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Tent caterpillar / Fall webworm damage permanent?

Posted by Colin Lundy 
Tent caterpillar / Fall webworm damage permanent?
August 25, 2015 09:53PM
Tent caterpillar / Fall webworm have been worse this year than most. I usually cut off affected branches and destroy them, however I did not get to them on time this year. Are these branches dead? Should they be removed? Or should I just leave them; is it possible the tree has secondary buds waiting to sprout on these branches next year?

Colin Lundy
Colonial Inn Orchard
North Gower, Ontario
Zone 5a (Canada)
Zone 3b (USDA)
Re: Tent caterpillar / Fall webworm damage permanent?
September 10, 2015 12:38PM
Yes, very likely the tree will re-sprout from those defoliated branches. You will need to decide if you want to keep them for structure and fruiting purposes or if they can be pruned out for continued training purposes anyway.

Gently scratch the outer layer of the branches in question with your fingernail or a sharp blade and you shoud see the green cambium layer reveal itself. If you dont, and it is brown or seems brittle, the branch has indeed died back and can be removed.

Do the removal now or in the winter, if they are dead. The removal now will give the trees a little time to heal over the cuts and harden off before the first freezes arrive. You are in Zone 3b though, so you will need to decide if it is safe to do so at this time.

Good luck

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
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