In the late 1980’s, Elm leaf beetle (Xanthogaleruca luteola) was accidentally introduced to Australia and has since spread in numbers large enough to have a huge detrimental impact on the Elm Tree population. It migrated to Adelaide in Spring 2010 and has become an ongoing issue throughout Adelaide and in particular, the Adelaide Hills.
The Elm Leaf Beetle feeds on Elm Trees and in less than 6 months, can cause a large Elm Tree to be left looking unattractive with hole-ridden leaves, they can lose all of their leaves, or in worst-case scenarios – the health of the tree could become so poor that the increased susceptibility to environmental stresses could cause it to die.
The symptoms of an Elm Leaf Beetle infestation will not be evident until later in the season, when it is too late to treat. Once those leaves have completely dropped, the new leaves will grow again in Spring, but the tree will be more susceptible to another ‘attack’ and the general health will continue to deteriorate.
Although most Elm Trees in Adelaide and the Hills are prone to Elm Leaf Beetle damage, and we certainly can treat these trees, the chances of reducing the damage can also be improved by ensuring the health of the tree is kept as good as possible.
A few ways to ensure your trees stay healthy are:
- Use a slow release fertiliser in late winter.
- Ensure the tree is watered in hot/dry conditions.
- Mulch around the base of the tree to help improve soil condition and to help keep the moisture in the soil.
Elm Leaf Beetle treatment:
One of our tree care/management procedures is the treatment of Elm Leaf Beetles.
The treatment method we use is effective for 2-3 years and is carried out by our qualified arborist. It is the direct injection of insecticides and/or fungicides into the trunk of the tree, where it is then transported to the leaves, which are ingested by the beetles and larvae.
The ideal time of year for this treatment is late winter through to late spring.
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