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Fall Cankerworm


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You Don’t Know Where Your Going Until You Know Where You Have Been

Charlotte’s Trees  2008-2010

I live in a neighborhood that has lots of  large willow oaks.  Most of the trees are mature and 36 to 40 or more inches in diameter at 48 inches of the ground.  These trees are 80 to 90 feet tall and provide a wonderful canopy over the street.  There are some smaller trees interspersed in voids where other trees have died, but in general the larger trees are showing the most distress.

What can be done about it?

Nature has to help revive the trees, but we can help by supplying water to those that are suffering.  In my case I have a large willow oak in the back yard that looked pretty bad the last two years after the cankerworm attacks in the spring.  We are on drought restrictions and can only water with rotary type irrigation one day a week.  Drip irrigation because it is much more efficient is allowed.  

I have installed a ring of drip irrigation line about 10 feet from the tree all the way around it.  This line is attached to an existing drip zone that waters a shrubbery bed in the back yard.  If you are not familiar with drip irrigation, this line has emitters built into it on 12 inch centers.  I hold it down to the ground with landscape staples which are about six inches long and made of steel.  They anchor the drip line down so after a few grass mowings, the line is invisible and below the mower height of 3 inches. In less than two growing seasons the steel staples that anchor the drip irrigation line are holding the drip line so that it becomes very hard to see.  In fact the anchors rust a little and it is difficult to pull the drip line up if you need to.  I sometimes pull my drip line out temporarily and lay it to the side when I have the yard airated.

This tree has revived, and I have now done the same to two large willow oaks in the front yard.

If this is not an option to you, then you can hand water the tree or hook up a drip line to your faucet.  Battery operated timers are available that can automatically activate a drip zone.

Updated Information:

Look at the sidebar to your left.  There are several other links that you might be interested in, specifically those that concern Root Rot or decay.  Our principle problem here in Charlotte is in our large willow oaks.  The fungus Inonotus dryaedeus is usually the culprit.  A common name is Weeping Conk and it usually attacks the tree from about 12 inches up the trunk down to the ground. Go to the link Root Rot and continue on down the list.