Tree and Shrub Pests

One problem all Southern California landscapers have in common is pests in the landscape. Diagnosing the problem early, use proper techniques to eradicate the pest will ensure that your plants remain healthy.

Pests come in a variety of forms, from insects to bacteria or fungi. Below are the most common pests:

  • Giant Whitefly, this insect lays eggs on the underside of the leaf. Both adult and larvae suck sap from the leaf. Signs of whitefly include top sides of leaves become pale or spotted, white webbing covers leaves, larvae on the underside of leaves.
  • Aphid, this insect usually clusters on stems and leaves. Aphids feed on plant sugars sucked from leaves, stems, and flower buds. Aphids will also attract ants. Signs of aphids include sooty mold, ants, or leaves become twisted or distorted.
  • Thrip, this insect can cause deformities in flowers, fruit, or foliage. Both young and adult Thrip feed by sucking out plant sap. Signs of Thrip include dull, grayish appearance, curling distorted leaves, flower drop.
  • Mealy bugs, this insect attacks leaves, twigs and roots. Signs include wax deposits, sooty mold on foliage, and ants.
  • Caterpillars, this insect chews or notches leaves. Signs are the caterpillar.
  • Spider mite, this insect spin loose webs on plants and reproduce rapidly. Signs of Spider mite are, injuries that look like light colored dots, leaves have a grey/green stippled appearance. Fine loose spider webs and ashy looking residue.

Landscape plants are vulnerable to a variety of diseases which are caused by:

  • Fungi
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Nematodes

Most disease causing agents are microscopic, these microorganisms cause:

  • Blights
  • Leaf spots
  • Leaf curling
  • Dying leaves

Although these tree and pests are small, the damage they cause is visible and diminishes the beauty of your property.


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