Japanese Beetle infested American Elm

jon3333(5B)August 4, 2011

I am looking for opinions...

I have a large 40+ yr old American Elm that has been completely infested with Japanese Beetles (60% of canopy gone). With DED out there, I planted tulip trees under the Elm canopy. They have only grown 1' or less for the past 3 yrs but that was ok since they were more of an insurance policy so to speak. Anyway, now with these stupid beetles infesting this tree, should I remove it and let the tulip trees take over or should I leave it and see if it gets infested next year. If I remove it, I will still have other tulip trees, london plane trees, black walnut, Moraine Sweetgums, and silver maples around the canopy hole that could also fill in. ALL other trees in and around my property are not affected by the beetles (which probably makes the infestation worse). Right now I am 60% remove and 40% keep. I am in my early 30s and for now my mind set is the sooner I remove it, the sooner something better will grow into its place. What do you think? Am I being too quick to "pull the trigger" just because of 1 year?

Thanks,

Jon

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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Are you sure its not Elm Leaf Beetle? Nonetheless, I'd wait until next year. The tuliptrees are too small to release into something useful so lots of benefits lost if the tree comes down in haste. Elms are pretty tough.

.02

Dan

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:56PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

We get Japanese Bettles every year, and they do love the Elms. Typically they are the worst the first couple years after they get to your area, then ease back from there as the local predators begin to adjust to them. They usually do not kill a tree/plant, but that does not mean they don't stunt them. IMHO, don't remove the tree until/unless you start to see substantial dieback. I have seen local Elms (among other things) nearly leafless one year, and damaged the next, and then barely touched. Growth was slowed, the the tree certain survived.

JMHO
Arktrees

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 8:47AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I guess being a Westerner means you don't have 500 pests/month to deal with...sheesh!

Dan

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 10:28AM
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arbordave (SE MI)

If DED is prevalent in your area (like it is here), I'd go ahead and remove it in order to open things up for your other trees.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 7:39PM
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jon3333(5B)

Thanks for all of your opinions. Yes, DED is prevalent in my area which is why I originally planted the understory trees just in case my Elm suddenly died. The beetles in the tree are definitely Japanese Beetles. I can see them swarming around and in the tree like it was a giant bee hive. As if 1 swarm wasn't bad enough, a new swarm of black birds or red wing black birds has now engulfed my tree and are feasting on all of the Japanese Beetles. Regardless of whether or not I keep the tree, it is an interesting war to watch.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:18PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

As if 1 swarm wasn't bad enough, a new swarm of black birds or red wing black birds has now engulfed my tree and are feasting on all of the Japanese Beetles.

Cooool!

Dan

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:35PM
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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

Go blackbirds!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:21PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Where are you located? I'm in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. In 2003 I planted a couple elms, and was distraught at the damage they got from Japanese beetles. Fortunately, in the last few years the Japanese beetles have almost vanished from the area, and the trees look great. I'd leave the tree for now.

Alex

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:37PM
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farmboy1(5)

I had Japanese beetles having their way with a small plum tree, a pussy willow, and a small peach. I sprayed the plum and peach as they were easy to reach, but within a few days it seemed like all the Japanese beetles were gone. I didn't see any birds swarming, but there are lots of birds in the area.

vince

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 11:14PM
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