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Rethinking Hackberry Trees

Posted by anntn6b z6b TN (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 13, 04 at 10:04

This summer and early fall, we've had a major infestation of Asian Wooly Hackberry aphids. At first it was just a nuisance...looked like a few snowflakes. Then the moldy aphid dew covered DH's truck parked under a hackberry, and now the dew (don't do this dew) is going to be a major pollutant on DH's garden railroad. Every plant within dew distance of a hackberry tree now has leaves covered with sticky black. The hackberry trees are visibly black from a distance.
We have been repainting our house and the bugs add a tetural element that we'd rather not have.
I've seen problems in Nashville, as well.
From reading references on Google, there's no practical solution that can return the Hackberries to looking even slightly clean by fall.
We are probably going to have to remove the hackberries near our house just for cleanliness.
We've got so many hackberries out in the woods that even if we were to wash our trees with insecticides (and this is NOT a solution, as we depend on beneficials whenever possible) there are hoards of flying aphids ready to move back into our trees and recoat our world with black scum.
Is anyone else dealing with this problem, yet?

Here is a link that might be useful: Googled references

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rethinking Hackberry Trees

Here in central Texas we have the same problem. Such a shame as our pastures are full of hackberry trees. Another import that we have no natural controls of. We have some old hackberries that are so large that it would take two people to reach around them. I suppose we will end up loosing them. Can't park any equiptment or cars anywhere near them. They also had the larve of the "hackberry butterfly" on them most of the summer. If the honeydew didn't get you the droppings of the larve did.


RE: Rethinking Hackberry Trees

  • Posted by gth49 z7 Atlanta (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 20, 04 at 12:16

We are inundated with these bugs and so are others in our neighborhood.We have two HUGE trees and everything underneath them is being suffocated in black gunk. We will have to remove the trees and replant with native plants as the yard is being destroyed -- it is much worse this year than last. Last year I washed the camellia leaves to help them survive but I can't do the whole garden now!

RE: Rethinking Hackberry Trees

  • Posted by Rosie NE Georgia 7A/B (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 21, 04 at 14:18

Is this something that's expected to normalize after a couple years or so? We had something very similar infest our ash tree back in Southern California. It was awful for a while, but eventually the problem simply went away, or perhaps just returned to normal, i.e., not enough to notice. The same for some revolting worms disfiguring our hedge another time.

RE: Rethinking Hackberry Trees

Yes, it is awful. Last year we had the house painted, so I bought ladybugs and lacewings to try and keep the white house clean...this year I hoped the second generation of good bugs would return, but the sooty mold gunk was much worse...not sure if buying more ladybugs would have helped or not, but I will buy LOTS more next year...I can't think of anything else that might help.

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