Volume 104, Number 24 - June 14, 2007
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Town urges beetle spraying
At the June 11 meeting, Lauren McKeever, assistant to the mayor, addressed the Town Council about the importance of controlling the infestation of mountain pine beetles in Pinedale.
After informing the council about the damage the beetles are capable of causing, McKeever explained possible prevention methods and the need to spray trees in town. Mountain pine beetles typically infest ponderosa, lodgepole, Scotch and limber pine trees. McKeever said the trees might need to be treated annually for five years to fully ensure the protection of the trees.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, “Time is of the essence for preventing the spread of the beetle. The infestation spreads rapidly with one tree becoming 81 infested trees in only four years. Once the beetles attack a pine tree, they kill the trees.” Insisting the town take action, McKeever suggested the council approve $5,000 for the treatment of the trees in all of Pinedale’s parks, though she said she doesn’t expect it will cost that much.
Treating the pines in the parks will prevent the beetles from infesting other trees in town, McKeever said.
The use of pheromone pouches or a carbaryl spray, both of which can be applied to the trees to kill the beetles, were two treatment methods McKeever introduced. “With the spray, the bug actually eats it and it kills it,” she said. The packets cost about $23 and it would cost approximately $14 to spray each tree, McKeever said.
Though it is not necessary to apply both treatments, McKeever said the town would be using a combination. In order for the application to be effective, McKeever advised treatment would need to be administered before July 1. “That’s when they start flying and infest things,” she said.
The dates set aside for the treatment of the trees in the parks are June 26-27, according to the press release.
The council unanimously approved the motion to provide no more than $5,000 for the project.
During discussion, the question was posed as to whether the treatment would be effective if only the trees in the parks were sprayed and individual landowners did not treat the trees on their property.
“We don’t have jurisdiction over those properties,” McKeever said, “ … It is a problem, but we can’t force them to spray.” Kurt Feltner asked the council if it would be possible to have extra money be available to the citizens “as a further enticement to get city park neighbors to spray their trees.” The council members then discussed the problems that could arise when allocating funds for treatment on private property.
“I think we would open a can of worms by doing that,” council member Gary Heuck said about the possibility of the council having to decide who gets how much money. Council member Nylla Kunard said she would not be opposed to putting money aside for citizens, but Mayor Steve Smith questioned the process of protecting Pinedale’s trees.
“Where do you draw the line?” he asked. “Beetles could fly in from Boulder. Do we spray the trees in Boulder?”
The press release states that landowners who do have property bordering town parks or who have a large quantity of older pines are especially encouraged to have their trees sprayed.
Though the council did not approve the allocation of funds for citizens, Smith said it would be beneficial for McKeever to get the word out to make sure people are aware of the problem.
McKeever said she would have publicity available this week to inform citizens of the preventative measures that can be taken to protect the trees on their property. “ … Landowners will be responsible for making their own arrangements and paying for their own beetle prevention treatments,” according to the press release.
Todd Graus, a certified contractor for Green Turf Lawnscapes, Inc., will be treating the trees. He will also have time set aside that week to treat trees on private property. The parks will be closed while the treatment is being administered. For more information, contact McKeever at the Town Hall, 367-4136.
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