Potato Leafhoppers Arriving to Feed on Red Maples

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Original posted on ecoipm.org.

Potato leafhoppers damage more than 200 kinds of plants but for nursery growers the most costly damage occurs on red maples. Potato leafhoppers migrate north from the gulf coast each year and Danny Lauderdale has been capturing them this week in nurseries.

Potato leafhoppers feed and oviposit on red maple leaves, buds, and meristems. This results in cupping and stunting of expanding leaves, death of apical buds, and browned and necrotic leaf margins, referred to as “hopperburn”.  Loss of apical dominance causes “witches-broom” growth that requires extra pruning and training a new leader to correct.

Potato leafhopper on a yellow sticky card used for monitoring. Photo: Danny Lauderdale, NCSU Extension.

Potato leafhopper on a yellow sticky card used for monitoring. Photo: Danny Lauderdale, NCSU Extension.

Monitor for potato leafhopper with yellow sticky traps to time pesticide applications.  Pyrethroids or other insecticides can be applied bi-weekly once adult leafhoppers arrive. Systemic neonicotinoid insecticides applied as a drench before leafhopper arrival can reduce leafhopper damage for a year or more.

For more information take a look at our free books on nursery production of maples and other trees. An article on maple pest management in Journal of Integrated Pest Management also addresses this and other pests.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Steven FrankDr. Steven FrankAssociate Professor and Extension Specialist (919) 515-8880 steven_frank@ncsu.eduEntomology and Plant Pathology - NC State University
Updated on May 16, 2017
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