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Japanese maples are those plants that can capture anyone’s attention. Everything about them is unique, and they give beauty to the garden with their foliage, hues, and stature.
So when they have a pest problem, it is unpleasant. Many different pests feast on this plant which is what will enlighten you.
We will provide you with all the details about the different pests that might harm your Japanese maples, alongside tips on how to identify and control them.
Most Common Japanese Maple Pests
Japanese maples may have a variety of pest issues. These are some of the most common pests of Japanese maples, their mode of identification as well as how to control them.
On almost any plant, aphids are the most common pest. Like many other aphid species, these magnificent trees are a favourite spot for them to gather and feed.
Aphids are soft-bodied insects that have two easily visible tailpipes. They come in a variety of colours. Brown or green colours are the most popular.
They have a rapid gestation period and may breed even in the absence of men.
Although these pests tend to appear weak and defenceless if populations increase sufficiently, winged adults are produced to help in the spread of the species, and ants will tend them to keep predators at bay in exchange for the honeydew they produce.
In addition to the honeydew they produce attracting a black sooty mold that detracts from the feathery beauty of this instantly identifiable tree, their feasting may cause leaf curling. Plants might become weakened if they are constantly fed.
A. Local populations of these beneficial insects can be used if you don’t want to prescribe the use of chemical pesticides since ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings are enemies of aphids.
B. You can also get rid of aphids by yourself by giving the infested leaves a forceful splash of cold water to wash them off the plants.
Must Read : How to use Natural Vinegar Spray for Aphids
C. In a situation whereby these beneficial insects or cold showers don’t seem to be having the intended outcome, insecticidal soaps or horticultural oil sprays can be prescribed.
D. Furthermore, Bonide Insecticidal Soap is another effective pest-fighting product that’s effective. So you can get it and give it a trial.
Mealybugs are little, light-grey to white insects that are sometimes coated with wax that is powdered white. Around the edges of their bodies, they have filaments, and some of them even have tails.
While they eat, they suck the tree’s sap and are particularly drawn to wounds and breaks in the bark. They release honeydew as aphids do.
They can result in the formation of galls if there are many of them feeding in one place. And therefore, mealybugs are not a pleasing sight because of the insects themselves, the galls, and the sooty mould that can grow on the honeydew they excrete.
A. Good control can be achieved using predators like parasitic wasps and ladybugs.
B. To remove these slow crawlers from the tree, squirt a powerful stream of water at them.
C. Alternatively, you can use horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps, although the insects are more resistant to these substances because of their waxy covering.
3. Scale Insects
You may face these common pests on your tree in three different species: Japanese maple scale (Lopholeucaspis japonica), horse chestnut scale (Pulvinaria regalis), and cottony maple scale (Pulvinaria innumerabilis).
Horse chestnut and cottony maple scales both have tiny, flat, brown scales that resemble each other. Oftentimes, these insects are not noticed until the females leave their fluffy white ovisacs on the tree limbs.
The leaves on your tree may turn yellow or die, and the limbs may die back if there are a lot of scale insects sucking on them. Scale insects are mostly just an unsightly presence.
Weak trees may die if they are fed heavily and repeatedly. Furthermore, these bugs also produce honeydew.
A. The scale may be removed from branches by spraying them with a vigorous stream of water; this is best done when the tree is dormant.
B. Predatory wasps like Pteroptrix chinensis, lacewings, ladybugs, and ladybugs may all be highly efficient population controllers.
C. If you do need to apply insecticides, focus on the young crawlers before they settle and grow their impermeable coating since the adults are well protected behind their hard, occasionally waxy covers.
Japanese maples are a favourite host plant for a wide range of caterpillars, including leafrollers. They damage the foliage by chewing holes in the centres and edges of the leaves.
Additional symptoms that you could be dealing with in caterpillars include white webbing, chunky frass droppings, and curled leaves in the case of leaf rollers.
Excessive caterpillar feeding can stunt plant development or even kill young plants.
A. If you notice any butterfly or moth larvae, you may manually remove them, or you can use a product containing Bacillus thuringiensis to control infestations.
B. Apply it to all leaf surfaces since the product will only be effective if the caterpillars eat leaves that have been coated with it. Before they start to disappear, it will take a few days.
C. You may also give a spinosad-containing product like Bonide Thuricide and Monterey Garden Bug Spray a try.
Several different insect species might harm these delicate, eye-catching maples, including Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica), granulate ambrosia beetles (Xylosandrus crassiusculus), and vine weevils (Otiorhynchus sulcatus).
Japanese beetles have an oval form and are easily identified by their metallic red and green coloring, as well as the white hair tufts that line the sides of their abdomens.
They may fully destroy the leaves after they have been chewed on. The leaves may turn brown and fall off if there is enough damage, which weakens the tree.
A. Administer insecticides to the adults at the first sign of feeding damage. For the aim of poisoning beetles, while they eat, AzaGuard can be sprayed to plant surfaces.
B. For vine weevils and Japanese beetles, whose larvae live in the soil, beneficial nematodes can be applied as a soil drench. Simply mix with water according to package instructions and apply to the soil around your tree.
C. For controlling ambrosia beetles, keeping the tree as healthy as possible is the easiest way to prevent damage. Pyrethroids can be applied while the beetles are active.
You can try PyGanic if you don’t want to use synthetic pyrethroids and your tree is too weak to deal with any additional damage from these pests.
1. What Can I Spray My Japanese Maple With?
The most effective control is to replant with resistant trees. Spraying three times at two-week intervals with a copper-based fungicide, mancozeb, chlorothalonil, or thiophanate methyl starting when the leaves begin to unfurl in spring will provide control.
2. What Are The Common Problems With Japanese Maples?
A variety of leaf spot diseases that can disfigure leaves and hasten defoliation can affect Japanese maple. Anthracnose, Phyllosticta leaf spot, and Pseudomonas tip blight are the three main foliar infections.
Japanese maples can be attacked by several insects. The Japanese beetle is a leaf eater.
3. How Do You Control Japanese Maples?
Prune out infested branches. You can Light to medium infestations may be reduced with pressure wash applications. High-pressure water sprays can wash scales and scale covers off the bark and reduces populations without the need for chemical controls.
4. How Do I Keep My Japanese Maple Healthy?
Fertilize Japanese maples once a year, in the early spring, with the same type of fertilizer that you use for rhododendrons, azaleas, or other acid-loving plants.
A monthly application of a soluble, acid-type fertilizer, from May through August, will also help keep the roots growing strong.
5. How To Make Japanese Maple Healthy?
For your Japanese Maple to grow healthy, you need to:
A. Dappled or afternoon shade, especially when young.
B. Protection from strong wind.
C. Well-drained, consistently moist soil, neither excessively wet nor dry.
D. Protection from late spring frosts, especially when young.
6. What Does An Overwatered Japanese Maple Look Like?
While Japanese Maples can appreciate wet soil, especially during their first few years of being planted, over-watering is a common cause of the decline. If your leaves are turning brown/black at the tips, this could be a sign of over-watering.
Japanese maples are prone to a few common pests which can be easily identified with proper knowledge of the symptoms as well as the right way to control them whenever they surface.
You must bear in mind that these measures must be performed as always as possible.
Have your Japanese maples ever suffered from pest damage? Please share with us in the comments what kind of pest visited your trees and how you handled it.