What To Do About Pests Ruining Your Trees & Shrubs In Tulsa
May 12, 2021
Trees and shrubs in Tulsa are vulnerable to a number of pests. These pests can defoliate your plants and ruin their appearance. If there are enough of the pests, they can even kill your trees and shrubs. Since trees and shrubs add value to your garden and to your house, pests can really cause problems.
Pests To Watch Out For
Aphids: There are many species of aphids that target particular plants. They are about 1/8 inch long and come in many different colors. Aphids can give virgin birth (parthenogenesis) in the summer and then produce eggs in the fall. The virgin birth allows them to complete a generation in as little as 2 weeks. Aphids are piercing insects. They pierce plants and suck the juices out of them. They also produce excrement called “honeydew” that other insects, such as ants, eat. In fact, ants will protect aphids so that they continue making the honeydew. Finally, sooty mold loves to grow in honeydew. If it covers enough of the leaves, it can affect the plant’s ability to photosynthesize food.
Lace Bugs: These bugs are 1/8th to 3/16th of an inch long. They have large, lacy wings. Lace bugs are species-specific. In other words, each species of lace bug lives on a specific species of plant. These bugs are piercing insects. They suck the veins of the leaf dry. This causes a mottled yellow pattern on the top of the leaves. If lace bugs are present, you will find dots of black frass, or excrement, on the underside of the leaf.
Whiteflies: These relatives of aphids are white and tiny, about 1/16th of an inch. They live in large quantities and when disturbed cause a white cloud as they all take off at once. Whiteflies are a serious pest of greenhouses and indoor plants. They also prey on outside plants. Like aphids, they feed on plant juices. Since they also produce honeydew, plants infested with whiteflies often get sooty mold, too. Leaves yellow as they die from having too much of their juice sucked up. Worse, whiteflies can inject diseases when eating the juices. Just one whitefly can inject viruses into tomatoes and other food crops that destroy or seriously injure the food crop and the plant it grows on.
Spider Mites: These are tiny creatures that are usually red. They, too, feed by piercing the leaves and sucking the juices out. The spruce spider mite is a serious pest on almost any conifer. The needles become a mottled yellow from the injury these mites do. If you are not sure you have spider mites, place a piece of white paper under a leaf or set of needles. Sharply tap the leaf or needles. You will see small red dots fall on the paper and then run out of sight. It is important to note that insecticides do not kill mites. In fact, they usually cause a population explosion as the mite predators are killed by the insecticide. Also, some types of insecticides make spider mites mate and reproduce faster than untreated mites.
Mealybugs: These small insects are covered in a white powder and in wax and often have a waxlike filament streaming from them. They injure trees and shrubs by piercing and sucking juices from them. Large infestations are unsightly. Mealybugs produce honeydew and set the stage for sooty mold. Mealybugs do not usually kill healthy plants but do stress them which can cause leaf drop.
Wood Boring Beetles: Beetles differ in appearance by species. They lay their eggs on or under the bark of trees and large shrubs. When the larvae hatch, they tunnel between the bark and the inner bark (cambium) below. The larvae eat trenches into the cambium. If the larvae eat all around the tree, they can girdle the tree and it dies. Even if it doesn’t die from girdling, the tree suffers from having the larvae eat so much of the layer that provides water and nutrients to the tree. Wood-boring beetles are considered secondary invaders. They rarely attack healthy trees and shrubs. Instead, they attack wood that is already diseased, damaged, or dying. The Emerald Ash Borer is an exception. It attacks healthy trees as well as sick or damaged ones.
Weevils: Some weevils feed on the leaves and roots of trees and shrubs. Other weevils eat the leader, or growth tip, of the branches. Either way, they are bad news. Leaf weevil adults eat the leaves of the tree or shrub, while the larvae feed on the roots. As the larvae get bigger, they eat bigger roots. A large infestation can girdle the plant crown. Even a small infestation can create unsightly leaves with everything but the large veins eaten away. The growth tip weevils can kill the top of the tree but leave the lower branches uninjured, or it can eat the leader of a lateral branch. This makes the tree or shrub look unbalanced and reduces its value.
Why Your Tree Or Shrub Is Infested
Tree and shrub pests are usually species-specific. A conifer weevil will not show up on a maple tree. Your tree or shrub may just be the first specimen of the right species these pests live on. However, there are some ways to prevent pests from infesting your plants.
The best way to prevent damage to your trees and shrubs is to prevent pests from coming in the first place. Clean up garden trash, such as downed leaves, dead plants, fallen limbs, and anything else that pests can use to winter in or hide in. Promptly remove diseased or dead parts of the tree or shrub. Do not compost these but put them in a bag and into the trash. Otherwise, you may spread the disease or pests. Regularly inspect your trees and shrubs to catch a pest problem quickly, while it is easier to control.
Dealing With An Infestation
When you find pests on your trees and shrubs, do not attempt to fix the problem yourselves. The pest must be identified and then treated with a pesticide for that specific pest. As mentioned above, the wrong treatment may allow pests to explode by eliminating their natural enemies. Call Dandi Guaranty. We will send a trained technician out to identify the pest and develop a plan to eliminate Tulsa pests without causing other problems. Tree and shrub pests? Call Dandi Guaranty today at (918) 265-1583 for your free inspection.