Summer Tree and Pest Manual

Your Guide for Caring for Your Trees from June to September

Summertime in the Carolinas means barbecues, pool parties, and all sorts of other backyard activities. It’s also the perfect time to take a closer look at your trees. Do your leaves have holes in them? Do the crowns of your trees look thinner than last year? You may have a defoliator problem.

For the details you need about summer tree care, dig into this Summer Tree and Pest Manual. You’ll not only learn more about summer tree pests like defoliators, but you’ll also discover how to get your trees ready for hurricane season.

Common summer tree pests

The Low-Down on Defoliators

Defoliators are insects that feed on the leaves and needles of your trees and plants. They’re usually caterpillars.

The process of photosynthesis, the way a tree creates its food, occurs in its leaves. So when caterpillars munch on those leaves, they’re taking away the tree’s ability to make food.

If you’re seeing worms on your trees, don’t fret! Most trees can survive minor defoliation events or defoliation that only happens every now and then.

So when do you need to take action, i.e. schedule a plant health care (PHC) appointment? Consider a tree pest control service if…

  • Your tree is experiencing defoliation year after year.
  • Defoliators are feasting on your young trees.
  • Defoliators are making a meal of your mature trees early in the season.
  • You just don’t like the bugs, or you don’t like the waste they’re leaving behind.

 


Which Defoliators to Watch for in the Summer

Caterpillars may be the most common culprit of defoliation, but they’re not the only tree pest to keep an eye out for in the summertime. Here are three bugs you should care about:

  1. Orange striped oakworm – You’ll find these pests on oak, maple, hickory, and birch trees. They’re orange to brown in color, with a white spot and a dark stripe on each forewing. You’ll also see two black horns sticking out just behind their heads.
  2. Japanese beetle – These pests will be on your rose bushes, maple trees, and fruit trees. They have metallic blue-green heads, copper backs, tan wings, and small white hairs lining the sides of their abdomens.
  3. Bagworm – You’ll see these pests on your arborvitaes. They make spindle-shaped bags that are about 2 inches long and hang from twigs – don’t mistake these bags for pinecones!

How to spot defoliation:

Look for holes or missing areas in your leaves and thin tree crowns. Read more about defoliators here.

The orange striped oakworm can cause tree defoliation.

How to Get Rid of Caterpillars on Your Trees

It’s time to say good riddance to the pesky caterpillars and beetles damaging your trees.

To keep defoliators away long-term, choose a systemic treatment, which can consist of a soil-injection or basal bark spray. We usually go with basal bark sprays because they work a little faster and are more targeted than foliar sprays. You’ll need to schedule this treatment at least four weeks ahead of the season.

If you want the defoliators gone and you want them gone now, go with a foliar treatment. Keep in mind that we can only spray up to 25 feet high.

 

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Why Do Your Leaves Have Spots?

You were taking a stroll around your yard when you noticed spots on your azalea leaves. What are those?

You may be dealing with warm season mites, small arachnids that like to feed on leaves just like caterpillars. These summer tree pests are in a different category since arachnids aren’t insects.

Mites are hard to see with the naked eye, but you can tell they’ve infested your foliage by looking for stippling, or spot-like patterns, on your leaves or needles.

Stippling can also be caused by another type of summer tree pest: lace bugs. If you’re also noticing black spots on the bottom of the leaves, leaf yellowing, or even leaf bleaching, these insects may be behind it all. Lace bugs usually don’t cause serious damage to your azaleas as they suck the juices out of leaves, but they can make them look bad.

If the infestation is particularly heavy or the lace bugs keep coming back year after year, think about scheduling foliar spray or basal bark spray treatments.

How can you get rid of mites?

Soil-injections or foliar treatments are great tree pest control options. Learn more here.

Warm season mites can cause leaf spots, or stippling.

Hurricane Season is on the Horizon

If you’ve lived in North Carolina for more than a year, you know summer storms like hurricanes and tropical storms can make a mess of your yard. Is there a tree in your yard that looks like it might not survive the next hurricane season? Let us check it out.

Turn to us for a tree risk assessment. You’ll want our experts, who have their ISA TRAQ credentials, to closely examine your tree to figure out if it’s at risk of falling. Depending on what we find, we may recommend tree trimming, tree removal, or PHC treatments.


Winter is Coming

The temps may be approaching or even hitting the triple digits now, but cool weather will be here before you know it. It’s smart to start prepping your trees for fall now.

Here are some treatments to consider scheduling:

  • Fertilization: Add more nutrients to the soil to encourage healthy tree growth and vitality.
  • Dormant oil treatments: Suffocate summer tree pests and their eggs so you don’t get any surprises next spring.
  • Root rehabilitation service: Ensure your tree has a strong foundation by scheduling root flare and soil decompaction work.

You may also want to go ahead and treat your trees for cool season mites. Soil injections take a bit longer to take effect, so scheduling service early is the way to go!

 

Want to learn more about fall tree care? Open up our Fall Tree and Pest Manual now!