Oak Leaf Pest Identification

Written by melissa monks
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Oak Leaf Pest Identification
An oak can live for up to 400 years, but pests can shorten the tree's lifespan (oak tree image by Zlatko Ivancok from Fotolia.com)

A stately, established oak is certainly an impressive tree. But unfortunately even an oak can be plagued by pests. Pest damage to an oak's leaves can range from curled leaves to discoloured dead spots.

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Oak Leaf Aphids

Oak leaf aphids are light green, round bodied insects that feed on the undersides of red and white oak leaves. Primarily found in the eastern United States, they cause distorted, curled leaves and their waste, called honeydew, attracts damaging black moss.

Oak Lace Bug

Oak lace bugs can be found on white oaks from Alabama and the Carolinas to southern Canada. They have small bodies and broad transparent wings and their nymphs are black and spiny. These pests cause dead spots on the upper sides of leaves as well as partial defoliation.

Peridical Cicada

Periodical cicadas are heavy bodied insects with transparent wings that tend to gather on oaks in the eastern United States. Females are all black on top while males have orange-brown abdominal segments. Females puncture twigs and small branches in order to lay their eggs. As a result of the damage, the punctured wood dies.

Lecanium Scales

Lecanium scales are found throughout the United States. Females are circular, somewhat tortoise shaped, and range in colour from tan to brown. The damage caused by lecanium scales shows up in limp trees with branch or crown dieback.

Gouty Oak Gall

Gouty oak gall is caused by a small, black cynipid wasp found on scarlet, red, pin, water, and black oaks. The wasp injects chemicals into the woody parts of the tree that promote the growth of large, knobby structures. These structures, or galls, can dominate the tree and cause damage and death.

Oak Apple Gall

Oak apple gall infects red, black, and scarlet oaks. It is caused by a small, dark cynipid wasp that injects a chemical into the mid rib or stem of oak leaves that causes a fibrous growth.

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