*Photo Credit: Avon’s notable Pitch Pine tree as taken by Marty Aligata of the CT Notable Tree Project
Eric discusses how a small insect may pose a big risk to the few remaining pitch pine trees in Connecticut.
Eric’s Tree Service in Avon, CT
Eric’s Tree Service helps customers in over 90 Connecticut towns, including Avon, CT. We provide tree removal services, landscaping, arborist services, land clearing, and stump grinding to both residential and commercial properties. Often, builders use our land clearing services when clearing lots for new buildings. At Eric’s Tree Service, we hope to be able to plant a new tree in Connecticut for every tree removed and to repurpose cut trees for new materials. However, most companies and builders looking to clear their lots do not practice this philosophy. Unfortunately, Connecticut’s pitch pine tree has suffered because its dry and sandy soil habitat is also perfect for new construction.
The Rare Pitch Pine Tree
Pitch pine trees can be easily identified by their alligator-like bark. They are small-to-medium sized trees native to North America and thrive in sandy soils where other species would find growth unsuitable. Pitch pine trees typically grow between 20 and 98 feet tall. Avon’s remaining notable pitch pine tree measures 95 feet tall, near the maximum height for this species.
25% of Connecticut’s trees were once pitch pine trees, as suggested by surveys from early colonial settlement. However, it is now only hiking enthusiasts who are likely to be familiar with the tree. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimates that over 95% of the state’s pitch pine woodlands have been lost.
The Southern Pine Beetle: Small Insect, Big Threat
According to the CT DEEP, the southern pine beetle is the most economically destructive insect in the southeastern United States. Prior to the mid-2000’s, the beetle was considered to be restricted to this region. However, over the years, this beetle has unfortunately made its way up the coastline to wreak havoc on northern trees. In 2015, the southern pine beetle was found in Connecticut.
The southern pine beetle is known to attack pitch pine trees and may threaten the few of these trees that remain in the state.
Signs of Infestation
- S-Shaped Galleries. Female southern pine beetles bore into the bark and construct S-shaped galleries where they lay their eggs.
- Blue-Stained Wood. As the female beetle moves through the tree, she poisons the tree with a blue-stained fungus that provides food for the larvae, while blocking the tree’s circulatory system.
Call Eric At The First Sign of Infestation
With over 30 years of experience, Eric is experienced at spotting signs of insect infestation and can provide guidance on how to best handle the outbreak.