Magazine article American Forests

Tree Doctor

Magazine article American Forests

Tree Doctor

Article excerpt

Worrisome Worms

Q: I live in Minneapolis, MN and many of my trees have had some trouble with worms this year. They are green/brown worms that hang down from the trees by a strand of silk. They also seem to be wrapping the trees with silk. The trees are mainly pines, but I do see them in my maples as well. We did have a large oak and one of these pines die last year from an unknown cause. I didn't notice the worm problem then, but could have been that. Any thoughts on what these worms are, and if they are dangerous to the trees? Should I have them treated or can I treat them myself? Any information and suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you very much,

Bethany Bartels

A: The phenomenon of worms floating from a silk strand is called ballooning. Many insects display this behavior, so you need to determine the type to know how to react. Your best course of action is to take one of the critters to your county extension service for identification. The type it is will determine the appropriate treatment.

Evergreens To Browns

Q: I have observed that the evergreen trees and shrubs here are turning brown. Some have turned entirely brown, and only on one side. This is in Bedford, MA and surrounding towns, and when we recently traveled to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Is this an infestation of insects or disease? What can we do about it? Thank you for your help.

--Rachel Lewis Murphy

A: Your question refers to evergreens, but many pests are specific to one species of trees so the answer could be more specific if you can narrow down the species. If you observed the browning in hemlocks, the probable cause is hemlock wooly adelgid, which is prevalent in much of the northeast. In pines, the white pine weevil or the Zimmerman pine moth are possible culprits. If you observed the problem in all types of evergreens along highways, the problem could be the result of salt spray.


Q: I live in Palm Beach Country Estates, Palm Beach County, Florida. Our community recently had water lines put in. All properties have the availability of having their house hooked up to city water. In my property's case, all water routes to the house require disturbing Florida Slash Fine roots. The large pine that would be most in danger is approximately 5-6 feet from a concrete driveway. The route for the water will most likely be within a foot of the driveway, so 4-5 feet from the pine. The pipe will be buried approximately a foot deep.

I love all my trees; losing them to the beetles is bad enough, and losing one because we, would like to have city water would hurt even more. What are the chances that the tree will survive some side roots being cut?

--Thanks for your help,

Renee Sayles

A: If only small roots (less than 2 inches in diameter) are cut, then it would not be as shocking to the tree. …

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