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Trees/Something Eating My Almond Tree Leaves

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Question
Oklahoma City, OK area.  I have a Stark semi-dwarf 'All-In-One Almond' tree planted in the front yard that put on phenomenal growth this year (second year in our ground) with lots of foliage.  About a week ago I went out in the morning and virtually ALL the leaves, flesh & veins, on about half the new branches were gone!  All that was left was a short section of leaf stem where it attached to the new branch.  The other half of the new branches appeared untouched.  A Stark 'Hall's Hardy Almond' semi-dwarf planted about 20 feet from the affected tree had a very few leaves eaten on the lowest branches, but otherwise appears untouched.  I've inspected the attacked tree day & night looking for a culprit, but I've found nothing.  I use either Bayer 'Garden & Landscape' or Bonide 'Orchard' sprays on all the fruit & nut trees on a 7-10 day interval, and up until now it has kept the pests at bay. I realize that just having the leaves eaten will probably not stunt or seriously harm the tree since it is otherwise very strong & healthy, but it is bothersome.

Answer
Sounds  like Japanese Beetles. The adult beetles eat the leaves and flowers of over 300 plants by eating the tissue between the veins, a type of feeding called skeletonizing. The larvae, called white grubs, feed on plant roots and organic matter in the soil, especially under turfgrass. This feeding may result in dead patches of turf that can be picked up like a loose carpet.
The adults are a brilliant metallic green, generally oval in outline, 3/8 inch (8 to 11 mm) long and 1/4 inch (5 to 7 mm) wide. The wing covers are a coppery color and the abdomen has a row of five tufts of white hairs on each side that are diagnostic. The adult beetles normally emerge during the last week of June through July. The first beetles out of the ground seek out suitable food plants and begin to feed.

The adults can be controlled by spraying susceptible plants with insecticides. Over-the-counter pesticides available for this include: acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), and several pyrethroids - bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, and others. Applications of imidacloprid (=Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Concentrate) generally need to be made 20 days before anticipated Japanese beetle adult activity. During the heavy adult activity periods, sprays may be needed every 5 to 10 days.
Spray the foliage with the spray.

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Jim Hyland

Expertise

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.

Experience

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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