Dave Mather The Twig Pruner

     Last month I described the "Twig Girdler" that infects a myriad of hardwood trees including the Red Oak. However, if you live in New England and your lawn is covered with twigs and branches from 20" to 40" long and with the leaves still attached, it is probably the "Twig Pruner" (Elaphidioniodes villosus) that is causing the mess. Like the "girdler", the "pruner" likes a host of hardwoods: Hickory, Maple, Oak, Hackberry, Locust, Pecan, Walnut, and others.
    The adult "pruner" is about an inch long and is slender, light brown with irregular patches of gray hairs on the dorsal surface. Emerging in spring, the adult deposits eggs in slits in the bark at leaf "axils" near the tips of twigs and small branches 1/4" to 2" in diameter. The larvae hatches and becomes .5" to .8" long, roundish shaped and white in color. They bore down the center of the stem toward the base until late summer. Eventually they make circular cuts heading outwards towards, but not through, the bark. The branch is basically hollowed out and this weakens it until it falls to the ground with the larvae still in it.
    Like the Twig Girdler, trees affected by the "pruner" may be seriously damaged but are usually not killed. Also, as with the "girdler," the most effective control is to gather and burn the fallen branches in the winter and fall.


© 2002 by David Mather. All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author.