Usually we like growth. When it's an infestation that's growing? Not so much.
Winter Moth is a recently introduced invasive species in New England and particularly prominent in the Newburyport area. The name comes from its activity in November and December when the temps are mild. They mate and lay their eggs which hatch the following spring. Here's an overview of the threat and what to do about it.
The damage comes in the spring, when the larvae hatch and climb up trees, crawl inside new buds, and eat them from the inside out.
A winter moth will devour almost all broadleaf plants, including maples, oaks, ash, apples, crab apples, blueberry and cherries.
Long, cold springs can worsen the problem because budding is delayed, providing greater opportunity for the larvae to feed.
They let out little strands of silk that allow them to drift in the wind to other trees (known as ballooning).
Topical Applications - Two applications are applied annually -- one in early spring-late March to early April to target young caterpillars as they crawl into buds. A second application is applied 3-4 weeks after to control crawlers that have ballooned in or that didn’t get controlled by first application.
Soil applications - Soil applied products are applied in early spring. Soil applied products work well for trees that are tall or are in tight areas where a topical application is unrealistic.
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