May 10, 2006
We received a call in the Plant Disease Clinic this week from a distressed homeowner. "Help! Aliens have landed in my yard and left orange, slimy blobs in my juniper tree! They are one to two inches in diameter, dark orange with long, slimy tentacles. What are they?"
Lawn mowers and string trimmers are potentially lethal weapons when used carelessly around trees and shrubs. Young, thin-barked trees are particularly prone to injury. Accidental bumping of a young tree with a lawn mower will bruise and often tear away a section of bark. These damaged areas may become entry points for wood decay fungi. Repeated collisions with a tree may girdle the trunk and result in its death. String trimmers can also be deadly when used around trees and shrubs. The nylon string beating against a tree's trunk will strip bits of bark away and may girdle the tree.