Do we really need Pesticides when replanting our Woodlands?

I have to say that my knowledge of managing woodlands is very limited – in fact it is non existent. It would appear that there are many rules and regulations regarding the replanting of woodlands for commercial use. The types of trees to be planted, the planting schematic, time scales after clearing and leaving the land fallow. Very complicated and outside of my area of expertise.

Large Pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis) Coutesy of Wikipedia
Large Pine Weevil

I have learned since moving to Mull that we do have an issue with Weevils, in particular the Large Pine Weevil and they tend to like tender young trees to eat and they get through them pretty quickly if left unattended. I don’t think it is a problem that is peculiar to Mull and is common in many other areas too.

It would seem that the companies who are responsible for replanting, or who win the tendering contract, often take the easy option and choose to treat the trees with pesticides, and more often than not Neonicotinoids. They treat the tree with the chemical before planting and then re-spray after so many years. This solution seems to work to a degree although still it is not 100%.

This appears to be a sensible approach when thinking with one’s commercial head on. Weevils eat the trees so let’s kill them before they do. The problem is that there are many issues with this approach, some that appear on the surface to be not so important, but others that (and call me a selfish man) are critically important.

The problems as I see them, and which I will be discussing in future articles are as follows:

  • Pine Weevils are not aware the trees are poisoned
  • The poison is indiscriminate
  • The poison leeches into the environment
  • There are other alternatives

 

One Comment

  1. racheltree1@hotmail.co.uk

    I have 35 years experience in the industry. I have also researched this thoroughly at home and on mainland Europe. We categorically DO NOT need chemicals to control pine weevil.
    There are alternatives which if used ( hardly ever) often out perform the chemical options . This is despite an almost total lack of support by either the industry ( ie poor uptake , mis information etc) or government ( funding toward R&D minimal