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What is eating my apple tree?

 
Jon Elliot
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I planted some apple trees from 2-3 yr old nursery stock for the first time this spring. They are mulched beyond the drip line, and I've been making sure they get about 2-5 gallons of water/week. They were doing ok, but recently I'm starting to see what looks like something eating away at the leaves (see attached picture). The month of June and beginning of July was quite wet/rainy. Does anyone have any idea what this is?
2013-07-16 08.17.07.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2013-07-16 08.17.07.jpg]
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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Jon,

It looks a lot like our 4 saplings; which, are under attack by Japanese Beetles. We are in central VA, they were a problem last year also.
 
Joe Skeletor
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Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
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Looks like Japanese Beetle damage to me. They seem to prefer certain varieties like honeycrisp every single year. Smash them if you see them.
 
wayne stephen
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Japanese beetles ! We have thousands of them . This year they are not bothering my trees or annuals. They are congregating on the milkweed plants almost exclusively - by the thousands. Go milkweed!
 
Cortland Satsuma
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Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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@Wayne,

Milkweed you say...which type do you have (or pic is good)? I can try planting a cover crop away from my 4 apples which are a mix.
 
wayne stephen
steward
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Common milkweed . Asclepias syriacus. The beetles are very sedate on these plants . I do not see much damage to the leaves. Perhaps milkweed is an opiate to the beetles or the leaves are thick enough to withstand heavy feeding ?
 
Jon Elliot
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Go figure, this is actually a honeycrisp! I have confirmed that it is Japanese Beetles, I saw a ton of them congregating there the other day. Should I plant the milkweed away from the tree, so that it acts as a trap for the beetles? And then just collect and kill them? If I plant it too close will it attract more of them? Out of curiosity are there any natural predators of these beetles? Will ducks/chickens eat them if fed to?

Thanks for all your responses!
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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@ Wayne

Thank You! Not sure about either question...

@Jon

Yes chickens will eat them. My Roosters run around chasing them down! It is rather funny to watch them jump up and get them mid-air. As to where to plant the milk weed, I personally am going with away from the apples and near the Roosting areas. For the record, my apples (to date) are Winesap Jonathan, Honeycrisp, Cortland.
 
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