The Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division is warning people about a spruce beetle infestation in the area.

According to a news release from the agency the spruce ips beetle has already destroyed numerous trees in the city despite only having arrived about two and a half years ago.

City Urban Forester Mark Ellison says the signs of an ips beetle attack on a spruce tree include red needles or loss of needles at the top of the tree, small round holes in the branches and trunk and tunneling galleries underneath the bark.

Ellison says once these signs can be seen it is usually to late to save the tree. Removing the tree is the best step, but Ellison says care needs to be taken to prevent the spread of the beetle to living trees. Protective steps could include chipping, debarking and burning wood over the winter months or hauling the infected wood away to a place at least a mile from any living spruce trees or to the city compost facility.

Owners of trees that have not been infected may want to consider hiring an arborist to spray a preventative insecticide to the trunk and larger branches to prevent a beetle infestation. There are other steps homeowners can take, according to Ellison.

They include:

  1. Slowly water the area from the trunk out to the end of the branches once per month during the winter and every 7-10 days during the summer and fall at a rate of 10 gallons per inch of stem diameter.
  2. Mulch around the base of trees with wood chips or bark to a depth of 2 inches (especially important for young trees

 

For more information or to download the list of licensed arborists for Cheyenne go to www.cheyennetrees.com.  The ips beetle only infests spruce trees, not other evergreens or deciduous trees.