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How To Identify and Get Rid of Tree Pests

Bugs love trees. Some head straight to the leaves and start munching. Others attack the fruit.

Boring, tunneling pests are the worst, invading through the bark and cutting off your tree’s water flow.

Usually, your tree can bounce back from pest attacks. A healthy tree is pretty sturdy.

But repeated infestations weaken a tree and can eventually kill it. And some tree pests are more deadly than others.

How to Get Rid of Tree Pests?


The Borers

Boring or tunneling insects are often the most harmful to trees. Let them munch away and your tree could die.

They bore into the trunk, roots, or branches.Dogwood borer tree damage

Some lay eggs, and when they hatch, the larvae burrow more deeply into the wood, blocking off the water-conducting tissues of the tree.

How to Identify Tree Borers:
  • Entry or exit holes in the bark
  • Small mounds of sawdust at the base
  • Wilted or dying sections of the tree’s crown

The Suckers

These insects suck out the liquid from leaves and twigs. Often they excrete a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew, which can cause sooty mold to form on leaves.Aphid tree sucker infestation

How to Identify Tree Suckers:
  • Scaly formations on branches
  • Dying leaves
  • Sticky honeydew

Controlling Tree Pests

Your best line of defense is a healthy tree that can withstand an occasional pest attack.

This means proper watering, fertilizing, mulching and pruning throughout the year.

Pruning should be done in late fall or winter, so there are no open wounds to attract insects.

Any dead or fallen branches should be removed right away.

At Lawn Buddies, we can set you up with a tree care plan that includes preventive care to deter insects before they attack.

If tree pests do strike, early detection is key. We can treat infestations with a combination of insecticide applications on tree leaves or at the base of the trunk, depending on the pest.

Next Up: The Emerald Ash Borer

This tiny dark metallic green beetle is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states. Native to Asia, it likely arrived in the United States hidden in wood packing materials.

It threatens all 16 species of ash trees.

The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, making it impossible for the tree to transport water and nutrients.

Infested trees usually die within a few years, but there’s hope if you catch the problem early.

How To Identify The Emerald Ash Borer

The beetle itself is a dark metallic green, about a half inch long and an eighth of an inch wide.Emerald ash borer

Watch for these signs in your ash trees:

  • Yellow, thin or wilted foliage
  • More woodpeckers than usual, and pecking holes (Woodpeckers eat emerald ash borer larvae that are under the bark)
  • D-shaped beetle exit holes
  • Shoots growing from roots or a tree's trunk, often with larger-than-normal leaves

What You Can Do To Prevent Infestation

  • Don’t move firewood from state to state. The emerald ash borer larvae can survive hidden in the bark of firewood. Buy local firewood.
  • Keep an eye on your trees. If you see any sign or symptom of an infestation, act fast to control it.
  • Ask questions. If you receive ash nursery stock or firewood, know where it came from, as larvae could be hiding under the bark.

Keep Your Trees Healthy With Lawn Buddies

The best way to protect a tree from pests is to have a healthy tree.

Healthy trees and shrubs

At Lawn Buddies, we’re tree experts. We provide Plant Health Care Services as an add-on to our Lawn Care Services in and around Idaho Falls, ID.

Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to get started.

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Image sources: dogwood borer damage, aphid tree suckers, emerald ash borer

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