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What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

Posted by suebot 6CT (My Page) on
Sun, May 23, 10 at 20:22

Hi All,

I never, ever had a insect infestation problem before but today I was weeding and I noticed my Knock-out & Fairy rose leaves looked like lace cutouts. Then on closer inspection I saw a couple of small yellow worms. Yelled for dear hubby and then we saw our Weeping Cherry, which is about 25 ft from the roses, with every leaf eaten and this tree is about 40 ft high. I am sick about my roses and cherry. Whatever is doing this hasn't touched my New Dawn climber yet and better not. Does anyone have any idea what I am up against? I am in Newtown, CT if that helps. This seems to have happened almost overnight. I don't like using chemicals in my yard because we do have well water and a cat. Gosh, if it isn't the deer, moles, voles, slugs, rabbits, chipmunks, then it's the weather! I can't win!!!
Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

Thank you,
suebot in CT

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

Well, based on your description (small yellow worms), I am sorry to say that you probably have winter moth caterpillars. They particularly LOVE cherry trees. All of the cherries in my area have been defoliated in the last few weeks by this invasive pest. I also had them on my roses a few weeks ago as well. This pest has been well established in eastern MA, Rhode Island, Long Island, and SE CT for many years now. It is probably expanding its reach to the west and north. The caterpillar emerges in April, as very small yellow-green "worms". They feed on emerging foliage and can strip a tree bare. They will then pupate by the end of May. The moths will then emerge on mild nights in November and December during which time they mate and deposit egg masses on trees to begin the cycle again the following spring. Your trees should recover and produce a new set of leaves over the next month. However repeated defoliation can eventually weaken and kill a tree. The best way to deal with them is spray with Bt when the caterpillars are still small (usually late April/early May). UMASS has been breeding and releasing a parasitic fly for over 5 years in many locations in eastern MA to control this pest. I do not know if CT is doing the same.

RE: What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

I agree with Rockman, this sounds like winter moths. They've been eating my cherry trees, roses, & blueberries and assorted other plants -including the maples, but I have such crummy maples that I don't care so much about their health.

I also second the BT recommendation, I usually apply it at the first sign of these pests, but didn't do so this year - since they're still feeding, I could do it now, but it's more effective on the younger ones and the trees already look awful. It's easily applied with a pump sprayer - can't reach the tops of the trees, but you can cover enough of the visible canopy that it really makes a difference.

My trees are never defoliated enough to produce new leaves - I think that if there's a decent amount of green left, the trees just accept it that they'll have less food this year. So, I just get to look at holey leaves for the rest of the season.

RE: What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

We had a less severe outbreak at my home this year on the north shore of MA, but it's been awful for the last 3 at least. UMASS extension has oodles of info on their site about the winter month + ongoing research.... here's one to start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter Moth Fact Sheet

RE: What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

I want to thank you all for you sage advice. You hit the nail on the head. I do have Winter Moths! My dear hubby sprayed with something but this weekend I will get some spray with BT.

I appreciate your assistance.

suebot in CT

RE: What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

All this info has been so helpful; this is about the third year of this mess! I was wondering if someone could answer this question, I had purchased SEVIN spray at Home Depot before I knew what was eating my leaves I was very nervous spraying it because I have a small pond with some fish. I first sprayed my small weeping cherry and in about 5 min started seeing the green caterpillars falling off the tree some hanging but they did not seem to be dying there were so many now on the ground and on my other plants. Will they eventually die or should I treat the ground with BT? Should I respray the trees with BT? Or is that not safe, because I already sprayed the SEVIN? Does anyone know what to do? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

RE: What Is Eating My Weeping Cherry & Roses??

Weeping cherry will die in a few years of you let these critters have their way. (My neighbor says his weeping cherry died after 3 years of defoliation by winter moths)

Check out my post in this thread -

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