Introducing Another Tree Pest: Stipplers

Trees are having a hard time these days. There have been numerous imported pests that have scourged certain tree populations, in particular ash trees. Recent hot summers have led to more forest fires that have burned up huge patches of forest across the country. Erratic weather has led to flooding and storms that can drown or uproot trees. And, as the population expands out from city centers, more forests are cut down to accommodate new homes and to make room for those homes.

As even this brief portrait describes, it’s been a tough period for trees, and that’s only the overall story. There are far more problems than the ones that make the news.

Many of us care deeply for trees. We know trees are beautiful, life-giving, oxygen-creating, living things that deserve attention, respect, and assistance. That’s why we want to publicize more of the problems facing trees so more of us can do something to help.

To begin with, it’s important to recognize the limitations of what an individual can do. Unless you’re a park ranger or a firefighter, you probably aren’t going to be able to do much to stop the forest fires out west. You won’t be able to single-handedly reduce the spread of the suburbs or reduce the use of timbers.

What you can do, though, is watch out for the trees under your care and provide them with the assistance they need to flourish. That can involve a reasonable amount of work on its own, depending on the circumstances of your property. For instance, you may want to consider changing the soil if it isn’t particularly high quality. You may also need to provide water in moments of drought, particularly for trees not native to an area of low rainfall.

And then, there is keeping up with the pest risks. One of the lesser-known pests that attack trees are the stipplers. According to Hamlin Tree Care, these come in two forms: lace bugs that you’ll identify by their lacy wings, and spider mites that can be hard to see with the naked eye. Either way, you’re most likely to know you have a problem based off what you observe happening to your tree. The leaves of your tree will become bronzed or bleached with small holes in them. The leaves will then fall off the tree.

If you have a sycamore, oak, walnut, or hackberry tree, this is a very serious risk that can cause serious health problems for your tree. It may even reduce the lifespan of your tree, since it can’t get the nutrients it requires.

This is, of course, only one of the threats out there to the trees in your yard, your town park, and across the country. We have to do more to be more vigilant of pests on our trees, since that is one thing we have ultimate control over. The more healthy trees we have in our communities and in our country, the better. And taking care of your trees is a great way to start helping out.

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