The Q&A Archives: Wood Borers on Photinia Trees

Question: Flat head wood borers have killed 9 photinia trees and I'm thinking of replacing them with either Camphor Trees or Kawakami Pear Trees, but I am afraid to until I know the soil is free of the wood borers. Are my other plants susceptible? I have Bradford Pears, Italian Cypress, azaleas, oleanders, gardenias, Indian Hawthorn, Potato Trees and Palm Trees. If so, what steps should I take to protect them?

Answer: Flathead borers are the larvae of a reddish-bronze beetle. They feed beneath the bark of trees, especially trees that are unhealthy or under stress. Remove the infested wood and burn or bury it. Once you've removed the food source, and the larvae, you'll lower the population of potential adult beetles. The larvae will not live in the soil. Some trees are more susceptible to borer infestations than others. I'd be especially careful about plum, prune and pear trees planted in the vicinity. You can help protect young trees by painting the trunks with a whitewash. This will help prevent sunburn as well as reduce borer attack. Maintain tree vigor to further reduce the likelihood of borer infestation.

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