Do your maple trees have gall mites? You may have noticed unsightly growths on the leaves of your silver or sugar maple trees this summer. Some folks have been coming into our Naperville shop telling us they have something that looks like chicken pox on their plants! Clusters of small, raised bumps that start out green and then turn red and black are the signs that gall mites have been building homes there. In some cases the galls cause leaves to turn yellow and fall prematurely. While looking alarming, the galls will not cause long-term harm to your tree. There is no need to treat for this condition; you simply need to wait for the process to take its course.
Eriophyid mites are often the culprits causing galls. Tiny enough to be invisible to the naked eye, these parasites are drawn to leaf buds in the spring before they open. They build the galls and then feed inside them and females lay eggs. Usually, by July the mite activity is finished for the season. Other causes of galls can be fungus or bacteria. More information about plant galls can be found at the Morton Arboretum website, http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/plant-clinic/help-pests/plant-galls
Some of our customers have asked about this and other conditions as a result of the excessive rain we’ve received this spring and summer. Be assured that plant galls can occur in any weather condition, and your maple trees should not be adversely affected. Sometimes young trees can show signs of deformed growth after an infestation. You can remove the affected branch if desired.
This year’s cool, wet weather has caused some concern about diseases affecting our trees and shrubs. We will talk about some of these and how to treat them in future blogs. Remember, your outdoor living space and the trees, shrubs and plants in them will bring you years of enjoyment and add value to your property. Taking a little time to maintain them will pay off for years to come.
For over 45 years, O’Donovan and Sons Landscaping has been designing, installing and maintaining residential landscapes in Naperville and surrounding areas. We can help you design and install your new outdoor living spaces. Call us at 630-355-3370 to schedule an appointment!