Spruce sawfly emerging

Submitted Photo

As if drought and an especially hard winter weren’t enough, some spruce trees are now being attacked by spruce sawfly larvae. Although they look like very small, stripped, hairless caterpillars, they are the immature stage of a small wasp. They are very small, being similar in size and coloration to the spruce needles. This makes finding them a little more difficult. But browning of needles and short chewed needles are sure signs they are present. Trees which were affected in previous years are highly likely to be attacked again, so start checking for sawfly larvae on them. Trees which are attacked for a number of years may be killed, so control is recommended.

On yard trees which are smaller, a hard stream of water directed on the tree will wash them off. They are very weak climbers and will likely die on the ground. On larger trees or where multiple trees in shelter belts are infested, control is recommended. Insecticidal soaps, Spinosad and horticultural oils are all effective and are less injurious to bees and none target insects. Sevin, Permethrin, Malathion and Orthene are insecticides that are all labeled for insecticide control.

Read the Label!

Controlling weeds in lawns can be a challenge. Sadly, it sometimes isn’t a “one and done” proposition with the tough to control weeds such as black medic, Canada thistle and white clover. It may take a second application of an approved herbicide to obtain control of these weeds. But, no matter what chemical you are using, always read the label.

The label will give all the information needed to safely and effectively use a product, It will give needed information on what weeds are controlled, rates to mix in water, safety measures and clothing to use, and much more.

“IF A LITTLE IS GOOD, A LOT IS BETTER.” Unfortunately, this statement is practiced in weed control. It should never be used!!! Over application can damage or kill trees, shrubs, annual and perennial flowers, as well as gardens. Some herbicides not only kill when they land on plant leaves, but also are carried into the ground with water and can damage or kill weeds or your yard plants and trees by root uptake of the herbicide. And they can injure or kill a long time after they were applied. Sometimes a year or more later.

Buy a glass measuring cup to accurately measure the correct amount of any pesticide use. Rinse the cup with clean water after measuring chemicals, and pour the rinse water into the sprayer. Clearly mark the cup “For Yard Use Only.” By using a measuring cup, you are applying the amount that the company found through their research, to be the best amount to use for control without damaging other desirable plants. And you will have good weed control and still have healthy yard flowers, trees and shrubs.

And only use chemicals labeled for yard use. I have gotten questions about using some field crop herbicides in yards that can be very damaging to trees, shrubs and flowers. Only use products labeled for lawn and home use and not farm use. Product warranties are void if the product is not used according to label directions. And off label use may open a person up to legal liability.


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