Well they did it. The borers finally killed my tree. My shade-providing, south-side-of-my-house ash tree — gone. When I first realized it wasn’t budding out this spring, my stomach sank. My tree went into winter dormancy and never returned. The real sadness comes from the fact that I could have prevented it had I applied the systemic pesticide in time.
With death comes new beginnings. My tree’s death has allowed me and my husband to plant a new tree and explore our options. As I watched the adult borers emerge from the dead tree(kinda gross), I thought there has to be a better tree. I love the look of the Fan-Tex Ash, but I don’t want to have to treat my tree with pesticides on a yearly basis. Time for a new tree.
Our first choice was the Purple Leafed Plum. The gorgeous dark-reddish-purple foliage would really accent our yard; unfortunately borers like Purple Plums, too. Insects in general tend to have their favorite plants to attack. Some trees are just more susceptible to borers than others. Ok, no plum.
Our second choice was the Vitex, or Monk’s Pepper. A tough, small tree with pretty purple flowers in the spring, this plant would survive heat and neglect. One problem, I just wasn’t crazy about it. I didn’t think it would fit our yard’s style quite right. Ok, no Vitex.
Our travels inspired our last and final choice. A camping trip to a near by Oak-Juniper woodland helped us decide on a Southern Live Oak. It can be a messy tree, but it gives our yard the riparian feel we want. And we already have a Chinaberry, which could be one of the messiest trees in America. So, what is one more messy tree? Ok, yes oak.
All trees have their plusses and minuses– you just have to figure out what is important to you.
By Cara Bohardt, Desert Gardener
What is your favorite tree?