Tree Disease & Insect Management

Controlling Pests and Tree Disease

We’ve all seen it. The snow is melting, the leaves are budding. Spring is here! But then, so are the pests and tree disease. The signs of winter burn and distress, the leaf spot, rust and fungus. We all want our trees and shrubs to be healthy and beautiful, but how do we combat the seemingly endless list of problems associated with tree care?

Aspen Stand

Left unchecked, insects and tree disease can quickly destroy your trees and shrubs, turning them into an eyesore. A proactive disease and insect management plan from a fast tree service can prevent many of this issues from ever taking hold. Should you suspect that you have a health issue with your trees, seek a consultation from a well qualified and certified arborist.

Aphids – Symptoms and Treatment

Aphids are among the most prevalent of pests in our region. They infest aspens and cottonwood trees almost as soon as the leaves start to bud. Aphid eggs can be so tiny you may need a microscope to view them. While they appear to be small, fragile insects, they are not harmless and can reek havoc on your landscape.


Symptoms of aphids include leaf curling, twig die back, stunted leaf growth, dew spots, and mold fungi. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek help from your tree care provider or apply a home remedy. There are a number of online resources available to help you identify and deal with these pests as well. The Farmer’s Almanac is a favorite for those who handle their own landscaping.

While a preventative method is best, horticultural soap treatments, oil applications and other pest control products that can be purchased from a pest extermination vaughan, can be applied to help remedy the issue after aphids are discovered. The sooner you catch the infestation the better, as the damaged leaves may not recover.

White Pine/Spruce Weevil

The white pine weevil is one of the most destructive insects and poses a serious threat to both spruce and pine trees in our region. The weevil infests and kills the main shoot of young trees, causing significant aesthetic damage and stunted growth. In severe cases, it will cause the tree to die completely.

Since the white pine weevil is an overwintering pest, it is a threat to your trees as soon as the snow begins to melt and the adults become active. The larvae can be the most damaging, so it is important to treat weevil at all stages of growth; preventing the laying of additional eggs by adults, and terminating the larvae that already exist. Again, a proactive treatment plan is ideal for preventing the infestation and damage caused by these pests.

white pine weevil larvae

The first visual symptom of infestation are droplets of resin on terminal leaders of the tree, usually in early spring. This occurs as the adults puncture holes in the tree to lay their eggs. The larvae then chew completely around the stem causing the current year’s growth to wilt, droop, and eventually die. This then causes side branches to bend and grow upward to take over as the terminal leader. The result is a deformed, and unsightly tree.

Leaf Blight

Leaf blight is the most common tree disease in aspen trees. It can also affect narrow-leaf cottonwood and other poplars. Because the weather is a key cause of this disease, it can be severe one year and nonexistent the next. Infected leaves are often stunted and premature defoliation (or leaf drop) can occur, leaving trees bare far before the growing season is over.

aspen blight

Removing and destroying diseased material from trees and the ground may help reduce infections. Increasing space between trees may create a less favorable environment for spread and infection. Fungicides can be used to prevent infection, but they must be applied at bud break before infection occurs.

Preventing Disease and Pests

As trees are such a focal point of our landscape, we cannot risk the effects of disease and pests on their growth and appearance. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is most certainly applicable to the management of our trees. While most pests can be stopped once identified, much of the damage caused is irreversible. Dead branches will not grow back, and pruning can only do so much to mitigate the affects of deformity. Make sure you get only the best when looking for a pest control company in the Charleston area.

Knowing which tree disease and pests are prevalent in your area allows arborists and tree care professionals to develop preventative treatment programs to stop infestation and damage before it occurs. While this may seem like unnecessary treatment when no issues are present, it will allow you to continue enjoying your trees and landscape for years to come.

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