Friday, May 23, 2008

Landscape and Nursery - Psyllid Damage to River Birch

The following is information of psyllid damage on river birch. Psyllids or 'jumping plant lice' are small phloem feeding insects (feed on food transporting vessels in plants) and can cause considerable damage.

River birch has been recommended as a nearly problem free tree, and in most cases that is true. We have, however, had a few come into the UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic in the past couple of weeks, with psyllid damage. The damage is seen as a darkening of young terminal shoots and a twisting or distortion of the leaves, first suspected to be disease. Upon examination with a hand lens or stereoscope, psyllids and sometimes aphids were noted. Control may not be necessary. Plants can tolerate feeding and populations will decline naturally, although distorted leaves will persist. Psyllids may be controlled by spraying with neem oil, hort oil, or insecticidal soap.

Nancy Gregory, Extension Plant Diagnostician, UD

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