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Top Ten Tree Problems

1. Lace Bug

Lace bugs target broad­leaf evergreens such as andromeda, azalea, and rhododendron. Early detection is the key to getting rid of an infestation. Look for yellow­silver stippling on the topsides of leaves.

2. Mites

Mites pose as a serious threat for a wide variety of plants and can seriously impact the visual appearance of a plant or tree. Mites favor warm, dry climates and are more prevalent in Maryland’s summer months and can be an extremely serious issue for many homeowners.

If you are seeing signs of curled, yellow leaves, tiny webs or just sickly plants, you might have a nearly invisible foe. Call Bay Area Tree care to inspect and provide treatment to affected plants and trees.

3. Tent Caterpillars

Caterpillars can weaken many trees and shrubs, increasing the chance of a secondary infestation. Look for silken, yellow cocoons in the branches of host trees. If you notice signs of tent caterpillars, scrape off and discard overwintering egg masses and tear the protective tents out by hand before the larvae start to feed. Also call a tree care professional to inspect the infestation incase your trees leaves need to be sprayed to kill the caterpillars.

4. Borers

Borers are attracted to unhealthy trees, burrowing in and laying eggs inside the trunk, where the larvae will eat their way through the trees living tissue. Overtime this causes the affected parts of a tree to possibly girdle or weaken the branches to the point that they break under pressure.

The most obvious signs of tree borer insects are tiny holes they cut into trunks, branches and stems. These holes may be perfectly round or slightly oblong. Sometimes a sawdust­like material, called frass, falls on branches below these holes or forms a long cylinder as tree borer insects excavate tunnels. The best defense against borers is to keep your trees healthy and unstressed.

5. Hemlock Wooly Adelgid or HWA

One of the most common pests, these insects can cause the death of a tree if left untreated. Hemlock wooly adelgids (HWA) can ravage hemlocks from Maine to Georgia. Hemlocks are a popular park and backyard tree so this problem can hit home in Anne Arundel County.

HWA presence can be identified by their egg sacs, which resemble small tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of hemlock branches. Hemlocks stricken by HWA frequently become grayish­green rather than the dark green of healthy hemlocks. Hemlock wooly adelgids primarily target older trees.

If you’ve spotted a woolly adelgid infestation in your trees, Bay Area Tree Care can help you take control of your hemlocks with a variety of treatment options.

6. Scale Insects

These insects target primarily hardwoods and conifers. Scale insects thrive in warm dry environments which means they could be a potential danger to Maryland plants and trees in the summer months. Some signs of an infestation include abnormal leaf and shoot growth, yellow or red leaves, branch gouting and they may also leave behind a sticky sap or black fungus.

7. Anthracnose Disease

This fungal disease affects deciduous and flowering trees. Anthracnose causes dark, sunken lesions on leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. It also attacks developing shoots and expanding leaves. It can spread very quickly during Maryland’s rainy seasons, spring and summer. If you think your plants are suffering from anthracnose remove the affected plants immediately. Trees can be addressed by pruning and destroying the infected leaves.

8. Winter Burn

Even during mild winters, evergreens can lose moisture and not be able to replenish it. When a plant or tree is not able to replace the lost moisture due to drought or heavily frozen ground, they will dehydrate. This will cause what’s known as winter burn which shows up on evergreens as brown to red, dry foliage or needles. This can kill evergreens but most likely results in foliar loss. To prevent winter burn make sure your evergreens have sufficient soil moisture in Maryland’s colder months.

9. Weevil Insects

Weevil insects are actually beetles and there are over 1,000 species in North America. They range in color and size but are usually dark colored, black or brown and range from 3mm­10mm in length.

Weevils are commonly found on flowers and fruits. Look for notches around the edge of leaves. They are more prevalent in Anne Arundel County’s spring and summer months and try to find shelter indoors during fall and winter.

10. Aphid Insects

Aphids, also known as plant lice, are small pearl shaped sap sucking insects. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions (Maryland falls in one of these regions). An infestation can cause yellow discoloration and defoliation. Look for misshapen, curling, stunted, or yellow leaves. Be sure to check the undersides of leaves, aphids love to hide there.