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Mistakes of the past and present: Monocultures

Mistakes of the past and present: Monocultures

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017

Written by Tony Hahn, Landscape Care Consultant at Swingle

Growing up in the Midwest during the 1960’s, I witnessed the demise of many American elms. These huge elms often grew together, with adjacent trees forming a lush, green, shady tunnel over the street. I remember how much I loved the three American elm trees that grew in the parking strips next to my childhood home.

It seemed that the rows of elm trees were up and down every street in my town. In fact, they were growing along streets in most every city and town by the hundreds of thousands. That’s when the trees I loved started dying from Dutch elm disease.

Anytime a set population of any one species of tree is above 20% of the total, we risk disaster if a pest gains a foothold.  This is known as monocultures of trees and is not a sound arboricultural practice.

The Colorado front range has a large population of Ash trees and a very popular hybrid of Maple: ‘Autumn Blaze’ Maple.

Recently, Swingle identified a type of scale insect that is rapidly developing among the ‘Autumn Blaze’ Maples. Unfortunately, we are also challenged with the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer killing Ash trees throughout Boulder County.

It’s important to do your research or consult an arborist before making a snap decision to plant inexpensive and widely available (easy to grow) trees.

Red and reddish-orange fall colors are spectacular and rare in Colorado. However, other varieties of Maples with stunning fall colors should be considered. These include ‘Green Mountain’ Sugar Maple, ‘Caddo’ Sugar Maple, ‘Fall Fiesta’ Sugar Maple, ‘State Street’ Maple, ‘Rocky Mountain Glow’ Maple, and ‘Red Pointe’ Maple.

Swingle has a staff of arborists to assist you in tree and shrub planting in order to find the best tree for your location, so give us a call today!

About Tony Hahn:
Tony Hahn is the “face” of Swingle on 7News, 9News and KHOW-630AM radio and a veteran of the green industry since 1979. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Michigan State University in 1982. Tony came to Colorado in 1979 with Wilmore and Country Fair Garden Centers, and became a Field Services Manager for Chemlawn Services for six years before joining Swingle in 1990.


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