Protecting Your Trees from Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Avoiding Hemlock Tree Damage

Hemlock trees are beautiful when healthy, but if they’re struck by a hemlock woolly adelgid attack, they could be seriously damaged. The Hemlock woolly adelgid is a small insect similar to an aphid, which feeds on tree sap. Hemlock woolly adelgid damage can be difficult to detect because the insects are active in the winter months, when most other insects are dormant. Most of them won’t develop wings to fly to other areas, so the wind, birds and even humans move them naturally. It’s important to understand how dangerous these insects are so you can take action if they become a problem with your trees.

Understand the Seriousness of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

The hemlock woolly adelgid not only feeds off the tree sap, but it also injects a toxin into the tree. This toxin damages the tree’s vascular system and can kill the tree if not treated timely. However, trees may not show any signs of damage or poor health for several years. The progression of hemlock woolly adelgid damage is slow and could take up to ten years to show any visible signs. However, if you notice the insect, it’s best to treat them right away.

Identifying Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Even though the hemlock woolly adelgid is active in the winter, they’re easiest to identify in the late spring months. When new tree branches grow, the perfect places for these insects are right where the needles meet the stem. The more insects you have on your trees, the more sap will get sucked out and will eventually cause your tree to starve.

Treatment Options

The best time to look at hemlock woolly adelgid treatment is immediately after you spot them. While spraying hemlocks may seem like the best option, treating the soil is actually most effective. It’s important to note that treating the soil can take several months before you notice any change. If you notice a large amount of insects, it may be most effective to combine the soil treatment with a spray. 

There may not be a more dangerous insect to hemlock trees than the hemlock woolly adelgid. However, the good thing is they can be treated effectively if caught early enough. Since the health of your trees is important, you may want to call on a local tree expert to help you identify the insect and make recommendations on your treatment options.

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