Vail offers free tree inspections |

Vail offers free tree inspections

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Another insect is threatening the health of hundreds of evergreen trees in Vail, Colorado

While attacks by the pine needle scale aren’t as deadly as the mountain pine beetle, the town wants property owners to know that various treatment options are available to restore a tree’s health. The recovery is slow, however, taking up to five years to regain a tree’s original vigor and appearance. Pine, fir and spruce trees are most susceptible to the infestation with spruce trees being the hardest hit within the valley floor.

The town is offering free property inspections and information on various spring and summer treatments. Todd Oppenheimer, the town’s landscape architect, is coordinating the free property inspections. He’s been tracking the pine needle scale since it was detected in Vail in 2005 and has treated more than 800 spruce trees on town property. –

Heavily infested trees look like they’ve been sprayed with white paint because the insect feeds on sap in the bark and needles of the trees, Oppenheimer says.

Upon closer inspection, the tiny insects appear as white specks on the needles and the trees will lose more needles and leaves will turn brown or yellow as the infestation increases, he says.

Infected trees can also lose twigs and branches and are more vulnerable to other pests.

Treatments include soil injections, use of horticultural oils, crawler sprays and insecticidal soaps. Oppenheimer says the treatments each have varying degrees of benefits and limitations. Costs vary from $10 per tree for an oil treatment to up to $120 per tree for soil injections.

Most tree service contractors are equipped to treat a property for pine needle scale. When hiring a contractor this spring or summer, property owners are asked to contact the town’s Community Development Department at 970-479-2139 to ensure the company is registered to do business within the town.

-To request a free property inspection for the pine needle scale, contact Oppenheimer at 970-479-2158 or e-mail Or to request a free Firewise property inspection to identify trees infested by the mountain pine beetle, call the Fire Department Wildland Coordinator at 970-477-3509.

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