As you may have heard, cicadas can damage small trees (like wimpy ornamentals) as they lay their eggs in the branches. The Chicago Sun-Times has a good article titled Arbor Day takes cover against cicada swarm, that will give folks with wimpy trees strategies for dealing with the upcoming emergence. If you’re concerned, read the article.
- Use netting to protect trees. If you start looking now, you can probably find some at a local garden supply store. Beat the rush.
- Delay plantings until July.
- Don’t use pesticides. It isn’t worth it. Bee populations are in bad shape so we don’t want to do any collateral damage to other species. After 11 years of running this web site, I’ve heard a few stories about family pets dying after consuming pesticide covered cicadas or grass. Don’t do it!
- Spray them off with a garden hose.
- Foil around the trunk (to keep them from crawling up).
- Insect barrier tape.
- Bagpipes (no joke, it worked at my friend’s wedding).
- Native species of trees, like oak and maples, fare much better against cicadas because they’ve co-evolved for 100’s of centuries. Wimpy ornamentals from Asia fare a lot worse. Plant only proud, American trees.
Big, strong trees will see some damage, but they take it in stride: