Monday, April 21, 2008

Weeping Mulberry problems

Last year my mulberry sapling didn't get any leaves, so we dug it out of the ground and bought a more mature weeping mulberry. Since we saved the stump of the sapling in the container that the weeping mulberry came in, I was able to inspect the remains of the sapling. The whole top looked dead, so I snapped the top off, and here is what the trunk looked like on the inside -

Certainly I had insect damage. I broke off a small piece and took it to the tree farm that I bought the sapling from. The man there confirmed that it was wood borer damage, but which kind of beetle he couldn't say. He said it looked like the tree died first and then the beetle ate the wood, and not the other way around. He said I could treat the weeping mulberry tree if I was worried that it might get infested too, and suggested an insecticide that was systemic and would get absorbed into the whole tree. I was all set to buy it when I suddenly remembered what I had the tree for - to FEED BUGS. Luckily I didn't buy anything or treat the tree at all, and I seem to have buds on it.

Unfortunately, the squirrels find these buds delicious! The little buggers have been up in the tree munching on the buds. I chased them out of the tree numerous times just by yelling out the back door, but when that stopped working I had to actually go out to the tree and holler at them. One time the squirrel jumped over to the next tree, and, hanging about three feet away from me at eye level, had the gall to chatter angrily at me!

I asked for helpful suggestions about keeping the squirrels out of my tree on the silkworm rearing Yahoo group that I belong to (Catherders) and some smart soul told me that I could put bird netting on the tree. I netted up the tree and I haven't seen a squirrel in the tree since, but they could just be getting up there when I'm not looking. However, it looks like the buds are getting bigger and not getting eaten, so I'll order some Bombyx mori eggs soon!

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