Defoliated Trees and Mysterious Droppings…?

July 21, 2017

Urban environments, drought, and heat stress are already existing factors that are working against our trees this summer. As you may already know, stress from insect infestations can be detrimental to tree health, especially considering the other stresses they already face. Heavy instances of defoliation due to insect feeding can invite secondary invaders that are capable of ‘finishing off’ a tree if preventative measured aren’t taken.

Observations from our Arborists, clients, as well as local news outlets have confirmed that Oak Leaf Caterpillars are a cause for concern this year. Oak Leaf Caterpillars are present throughout Spring to Fall. What begins as skeletonization of leaves in the spring eventually develops into more severe defoliation of trees as we transition into the summer and fall seasons. The damage this causes is not just aesthetic. By damaging or eliminating a tree’s ability to properly photosynthesize, defoliating insects like the oak leaf caterpillar cause a great amount of stress for a tree in large populations. Another undesirable impact, but a good indication of heavy infestations, is the presence of caterpillar droppings, which often end up covering cars, sidewalks, and porches.

Yikes! Caterpillar Droppings covering the hood of a vehicle…

Damage can be minimized and tree health can be restored with proper treatment and care. At Arborscapes, we are able to not only treat to eliminate defoliating caterpillar populations, but also to protect from secondary invaders and encourage healthy tree development. This is can be accomplished through the use of systemic and foliar treatments and prescription fertilization. Growth regulators can also be beneficial in restoring tree health, as they are capable of redirecting a tree’s resources to the areas they are needed most.

Concerned you’re facing an infestation? Contact us today!