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Home \ Discussion \ Conifer FAQ \ Sequoia moth on P. contorta 'Taylor's Sunburst'

Sequoia moth on P. contorta 'Taylor's Sunburst' (9 Replies)

Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Just discovered this nasty creature in one of the crotches of my ‘TS’.  Classic signs – huge lump of sap, which I pulled off and found the larva part way into the wood.  Anything to be done?  I gather that it doesn’t kill the tree, just makes it ugly.  I was able to pull out this one larva and kill it.  I have a ‘Chief Joseph’ not far away that appears to be untouched, and I don’t find any other SPM larva on the ‘Taylor’s Sunburst’.  Would love any advice anyone can give me. 

Sara

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Posted August 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

There’s a what was beautiful 15ft bristlecone pine outside my office window, soon to be yanked because of sequoia moth. I don’t have any answers, but it looks like something we all need to know more about.

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Posted August 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I am unlikely to use a systemic but if anyone has had any luck or thoughts it would be great to hear.  Interesting – I have had virtually no insect problems up until now and then this one comes along!

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Posted August 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Hi Sara,

Sequoia Moth can sure make for an ugly tree. A tip for the future is to never prune susceptible pines in the spring/early summer. That’s when Momma Moth is flying around looking for fresh sap to lay eggs. As for care for your current specimen: It’s good hear hear you successfully dug out the worms. Now clean up the wound the best you can and paint it up real nice with that black wound sealer stuff. Then hope for the best.

It’s true that an infestation won’t directly kill the tree, but it will weaken the wood, making it easier to blow over in storm. Good luck.

~Dave

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Posted August 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Thanks Dave – that’s helpful.  I trashed one pair of gloves getting all of the sap off.  There is a little ‘channel’ where the worm was living.  I’ll paint it and hope for the best for sure.  I am of two minds about this particular cultivar; it doesn’t look very nice for 3/4 of the year, but it is one of the most spectacular specimens in the garden when it is doing its thing.  Kind of like ‘Gebelle’s Golden Spring’.  

Good point on the pruning, too.  I have a tendency to prune ‘when the tools are sharp’ and this is a good reminder as to why that is not a good idea.

That sure is a nice photo! 🙂

Sara

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Posted August 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Is this just a West coast bug?… nice summary here:

http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/homehort/pest/sequioa_pitch_moth.htm

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Posted August 14, 2013 at 11:59 am

Thx Larry…yikes it can take two years for the larva to develop! And I’m not sure that I’m up to ‘mating disruption’ to control the situation…It seems like this is a West coast problem…oh well, at least we can grow PINUS PONDEROSA out here! 🙂

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Posted August 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm

The Sequoia Pitch Moth is found from California north to British Columbia. Adults are on wing from May to early September.

The larvae feed on various conifer species, including Douglas fir, pines and spruces. The larvae are dirty white, grayish or pink. They excavate a shallow cavity that penetrates the inner bark to the cambium surface of the wood. Pupation takes place in a dark brown pupa that is made in a silk-lined chamber within the pitch mass. Most individuals require two years to develop from egg to adult.
The main effect of larval feeding is the production of large amounts of resin by the infected plants. Larval feeding sometimes causes one or more limbs to die or become weak enough to break, especially if infested trees are young.


Isn’t Wikipedia great ! – S.

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Posted August 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Ironically, I just noticed that one of the banners for this page is not only a P. contorta ‘Taylor’s Sunburst’ but the exact same plant that I am writing about as it was shot in my garden!

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Posted August 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm

TIme for an Editor’s Note here. Most users won’t know what you are talking about here because these images rotate constantly and it is unlikely that what you are seeing now will be the same photo when another user is reading this page. Just a little programming trick to provide something new even when it might not be. 😉

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