Swingle CEO Warns of Mountain Pine Beetle Destruction in Denver and Colorado Front Range

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A blight on Colorado's high country since 1996, mountain pine beetles have begun an accelerated infestation into Front Range urban areas.

Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care

Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care

Mountain pine beetle infestations usually attack one species of pine, clear the forest, and run their course. Not this time. The pine beetle palette has changed...in an alarmingly short period of time.

Since 1996, mountain pine beetles have devastated 3.2 million acres of Colorado forest. Now, Tom Tolkacz, CEO of Swingle, Colorado’s largest tree care company, says the pests are infiltrating the Front Range’s urban areas. “Mountain pine beetle infestations usually attack one species of pine, clear the forest, and run their course,” said Tolkacz. “Not this time. The pine beetle palette has changed from forested lodgepole to landscaped Scotch and ponderosa pines, and in an alarmingly short period of time.”

The 2010 Colorado State Forest Service Annual Report indicates the mountain pine beetle infestation jumped from 22,000 to 229,000 acres along the Colorado Front Range in one year. This tenfold increase is heaviest in Larimer, Boulder, Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties. Last summer, beetles were found infesting many areas of the Denver metropolitan area from Arvada and Brighton on the north to Parker and Castle Rock in the south.

Proactive and preventive applications are essential for saving trees. In Northern Colorado plains communities, between ten to 30 percent of trees previously attacked by mountain pine beetle died this spring. Preventive applications are essential to protect high value trees.

”Golf courses”, Tolkacz notes, “should be particularly sensitive and active on the issue due to the direct economic impact of uncontrolled infestation. Neighborhood associations, business parks and homeowners should also learn what an infestation looks like and remain vigilant, especially through June, to spot pine beetle activity and act accordingly.“

As always, completely dead trees are hazardous and should be removed immediately. Along the front range many of the infected trees are showing signs of survivability and can be treated, giving them the opportunity to survive. At-risk and high value trees should receive treatment by early July. Swingle offers free mountain pine beetle inspections and provides more information on its Website, http://www.myswingle.com.

About Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care
Founded in 1947 by tree surgeon John Swingle, Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care has grown to one of the largest residential and commercial landscape care companies in Colorado, employing more certified arborists than any other Colorado company. For information please contact (303) 337-6200 or visit http://www.myswingle.com.

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