Viburnum leaf beetle could be the next nuisance insect in the same vain as Japanese beetles. One of the most popular and easiest to grown shrubs is the Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum), which means it’s fairly easy to find one in almost every landscape. The Viburnum leaf beetle larvae and adults will feast on the foliage of Viburnums; quickly defoliating it. After several years of defoliation your viburnum can die. The adult beetle will then lay it’s eggs on the stems to make it an easy perennial pest, year after year!
What to look for and how to get rid of this pesky pest!
Once viburnums have dropped their leaves in fall, look for egg masses along the undersides of the twigs. Prune out and discard any damaged branches or twigs. Do not compost this debris for mulch.
Viburnum Leaf Beetle, egg masses on twig
In late spring and early summer, look for small holes that skeletonize the leaves between the veins. On the underside of the leaves, you might see tiny, yellow-brown caterpillars, some with spots. Destroy any damaged leaves that drop.
Viburnum Leaf Beetle Larvae
A few weeks after hatching, the larvae drop to the ground and burrow into the soil to pupate. In about six weeks, the adult beetles emerge, feed on the leaves and lay eggs to start the cycle all over again. The 1/4- to 3/8-inch long, golden-brown beetles look shiny in the sun.
Adult Viburnum Leaf Beetle
Viburnum species that are:
- V. dentatum: Arrowwood viburnums
- V. nudum: Possum-haw, smooth witherod viburnum
- V. opulus: European cranberrybush viburnum
- V. opulus var. americana (syn. V. trilobum): American cranberrybush viburnum
- V. acerifolium: Mapleleaf viburnum
- V. lantana: Wayfaring tree, Mohican viburnum
- V. sargentii: Sargent viburnum
- V. burkwoodii: Burkwood viburnum
- V. carlcephalum: Carlcephalum viburnum
- V. cassinoides: Witherod viburnum
- V. lentago: Nannyberry viburnum
- V. prunifolium: Black-haw viburnum
- V. rhytidophylloides: Lantanaphyllum viburnum
- V. carlesii: Koreanspice viburnum
- V. juddii: Judd viburnum
- V. plicatum and V. plicatum var. tomentosu: Doublefile viburnum
- V. rhytidophyllum: Leatherleaf viburnum
- V. sieboldii: Siebold viburnum
Not sure what to do, then contact one of our professional horticulturists to help assess the problem.
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The devastation of the emerald ash borer is more apparent than ever. Do you have an ash tree in your landscape? Is it slowly declining? Then you more than likely have a tree that was affected by the borer. How can you tell?
• The adult beetle will create a “D” shaped hole in the bark of the tree. Once the larvae emerge you may also see increased woodpecker damage as they like to feed on the larvae.
• Dieback usually begins in the top one-third of the canopy and progresses down the tree until it is bare.
• You may also notice epicormis shoots, these are the sprouts (suckers) that grow from the roots and trunk of the tree. The leaves of these shoots are often larger than normal.
What now? Well once the tree has been affected by the beetle it’s pretty much too late. You will need to have the tree removed. This is best done by a professional as there are strict regulations on what to do with the tree.
When planning your landscape be sure to plant a variety of trees of different species. This allows for biodiversity and a number of habitats for wildlife. If we plant a monoculture of plants you will see what can happen when a disease or insect becomes a problem (such as dutch elm disease and now emerald ash borer).
An entire street lined with Ash now destroyed by the borer.
Typical borer “D” shaped holes.
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