If you have an apple tree that is being eaten by insects or other pests, it can be a cause for concern. Apple trees are some of the most popular trees to grow in gardens, and they provide delicious fruit for human consumption. However, if your tree is being damaged by pests, it might not produce as much fruit as you would like.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to keep your apple tree healthy and free from damage so that it continues to produce delicious apples for many years to come. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common causes of damage to apple trees and how you can prevent them from occurring in the future!
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, with over 20,000 species worldwide. They have chewing mouthparts which allow them to eat holes in leaves. The damage they cause depends on the type of caterpillar, but it usually looks like large or small holes in the leaves.
Most caterpillars are green and blend into their environment, making them hard to spot unless you know what you’re looking for! Often times, the best way to tell if your apple tree is infested with a caterpillar is to look for their cocoons on the tree’s branches and trunk.
2. Spider Mites
- These pests are about the size of a grain of pepper, meaning they are visible to the naked eye.
- They are not insects and therefore have all of the characteristics of an arachnid.
- They have two fangs that they sink into the apple tree leaves causing them to become discolored (yellow).
Aphids are one of the most common pest problems for apple trees. An aphid infestation can lead to a tree that has blackened leaves and stems with lower leaf growth stunted. If your tree is under attack, here’s what you need to know:
- How to identify them: Aphids are very small, soft-bodied insects that have a pear shape and range in color from green to pink, red or brown. They will feed on the underside of the leaves, causing curling or cupping of the leaves as they suck sap from the leaves. Aphids will also secrete honeydew onto the upper side of leaf blades and fruit as they feed.
- How to control them: Spraying with a strong stream of water is often effective at controlling aphid populations by dislodging them from plant surfaces (follow up with an insecticidal soap treatment if necessary). Insecticidal soaps are also highly effective at killing aphids (just be sure to cover completely). Systemic insecticides such as Imidacloprid can be used but should only be applied in early spring before bud break and then again after harvest when there is no danger of coming into contact with blooms.
- How to prevent them: Always keep plants healthy as stressed plants are more susceptible to infestations; use good cultural practices such as proper fertilization, watering and pruning; maintain adequate weed control around trees; regularly inspect plants for signs of pests; place sticky bands around trunks (such as Tanglefoot) if necessary
4. Apple Leaf Curling Midge
Apple leaf curl is a fungal disease caused by Taphrina deformans. The fungus attacks the apple tree leaves, causing them to curl and distort. Your apple tree may be suffering from this disease if you notice that your infected leaves are exhibiting:
- Red or purple coloration
- Curling or twisting of the leaves
- Leaf distortion (leaves become cupped, wavy, twisted, or crinkled)
The disease is spread by spores that overwinter on the bark and buds of infected trees. These spores are released at bud-break in the spring when temperatures reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaves can become infected at any stage of development but infection is most common during bloom and early growth stages. If conditions are favorable for infection (typically cool nighttime temperatures with heavy dew) then the spores will germinate infecting new plant tissue with lesions developing within 2 weeks after infection occurs.
5. Apple Scab
- Apple scab is a very common disease that affects the leaves of apple trees.
- It occurs in areas with high humidity, warm weather and frequent rainfall during flowering.
- The fungus attacks the tree’s leaves and fruit, producing lesions on both.
- Lesions on the leaves are brown or black and raised, and cause early leaf drop.
- Lesions on the fruit are brown or black and soft, appearing as bumps or sunken depressions.
6. Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck
What Is Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck?
Sooty blotch is a fungus that appears as dark, irregularly shaped spots. These spots are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus on the skin of apples. They are usually 1 to 3 mm in diameter, but can be much bigger. There is a chemical treatment for sooty blotch available on the market, but it is not very effective against it because the fungus grows back very quickly once temperatures rise above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).
The flyspeck is another type of fungus, which appears as tiny black dots on leaves and fruit surfaces. It grows best at temperatures between 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit), so you can see it most often during hot summers or if you live in an area with high humidity levels all year round. The flyspeck develops over several years and eventually covers large areas of leaves and fruits with these little black dots.
Control Measures Against Sooty Blotch:
It’s best to start treating your apple tree early in spring when temperatures reach around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). You can apply fungicides like Bordeaux mixture or actellic 50WP at this time to prevent fungal growths from forming on your apple tree for about two weeks until harvest time when temperatures exceed 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) again! When applying fungicides such as Bordeaux mixture or Actellic 50WP during peak periods when fliespecks begin appearing throughout your garden, make sure they don’t get washed off by rainwater before they have been absorbed into leaves’ surfaces fully because this could cause potential damage to plants other than just killing off all those pesky little black onion bottoms! Be careful not to add too many chemicals into one bin because if one type of fungicide becomes resistant then all others will be rendered useless against this species’ defense strategy known as resistance development.”
Pests are a common cause of apple tree leaf damage
Pests are a common cause of apple tree leaf damage. Some pests are destructive to the fruit, others focus on the leaves. Pests that eat apple tree leaves include various caterpillars and moths, spider mites, aphids, the apple leaf curling midge, apple scab, sooty blotch, and flyspeck.
Some pests only nibble holes in the edges of leaves while others are more voracious and can completely defoliate your tree.
Caterpillars and moths: These destroy leaves by chewing holes in them or eating entire sections of a leaf. The cabbage looper is a green caterpillar with yellow stripes down its back that feeds on apples as well as many garden vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli; it uses its legs to move in an inchworm-like fashion.
Cutworms hide near plants during the day but at night come up to feed on plant foliage; they will also feed on tender stems of young seedlings and cut them off at the base while they feed. Cucumber beetles are brownish or greenish with long antennae; they harbor bacterial wilt which causes cucumbers to shrivel up while still attached to the vine; pick off any beetles you see by hand or spray neem oil onto your plants as soon as you spot these bugs.
Spider mites: These tiny insects suck sap from leaves and create stippled areas where green tissue has been damaged; infested plants may have webbing covering their leaves or branches. You may need a magnifying glass to see these pests but if you shake an infested branch over the paper you will see tiny red dots moving about that indicate spider mite presence. Spray neem oil every few days for about two weeks to get rid of spider mites
Apple trees are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases. The most common culprit is the leafroller, a moth that lays its eggs on the underside of leaves. The larvae will then eat the leaves and cover them with webbing, which can become a problem if there are many larvae feeding in one place.
The best way to prevent this is by keeping your apple tree healthy overall by watering it regularly and fertilizing it every year.
If you do find webbing on your tree, you can spray it with an insecticide like Neem oil, which is safe for humans and pets but will kill off any moths that come in contact with it.