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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Palo Verde Dont Like Butch Hair Cuts

Q. Attached are pics of a Palo Verde which has some unusual black growths on the upper sides of the limbs. I'm wondering if it has something to do with pruning, since it appears to be only in areas that have been pruned, although other pruned areas are unaffected.

Damage to upper surface of palo verde limbs from reader

Palo verde pruned too high, in my opinio, allowing for
potential sunburn on upper surface of limbs

Palo verde with sunburn damage, borer damage and
limb and trunk damage

A. My first reaction to the pictures was sunburn damage. But I would have to see if this damage was sunken like a canker.
Next I would take a sterilized knife and cut around the edge of the damage and through the damage to see if the wood below the damage was dead or not. If it was dead below the damage and the damage was sunken then it is most likely sunburn damage to the limbs.

The pics you sent had damage all on the upper side of the limbs which is consistent with sunburn damage. You wondered if it might be associated with pruning which it is. The big mistake people make on Palo Verde with the photosynthetic green bark like is pruning so much that too much light gets inside the canopy and burns these photosynthetic limbs. Even though the are designed to absorb light there is such a thing as too much light.

These trees don’t make a lot of shade and when we remove too much canopy we will get sunburn on the limbs. Once we get these limbs sunburned then we have to look for possible borer damage. They go hand in hand and several borers are general feeders and are not really particular what they lay their eggs on.

The adults focus on damaged trees for egg laying. So cut into the damage and look for football shaped exit holes about 3/8 to ½ inch long and ¼ inch wide under the damaged, sunburned bark. If this is the case, don’t prune so heavily next time and leave enough cover to prevent sunburn.

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