Sequoia Pitch Moth

Posted by Randy - November 3rd, 2013

Pitch Moth Damage

Broken top and limbs from Pitch Moth damage

Pitch Moth Adult

Pitch Moth Adult

Pitch Moth Larva

Pitch Moth Larva

The Sequoia Pitch Moth is a small clearwing moth that resembles a bee, and lives only a few days as an adult before laying eggs in bark cracks or pruning cuts. The eggs hatch into a grub larvae which chews its way under the bark. The larvae typically live 2 years in the tree before pupating and emerging as adult moths during May-Sept. The tree reacts to the larval invasion by exuding a heavy flow of resin, or sap, which appears as pink-tan globs on the tree’s bark, often around branch junctions or pruning cuts. In our area the moths attack mainly Pines, especially Austrian, Scots, Mugo, and Ponderosa Pines, but will also infest Spruces and Firs.

The Sequoia Pitch moth has, until recently, been described as a ‘cosmetic nuisance’, but it is a real pest that has become a problem in our region. The larvae chew their way around branch junctions, causing girdling injuries and limb dieback, with broken branches and tops, sometimes leading to whole tree removal. The problem is often worsened by monoculture planting, with Pines in long rows for privacy; typically all the trees will be infested with Pitch Moths.

There is no spray or systemic insecticide control that has been found to work on the Sequoia Pitch Moth. On smaller trees it is feasible to manually remove the larvae by carefully digging them out with a knife or screwdriver. Many of the sap globs are found to be old and empty- sometimes with brown pupal casings where the adult moths have emerged. But live grubs will usually be found in some of the fresher sap globs.

There are commercially available pheromone traps that can be hung on your property to attract and kill adult males, but the traps need to be maintained because they fill up rapidly with moths. Kile Tree Service has had some success in improving tree health and structural integrity using a combination of manual larva removal and pheromone traps- please call for a free consultation and estimate.

More info on the Sequoia Pitch Moth can be found here:

UC Davis


Street Trees

Posted by Randy - September 27th, 2013

Oak Tree in Sidewalk

Oak tree in Washington D.C., destroying a median

Kile Tree Service has recently had a mention in the editorial section of the Wenatchee World, in Tracy Warner’s thoughtful comments on the Fancher Heights Oaks situation. Oak trees along the road there have been planted in a 4′ strip, and they are quickly outgrowing their space, with damage to curbs and sidewalks. The trees are beautiful and no one wants to lose them, but most people are simply not willing to live with uplifted and broken sidewalks and streets, and other possibly dangerous damage that could be done to underground utilities. It’s a safety issue, a legal liability, and a costly ongoing maintenance burden.

Dead street tree

Street trees are often stressed to death

This street tree problem is a real challenge- we want trees in our world, but we’re often unwilling to give them what they need to thrive as living organisms, especially space to grow. Kudos to everyone who tries to beautify our world by planting and preserving trees, but we have to be realistic about how much space trees need. A 30′ circle would be my bare minimum for a Pin Oak… 50′ would be better.

In our business we see problems all over caused by improper planting: tall trees under power lines, wide trees up against buildings, and messy trees by parking lots and pools. We put trees in little sidewalk holes, or out in the middle of hot parking lots, or in 4′ grass strips, and we wonder why they don’t live very long. A lot of the work we do is in pruning trees away from structures, streets, and wires, or cutting down otherwise healthy trees that have simply outgrown their space.

A lot of these problems are preventable… the old ‘Right Tree in the Right Place’ philosophy is a valuable ethic that can guide you through many tree-related questions and problems.

[Note- Landscape Architect James Urban has a great book out called ‘Up By Roots‘, that discusses this issue at length, and presents the state of the art in designing urban spaces for best tree health, longevity, and safety].


Soil Injection

Posted by Randy - July 10th, 2012

Spray Rig

Injection-treating herbicide-damaged Pines

Kile Tree Service is pleased to introduce our newest service-
Soil Injection Treatment
. In case of stressed, damaged, diseased or otherwise struggling trees, a mix of water-soluble fertilizer, mycorrhizal fungi, and beneficial organisms is injected directly into the root zone. These amendments help to improve soil and promote optimal tree health.

If your trees are struggling, soil injection treatments may be able to help- please call for a free estimate.

Scots Pine

Posted by Randy - November 19th, 2011

Large Scots Pine, Linn of Dee, Scotland

Large open-grown Scots Pine, Linn of Dee, Scotland

Scots Pine forest, Linn of Dee, Scotland

Scots Pine forest, Linn of Dee, Scotland

Easily recognized by its peely orange bark, the Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), aka Caledonian Pine, is a favorite evergreen tree, often planted in Central WA landscapes.

The Scots Pine tree begins growth with an upright, symmetrical form, and is popular for use as a Christmas tree, then with age develops a craggy and ‘individualistic’ character, with many different variations on the broad, sometimes rounded and open canopy forms seen in mature trees.

Scots Pine is native to much of Europe, and lovely old growth specimens, many over 400 years old, can be seen in Scotland (right), where conservation efforts are ongoing to protect and preserve native stands.

Kile Oak Tree

Posted by Randy - November 19th, 2011

There is an impressive old Bur Oak tree in Irvington, Indiana, that is known to locals there as the Kile Oak. It is 87′ tall, with a crown spread of 122′, and a trunk diameter of 68″, and is estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old. The tree is named after a Kile family (no known relation to us) that lived near the tree between 1901 and 1973. The tree is protected on property currently owned by the  Historic Irvington Historic Foundation. For pictures and more info about the Kile Oak  see this article.

Scotland Trip

Posted by Randy - July 12th, 2011

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle

We’ve recently spent several great weeks in Scotland, on a wandering tour from London to the Lakes District, then up to the Cairngorms, and out to the Isle of Skye, and back via Oban and Edinburgh.

We did some wonderful countryside hikes, climbed a mountain (Lochnagar), visited a bunch of castles, and saw big beautiful trees everywhere.

Scottish Highlands- Glen Affric

Old Scots Pines at Glen Affric

Touring several distilleries, we learned more about the unique contribution that American White Oak trees make to the production of the finest Scotch whisky.

One can’t walk through one of Scotland’s lovely Caledonian forests without admiring the awesome 400 year-old Scots Pines growing there.

Red Grouse

Red Grouse, Lochnagar Estate

Wildlife was abundant throughout our trip. We spotted many Red Deer, but also Ringed Pheasant, Red Grouse, Red Squirrel, and Oyster-Catchers.

Large tree plantations are common there, where Scots Pine, Sitka Spruce, and other species are mass grown for timber, and these are occasionally harvested using unsightly clear-cutting methods.  However, all over Scotland we saw active large-scale conservation efforts ongoing to preserve and restore native forest land, after centuries of clear-cutting and over-grazing; a heartening sign of forward-thinking management.

Scotland is an amazing country steeped in history and mystery. A highly recommended trip!

Sycamore Removals

Posted by Randy - June 4th, 2011

Courthouse Sycamores

Courthouse Sycamore Removals

If you were driving through downtown Wenatchee a few weeks ago, you might have seen Kile Tree Service in action, removing 2 Sycamore trees on the front lawn of the county courthouse. Both of these trees had been repeatedly topped, and their upper canopies were top-heavy with large sprout growth and weakened by extensive decay that was caused by the old topping cuts. These trees were not old, maybe 40 years or so, and could have lived a lot longer if they had not been topped out the way they were.

This is another reason why topping is bad for trees- topping shortens a tree’s life.

Tax dollars at work

Posted by Randy - June 2nd, 2011

Bad Pruning 2

More poorly pruned Honey Locusts

Bad Pruning part 2: Here are more Honey Locusts that have been poorly pruned, this time in a park-and-ride lot. The trees have been brutally reduced with large heading cuts, and every live sprout has been stripped from each tree. It’s a mystery why Honey Locusts bear the brunt of such a harsh ‘pruning’ style in our region. Most likely folks are worried that the trees will get too large, but these trees are strong-wooded, and are only doing what they’re supposed to do. Honey Locusts are medium-large shade trees, which can grow to 50′ in height and spread. If a big shade tree is not what you want in a given space, then don’t plant one there, and instead use a tree species that will not get so large. If you plant a big shade tree, then have the courage to allow that tree to grow to its proper, natural, beautiful, large shade tree form. It is not healthy or practical to use topping and hacking to prevent the growth of large trees, and if your tree people are pruning your trees like this, you should call an Arborist for another opinion.

These trees were obviously planted at significant expense, according to someone’s well thought-out plan, and are quickly being ruined by poor management practices. Please folks, lighten up on the poor Honey Locusts (and other trees), and let them grow naturally. The trees will be healthier, stronger, more attractive, will live longer, and you’ll save money too.

Soil Compaction

Posted by Randy - May 28th, 2011

Root Stressed Fir

Root Stressed Firs

Here is a remnant group of large Douglas Firs, all showing classic signs of advanced root stress: thin and straggly canopies, weak epicormic growth, and deadwood accumulation. The root stress could be caused by many factors- root disease or rot, poor drainage, herbicides, or a combination of multiple factors. In this case, the root stress is most likely caused by soil compaction. These trees are located, ironically, in a tree nursery, and have been subjected to years of pressure on their root zones from truck traffic and tree storage. Soil compaction often causes direct injury to shallow roots, but also damages the soil’s structure, reducing the soil’s ability to hold air and moisture. A tree’s critical root zone should be protected with edged borders or fencing, and cooled with a generous layer of organic mulch. Root-stressed trees can benefit from aeration, vertical mulching, inoculation with fertilizer and/or mycorrhizae, or even topsoil replacement, but in any case, these particular trees would likely have poor prospects for recovery- they may be too far gone.

Prevention is the best medicine for soil compaction. For optimal tree health, safety, and longevity, give your trees enough undisturbed ground space to thrive, and protect their vulnerable roots as early in the development process as possible.

Ancient Lakes

Posted by Randy - March 30th, 2011

Ancient Lake

Hiking in the Ancient Lakes area.

A beautiful spring hiking destination is the Ancient Lakes trail, on WDFW land west of Quincy. This gently graded trail leads up a quiet basalt canyon, past lovely pocket lakes and misty waterfalls. The area was sculpted by massive ice-age floods that occurred over 13,000 years ago. Dry falls, sheer canyons, glacial erratics, and ripple patterns remain from that cataclysmic time, giving the area a genuine ‘ice-age’ feeling. Vegetation is primarily the sage and perennials typically found in the shrub steppe, with occasional cottonwoods, white poplars, and willows growing in wetland areas. Tiny white and yellow wildflowers carpet the ground, and bright green and gold lichens cling to boulders along the trail. A sublime walk that is well worth the visit (or many visits).

For more info on the ice-age flood visit

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