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Campus cherry trees to be treated for pest June 21

A local landscape pest management and tree care company will treat 85 cherry trees on the Capitol Campus June 21 to control cherry bark tortrix, an invasive insect.

The work will be done between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., but is weather dependent. The spraying will not be done if it is raining or there is enough wind to cause the pesticide to drift from the treated areas.

Wolberts Inc. will use backpack sprayers to apply a pesticide to the base of the trees and about five feet up the trunk. There will be no spraying of the tree canopy.

The pesticide that will be used is almost non-toxic to humans, causes nearly no allergic side-effects and is not a skin or eye irritant, according to toxicologists and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The cherry bark tortrix is a non-native moth that damages the bark and inner layers of a tree, according to Washington State University researchers. It can kill trees or leave them susceptible to disease and other insect problems. The moth, first discovered in Washington in 1991, attacks most tree fruits, not just edible and ornamental cherries.

The goal of the spraying is to reduce the infestation on campus, not to eradicate it, which is very difficult to do.

All areas sprayed will be flagged with treatment signs, in accordance with state law.

Spraying the cherry trees is consistent with integrated pest management practices, which call for chemicals to be used only as a last resort. In the case of controlling cherry bark tortrix, there is no effective alternative to the use of chemical pesticides and the trees may die if not treated. A follow-up treatment is planned for the fall.


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