A Japanese maple tree creates a striking focal point in any landscape, and can also be grown in a container or used to create a unique Bonsai specimen. However you choose to grow them you will need to know how to get rid of pests on a Japanese maple tree because Japanese beetles, aphids, mites, and scale are fond of this lovely tree.
This compact-growing with colorful frilly leaves is at its’ most brilliant color in autumn, that is if you can prevent pests from devouring the leaves. Inspect your Japanese maple tree often for any signs of pest infestation. Use these tips to get rid of the pests so you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of your Japanese maple for decades.
These pests are leaf-feeders and are common pests that love the taste of the frilly red leaves of a Japanese maple tree.
Adult Japanese beetles are a half-inch (1.25 cm) long and have shiny, metallic-green bodies and bronze wings. They have six tufts of white hairs along each side. The adults gather in groups on the leaves on sunny days and leave nothing but the skeletal veins of the leaf when they get done feasting on it.
The larvae are referred to as grubs or white grubs, have a brown head and grayish-black rear end. They are shaped like the letter ‘C’ and are 1-inch (2.5 cm) long with hair on the last body segment that forms a ‘V’ shape.
The pupae are half-inch (1.25 cm) long and start out cream color and become reddish-brown as they age.
The eggs of the Japanese beetle are white, oval, and very tiny. They will double in size and become round as they develop.
The eggs are laid in the ground and pose no danger to plants until they reach the grub stage. At that time they begin feeding on plant roots until they reach adulthood and search out plant foliage.
Tips to remove Japanese Beetles
The best way to get rid of Japanese beetles is to hand-pick them off your maple tree (or any other plant) and drop them in a bucket of soapy water so they will drown. Do this first thing in the morning to before the sun shines on the pests and they become active.
You can place netting over the tree during the most active summer months to prevent an infestation.
Spray tree with insecticidal soap or castor oil and spray the soil around the tree with a natural bacteria that will target the grubs. An application of milky spore or Bacillus thuringiensis will usually rid the soil of grubs.
Plant some Japanese bettles repellent plants near the tree, like catnip, smartweed, morning glory, or mallow.
These sap-sucking pests are the size and shape of a grain of rice. They congregate on the underside of the leaves and along tender new stem growth and suck the sap out, leaving disfigured leaves and stunted branch growth in their wake.
Inspect the underside of tree leaves and also look for ant activity. Ants ‘farm’ aphids to provide food for them in the form of a secretion called ‘honeydew’ that the ants love to eat. It’s a symbiotic relationship, so where there are aphids, there will be ants.
Tips to remove aphids
Blast aphids off the Japanese maple tree with a water hose.
Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water and saturate the aphids.
Neem oil gets rid of aphids, apply as needed to the underside of leaves.
These are tiny round pests that are red or black with eight legs that rapidly move across the leaves. They infest Japanese maples in large numbers and suck the sap out of the leaves. The tree leaves become stippled and turn bronze, red, or yellow and fall from the tree.
Tips to remove mites
Blast them off with a water hose.
Apply Neem oil every two weeks during the summer.
Keep tree well-watered and fed so it will be healthy and better able to fend off the effects of a mite infestation.
Scale does not have a definable body or head, it looks like a small white circle on the tree limbs,trunk, and foliage. These pests resemble fish scales and will quickly cover the tree.
The infestations are heavy and can cause severe damage to trees if left untreated. Scale pierces the tree with a sharp mouth part and sucks the sap from the entire tree.
Tips to remove scale
Blast tree with water hose, let dry, and apply neem oil.
Use tape traps to capture scale.
Apply ant killer around the tree. Ants and scale have a symbiotic relationship and the ants will protect scale from their natural predators, like beetles.