This spring, tent caterpillars seem to be a more prevalent than usual issue in Santa Fe. We have been receiving many phone calls and emails from concerned property managers and homeowners about tent caterpillars causing rapid defoliation of their aspen trees. The damage is mostly unappealing, but repeated years of infestation can cause tree death. Trees are a valuable asset that are not only expensive to replace, but also important to the landscape and our environment.
Tent caterpillars form a silken tent or nest in trees. They hatch in the spring and emerge to feed on the nearby leaves. In our area, the Western tent caterpillar is most often seen infesting trees in May and early June.
Luckily, tent caterpillars are fairly easy to treat. Proscape recommends cutting out by hand any visible nests. There are also insect sprays that can be used to treat the problem. Contact us for assistance with diagnosis and treatment of your trees.
Are you ready for Spring?
ESSENTIAL MAY LANDSCAPING TIPS:
• The first week in May is typically considered the first week where it is safe to plant annuals in Santa Fe. When planting annuals, loosen up the roots to encourage stronger growth.
• Now is the time to activate your irrigation systems. Make sure to run the system and all zones to check for any issues or leaks, and program controllers.... Consider upgrading to a more efficient system if necessary
• Very good time to transplant trees & shrubs
• Use horticultural oil for fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs as it can eliminate the need for pesticides later in the season
• Now is the best time to address weeds in your planter beds. All weeds should be removed, including their root systems, so that they do not come back. It is easier to remove weeds at this time of year as they have not yet had a chance to develop robust root systems and release their seeds.
• Start planting your perennials now. This is also a good time to divide and replant your perennials.
• Remember to water newly installed plant material thoroughly
• Clean or rake your planter beds and then replenish or replace mulch around trees, shrubs & planter beds to a depth of approximately 3”. Mulch is important for our dry climate as it assists in retention of moisture. Mulch also helps prevent weeds from growing back.
• Fertilize blooming bulbs
• Continue light pruning of any dead, broken or diseased branches
• Consider testing the pH of your soil. Inexpensive kits can be purchased online or from garden stores. Testing now will give you plenty of time to make adjustments if necessary.
• Worms on Aspens trees are almost impossible to prevent. Take a photo of the worm and bring it into your local nursery. They can direct you to the best insecticide to treat the issue.
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