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Protecting trees from flathead borers-- any experience with fabric wraps or similar?

 
Posts: 9
Location: N. California, Zone 8a, Circle Line
fungi trees chicken
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Hello everyone--

Anyone have experience with using Dewitt tree wrap or similar to protect trees from flathead/apple tree borers?

I am trying to establish a small orchard in Northern California. Last fall I found borers had killed 3 young trees and severely damaged two others that had to be heavily pruned back. I still have many other saplings that seem unaffected for now.

I know sunscald is supposed to present entry wounds for them and so many will paint with diluted latex paint to protect against this.

However, wouldn't Dewitt tree wrap or comparable products be superior by protecting against sunscald and forming a physical barrier against larvae entry? Does anyone have any experience with such products? If so, do you leave them on year-round?

I have seen several journal articles claim that tree wraps can result in higher borer activity HOWEVER, it seems likely such articles are referring to the thicker plastic wraps that spiral loosely around the trunk and leave gaps for borers and serve as shelter. It's hard for me to imagine them getting under a fabric wrap or their larvae chewing through them. Does anyone have any direct experience around this?

Thanks everyone. Trying to avoid insecticides or the loss of more trees.

Blaise
 
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Posts: 5998
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My strategy is to welcome pests and diseases into my garden. They help to select for trees that grow well in the presence of pests and diseases. I feel like the bugs do a kindness to me, by eliminating trees that are genetically weak.

I don't feel inclined to spend the funds, labor, or worry necessary to purchase products and apply them to my trees. Cause if I'm growing weak trees, then I'm setting myself up for a lifetime of expense to apply the protections over and over again as the tree outgrows them.

 
Blaise Waniewski
Posts: 9
Location: N. California, Zone 8a, Circle Line
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I appreciate your sentiment Joseph. However, these are little saplings, hand-grown from seed often times, in very harsh conditions with no rainfall for 6 months of the year. Looking to protect them from these borers while they get established still allows for plenty of survival of the fittest to play a role in what survives.  There's no guarantee any will survive if I don't take any measures.

So far I have eliminated tall grass and mulched heavily as I understand this makes for less desirable beetle habitat . And yes, I have wrapped their trunks, looking for others who have experimented with this approach versus painting the trunks.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Delightful that you grow them from seed. That makes it inexpensive to grow many saplings. Easy to select for permanent resistance to the borers. Spending a couple of years now, to select for the right genetics, may avoid a lifetime of anguish.

Are the saplings mechanically weak from having been grown in pots, or in an area with insufficient light, or lack of wind? You might try direct seeding in their permanent location. Perhaps planting 20 per location, and thinning to the one you like the best, with the most resistence to the borers.
 
Blaise Waniewski
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Yes, agreed, starting them in the ground would be helpful in improving their resilience. That being said they were quite small when they were transplanted, not root bound or anything. Funny you mention putting 20 seeds in the ground-- I just put 20 cold stratified peach tree seeds in the ground so we'll see how resilient they are against borers but that being said, even with the best genetics, they are likely to be deer food before I find out. Which is why I'll probably wire cage any that come up.
 
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