All trees have some ability to defend themselves from attacks by wood borers. Defensive chemicals are produced in response to borer wounding that may weaken and kill young borers. Callus tissue growth may be stimulated by wounding and encapsulate young borers. Trees that are well hydrated also become less suitable for attack and in the case of conifers may produce large flows of resin that can drown an invading insect. The intensity of all of these tree defenses is related to tree condition, particularly the amount of energy reserves that had been stored by the plant and the level of water stress.
Consequently, any means of promoting tree health should be considered the first approach for managing most borers. This begins with the proper selection of trees and shrubs that are well adapted to the site; poorly adapted plants may be particularly susceptible to borers. Plants should also be well pruned, eliminating damaged or overshaded limbs. Providing adequate moisture to the roots by timely irrigation and/or use of suitable mulches can be extremely important in limiting damage by many borers.
However, there are a few kinds of borers in Colorado that may not be well controlled by tree defenses alone. The best example of an “aggressive borer” that is capable of killing healthy trees is emerald ash borer, a newly established insect of Asian origin that is presently (2018) found in parts of Boulder County. Peachtree borer, Zimmerman pine moth, and locust borer are other borers that may seriously damage trees in good condition.
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