Tree Pests That Are Most Common

Everyone wants to keep their yard’s trees healthy and attractive. Even if you practice perfect landscaping, trimming, and pruning, there are some unwanted guests who can cause serious damage to your trees. Pests that infest trees can do a lot of damage in a short period of time, forcing you to remove a tree before its time. Fortunately, our Purple Care team is an expert in tree care and pest control. Continue reading to learn about the most common tree pests, and remember that Purple Care can handle all of your lawn care needs.

5 North American Tree Pests to Be Aware Of

  • Aphids: Aphids feed on leaves, and while they rarely harm tree bark, they can stunt tree shoots and affect leaf growth when in large numbers. These insects produce a lot of “honeydew,” which is a sticky substance that turns black and grows with the sooty mold fungus. Some aphid species also inject toxins into plants, which can be fatal. Aphids can be found in the garden as well, so if you see more than one of these destructive pests, call a professional.


  • Fall Webworms: Fall webworms are a type of caterpillar found throughout the United States. Though they can live on hundreds of different trees, these insects prefer persimmons, sourwoods, willows, and fruit trees. It is critical to keep an eye out for them in wet, humid climates, particularly late in the fall season when they come out to feed.


  • Forest Tent Caterpillars: The fall webworm is a caterpillar that can be found almost anywhere there is hardwood. It consumes the foliage of most hardwood tree species, with a preference for sugar maple, aspen, and oak trees. The forest tent caterpillar, unlike other tent caterpillar species, makes a silky sheet to lie in during molting rather than a tent. While you may not want to disturb a caterpillar tent, if you notice this silk on one of your trees, you should definitely contact tree care.


  • Hard/Soft Scale Insects: Both hard and soft scale insects feed on and damage trees and can be found in wooded areas across North America. These insects, which are members of the “Sternorrhyncha” subfamily, infest twigs, branches, leaves, and fruits and cause damage by feeding on phloem, which is vascular tissue rich in sugar. After scale insects have sunk their piercing/sucking mouthparts into your tree, you may notice symptoms such as premature leaf drop, decreased growth, branch dieback, chlorosis, also known as yellowing, and eventual plant death.


  • Beetles: Rather than focusing on the various species of beetles that may cause damage to your trees, we’re going to focus on all of them because there are so many in North America. Asian Longhorn Beetle, Black Turpentine Beetle, Douglas-Fir Bark Beetle, Ips Beetle, Mountain Pine Beetle, Southern Bine Beetle, and Western Pine Beetle are some examples. Bottom line: beetles are bad for trees, so if you see any in your yard, contact a pest control and tree care company right away.

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