Elm trees’ lavish canopies and stunning appearance can be one of the most curb-appealing adornments for every home. But to keep them as gorgeous as they are, it’s important to take care of their health so you prevent any bugs chewing their leaves or several tree diseases attacking them.
Talking about bugs that can settle down in your elm tree, elm leaf beetles are the most common intruders that can’t resist this tree’s leaves. These bugs have yellow to olive bodies that are around 13mm long and have a dark band on the outside edge of each wing cover. And considering that they can be deadly for your gorgeous trees, we put together a couple of tips for identifying, preventing and the possible treatment options once you spot them.
Elm Leaf Beetles Prevention
There’re a couple of things you can do to prevent elm leaf beetles from attacking your precious elm tree in the first place. So first of all, it’s very important to assess the condition of your tree on regular basis and maintain proper leaf beetle control. If you’re not skilled enough to do this, it’s best to leave the things to the professionals and book an arborist tree inspection appointment.
Except for keeping tabs on your elm tree’s condition, make sure your tree is watered properly during the dry season as well as fertilized in the late winter period to enable a proper and slower release of nutrients.
Also, making sure that your elm tree is free from dead leaves will stimulate your elm tree to grow new branches, and therefore dedicate more of its energy to growing a healthier trunk throughout the entire year.
How to Identify that Your Elm Tree is Attacked?
However, even if you regularly keep up with your elm tree’s well being, elm leaf beetles can still settle down in their leaves, especially in the period between October and February.
At first, it’s not uncommon for elm leaf beetle damage to look like Dutch Elm disease. In order to distinguish these two diseases, it’s recommended to take a closer inspection so you can see if there’s any chewing damage on the leaves.
In fact, once larvae are hatched, they begin feeding on leaves. They can be most commonly spotted on the underside of the leaf, leaving it with a skeleton-like appearance where you can spot the leaf’s veins. Once these larvae emerge as they adult up, they move up the three and start chewing through the foliage, leaving circular holes in the leaves.
And as much as leaf damage may not seem like something that can kill your tree, know that a tree without healthy leaves attached will become brittle, die and even fall off.
Elm Leaf Beetle Treatments
Once you identify that your elm tree’s leaves are getting eaten by these dangerous insects, don’t wait to book a leaf beetle control service so they can determine the proper treatment before it’s too late. And even though it’s very hard to get completely rid of these intruders, there’re still a couple of elm beetle treatment solutions to keep them at bay and prevent them from making further damages.
Elm Leaf Beetle Trunk Injection
As first aid for treating the elm leaf beetle condition of your trees, many professionals would recommend a trunk injection treatment as the safest option.
In fact, this treatment includes a chemical insecticide that is injected directly into the trunk of the tree. This chemical then moves into and through the tree’s body straight to the leaves and “infects them”. Once an elm leaf beetle ingests just a small amount of the leaf, the chemical will kill them instantly.
Not only has this method been shown as most effective, but it’s also safe for the environment and won’t harm your children or your pets.
Elm Leaf Beetle Sprays
After feeding on foliage, elm leaf larvae tend to crawl down the tree and pupate around the tree surface. When this occurs, professionals usually recommend canopy spraying Foliar sprays that are getting absorbed in the tree’s bark and transferred in all the parts of the tree through the vascular system.
This spraying elm leaf beetle treatment won’t only cover the entire tree foliage and surface, but it will also prevent elm leaf beetles from jumping to another tree and infesting it.
However, have in mind that Foliar sprays are mostly intended for smaller and younger trees, during the end of winter and the early spring period. When it comes to older and larger trees, they’re shown to be ineffective and impractical due to the tree’s size.
Also, make sure you check in with your neighbour before you decide to spray your elm trees. At the end of the day, this method is intended to prevent elm leaf beetles from settling down the nearby trees and it makes more sense to treat all the trees that are located close to each other.
Non- Chemical Elm Leaf Beetle Treatments
Besides injecting and spraying chemicals to your elm trees, there’re also a couple of non-chemical treatments that can also be very effective. For instance, non-chemical control banding is among the most recommended methods that don’t include any chemicals.
In fact, non-chemical banding includes adhesive tape that is wrapped up around the trunk, with the sticky side facing out. The purpose of this method is to trap elm leaf beetles that make their way down the trunk and break their natural lifecycle.
These bands need to be applied before these bugs start crawling down the trunk, and the best timing is the period between December and the end of January. Also, non-chemical banding is a continuous process that should be reapplied each season if the number of elm leaf beetles attacking your tree is high.
And even though treating your elm tree with non-chemical bands is the most environmentally-friendly alternative, keep in mind that it’s a long-lasting process that will show results after years of practising it. Also, non-chemical bands are shown to be ineffective in trees that are heavily infested, and if this is the case with yours, it’s best to go for a chemical elm tree bug killer.