If your Hemlock trees appear to be growing white woolly fuzz underneath them, there’s a good chance your tree is infested with the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid targets Hemlocks almost exclusively, so it’s important to first verify that your tree is a Hemlock and not a fir tree. Hemlocks have much shorter needles than most, measuring only about half an inch in length. Like firs, Hemlocks have flat needles that cannot be rolled between the fingers like spruces and pines, but they are tapered in shape, wider at the bottom and narrowing to a rounded tip instead of a consistent width like firs.
What is the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid?
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an Asian insect that is very similar to an aphid. The nymphs and adults feed on the tree’s sap, causing the tree to drop its needles. Left untreated, this pest can kill a tree in under a year.
Spotting the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
If you have Hemlock Trees, you will want to inspect them fairly regularly for these pests to ensure you can save the tree. One of the early signs that your tree may be in trouble is the needles turning from a healthy, dark green to a grayish green. If you inspect underneath the needles, you will notice white, fuzzy insects attached to the needles. These are not to be confused with scale, which have a waxy texture and appearance and leave both brown and white spots.
Managing the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Prevention is the best cure. Move birdfeeders away from your Hemlock trees to discourage the animals that often spread the adelgid from tree to tree such as birds, squirrels and deer. Once an infestation is present, eggs and adults can often be sprayed off with water. Pruning heavily infested branches is also beneficial. The tree should be sprayed with a horticultural oils. They are effective, and safe. A Licensed Tree Expert can treat your trees for you.
Call Precision Tree & Landscape Today for Help With Your Hemlock Trees