Portland Press Herald:Maine arborists look to shield living things from anti-moth treatment
The latest science informs efforts to fend off unprecedented threats to our beloved trees.
People matter. Pets matter. Pollinators and wildlife matter.
So do trees. Trees, such as the shade-providing oaks at the epicenter of the browntail moth issue, can take up to 80 years to attain full size in Maine. The few licensed-applicator arborist companies of the Maine Arborist Association that protect these trees have a very limited toolbox to work with. Pruning out moth caterpillar nests is an early season option. Materials specified by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are applied through three different modes – through the root flare injection, through bark absorption or with a foliar spray application. Constant exposure to rashes makes it very tough work.
This season was building up to a massive onslaught of caterpillars. They were everywhere – and they were very much alive through May. The rains seemed to have little effect. Finally by June, when most applications were well in place and applied, with the continued rains, the browntail moth population was severely reduced because of a fungus that is instigated by cool, rainy weather. Thank goodness.