, he said. The Ips beetle is a type of bark pest that is very common in Wyoming.
“It just completely decimates pine and spruce,” Russell said.
Harrison Brookes, a forest health specialist with the Wyoming State Forestry Division, told Cowboy State Daily that the question of the value of these treatments has no easy answer.
“They are a viable method of treating some pests, but unfortunately not all pests. Depending on what the problem with the tree is, it may or may not give the results you want,” Brookes said.
Brookes said some of the pests in Wyoming that attack trees can be very aggressive.
“So if you’re in an area that’s having some type of pest and your trees haven’t been affected yet, the injections make more sense,” Brookes said.
Whether this should be done preventatively or not when the tree is showing symptoms of an infestation is not so clear.
“If you see symptoms and catch it early, you can do the injections and save the tree with minimal permanent damage. For others it would be too late. So it’s a pretty tough situation,” Brookes said.
He said when it comes to the Ips beetle, injecting a tree when symptoms appear might not work. The literature is “kind of mixed” about how well it protects trees.
The most effective preventative method is spraying, but this must be done before the Ips beetles fly into the area.
However, applying the spray is not an easy job. The entire crown of the tree must be coated with the insecticide.
Russell said it’s very difficult to do in residential areas, especially in southern Wyoming where there’s a lot of wind. The insecticide tends to drift to the trees in neighbors’ gardens.
Emerald Ash Borer
Scott Schell, an entomology specialist at the University of Wyoming, said he thinks it’s probably too early to do preventive treatments for the emerald ash borer.
“Of course there is a certain risk. But in general, as long as people are aware and keep an eye on the health of their ash trees, they’ll probably have fair warning before it’s a widespread problem,” Schell said, adding that it’s a big problem in Colorado is.
Brookes said injections have proven effective against the drill.
“If you get emerald ash drills and confirm this early, you can start injections with minimal long-term consequences,” Brookes said.