I have two cherry trees that are growing wonderfully. However, I have noticed that something is eating the leaves. Is there an organic product I can use to control this?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Millie: We know that spring has arrived when the cherry trees bloom and begin to leaf out. This is the time of year when the insects that have over-wintered on plant debris are ready to start feeding. There are many organic products that will help with insect problems when used at the right time, but good sanitation practices will also help keep the populations down. Fall cleanup is important so that the insects have no shelter in fallen leaves or other plant material. As for the current insect feeding on your trees, it is hard to say not being able to see your trees. This time of year the most common problem is the tent caterpillar. They feed early in the morning and at night, so we will not see them during the day but look for the tent-like silk webs usually found in the crotch of the tree. The caterpillars are protected inside the tent, but if you can reach and destroy the web you will be ahead of the game in terms of control I cannot be certain that the tent caterpillars are the culprit, and it is important to know exactly what you are dealing with. Take a sample of the foliage to your County Cooperative Extension Service and have your horticulture/agriculture agent diagnose the problem for you. They will be able to give you organic control options.