Don't Allow These Pests to Destroy Your Precious Trees

Do you have a favorite tree from your childhood? One you used to climb or built a treehouse in? Trees are part of our everyday life. They create oxygen, provide shade, create homes and shelter for wildlife, beautify our landscapes, and filter out air pollution. Here in Pennsylvania, they are the backdrop for our homes. But like our lawns, there are dangerous insects upon us that can wreak havoc and cause damage to our beloved lawn statues. Some species are native, while others are non-native. Let’s take a look at some of the insects that have caused the most damage to our PA trees in recent years.

emerald ash borer

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a half-inch long metallic green beetle first identified in the Commonwealth state in 2007. This little creature looks exotic but packs a mean punch. While the adult beetles cause little damage, the young larvae feed on the critical parts of the tree, prohibiting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Most ash trees will die within two to three years after becoming infected.

Signs and symptoms of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation include:

  • Canopy thinning and upper crown dieback
  • Epicormic sprouting
  • Bark splits
  • Bark flaking
  • Because woodpeckers will eat these beetles, tissue damage can occur
  • D-shaped exit holes in the bark
  • S-shaped larval feeding galleries just below the bark

Ways Pennsylvania Homeowners Can Prevent and Stop Emerald Ash Borer From Taking Over

There are specific insecticides that are available to treat affected ash trees. While some are marketed for homeowners, the most effective option is to hire a professional landscape company such as Showcase Lawn Works. You can help prevent EAB by only purchasing and using local firewood.  Invasive insects such as EAB can sit on firewood for long periods giving them free rein to infest new locations when moved.

gypsy moth

Gypsy Moth

The Gypsy Moth is responsible for killing millions of oak and other tree species including but not limited to aspen, birch, cedar, poplar, and willow throughout Pennsylvania. It is a caterpillar with a voracious appetite that can strip a tree of its full foliage. This tree defoliation leaves the tree vulnerable to diseases and other pests and can eventually kill the tree. Gypsy moths are easy to identify because of their distinct coloring.

Signs of a gypsy moth infestation include:

  • Teardrop-shaped egg masses tan to yellowish in color with a hairy appearance on tree trunks, outdoor furniture, and a home’s siding
  • Trees suffering from light leaf damage to complete defoliation

How You Can Help Prevent Gypsy Moths From Taking Over

The best way to prevent a gypsy moth infestation is through adequately maintaining your trees and shrubs. Proper watering, fertilization, and pruning can help keep your trees and shrubs healthy enough to withstand an attack if one occurs. At Showcase Lawn Works, we offer a tree and shrub program that provides your beloved ornamentals with the appropriate amounts of nutrients, as well as the right amount of insect control.

If you do discover egg masses in your yard or on your trees, destroy them immediately by drowning them in kerosene or burning them. Dormant oil applications utilized in the fall and early spring can also help.

Thousand Canker Disease

It may sound like the beginning of a salad dressing, but Thousand Canker Disease is a fungus carried by the Walnut Twig Beetle. They will tunnel beneath the bark of black walnut trees, causing small cankers to form. Once there is an overabundance of cankers, these abscesses disrupt water and nutrients’ movement throughout the tree. The lack of these necessities causes dieback of branches and eventually kills the tree. Early symptoms include yellowing of the leaves and thinning of the upper crown.

What Can You Do About This Dreadful Disease?

Like with most other diseases, not transporting wood can help. Only buy or use local wood. Help protect any black walnut trees on your property through proper maintenance and care. A tree and shrub care program that includes fertilization and insect control can help give your trees the strength and durability needed to ward off disease and insect infestation.

For all Your Tree and Shrub Care Needs, Contact the Professionals at Showcase Lawn Works

 Showcase Lawn Works knows that your trees, shrubs, and hedges are essential investments to your landscape.  That’s why we offer a tree and shrub care program to help increase your plants’ strength as well as protect them from fungi and disease-carrying pests. We also offer deep root fertilization, dormant oil applications, and pruning. For more information about any of these services and how you can help increase the life of your trees and plants, give Showcase Lawn Works a call at 717-354-3226 or contact us here. For more tips and ideas, check out our other blog posts and get to know us more intimately by following us on Facebook.