You’re not the only one who loves the trees and shrubs in your yard. There are dozens of tiny critters that love nothing more than burrowing in the bark, chowing down on the leaves, and flat out ruining your beautiful lawn ornaments. Today, we’ll show you seven of the most common Texas tree pests and what to look for if you suspect you’ve got them in your yard.
1. Tree Scale
Tree scale is often the silent killer of trees. You may not see it on the tree bark until it’s quite advanced. They’re quite flat and may look like knots where old twigs and branches have broken off. This mysterious insect does not crawl around like some of the other pests we’ll discuss. Instead, these bugs like to play vampire to your trees and shrubs by clinging to the bark, piercing it, and sucking out the sap. While there are many tree scale species in Texas, they all fall under two categories: armored and soft scale. A waxy shell covers armored, hence the name. Their activity can cause leaves to turn color and drop off. Soft scales secrete a sticky substance like aphids. If you notice unusual shapes on your tree, accompanied by a stickiness near the site, you may have tree scale. Some of the most common tree scale species in Texas include the Eriococcus scale, the Kermes scale, the Lecanium scale, and the Obscure scale.
These electric green critters are so tiny you have to look extra close to spot them on your trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to spot the damage they wreak. Like soft scale, they secrete a sticky substance called honeydew. This honeydew attracts other insects and sooty mold, causing a grey or black buildup on your plants. Thankfully, there’s an effective, organic solution to combating aphids: ladybugs. That’s right! Your garden-variety ladybugs love to snack on aphids. You can actually order live ladybugs that come in envelopes and can be released right into your garden, ready to eradicate your aphid enemies.
One of the most common Texas mites is the spider mite. These disgusting little buggers cluster on plants where they can suck out the sap. Look for yellow and brown stipples on leaves
4. Emerald Ash Borers
This beetle is an invasive species from Asia that first arrived in the US in 2002. Adult beetles feed on ash trees and lay their eggs in the holes made in the bark. When eggs turn to larvae, they further penetrate the tree and suck out the water. It’s a slow death for the tree and a sorry sight for your yard.
Powdery mildew is usually prevalent in shady areas and, as you may have guessed from the name, looks like a powdery substance on plants’ surface. Like other Texas tree diseases, it causes leaves to decay and turn yellow, brown, and eventually fall off the plant entirely.
6. Tent Caterpillars
At first glance, tent caterpillars look like tiny mushrooms. That’s because their “tents,” which are actually webs, are used to cling to branches. This provides shelter for the insect. Unfortunately, as caterpillars snack on the stems and leaves, the plant’s growth is stunted. It may even kill the plant entirely. To make sure you’ve eradicated them all, cut off the infected branch completely.
Pine tip moths are one of the usual suspects when it comes to damage to pine trees. They love to feed on new growth, which, of course, prevents the trees from flourishing. Luckily, their shenanigans don’t always result in the loss of tree – just some unsightly damage. They can easily be eradicated with insecticide.
Protect Your Trees – Call The Pros At Ashton Walden
Don’t let tree diseases ruin your yard! Get healthy trees once more with our tree and shrub care program. Our multi-step, year-round treatment options include dormant oil, deep-root fertilization, and pest control for Lubbock, Texas, and the surrounding area. Contact us for a free estimate or call 806-632-3571. For more tips and ideas, check out our other blog articles. For the latest updates, be sure to like and follow us on Facebook.