As your shade trees begin to leaf out, be on the look out for caterpillars. They have the ability of being a major nuisance to your property, as well permanently damaging your beloved shade trees. The trees to keep an eye on our the Maples, Cherries, fruit trees and blueberry bushes. The Winter Moth emerge in late November and mate and the females lay eggs primarily on the trunk and large branches of trees. The eggs are very hard to identify, they are very small orange specs which can be seen in the bark. If identified there is a treatment for the eggs. A horticultural oil can be sprayed on the trees in late winter, but temperatures need to be above 45 degrees for dormant oil to be effective. Fruit trees and berry shrubs should be sprayed early with oil to prevent damage to flower buds. If flower buds are damaged, the fruit crop will be lost.
If damage is identified as tree is leafing out, it is crucial to treat promptly. Starting in late April the tiny green caterpillars may appear, they will burrow into the bud scales. This is when injury to your tree will occur. Your leaves will be riddled with holes and even look defoliated as the season progresses. If you identify any of these symptoms it is important to spray immediately. Bacilus thuringiensis, commonly known as B.T, it is ingested by the caterpillar. It works best on the younger states of caterpillars, so spray promptly! Once B.T is ingested the caterpillars will stop feeding immediately.
Caterpillars will also excrete black sticky substance that will make a mess of your walkways, house and cars, And ruin the trees which add great value to your property. It is important to identify the pest, so it can be treated before it is too late!
After damage is present, watering becomes very important to help sustain new growth thats likely to emerge. Caterpillars will fall from leaves later into the spring season. Spraying at this time becomes a wasted effort. Call Atlantic for a free tree evaluation.
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