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Trees/Elm dopping ends of small branches


This question was already asked, but I noted the questioner said this happened in the Spring (which is the case with my tree) and the answer provided about the two potential bugs talked about dropping small branches in the late Summer/Fall.  I have picked up literally hundreds of these small branch ends in my yard this spring (and disposed of them) - worse than in past years.  Nothing like this happens in late summer/fall.  Is this the same pest talked about in the earlier answer?  Thank you!

If you are referring to twig girdlers then Yes it sounds like them.

Small branches accumulating on the ground and the presence of clean-cut twigs, and in some cases dangling (flagged) branch tips within a tree, indicate the presence of beetle pests referred to as twig girdlers and twig pruners. Both of these long-horned beetle species (Cerambycidae) attack numerous types of shade, nut and fruit trees. Heavily damaged trees appear ragged and unattractive, and young trees can become deformed by repeated attacks.

Common hosts of the twig girdler include persimmon, pecan, elm, hickory, oak, honeylocust, hackberry, poplar, linden, redbud, basswood, dogwood and various fruit trees.

These insect lay there eggs in the bark of a twig and then cut the twig below the egg laying site. The twig falls to the ground where the insect will mature. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed in the twig until mature.

Adult female twig girdler chews a V-shaped groove from the outside inward, leaving a ragged center where the twig breaks and a smooth cut on the outside near the bark.

The twig pruner chew through the wood from the inside outward, leaving a smooth cut on the inside of the twig with ragged edges near the bark where the twig breaks.

It really does not matter which beetle it is since the controls are the same. During the fall or winter, gather fallen branches from the ground and prune suspected infested branches still in the tree and burn them. This will destroy the population and greatly reduce or eliminate any damage the next year. The tree is not really damaged by these insect unless the cutting is severe and over several years.

Here is a web link to more information on twig girdlers.  


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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