Potato leafhoppers arriving now in NC nurseries to feed on red maples

Hopper burn on red maple leaves from potato leafhopper feeding. Photo: Danny Lauderdale, NCSU Extension.

Potato leafhoppers damage more than 200 kinds of plants but for nursery growers the most costly damage occurs on red maples. Potato leafhoppers migrate north from the gulf coast each year and Danny Lauderdale has been capturing them this week in nurseries.

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.

Potato leafhopper on a yellow sticky card used for monitoring. Photo: Danny Lauderdale, NCSU Extension.

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.

2017-06-15T10:46:42-04:00 May 16th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Steve Frank
I am broadly interested in the ecology and management of arthropod pests. Herbivorous arthropods cause extraordinary damage to plants in agricultural, urban, and natural ecosystems. Understanding interactions between pests and their environment, plant hosts, and natural enemies can improve management practices and reduce pesticide applications.