Dear Lyons Community,

Many Lyons residents are noticing trees dying and wonder what can be done. Here are some thoughts about this.
Since the 2013 flood, there are many new factors, plus many intensified old factors that contribute to tree stress in Lyons. Physically stressed trees are very susceptible to harmful insects and diseases that end up killing them.

Poisons in the flood water, inundation of roots for a period of time, very hot summers, summer AND winter drought, extreme freezes late spring and early fall when trees are not fully dormant, big hail storm damage, strong wind caused tree root heaving disturbance, flood construction root damage, improper pesticide applications, mechanical damage to lower bark areas by mowers and motor vehicles, hot charcoal disposal at tree bases in parks, and “in-migration” of previously absent insects and diseases, all are tree stress causing factors.

An example of “in-migration” is the Thousands Cankers Disease of black walnut, which is a complex fungus species combination, previously unknown here. Thousands Cankers is spread from dead and infected black walnut trees to remaining healthy trees, epidemically, by a tiny twig beetle that previously only lived in southern latitudes (southern Arizona and Mexico).

We are hopelessly losing all the beautiful American Black walnut trees because of slightly warming temperatures that permit previously unknowns to thrive in our area. There is no Thousands Cankers control except for expensive tree removal sanitation, and no natural predators for a twig beetle that came north carrying a “new-for-us” disease.  It’s complicated.

The best action one can take to help your trees is water them. Deep and wide application of organic surface mulch around the base of trees also can help them by keeping soil cool and moist and encouraging beneficial earthworm and microbial activity. Surface mulch conserves moisture.

Ron Gosnell,
Old Saint Vrain Road, Lyons

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