With the warmer weather of spring, eggs laid by adult defoliating insects have started to hatch. Caterpillar larvae will begin feeding on leaves and tender parts of the plant. The resulting defoliation is unsightly and can greatly reduce photosynthesis, thereby reducing the energy a tree has to grow, thrive and defend itself against insect and disease pathogens.
Infestations vary by region but some common pests include:
- Winter Moth
- Gypsy Moth
- Forest Tent Caterpillars
- Leaf Tiers & Leaf Rollers
- Buck Moth
- Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner
Most deciduous species are at risk especially if trees are stressed by weather, poor soil conditions or other factors. One of the best things you can do is simply to keep your trees healthy with regular maintenance including proper irrigation and mulch, fertilization, and removal of dead wood. Healthy trees are better able to withstand an infestation.
Once damage is apparent it is often too late to provide effective treatments for optimal protection. With this in mind, trees should be inspected for signs of an infestation in early spring.