The Q&A Archives: My mature Bradford Pear trees are slowing dying one at a time

Question: My Bradford Pear trees have holes all over the trunk. Some are slowly dying. The first signs are smaller leaves, less dense looking. Then the leaves start turning colors prematurely. The next year the leaves are smaller and there are less leaves. They don't bloom as well as before and the limbs slowly dye. Several have already died. Can you help me???

Answer: The holes are caused by insects, either a shothole borer or one of the ambrosia beetles. Although these insects can damage plants and may need to be controlled, they may be the result of an unhealthy plant rather than the cause. These insects are attracted to weakened and dying trees. While it may be important to attempt control of the insect, it may also be important to explore other reasons why the plant is declining. Dead wood should be pruned out. Remaining stems should be treated with Dursban or Lindane to prevent further infestation, and retreated in six weeks.

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