Fifteen years ago I found myself mowing 70 of the most beautiful homes in the city of Casper each week. I am certain that I enjoyed these amazing landscapes even more than the people that lived in them. The smell of freshly cut grass, surrounded by breeze rustled leaves of every kind, with the sights of blooms and flowers changing with every season was enough to ignite my passion for everything green. This passion matured into a deep desire to understand why one plant thrived at one property, but failed to thrive at another property on the other side of Casper. This was the beginning of my quest to understand the unique and often difficult horticulture here in Casper, Wyoming.
One day back then, as I was mowing at a house on South Poplar Street, the owner of the home approached me to ask why a branch at the tip-top of his large, healthy Birch tree had died. I (being an avid rock climber) shinnied all the way to the top of that 30 foot tree to remove the branch. When I reached the top I paused to take in the view. I was astonished to see many of the Birch trees that lined Poplar Street at that time had the exact same dead branches at their crown’s tips. I knew instantly that this was a very big problem, so I went straight to my old friend Tom Heald who was a veteran horticulturalist. Tom explained to me that this die-back was caused by an insect called the Bronze Birch Borer, and that it needed to be treated quickly to prevent it from killing the entire tree. I called a certified arborist to have the tree treated immediately then and every single year after as I watched most of the beautiful Birch trees in Casper die from this destructive insect.
Realizing that Casper’s unique and often difficult growing conditions would be so challenging sent me straight to the text books. I spent the following years pursuing an extensive education about every single plant in this city and I went on to become a Certified Arborist by the International Society of Arboriculture. I have spent the past decade caring for thousands of trees here in Casper and I have found that every tree has specific needs but it begins with these three things.
1. Water deep and often, no matter the season.
2. Fertilize your trees. Casper soil isn’t fertile and doesn’t have enough of the nutrients your tree needs to thrive.
3. Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management). Have a certified arborist inspect your trees at least 3 times each season to make sure that some disease or insect isn’t killing them.