[NAFEX] A righteous borer tool

Deirdre Birmingham deirdreb at mindspring.com
Tue Nov 22 14:10:26 EST 2005

This is handy info but I cannot picture how it works, probably because I don't know what the drill bit looks like. Seems it should be something flexible to follow holes, n'est-ce pas?  
 I discoverd this borer in my young trees in my nursery in October as I was preparing them for the winter.  Just in  less than 1% of them. The few affected were on mostly Bud-9 and one was on M-26.   They will get planted out in the spring and I hope I am not transporting borers to the field as well.  There are wild apples and woods about 100 to 200 feet away.  
What I didn't find explained well as I searched for what to do is how much of the tree to cut out.  I used a paper clip, not having copper wire handy as your book (previous edition) and other references indicated,  and then a pocket knife to cut until all affected tissue was removed.  Seemed a bit drastic at times.  Is one supposed to be? I never noticed any grubs, but they could have been in the mix of what I was jabbing at and then cutting out. On one tree they seemed to have already headed down into the roots. 
I was painting tree bases for SW tree injury using latex paint.  I have no need for Surround yet, but had on hand diatomaceous earth.  So I added water and DE to the white latex paint.  And then painted as close to the soil line as possible and on all sides of the tree trunk.  DE was recommended in your new book for dogwood borer, but will it work on the round-headed appletree borer? 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Michael Phillips 
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Sent: 11/21/2005 6:33:30 PM 
Subject: [NAFEX] A righteous borer tool

Hi all,
Twenty years of suffering have gone into this discovery, as Ive done the incessant search for damage -- and thus the grub culprits -- caused by the round-headed appletree borer. In the process, Ive probably lost four or so good pocketknives (misplaced in the grass) and at least a few dozen trees. All the biology and trunk clues are explained in my book, including the new revised edition, but whats new here is that Ive finally discovered the right tool to go borer hunting. The key is to delve throughout all damaged cambium and end up with a skewered grub at the end of the search. It turns out that a 3/8 borer bit (Im not making up this name! though its also known as a spade bit) is a righteous device for poking up the dreaded borer! Smaller diameter drill bits of this type do not have the spear point. This bit is plenty sturdy to open up damaged areas, poke gently into suspected crevices, and absolutely great at delivering the hiding grub from its lowest hiding tunnel. The goal is to get these bastards in the fall of year one, and certainly by the subsequent spring. The old idea of using a wire to follow a deep, winding tunnel is fine, but geez, really: Why not get them soon after egg hatch with a full thrust jab to the gut? The spade bit is not unlike a harpoon in this regard.
And if anyone thinks this advice is being offered up by a nut, well then, you really dont understand how incredibly devastating the borer can be, do you?
Ill just sign off appropriately . . . 
Captain Ahab
Michael Phillips
Lost Nation Orchard
859 Lost Nation Road
Groveton, NH 03582
Book News:  A full-color edition of "Apple Grower", revised and expanded, filled with all the latest cutting-edge information on organic orcharding, is Hot Off the Press!  More than 70 new pages have been added, including many informative charts. Check it all out on our web site, and get in your holiday orders today.
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