Crape myrtle trees have become a popular ornamental addition to yards because of the vibrant, fiery flowers that permeate the tree's simple green leaves offset against shedding dark bark. Do you currently own a crape myrtle or plan to invest in a tree in the future? You need to learn to recognize the symptoms of an insect infestation that can cause cosmetic or structural damage to your tree.
Here are a couple of the common insects that can infest and damage your crape myrtle tree. Work with your tree care service, such as Mead Tree & Turf Care Inc, or pest control company to minimize long-term damage.
Crape Myrtle Aphids
Crape myrtle aphids are tiny yellow-green insects that feed on the saps within the leaves. The feeding leaves behind little feeding holes that can look like indents or pock marks on the leaves. Saliva left behind during the feeding will turn the area around the indents a more yellow color than the surrounding leaf. Due to the small size and the targeted feeding, aphids pose mostly a cosmetic concern for the crape myrtle tree as long-term structural damage is unlikely.
Your tree trimming service can prune away areas of damage to improve the cosmetic appearance of your crape myrtle. Chemical controls can be used if the aphid infestation is particularly active or damaging, but chemicals aren't always a necessary step since the tree is fully capable of surviving the infestation.
Adult Japanese beetles have distinct, shiny coppery bodies and green heads. The larvae of the beetles come to life in the grass surrounding the tree and eat through the grass until strong enough to make it up into the tree's branches. The Japanese beetles are skeletonizers, which means they feed on all of the leaf tissue except the vascular system. The left behind "veins" resemble the skeleton of the leaf.
A major infestation of Japanese beetles can lead to mass defoliation of your crape myrtle tree. The defoliation can lead to failure to thrive or even death on younger or weaker trees that can't fight against the feeding. Dead trees will require a full removal from a tree removal service to prevent the beetles from spreading to other trees.
Your tree care service can trim away the already eaten leaves and use a couple of different controls to target the Japanese beetles depending on the life stages present. Fungal controls work well on the larvae on the surrounding grass while pheromone traps work better on the adult beetles. A multi-pronged approach can completely eliminate your beetle infestation and prevent more infestation-related problems from occurring later on.