Beware, insects and fungus will be in full force sooner than we think. And with them comes the real possibility of trouble for your trees unless you know how to recognize and stop plant-damaging pests from destroying your valuable and beautiful landscape plants.

Here are some of the most common insect types that can threaten the health and life of your plants. We’ve also included the telltale signs of an invasion, as well as a treatment option for each pest problem. 


Region:  All

Signs: Irregular brown spots on leaves, distorted and tattered leaves

Remedy: Remove dead, fallen leaves, and treat with fungicide, as necessary.


Region: All

Signs: Wilted leaves, dying shoots and buds, and a sticky goo (honeydew excretions) that attracts sooty mold, flies, yellow jackets and bees

Remedy: A control product or horticultural oil should be applied depending on plant type and preference.

Lace Bugs

Region: West All

Signs: Stippled and mottled yellow foliage, tar-like spots on the underside of leaves, dying branches, and reduced flowering

Remedy: Clear away damaged foliage, replace susceptible plant varieties, and apply an insecticide, if desired.


Region: All

Signs: Yellow mottled foliage, premature leaf dropping, and dead or dying leaves, branches and limbs

Remedy: Treatment should be applied at the first sign and strong plant health care practices, such as proper watering and pruning, should be followed.


Region: Florida

Signs: Leaf dropping, plant loss, and a sticky goo (honeydew excretions) that attracts sooty mold

Remedy: Will require product application to the surrounding soil. 

Wood-Boring Insects

Region: All

Signs: Sawdust-like deposits, tiny holes in bark, wilting foliage, weak plant canopy, and dying branches

Remedy: Healthy trees and frequent monitoring are the best fix for these pervasive pests, including proper pruning, watering and fertilization.

There are a variety of other pests that pose serious risks to the health of your trees. If you see signs of concern, contact an arborist, a tree care expert, to fully diagnose possible pest problems and provide a comprehensive plant health care and treatment plan.

Photo courtesy of Davey Tree.

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