Something eating my apple tree

casaramJuly 16, 2013

I planted some apple trees from 2-3 yr old nursery stock for the first time this spring. They are mulched beyond the drip line, and I've been making sure they get about 2-5 gallons of water/week. They were doing ok, but recently I'm starting to see what looks like something eating away at the leaves (see picture at http://i.imgur.com/poJ3nG2.jpg). The month of June and beginning of July was quite wet/rainy. Does anyone have any idea what this is?

Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful:

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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

First off, 2-5 gallons a week? That seems exceptionally inadequate. I have sandy soil so maybe it's just a matter of different soils having different requirements/tolerances but I water 75 gallons (15 minutes x 5gpm) at a time a couple times a week.

As for your picture, welcome to my world. It's Japanese Beetles, and they are Satan incarnate. Prepare for battle, and prepare to be frustrated.. Nothing will truly work unless you douse them with Sevin, which worked for me but I had to use the powder, and a lot of it. Or use a lot of Bayer 3 in 1 Mite and Disease early enough in the season. Or finally, use netting, which is what I'm doing next year. These beetles will eat every leaf on your tree, and possibly kill it, and be prepared for next year, because, based on my experience, there will be ten times more of them next year.

ETA; Here is the type of netting I'm talking about. It shows a pic of the netting keeping the beetles out. It's expensive, so I'm going to look around for a better priced product that is just as effective.

http://www.industrialnetting.com/garden.html

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 10:55

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:34AM
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casaram

Thanks! This makes sense, as there are Japanese Beetles elsewhere (in my garden).

What are your thoughts on garlic spray, neem oil, or ground up beetles sprayed onto the plants?

Do you think if I watered more and the trees were stronger they'd have an easier time fending off the pests?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:04PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

insert finger.. and water when they need water.... and then water DEEPLY....

it is NOT a calender thing ... nor a gallon thing...

its a soil thing.. and we cant tell you how to deal with your soil ...

ken

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:29PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Many people have very good results using insecticidal soap sprays for Japanese beetles. Healthy trees will be able to recover better than those that are struggling. What is your method of watering, by the way?

Neem oil can be a very good product to use, as well. It works as an anti-feedant and a growth regulator for those pests that ingest it.

The use of Sevin and the Bayer products with Imidacloprid have proved over and over again to cause a powerful boomerang effect. In other words, by using such products, you'll end up with more and more pests, and not just Japanese beetles.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:14PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

As for watering the tree to help it survive a Japanese beetle invasion, if you take away any living creature's food supply (in the tree's case, the leaves), it will die, no matter how much water you give it. I personally think you are way under watering it, but that's me. I know, I'm not there, nor do I know your type of soil, but I think unless you are getting a good amount of rainfall, 2-5 gallons a week is shockingly low, for any type of soil.

The beetles only stick around for about 6 weeks, so you need to put something on that tree or its leaves are going to possibly completely defoliate. When the beetle lands on the leaf it sends out a bullhorn call to all the beetles in a few mile radius to come join the party, so the more you allow them to eat your tree, the more that will arrive.

I don't know if garlic spray or neem oil would work at this point. Some of those endeavors only work if you apply them before the adults show up. I applied Sevin powder the other day and it didn't seem to help, so the next day I applied more of it and now they are ALL gone from my yard. There isn't a Japanese beetle to be seen.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:22PM
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casaram

I'm watering manually with a bucket. I usually water 1.5-2 gallons after 1-2 days of no rain. This usually keeps the soil pretty moist.

Re: Bayer I'm glad you pointed that out. I do not think Neonics are an option for me as I and several neighbors also have bees.

I'm going to go with neem oil as a first attempt. Thanks very much for these responses!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:26PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

"The use of Sevin and the Bayer products with Imidacloprid have proved over and over again to cause a powerful boomerang effect. In other words, by using such products, you'll end up with more and more pests, and not just Japanese beetles."

We were posting at the same time so I didn't see your post when I responded. Having read what you just wrote, I am now even more glad I'm switching to netting next year. I don't want to hurt any other bug, truly, even the spider, which happens to scare me to death. Spiders provide food for the mud daubers that have a nest on our front porch. All I want is a chance for my trees and shrubs to grow and thrive.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:29PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

"I'm going to go with neem oil as a first attempt. Thanks very much for these responses!"

Please come back and let us know how that works out. If Neem Oil works for you, I will buy some and use it myself. I hate pesticides..

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:35PM
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gardengal48

That damage is from pear slugs, aka sawfly larvae. They skeletonize the leaves leaving only a fine network of veins. They will feed on the leaves of all manner of fruit trees - not just pears - and most anything else in the rose family. They tend to be somewhat seasonal, appearing mid to late summer but if not controlled, the second generation (appearing the following season) can wreak havoc. They are pretty wimpy creatures and respond favorably to all sorts of insecticides but you can also just blast them off the leaves with a strong stream of water.

Here is a link that might be useful: pear slug control

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 2:31PM
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casaram

Thought I'd post a follow up on the neem oil. The beetles kept coming back even after spraying. Really, the only thing I've found that has been working is going out once or twice a day and squishing them when I catch them on the trees or other plants around the garden/yard. Luckily I only have a few trees so this isn't a lot of work. It does seem like there is much less of the trees eaten now though.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:40AM
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VallowsHallow

I'm having an issue with something eating the leaves off my apple tree. the whole leaf, my mum just planted a sapling a few weeks ago and every time it sprouts new leaves there completely gone in a couple of days. Someone said it was squirrels, but i'm not to sure..any ideas?

i'm also having issues with a few other things getting eaten like my basil.. we had this problem before and found it to be praying mantises (i think i spelled that right :/ ) but were in a different area now and have not seen any.. not that that means its not them. also out Swiss chard is being eatin.

so i'm thinking whatever is doing this is eating all of it. or it could be a mixture of different things.

we just moved into this house last year and this is our first year of gardening here. we're trying to be as organic as possible. I realize this is a long post, any help would be greatly appreciated. :]

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 10:57AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

praying mantis eats BUGS... its a predator.. and totally beneficial to your garden ... google should have told you that ... [momma is even known to eat daddy .. whats that all about????]

you should start your own post.. in any appropriate forum .. as your questions cover many different plants ...

as to the apple... if tiny ... under a foot or two.. it should have remained potted ... in proper planting media for a tree .... is this from seed from an apple you ate???? ... if so .. genetics tells us.. you might not end up with a good eating apple .... [hint, hint .. research that]

or extremely protected ... if in mother earth .... i would have used a rose cone without a top for a year or two ...

rake the soil around the plant.. in the evening.. and see if you can see any tracks in the morning ... think rabbit.. or droppings ...

most bugs can not strip a plant bare overnight.. you would see chew marks on parts of leaves remaining ... so i am thinking something bigger ...

squirrels ... tend to dig up young plants.. trying to look for whatever you hid under the soil.. idiots.. lol ... rather than eating the plant .... but you never know.. they are insane ...

start your own post.. and add a pic.. if you want more than guessing ...and i am telling you to encourage you to start and join a new conversation... not chiding you for throwing this at the end of some very old post ... live an learn.. and we like to teach... so go for it...

good luck

ken

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:59PM
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VallowsHallow

Ken I couldn't figure out how to that's why I stuck it on the end of this.

As far as the mantis I'm thinking they weren't eating it as they where just doing it for the fun of pulling it's leaves off. We were in a 2nd floor aparment and they where the only bugs I could find although after thinking about it more it was probably eating whatever it was.

The apple tree is like 4 ft tall so I'm sure it's not rabbits and I know bugs won't eat the whole leaf.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 8:03PM
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