You might be on top of insect control for your plants and trees (or have a professional taking care of it for you), but keep in mind that not all tree pests are insects or arachnids. In fact, some of them are downright cute—but still wreak havoc on your landscape. It’s crucial to stay on top of insect control, disease control and general pest control. Otherwise, you’re dishing up a veritable love motel and all you can eat buffet to your non-human neighbors.
Let’s start with woodpeckers. They’re found throughout North America and while they might be cute at first glance, they can destroy your trees. Plus, the sound of that constant pecking is enough to drive anyone batty. There are humane ways to drive off woodpeckers, but bear in mind that all those holes they bore are also irresistible homes to a variety of tree insects. It’s a vicious cycle.
Here are a few tree pests you might not be bothered by at first glance. Don’t let their adorability factor fool you. They just might be more dangerous than a bore beetle:
1. Butterflies to be
How much damage can a fat, furry caterpillar really do to a tree? It all depends on the type of caterpillar it is, what it eats and how many there are. The idea of letting your tree “blossom” with butterflies come summer might be romantic, but it takes a lot of energy for caterpillars to make the metamorphosis. You just might be sacrificing your greenery in the process.
2. Oh, deer
Have you noticed that your foliage has gone bare—but only up to a certain height? That’s a tell-tale sign of an herbivore mammal who’s developed a taste for your shrubs and trees. It’s exciting to watch a family of deer graze in your yard, until you realize they’re actually stripping your tree down to its unmentionables. Remember that it’s not just harmful to your vegetation to allow deer on your property, but it’s also dangerous for them to be so close to humans.
What do you think mice nibble on when they’ve been banned from your kitchen? Wood, house and yellow-necked mice are especially fond of tree greenery. They’ll even nest in your trees, and who likes the idea of mice falling on their heads during a summer picnic?
From squirrels to rabbits, badgers to voles, there’s no shortage of furry creatures who are eager to make your tree their home or restaurant. Make sure you keep a handle on both insect and mammal control if you want to give your tree a fighting chance.