Problems of Sassafrass

Trees defoliated, brown egg cases appear on trunk
Larvae Of Gypsy Moth - Gypsy moth caterpillars grow from about 1/16 inch long at hatching to about 2-1/2 inches long by the time they become pupae. Mature larvae are covered with black hairs and have 5 pairs of blue spots and 6 pairs of red spots along the back. In July, they encase themselves in brown shells to pupate. Trees infested with gypsy moths may be defoliated. Gypsy moth larvae are often confused with the eastern tent caterpillar and fall webworm, both of which make silken tents in trees. Gypsy moths do not make tents. Look for the distinctive tan egg masses on trunks and branches, under your roof eaves, and other protected spots. The eggs look like little gold pearls. Crush these or drop them into a pail of water mixed with kerosene.

Leaves Spotted or Blotched
Fungal Leaf Spots - Many kinds of leaf spots are caused by fungi that thrive on moist leaf surfaces and cause transparent to brown or black spots that disfigure the leaves. Some fungal spots are surrounded by flecks or black dots, their spore-bearing fruiting bodies. Often spots come together to form larger patches of dead tissue. Pick off and discard infected leaves. Remove dead leaves to reduce overwintering spore populations.

White Coating on Leaves
Powdery Mildew - A fungus that develops primarily on the tops of Sassafrass leaves causes it. These whitish blotches form well into the growing season. While this fungus makes trees look unattractive, it is not truly harmful.

Holes in leaves, spring, buds eaten, brown blotches at leaf tips
Sassafras Weevils - Sassafras weevils are beetles about 1/4 inch long. They vary in color from light to dark brown, with striations on the wing covers. They feed on Sassafrass foliage during the day, damaging the edges of the leaves. At night they find shelter under tree bark and in yard debris. When startled while feeding, they will drop suddenly to the ground. Disturb tree branches and catch the dropping weevils in a cloth spread on the ground underneath the tree.

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