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Something Is Eating The Leaves On Weeping Cherry

Question:

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.

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Tom

Answer:

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.

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.

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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.

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

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July 14, 20080 found this helpful

Japanese Beetles love cherry trees. But it could be a lot of things- There are tons of hungry critters this time of year! Try spraying all of the branches with Sevin. It kills everything. Good luck.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 14, 20080 found this helpful

I agree - likely Japaneese beetles. you may also want to try "bag a bug" bags or beetle bags, available at most home improvement stores. make sure to place them on locations of your properity that are away from the plants (usually flowering or friut bearing trees) that you want to protect. good luck

-megan

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July 15, 20080 found this helpful

I know Gypsy moths ate mine one year and it hasn't been the same since.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 30, 20080 found this helpful

I am having the same problem where small holes are appearing on the leaves of my weeping cherry tree. We have never seen a beetle on the tree and even the new leaves have tiny holes. Could it be a bacteria?

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July 14, 20130 found this helpful

I also have just planted a dwarf weeping cherry that now has pinholes in its leaves. The only insects I have noticed are several yellow jackets it seems to be attracting? Could the yellow jackets be causing the damage? If so how do I stop them without harming the tree?

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Sketch of a weeping cherry tree.  One half of the tree has leaves, the other half does not
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