Signs Of Insect Damage On Landscape Trees

Posted on: 14 March 2020

Every tree has a few insect pest on it, but most aren't able to do enough damage to harm the tree. The problem is when the damage becomes so extensive that the tree is in danger of dying or it begins to pose a risk because it is so severely weakened. The following can help you know when to bring in a tree service for additional care or to weigh your removal options. 

Trunk Damage

Damage to the trunk can be the most alarming, because severe damage may not be repairable. 


Small holes bored into the trunk can go unnoticed in the early days of a pest infestation, but a variety of beetles and pest larvae will bore through wood to get to the flowing sap within the the tree. A few holes doesn't usually indicate a major problem, where as many holes could mean the tree is going to die soon.

Boring insect pests are also hard to treat, since they are protected from many pesticides when they are inside the tree. A tree service will determine which pests are causing the problem so you can decide on treatment. In some cases, applying a spray that kills off mature forms of the pests will prevent new larva from boring into the trunk. In other instances, tree removal is the best option.

Missing Bark

Some pests feed just under the bark, typically on the cambium layer of the tree. This can result in loose bark that eventually falls off and exposes the living wood to further depredation and disease. Plus, extensive feeding on the cambium also weakens and can eventually kill the tree.

Much like boring insects, it can be difficult to treat those that live beneath the bark. Similar treatment methods are usually recommended. 

Canopy Damage

Damage to twigs and leaves in the canopy kills trees slowly. As the foliage dies, the tree can't produce sufficient energy. The tree may survive for several seasons untreated before it finally dies.

Leaf Feeders

The good news is that foliar pests can typically be treated if you catch the problem soon enough. Signs of foliar pests include damaged leaves and sticky residue or mildew on the leaves. Leaf damage typically presents in one of three ways: leaf margin damage, skeletonized leaves, or curvy "tunnels" chewed through the leaf surface.

A tree service will first treat for the pests, then they will treat for any side effects, such as powdery mildew. Mildew tends to grow on the sticky residue left behind by the feedings insects. You may need to treat the tree annually for a few years so it can fully recover from the damage.

Contact a tree service in your area like Robert Jefferies Logging & Tree Service for more help.