Tag Archive: Bark

Bark Stripping Squirrels

Squirrel bark stripping damage on a Chinese elm.

Squirrel bark stripping damage on a Chinese elm. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS Extension

Barked stripped from the trunk of a Chinese elm.

Barked stripped from the trunk of a Chinese elm. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS Extension

The squirrels are at it again! This time they are stripping the bark from the trunks of my Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) trees. Squirrels feed on the bark of a number of other different tree species including oaks, maples, and pecans. There are a few theories as to why squirrels feed on tree bark.

  1. Pregnant Females – Pregnant squirrels don’t eat prior to giving birth, but it is thought they chew on bark to help them bear the pain of pregnancy.
  2. Water Source – This theory isn’t very reputable due to the fact that squirrels have been seen feeding on bark come rain or shine.
  3. Food Source – The inner bark layer (phloem) contains sugar and nutrients which help satisfy a squirrel’s appetite.

The good news is squirrels generally do not eat enough bark to kill a tree. A squirrel will typically only strip a half inch section of bark about three inches long. However, the squirrels in my yard were much hungrier this year as you can see in the featured pictures.

 

PG

Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/18/bark-stripping-squirrels/

Be on the Lookout for Crapemyrtle Bark Scale!

Be on the Lookout for Crapemyrtle Bark Scale!

Figure 1 Note the black sooty mold coating the layers of white and grey scale, believed to be crapemyrtle bark scale, Eriococcus lagerstroemiae. [Photo by Gary Knox]

Figure 1 Note the black sooty mold coating the layers of white and grey scale, believed to be crapemyrtle bark scale, Eriococcus lagerstroemiae. [Photo by Gary Knox]

Crapemyrtle bark scale, Eriococcus laqerstroemia, is a new pest of crapemyrtle and is emerging as a major threat to crapemyrtles throughout Florida and the Southeast U.S.  This pest was first discovered in the Dallas TX area in 2004 and in recent years has spread rapidly to areas such as Tulsa OK, Memphis TN, New Orleans and Shreveport LA and Mobile AL (very close to Florida). The expanding distribution of crapemyrtle bark scale and my personal observations of this pest on crapemyrtle in China suggest it could have a widespread and severe impact on crapemyrtle production, use and marketability. For more updated information on where this pest has been found, go to http://www.eddmaps.org/cmbs/distribution.cfm.

 

Symptoms and Appearance

An early symptom of crapemyrtle bark scale is black sooty mold covering extensive areas of leaves and stems as a result of honeydew exuded by the scale (Fig. 1). Individual scale insects are white to gray in color and ooze pink when crushed (Fig. 2). Large populations build up in branch crotches and extend up branches, appearing crusty white to gray. This scale usually is not present on new growth, leaves or slender stems unless infestations are heavy.

 

For more information and additional photos

Resources, up-to-date information and additional photos about crapemyrtle bark scale may be found at http://www.eddmaps.org/cmbs/. This website will be the major portal for information about this pest.

Figure 2. This white to grey colored scale oozes pink when crushed. [Photo by Gary Knox]

Figure 2. This white to grey colored scale oozes pink when crushed. [Photo by Gary Knox]

Research

Research on crapemyrtle bark scale is ongoing. Scientists from the University of Florida, LSU, University of Arkansas and Texas A&M are collaborating to develop Best Management Practices to manage crapemyrtle bark scale in the nursery and landscape.  Initial research is examining the biology of the host-insect interaction to better understand its life cycle and stages when it may be most susceptible for control. Additional research will evaluate pesticides and other IPM strategies for managing this pest.

 

The expanding distribution of this scale and my personal observations of crapemyrtle bark scale throughout China suggest this scale could have a widespread and severe impact on crapemyrtles in landscapes. Please be on the lookout for crapemyrtle bark scale, and report sightings to your local county extension agent and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry.

 

 

PG

Author: Gary Knox – gwknox@ufl.edu

Gary Knox is an Extension Specialist and Professor of Environmental Horticulture with the University of Florida at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. Dr. Knox’s research interests focus on evaluating species and cultivars of woody plants for their invasive potential as well as for ornamental characteristics. In addition to research plantings, Dr. Knox is working with a nonprofit volunteer group to develop “Gardens of the Big Bend,” a series of botanical, teaching and evaluation gardens at the Center.

Gary Knox

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/03/31/be-on-the-lookout-for-crapemyrtle-bark-scale/