Tree Infestation Identification Guide for Homeowners

You need to protect your trees against pests and diseases to keep them growing healthy and beautiful. The first step to controlling tree diseases and pests is knowing how to identify them. 

In this blog post, Knoxville’s professional tree removal company shares a simple tree infestation identification guide to help you detect the most common diseases and pests that plague your trees. 

tree infestation identification

Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetles feed on leaves and flowers of various trees like birch, linden, and crabapple. When they find a suitable tree to feed on, they release a scent to invite more beetles to the feast.

Female Japanese beetles lay eggs in the soil. These eggs hatch into grubs, a notorious lawn pest. But how can you identify their infestation?

These beetles feed on leaf tissue between the veins, leaving a skeletonized leaf. They also often eat large holes in flower petals. 

Powdery Mildew

If you notice a substance like white talcum powder on your tree leaves, you could be dealing with powdery mildew. This tree leaf disease spreads in patches or spots and primarily results from the Microsphaera fungi. This infection thrives in hot, dry weather and mostly affects succulent plants. 

Emerald Ash Borer

Our tree infestation identification guide can’t be complete without mentioning emerald ash borer. This metallic green beetle invades and kills all kinds of ash trees, often resulting in tree death within two to four years after initial infestation. 

An emerald ash borer-infested tree often exhibits a thin or dying crown and inconsistent growth along its trunk. If you inspect the trunk closely, you might notice distinctive small “D” shaped holes – that’s where the pest exited the tree. 

Leaf Spot

This fungi infection leads to reddish-brown spotting that rots holes in your tree’s foliage. It spreads fast during cool, wet spring weather when your tree develops new foliage. 

Leaf spot tree disease is particularly unforgiving to ornamental cherry trees. Infected leaves often develop spots and turn brown or yellow before dropping off the tree. 


Bagworms feed on the leaves of various trees and shrubs. They start feeding immediately after hatching, usually in May or June. 

Bagworm larvae create bag-like structures that cover the entire body. Each larva pupates in its bag. Adult males will then come out of their pupal cases and fly in search of females for mating. 

Subsequently, the female lays eggs in the bag and lives through the winter on a tree or shrub. The eggs will hatch into larvae in spring, and the cycle continues. 

If you have a bagworm infestation, you’ll notice chewed tree and shrub leaves and defoliated branches. You might also see one to three-inch-long bags hanging from the branches. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

If you need help with tree infestation identification, talk to the experts at Pro Tree of Knoxville. We provide a wide range of services, including:

  • Tree trimming and pruning
  • Tree removal
  • Emergency tree services

Contact us at (865)-294-0062 for a free estimate or to learn about the common sign a tree needs to be removed in Knoxville, TN.

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