Houzz Logo Print

KC...Wafer Ash Trees and Potato Leaf Hoppers...Info for Others

Cathy Brouse
5 months ago

Hey KC, I hoping that you still drop in here every once in awhile. If you want to make an attempt at trying to eliminate the PLH's from your water ash trees, you'd better hop :) on it right now. I noticed that since we had a shower last night they've shown up, not terribly, but the population is higher than it was the last time I checked within the last week. Just today I decided that I was going to get on top of this problem this year, so I started this morning. It took me about an hour to get two trees done, going about it systematically.

I have about a dozen wafer ash, ranging from 4 feet to about 8 feet tall. I don't want to let them get taller than that or it would be pretty impossible to manage them, also a lot of GST eggs and ETST eggs would be pretty impossible to find. I want to keep these trees low enough that I won't have to be climbing up on a ladder.

I started with one of the main branches, starting at the base of it and work my way towards the tip of each branch. Of course, with each leaf cluster I come to, I first CHECK to see if any Giant Swallowtail or Eastern Tiger Swallowtail eggs have been laid before I go pulling off any leaves. It seems like the leaves closest to the main trunk are the most yellow and/or brown. I pull those off. I went through, smashing hoppers as I went. After smashing the pests on each cluster of leaves, I threw them on the ground at the base of the tree, figuring they'd help hold in the moisture for the's been extremely here.

The morning dew made it easy to slide my thumb and forefinger right down along the main vein, which is where most of the hoppers were hanging out. It was easy to annihilate them, as I think they were half asleep that early and none of them made much of an attempt to do their sidestep.

I kept pulling off the ugliest leaves from each of my two trees I did today (tomorrow another two and the next day another two....). The ugliest leaves on the trees (mine anyway) are towards the inside of the tree. I took those off, leaving the nicest ones towards the ends of each branch. By eliminating a lot of the leaves, I'm limiting the number of leaves that I have to spend on doing my bi-weekly checks for those dreaded little leaf hoppers. (By the way, at some point, I realized that those are the same darn little things that come in the house at night (attracted to lights), and those things BITE! ... another reason to wipe them out).

I might have to start out with daily wafer ash leaf checking until I get the situation under control I wanted to get your attention here so that you can hopefully try to keep one step ahead of the LH's so you can have nice leaves to feed your Giants.

I plan on continuing to keep my wafer ash trees low AND to monitor them for leafhoppers and of course cat eggs. Yesterday I watched a video on You Tube on how to prune Paw Paw trees (I've left mine go and have to play catch-up), which gave me the basic idea of how to go about managing my wafer ash trees.

Btw, I forget...have you planted Paw Paws for the Zebras? My trees are about ten years old and I have yet to see any butterflies or cats here, but I'm hoping to someday. They seem to be moving north...unless it's my wishful imagination. I think I remember of someone in my county (Snyder( reporting them, but I might ask the butterfly coordinator on BAMONA for a verification on that.

Just in case I need a backup, I have my tennis racket at the ready like you told me that you do with the leafhoppers there. :)

Also, thanks for contacting your friends about the butterfly cage I had made years ago and wanted to give away. After posting about it on the PA butterfly facebook group, a nice woman (master gardener) got in touch with me and came and got it. It found a good home in western PA to teach others about Monarchs and possibly other butterflies. I think that the woman had said that it will only be used for a month out of the year, but better that than it sitting in storage here. I'm not young and it's gotten unwieldy to move in and out of the building that I keep it in. Also, the mice must be able to smell that there were butterflies in it (I'm guessing) because they chewed holes in the screen that I had to repair.

I hope your summer is going well and that it's not as dry there as it has been here. Oh, and I hope that your NJ Tea bushes have been growing for you. Mine are nice and healthy looking, so apparently they tolerate drought well because I haven't watered them at all.