Sometimes I get so focused on the yard work I’m doing that I miss a lot of what is happening on my property. But not my helper — a local neighbor boy. While clearing leaves for me recently, he came upon an “infestation.” He’s used this word before with the weeds on my property and this time he was right — again.
He took me to the subject tree to show me what was happening. From afar it looked like the tree had dead blossoms on it but once I got closer I could see what he was talking about.
Not a pretty sight, eh? The leaves look like there is something poking through them. It can be considered pretty if it was natural to the leaf but it’s not so it goes into the ugly category. Although — since it’s “natural in nature” could it be considered pretty then? Too philosophical for me …
A search on the internet educated me that, although the mite distorts the appearance of the leaf, it does no harm to the tree itself. There is no remedy for it either unless you kill the mite right as the leaf is ready to open. I don’t think that will be on my list of things to do next spring.
There are other similar mites such as the sugar maple spindlegall that also infest trees.
The mites overwinter under loose bark and pruned or scarred branches. They are not easy to detect either except with a microscope. No — I don’t plan on hunting for one so you don’t have to send me one.
So — it is what it is. Another Minnesota insect that has come into my life. I doubt the insect education will stop here.