tent leaf caterpillar

donnieappleseedMay 27, 2012

One of my acquaintances has a few old (100 year old?) apple trees on a San Juan island here in the Pacific Northwest that got devastated by western tent leaf caterpillars this year.....I just saw pictures of her trees and over 50 percent of the tree is defoliated...it is awful.....apparently bt will help and the trees will be sprayed....would trichogramma wasps help as well or is that too late to apply and be effective? Does anyone have experience with this kind of devastation? Apparently the leaves will probably come back in mid-summer but could there also be another generation of caterpillars to come back then as well? all knowledge or suggestions welcome. I am also wondering if it would help to spray fish fertilizer on what leaves are there to try to increase vegetative growth....thanks

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alan haigh

I used to live in the west but I don't know the life cycle of your tent. I expect it amounts to one strike in a season and a defoliated tree that had been vigorous will easily withstand defoliation in spring by caterpillars. Of course, there will not be a crop this year but could be next as the trees will have plenty of time to form flower buds and store energy for next season.

The leaves should begin growing immediately after they've been defoliated and within a couple of weeks energy will begin to flow into the bank.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 5:57AM
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You can not reverse or undo the damage. BT will only work if used at the beginning of the feeding of the caterpillar. At this point all that can be done is to see that the trees are not stressed during their refolliation and production of next years fruiting buds. Al

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:08AM
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