Protecting Christmas from Christmas grubs

Dec 02, 2010

Across northern Wisconsin, many of the state's Christmas tree growers struggle to protect their trees from an insect pest known as the white grub, which lurks in the soil, feeds on tree roots and destroys the crop.

The grub is the industry's Grinch, causing persistent damage on as many as 30 percent of the state's 1,100 tree farms. It has been known to destroy 50 acres of newly planted trees — all 50,000 of them — in one fell swoop.

"Where this grub is problematic, oh, it's not good," says University of Wisconsin-Madison entomologist Chris Williamson. "It's the grower's No. 1 focus."

Recently, Williamson and graduate student P.J. Liesch developed a number of protection strategies that can save up to 90 percent of the in affected areas. The strategies involve chemical treatments that can be applied in practical ways: root sprays, root dips, soil sprays and drenches. Williamson is now working to get the word out to growers through UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

"Fifty dollars of protection can save a grower $20,000 (per acre). That's a great return on investment," says Williamson, an extension specialist on insect control. "Equally important, however, is to raise awareness among growers — that they should be monitoring and sampling for this pest."

Explore further: Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fighting ash borer: To spray or not to spray?

Aug 12, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Perhaps the only good news in the Aug. 4 announcement that emerald ash borers have been found in southeastern Wisconsin is that the invasive pest took its time getting here.

Researchers Getting to the 'Root' of Christmas Tree Problems

Nov 24, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- As Christmas tree farmers prepare for their busiest season, researchers at North Carolina State University are studying how to combat a disease that has killed thousands of North Carolina Christmas trees ...

Spider mite predators serve as biological control

Nov 02, 2009

The control of spider mites, which damage tree leaves, reduce fruit quality and cost growers millions of dollars in the use of pesticide and oil spraying, is being biologically controlled in Pennsylvania apple ...

Recommended for you

Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

12 hours ago

Some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries met in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sunday to review progress towards an ambitious goal of doubling their number in the wild by 2022.

Plant life considered in ecosystem synergies

Sep 12, 2014

Local flora species involved in UWA's Ridgefield Multiple Ecosystem Services Experiment are helping researchers to better understand agricultural processes including efficient nutrient cycles and maintaining ...

Potato ravaging pest controlled with fungi

Sep 12, 2014

Approximately six thousand hectares of Veracruz, in the west coast of Mexico, are dedicated to the production of potato (Solanum tuberosum). During the past 30 years, the fields of the Cofre de Perote area ...

User comments : 0