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Plant Diseases/maple tree bark damage

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Question
I just noticed the bark damage on my japanese maple tree.  I removed a piece of the bark and noticed a large amount of dark bugs.  How do I get ride of these bugs asap.  My tree is 5yrs old and I never had this problem before.

Answer
Dear Sandy, I am not sure if you have Japanese beetles, aphids, or another pest, but don't worry.  I can tell you how to get rid of them.  The first thing you must do with any infestation of this type is check the rest of the bark for loose areas, trim any bark as needed, and thoroughly clean up any fallen leaves/twigs that are on the ground.  The best thing to spray with would be either Spinosad or NEEM, both organic ingredients.  These would be listed under "active ingredients".  If the bugs are beetles, or something that looks like a beetle I would use the Spinosad.  This ingredient will kill anything that feeds on your tree.  If you have aphids or some other soft bodied bug I would use the NEEM, which will smother the bugs.  You can spray every day or every few days with either of these ingredients.  If you are not sure which chemical to use, you can even combine the two.  Be sure to spray the entire tree, starting with the trunk and all of the bark, then spreading out to branches and leaves.  You should be able to get rid of these bugs fairly quickly.  Above all, make sure you thoroughly inspect and trim the trunk first, and clean up any debris.  I hope this information helps.  Be sure to let me know if you need more assistance, or if you have more questions.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston

Expertise

Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.

Experience

35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Organizations
Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

Publications
none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Education/Credentials
Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of Allexperts.com and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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