Last week on June 5th, Hale and Swisher County experienced a storm that left some rainfall, some hail, and a great deal of wind. The rain will help green up lawns, but hail and wind left some wreckage behind. The wind speeds generated by this storm got up to 80 miles per hour, similar to hurricane conditions. These conditions caused damage to the roofs and trees as well as the crops in the area. Most of the hail was received in the southern part of Hale County, but high winds caused damage across Hale and Swisher County.
Winds did tear limbs from trees, and is some cases, even knock them completely down. Trees damaged by severe weather were often stripped of some leaves. While that is damaging, the problem that holds the largest IPM concern will be the broken and snapped branches. What is left behind for the trees are jagged and open wounds that are ready targets for insects to attack or infest. These open wounds heal best if sawed off to a flat surface. Painting that smooth wound over with insecticidal paint can also help save the tree from possible infestation. If left uncut and open, the tree could lose fluids and nutrients through continual bleeding of sap, but also wood borers and other insect pests will be attracted to that injury site. Some of the pest insects that will flock to the tree to feed can spread throughout the tree, devouring it from the inside. The damage can even lead to the death of the tree. If insecticidal paint is hard to come by, Malathion mixed with a white or off white paint will work in a pinch. Saving a tree that has already been infested with some of these pests is costly and often not successful. Taking these preventative measures now will cost much less and could save an already damaged tree in the long run.
Checking the trees on your property soon after damaging weather events and taking appropriate action by cutting the injury to a flat surface and painting over it with insecticidal paint can save time and money.