Potato leafhoppers feed and oviposit on red maple leaves, buds, and meristems. This results in cupping and stunting of expanding leaves, death of apical buds, and browned and necrotic leaf margins, referred to as “hopperburn”. Loss of apical dominance causes “witches-broom” growth that requires extra pruning and training a new leader to correct.
Monitor for potato leafhopper with yellow sticky traps to time pesticide applications. Pyrethroids or other insecticides can be applied bi-weekly once adult leafhoppers arrive. Systemic neonicotinoid insecticides applied as a drench before leafhopper arrival can reduce leafhopper damage for a year or more.
For more information take a look at our free books on nursery production of maples and other trees. An article on maple pest management in Journal of Integrated Pest Management also addresses this and other pests.