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What happens to a eaten leaf tree?

 
Andre Lemos
Posts: 49
Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Hello,

i've gotten a plague of grasshoppers and they've eaten all the leaves of some of the fruit trees. What happens to the tree when all their leaves are eaten?

Thanks
 
Michael Qulek
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Depending on the vigour of your trees, and the microclimate of your particular area, they'll resprount in a couple of weeks. A lot of it will depend on the severity of defoliation. Repeated defoliation will eventually kill the trees, but they might get through one defoliation OK.
 
Andre Lemos
Posts: 49
Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Hi Michael, it's very hot and dry right now, after a month those defoliated trees still don't have any leafs and all the trees were planted this March so they are baby trees. If no leafs resprout until mid September should i replace them?
 
Michael Qulek
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Andre Lemos wrote:Hi Michael, it's very hot and dry right now, after a month those defoliated trees still don't have any leafs and all the trees were planted this March so they are baby trees. If no leafs resprout until mid September should i replace them?
As long as the branches are still alive, I would wait. A live branch will bend rather than break. Scratch a branch with your fingernail or a knife blade and you should see a green cambial layer. If the branches just have a dry wood snap to them and there's no green, I'd say it's dead and replace it. As long as the branches are alive, I'd wait.

Here's one observation I've made on my own trees. I think there is some kind of hormonal signal that leaves give off that lets the rest of the tree know they're there. Trees with fully formed leaves devote growth to other things besides more leaves. Even decrepit almost-dead leaves appear to still produce this signal, so the tree doesn't produce new leaves to replace the decrepit ones. Once stripped off by hand though, the tree suddenly looses that signal, and immediately starts producing new growth.

That might work for you. If there are the chewed-off remains of damaged leaves, try stripping them off completely, right down to the basal stalks. That might be all it takes to cut off the "leaf present" signal.
 
Andre Lemos
Posts: 49
Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Michael, thank you very much for your time and advices. Will try them today.
 
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