Aphids on cherry tree

What Are Black Cherry Aphids – A Guide To Managing Black Cherry Aphids

What are black cherry aphids? As you might suspect, black cherry aphids are a problem of cherry growers across nearly every region of the United States. While the pests will feed on any type of cherry, sweet cherries are most susceptible.

Fortunately, managing black cherry aphids is possible, and damage is usually minimal if the pests are properly controlled in early spring. However, damage is sometimes severe on young trees, where even a few of the pests can create havoc. Read on for more black cherry aphid information and tips on black cherry aphid treatment.

Signs of Black Cherry Aphids

Black cherry aphids are easy to spot. They are shiny, metallic black, and at 1/8 inch (.3 cm.), are quite a bit larger than most aphids. The pests emerge from eggs that overwintered in the bark, hatching as soon as buds begin to open in spring. Mature black cherry aphids may be winged or wingless.

Large colonies of black cherry aphids develop quickly, with two or three generations appearing by mid-summer. By this time, the pests generally move on to alternate food supplies – especially weeds and plants of the mustard family. The aphids return to the trees in autumn to mate and lay eggs.

Signs of black cherry aphids include curled, distorted leaves and a large amount of sticky “honeydew” on cherries and leaves. The honeydew often attracts black sooty mold, which can render the fruit inedible.

Managing Black Cherry Aphids

The most effective way to control black cherry aphids is to protect and encourage the presence of natural predators such as lady beetles, syrphid flies, lacewing larvae, parasitic wasps and soldier beetles.

If possible, avoid broad-spectrum insecticides, which are harmful to beneficial insects, including bees. Products such as Malathion or Diazinon should be used only as a last resort in black cherry aphid treatment.

Watch trees closely when buds are appearing in late winter. Yellow sticky cards placed on various parts of the tree will quickly give you a clue about the severity of a black cherry aphid infestation. Aphids are easier to manage before the leaves are curled, and you may be able to dislodge the pests with a strong stream of water.

For stubborn infestations, early spring is also the best time to spray black cherry aphids with horticultural oil, a natural substance that will kill the aphids as they hatch. You can also spray affected trees with insecticidal soap, but don’t spray when temperatures are very warm, or when bees are present. Evening is the safest time to apply insecticidal soap sprays. You may need to reapply the soap two or three times to gain control.

Cherry-Black cherry aphid

Myzus cerasi

Pest description and crop damage The adult aphid is black, globular in shape and about 1/8 inch long. Black cherry aphid is the only black aphid on cherry. These aphids curl foliage, reduce terminal growth, and deposit honeydew on cherries which can be difficult to remove prior to commercial packing. Damage to young trees can be significant.

Biology and life history These aphids overwinter as eggs in crevices and twigs. The eggs hatch near budbreak, and the nymphs feed on unopened buds and the undersides of leaves. Nymphs inject a toxin into leaves, causing them to curl and protect the aphids as they feed. After two to three generations, winged forms are produced that migrate to summer hosts, which include weeds, ornamental plants, and vegetables, or plants of the mustard family. After several more generations, the winged forms migrate back in the fall to the fruit tree to mate and lay the overwintering eggs.

Pest monitoring Begin observing shoots before budbreak, as management is best undertaken early while the aphids are small and prior to leaf curl.

Management-biological control

Aphids have many natural enemies, which include lady beetles, syrphid fly larvae, and green lacewings. Avoid broad-spectrum insecticide applications that would disrupt these controls.

Management-cultural control

Home orchardists: Wash aphids from plants with a strong stream of water or by hand-wiping. Aphids are difficult to control once leaves begin to curl as insects are protected within the curled leaf from direct contact by water and chemicals. Aphid populations tend to be higher in plants that are fertilized liberally with nitrogen. Avoid excessive watering which, together with nitrogen applications, produces flushes of succulent growth.

Management-chemical control: HOME USE

Warning: These pesticides are hazardous to bees. Look for bee precautionary statements on product labels and do not use these products during bloom or if bees are foraging in the orchard.

  • carbaryl
  • esfenvalerate
  • gamma-cyhalothrin
  • lambda-cyhalothrin.
  • malathion
  • pyrethrins-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • zeta-cypermethrin

Management-chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE

Warning: These materials are hazardous to bees. Do not use during bloom or if bees are foraging in the orchard.

Dormant-season and delayed-dormant sprays

  • chlorpyrifos (Lorsban 75 WG) at 2.0 to 2.67 lb/a or Lorsban 4E at 4 pints/a. REI 4 days. May be mixed with horticultural mineral oil (rates vary; see product label). Do not exceed one application of chlorpyrifos as a dormant or delayed-dormant per season. Avoid contact with foliage in sweet cherries as premature leaf drop may result. Extremely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates; avoid spray drift and runoff to surface waters.
  • diazinon (Diazinon AG500) at 4 pints/a + horticultural mineral oil (rates vary; see product label) or Diazinon 50WP at 4 lb/a. Do not exceed 6 gal of oil when applying Diazinon 50WP. REI 4 days. Do not exceed one dormant application of diazinon per season.
  • dimethoate (Dimethoate 400 EC) at 1 quart/a. REI 10 days (REI is 14 days in areas where average annual rainfall is less than 25 inches). Do not exceed one pre-harvest application per season. Can cause leaf burning and fruit marking. Do not use on cherries to be exported to Japan.

Spring and summer sprays

  • acetamiprid (Assail 70WP) at 2.3 oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 7 days.
  • diazinon (Diazinon 50W) at 4 lb/a. REI 4 days. PHI 21 days. Do not exceed one in-season foliar application per year.
  • esfenvalerate (Asana XL) at 4.8 to 14.5 fl oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 14 days. Asana may aggravate spider mite problems. Extremely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates; avoid spray drift and runoff to surface waters.
  • imidacloprid (Provado 1.6F) at 4 to 8 fl oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 0 days. Do not use until pollination is complete and bees are no longer present in canopy or ground cover.
  • malathion (Malathion 57EC) at 1.5 pints/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 3 days. Malathion may be used in the evening after bee activity. Do not apply within 300 ft of aquatic habitat.
  • spirotetramat (Movento) at 6 to 9 fl oz. REI 24 hr. PHI 7 days. Do not apply until after petal fall.
  • thiamethoxam (Actara 25WDG) at 3 to 4 oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 14 days. Actara is extremely toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues.

Bugs on My Cherry Tree

Question:

I have a new weeping cherry and it looks bad. I have water dripping all the time. I discovered red/brown lady like bugs without the black dots that fly and are eating the leaves on new tree. Bug-b-gone didn’t seem to make them fly away.

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Hardiness Zone: 6a

Stewart from Voorhees, NJ

Answer:

Stewart,

It sounds like you have a severe infestation of aphids. Aphids are tiny soft-bodied insects that come in a variety of colors. Some species have wings, other do not. They are sucking insects that feed on the sap of young leaves. As they feed they excrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew. The “water” dripping all of the time on your cherry tree is the honeydew being produced by the feeding aphids. Although aphids will usually not seriously harm healthy established trees, heavy infestations can result in leaves turning yellow and wilting from excessive sap removal. Aphids are also vectors for several harmful plant viruses. Worse than the aphids themselves are the large amounts of honeydew they secrete. Not only does this make a sticky mess on the ground beneath your trees, but honeydew is a magnet for attracting a fungus called sooty mold. The mold accumulates on leaves and branches, causing them to turn black and inhibiting photosynthesis.

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The ladybug beetles on your cherry tree are actually your friends in this situation (incidentally, not all ladybug beetles have spots), so don’t try to get rid of them. The more ladybug beetles you see the better. They are aphid-eating machines! Adult ladybugs eat aphids whole-as many as 1,000 in one day. Ladybug nymphs also eat aphids when they are in their larvae stage-stabbing them with their mandibles (biting jaws) and sucking out their juices (similar to how aphids suck sap from leaves). Since your tree is young and probably not very tall, try spraying the leaves with a strong jet of water from your garden hose every few days. This will help blast aphids off the leaves. The combination of water and ladybugs should work to solve your problem. If heavy infestations continue to persist, you may want to try applying a summer oil or an insecticidal soap formulated for fruit trees.

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Ellen

Are Japanese Beetles Doing Damage to Your Tree Leaves?

As the summer heat hits, we take special care to maintain our trees. This way, they’ll hold on to their full canopy and radiant, seasonal glow all summer.

Unfortunately, there’s one summer pest that gives our trees just as much attention, but doesn’t treat them as kindly. Japanese beetles take over tree canopies on warm, sunny days.

You can control their damage, though, by detecting and acting quickly. Below discover what trees Japanese beetles do and don’t like to eat and how to get rid of this garden pest.

When do Japanese beetles arrive?

This pest emerges and attacks plants from mid-June to August.

What trees do Japanese beetles eat?

This pest does play favorites when it comes to trees. Here are a few tree types Japanese beetles love:

  • Crape myrtle
  • Birch
  • Littleleaf linden
  • Crabapple
  • Purple leaf plum
  • Japanese maple
  • Norway maple
  • Weeping cherry
  • Ornamental cherry

Are there Japanese beetle resistant trees?

Yes! There are a few trees Japanese beetles avoid:

  • Evergreens
  • Red maple
  • White oak
  • Red oak

How do Japanese beetles do damage to tree leaves?

These flying pests eat away chunks of tree leaves and flowers. Often, they’ll leave nothing more than the skeleton behind.

When a Japanese beetle infestation is severe, tree leaves may brown at the top of the canopy or leaves may drop prematurely.

How can I get rid of Japanese beetles on trees?

To prevent Japanese beetle tree damage, apply one or two treatments a few weeks apart between June and August.

japanese beetles eating cherry and peach leaves? – Knowledgebase Question

There is nothing you need to do for them this late in the season, the leaves have for the most part already done their job for the year. Unfortunately, Japanese beetles are strongly attracted to these trees.
The Japanese beetles are Japanese beetles are difficult to control, in part because they fly long distances. The pheromone traps are not recommended because they actually seem to attract more than they catch.
You can try to repel the beetles using a spray containing neem, or you can handpick them (they are sluggish early and late in the day). Or, you can spray with spinosad or with carbaryl (the active ingredient in Sevin) but keep in mind this is a contact insecticide with no residual action. Also, it can be difficult to spray trees once they grow large.
You can also use beneficial nematodes or a neem based product sprayed on the lawn in late summer to early fall to kill them at the grub stage. (October is too late to do this.) Milky spore disease in granular form can also be applied to the lawn any time the ground is not frozen and a treatment lasts in the soil for many years, but it takes some time to see results. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the label directions on any product you use.
Unfortunately, most gardeners find they have to tolerate a certain amount of damage, and some years are more severe than others depending on the weather and other conditions.
You might be interested in reading the following recent release from Penn State about using alternative methods to control the grubs.

I hope this helps.

Something is Eating the Leaves on a Weeping Cherry

I have a weeping cherry tree that was planted about 2 months ago. I put mulch around it, watered it regularly and put it in a spot where I thought it would be free of infestation. At present, the leaves are getting eaten. I don’t have any idea what is eating them because there is not a trace of any bug. New branches are also appearing without leaves which is making it die. Is there an insecticide that can be used to alleviate this problem or does something else need to be done. Please help me. Thank you.

Tom

Tom,

Weeping cherry trees fall prey to all types of pests and diseases. Before you can treat the problem effectively, you are going to have to figure out exactly who is doing the damage. Aphids, Japanese beetles, and Oriental fruit moths should all be on your short list of primary suspects. Tent caterpillars and spider mites can cause problems as well. All of these pests enjoy feasting on the leaves and branches.

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Japanese beetles are perhaps the easiest to spot. The adult beetles are 3/8 inch long, and metallic green with copper-brown wing covers. The leaves usually look like lace when they finish munching on them. Adult beetles can be shaken from plants onto drop cloths and drowned in soapy water. This is best done in the early morning when they are likely to be feeding. In their larvae form, Japanese beetles overwinter deep in the soil as grubs and pupate in the early summer. Applying milky spore or parasitic nematodes to your sod will help control populations in this stage.

If new leaves appear twisted or curled and are covered with a sticky coating (honeydew), you’re looking at an aphid infestation. Ants feed on honeydew and may be present in larger numbers than normal. Aphids usually leave my midsummer, so if an infestation isn’t severe, you may just want to wait it out. Otherwise, use a strong spray of water from the garden hose to knock them off the tree. Natural predators like lacewing or lady beetles can also be introduced to help control aphid populations.

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If growing shoots wilt and die, you could be looking at an infestation of Oriental fruit moth larvae. Slit the stem below the wilted portion and look for a pinkish-white caterpillar. Horticultural oil can help smother eggs and larvae.

Good luck!
Ellen

Tree Problems – The Top Tree Insects in Spring and Summer

We’re weeks into the growing season, and our trees are happy to show off their fresh appearance: a full, blooming canopy, sprouting flowers and fruits and—wait, are those curling leaves?

Damage to tree leaves and stems is often the first sign of a bigger tree problem, possibly an insect infestation.

If you’ve seen something odd on your tree, find out what the problem is. Use our checklist below to pinpoint what insect could be damaging your trees and how to stop it.

Symptoms:

Leaf curling, twig dieback, a sugary substance called “honeydew,” black, sooty mold and stunted growth

  • What insect is damaging my tree: Aphids, the resident “plant lice”

  • What do aphids do: They feed on tree leaves and stems, prevent proper nutrient and sunlight intake and cause premature leaf drop.

  • How to control aphids on trees: Stop aphids using horticultural soap treatments or insecticides.

  • When to control aphids: Talk to your arborist as soon as you spot symptoms.

Chewed, ragged-looking leaves that fall prematurely in spring

  • What insect is damaging my tree: Cankerworms, the hungry, hungry caterpillar

  • What do cankerworms do: They eat away at leaves, stripping the tree of nutrients.

  • Most common tree victims of cankerworms: Elm, oak, apple, maple, linden, beech, cherry, hickory and ash

  • How to control cankerworms: Apply a pesticide in spring to remove cankerworms. Then prevent in the fall with an insecticidal tree band.

  • When to treat cankerworms: Control this pest in spring and focus on cankerworm prevention in fall.

Chunks of leaves chewed down to the veins, browning leaves around the top of the tree canopy and leaves falling in summer

  • What insect is damaging my tree: The flying, feeding Japanese beetle

  • What do Japanese beetles do: They feed on tree leaves in warm, sunny weather. This tree pest often eats the entire leaf, leaving behind only the skeleton.

  • Most common tree victims of Japanese beetles: Crape myrtle, birch, littleleaf linden, crabapple, purple leaf plum, Japanese maple and Norway maple

  • How to control Japanese beetles: Apply one or two pesticide treatments a few weeks apart.

  • When to treat for Japanese beetles: Act during peak growing season, from mid-June through August.

Large, silky spider webs and tree leaf loss, especially on black cherry trees

  • What insect is damaging my tree: The extremely troublesome Eastern tent caterpillar

  • What do Eastern tent caterpillars do: They chew on foliage, leave behind webs and create an unsightly appearance. On black cherry trees, this pest is a serious threat.

  • Most common tree victims of Eastern tent caterpillars: Black cherry, ash, birch, sweetgum, willow, maple and oak

  • How to control Eastern tent caterpillars: Clip and destroy the tents.

  • When to get rid of tent worms: Wait until winter to remove the silky webs. Your arborist can also apply a treatment to control the larvae.

Yellow spots or leaf curling on new tree leaves, premature leaf drop, a clear, sugary substance on or under your trees, black fungus and lots of ants

  • What insect is damaging my tree: The un-welcomed whitefly

  • What it does: Whiteflies suck plant sap from new, tender tree leaves.

  • How to control whiteflies: You can get rid of whiteflies by using horticultural oil treatment or yellow sticky traps.

  • When to apply whitefly treatment: Whiteflies pose no immediate threat and may be controlled by other predatory insects.

Silky “webs” in trees, chewed leaves, mild to severe leaf loss and branch death with no regrowth on evergreens

  • What insect is damaging my tree: Bagworms, the camouflaged critters

  • What do bagworms do: Bagworms consume tree leaves, often unnoticeably, until severe damage occurs.

  • Most common tree victims of bagworms: Juniper, arborvitae, cedar, spruce, honeylocust, linden, willow, maple, oak, birch, elm and poplar

  • How to treat bagworms in trees: Begin by handpicking and destroying all bags. If that’s not practical, your local arborist can apply an insecticide treatment.

  • When to control bagworms: Remove bags as soon as you spot an infestation.

The Oasis Lawn & Tree Care Blog

Unbeknownst to you, tree and shrub damage may be taking place right under your nose from common culprits like disease, insects, and mites. Oftentimes, these problems can become widespread before you even notice them. That’s because there is a huge variety of shrub and tree insects and diseases that can wreak havoc – and many of them are not very easy to identify. In many cases, the damage has been going on for years until it becomes so severe that it’s obvious.

You probably don’t know how to tell if your tree has a disease or if insects or mites are causing problems, but there are some common signs you can look for which might help you spot a problem early.

While there are dozens of common issues, and we aren’t expecting homeowners to make exact diagnoses, we want to help you spot common problems before they’re too late.

Being armed with some basic diagnostic tools may help you avoid losing a mature plant that you value. It will also help you know when it might be time to call a tree service in Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, or Northern Kentucky. Here are 11 signs of common tree and shrub problems for you to get familiar with.

1. Chewed Foliage on Trees & Shrubs

If you notice shrub or tree leaves being eaten such as small holes or irregular, jagged edges, you could have a variety of different insect problems at hand. This might be an insect larvae, beetle, or even a weevil issue.

(Japanese Beetle damage on a rose leaf)

Different insects leave different chewing patterns and sometimes even chew on different parts of the leaf. Beetles, for instance, tend to feast on the middle part of foliage, skeletonizing the leaves, leaving only the veins. As long as you’re on the lookout for damage, an expert will be able to identify the exact cause and treat it.

2. Distorted Foliage

Aphids, which are small, soft-bodied insects that tend to multiply quickly, have piercing sucking mouthparts that they use to feed on plant sap. Some trees are sensitive to the saliva that aphids inject during feeding and may respond by puckering or distorting. This can begin to happen with only a few aphids. Because they can spread rapidly, early detection is key to saving your tree.

3. Stippled Dull Foliage

A mite infestation can cause foliage to become stippled, yellow, and dry. Mites suck juices from the plants, causing their foliage to become dull and ultimately curl and distort.

(Lace Bug on Sycamore Leaf)

Lacebugs and scale insects can have a similar impact. An expert can help determine if your tree is being eaten by insects, and exactly what kind of insect it is.

4. White Spots on Trees & Shrubs

If you see a suspicious abundance of white spots on your twigs, branches, or leaves, you may have an infestation of scale insects, which are parasites of plants and feed on internal plant fluids.

The white spots that you see are in fact thousands of tiny white bugs. They are often mistakenly identified by homeowners as mold or parts of the bark. Scale insects can be flat, small 1/16” long flecks, while others can be larger bumps almost the size of a ladybug, covering smaller twigs.

5. Cottony White Masses

If you’ve noticed cottony white masses in your trees, it’s possible you have a colony of insects like woolly Aphids, scale or adelgid taking up residence. These pests can be mistaken for fuzzy mold but are actually a type of sucking insect that live off of plant fluids. Egg sacks from certain insects can also appear as white cottony masses.

6. Holes in the Bark of Trees & Shrubs

Bark holes, sometimes also accompanied by sawdust coming from these holes, may seem like a telltale sign that your tree being eaten by insects. The common culprit is likely the larvae of wood-boring insect. The flying, adult tree borer insects emerge from inside the tree from small exit holes, and lay their eggs in cracks of bark or at the base of trees.

(Borer tunnels and exit holes)

When these larvae hatch, they work their way into the tree, tunneling and boring throughout the layer of the tree immediately behind the bark. This activity interrupts the tree’s vascular system, not allowing water or nutrients to pass borer paths. Eventually, this will cause large sections or the entire tree or shrub to die.

7. Sticky Substances

If you’re noticing a black, sooty mold on your landscape plants, what you’re actually seeing is the mold growing on “honeydew,” a substance excreted from certain insects like aphids, whiteflies or scale insects. These insects create this substance after feeding upon plant sugars and spotting it is a telltale sign that your shrub or tree is being eaten by insects.

8. Leaf Spots on Tree or Shrub Leaves or Needles

While some white or tan spots are more likely the sign of an insect problem, if you see orange, yellow, black, or brown spotting on your leaves, your tree or shrub may have a form of fungal disease.

(Boxwood leafminer damage)

Leaf spot diseases can weaken your tree by interrupting it’s photosynthesis process, ultimately leading to leaf loss. Some diseases can remain cosmetic for the most part, while others mean major health issues for plants.

9. Yellowing of Foliage

If you’ve witnessed an overall yellowing or even a complete lack of vibrant foliage color, there are a number of potential culprits. For one, it could simply be caused by either too much or too little moisture. But yellowing can also relate to pest problems, diseases, or even soil fertility.

10. Stunted Leaf Growth

There are a number of common culprits for leaves that look sickly or small and it could be related to insects, disease, or other health factors. If you’ve noticed your leaves are not reaching their full potential, it’s worth discussing your concerns with an expert.

11. Thin or Stunted Trees or Shrubs

Again, plants that are thinner or smaller than they should be can be the result of any one of these issues. It will take an expert assessment to determine what’s holding your trees and shrubs back. If you feel like your trees or shrubs are not looking like they should, it might be time for a more thorough assessment.

Tackling Tree Insects and Diseases

Diagnosing tree insects and diseases is no simple feat and something that should be reserved for the experts. However, being able to catch a problem before it gets too severe is incredibly helpful when it comes to potentially saving your trees and shrubs from serious damage.

As a homeowner on your property each day, you have the greatest ability to notice these issues and monitor your trees and shrubs more closely. If you suspect something is wrong, contact a tree service in Cincinnati, Dayton OH or Northern Kentucky. A reputable service would be happy to diagnose these issues for you.

Fortunately, many of these issues can be remedied with tree and shrub care. In fact, with a comprehensive program, a lot of these concerns can actually be prevented in the first place! The best strategy is to employ a program that will proactively manage these issues and provide optimum soil health along with regularly scheduled treatments to keep plants healthy.

At Oasis Turf & Tree, we take a proactive approach to tree and shrub care. We’re focused on preventing problems from occurring and catching them early when they do. We always have a close eye on your property when we’re there and by partnering with you (and your new early diagnostic skills), we’ll be able to tackle problems that challenge the health of your property and protect some of your property’s biggest assets–your trees and shrubs!

If you would like to find out more about our tree and shrub care program, call 513-697-9090 or contact us for a free estimate.

Image Sources: chewed leaves, lace bug

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