When unsuspecting arborvitaes are invaded by bagworms, it is often times a total loss for the individual evergreen under assault.
Bagworm caterpillars feed on specific types of evergreen foliage (arborvitae, juniper, cedar, spruce, cypress, etc.) and may partially stress or completely kill the host evergreen in relatively short order if left unchecked.
Once a suitable host is found, bagworm caterpillars get busy building protective hanging sacks out of needles and other nearby plant material to cover themselves, coming out to feed. The sacks hang from branches and are usually brown in color (look like small pine cones once the plant material used dries out). Female bagworms mature as small caterpillars and never leave their individual nest sack, while adult male’s eventually fly-away as moths (August/September). Both the mature male and female die shortly after mating at the female’s sack. A mature female bagworm caterpillar can fertilize up to 1,000 eggs before dying within her cocoon. Bagworm eggs overwinter in the female sack and hatch in May. Larvae exit the cocoon by lowering themselves down/out via a self-generated thin silk thread.
BAGWORMS very survival hang’s by a thread!
Only a single generation of bagworm eggs are produced each year. Bagworm feeding can be quite devastating to the host plant if left unchecked. Manual removal of any/all bagworm sacks is recommended whenever possible. If manual sack removal is not an option then a properly timed insecticide application (late June/early July) by a trained and qualified professional is highly recommended to control the overall bagworm larvae population in the effected evergreen trees.
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Wood, metal and vinyl are all common materials to construct a new fence from but there are many limitations you should consider. Many cities will specify a maximum fence height (3’-6’), limit the areas of your property where a fence can be installed and further limit the type of materials that your fence can be constructed of. In case you are not aware of these city specific fence installation details, they will be explained to you when applying for a fence installation permit or easily accessible when researching the zoning regulations/municipal code for your area on the internet.
I understand that there are many times when a conventional hard material fence is the best choice. A wood, metal or vinyl fence is best when you have young children to protect, pets to retain or even a swimming pool to secure.
However if your goal is to shield a nearby neglected adjacent property from view, create a formidable impassable barrier or to further enhance a line of sight view from a point on your property than consider planting a live screen instead of installing a fence.
Here are a few additional benefits and details to consider when planting a live screen on your property.
- Live screen plant material can be trained, trimmed, pruned, supported, etc. to occupy precisely the right area in need of physical or visual shielding.
- Depending on the budget and planting space available, a visually complete live plant screen may take several years to grow and fill in.
- Choose multiple evergreen plants (foliage remains green year round), deciduous plants (loses foliage at end of growing season) or a combination of the two for best site specific results.
- Be careful to choose the correct plant material that will not likley outgrow the limited space available (under low hanging power lines, near driveways, along sidewalks, close to neighbor’s property, etc.) for best long term results.
- In most cases there are very few (if any) height, choice of plant material or planting location restrictions from local zoning/municipal authorities.
- Be sure to remember that the larger the plant is at time of installation, the more expensive it will likely be (greater material, delivery and installation costs).
- Neighborhood metal, wood or vinyl fences are easily duplicated and are very common. A well thought out plant material screen is very unique and will increase in value as time passes and as plants have a chance to mature.
- Maintenance on either a hard material fence or a live plant screen varies greatly (heavily dependent on environment, installation and selected site specific materials used) and should be scrutinized during the beginning planning stage to determine the right choice to satisfy your long term needs.
- Visit a few reputable local nurseries to see the various types of screen plants available (upright arborvitae, spruce, upright juniper, privet, viburnum, cotoneaster, honeysuckle, etc.).
Hopefully this information will prove useful to you when determining your property specific screening or fencing options.
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