Brood X: Cicadas and What to Do About Them

Brood X – we’ve heard this ominous-sounding title and seen close-up photos of cicadas in the media for months now. After all the fanfare, the cicadas have finally arrived and they’ve certainly lived up to all the hype. Maybe you’ve seen them sitting on your trees, or maybe you’ve seen a pile of exoskeletons in your yard. The point is, they’re here, and by “here” we mean “everywhere.”

How long are the cicadas going to be around?

Since the cicadas have already made themselves quite at home in our yards, you may be wondering how long to expect them to stick around. The good news is, we’re in the home stretch. Within the next few weeks, the cicadas will likely begin to gradually disappear. Experts predict that by the end of July, populations will be significantly reduced.

Is there anything we should be doing to protect our trees?

Although they may not have the prettiest faces, cicadas are essentially harmless to humans. While they can cause damage to young trees, especially ones with very fine branches, most of your landscape trees shouldn’t be significantly impacted by cicadas. What little damage does occur is often cosmetic and poses little risk to the overall health of the trees. Healthy, mature trees are typically able to overcome the stress caused by cicada breeding activity, especially with some extra TLC.

If you do have a small, young tree which is important to your landscape, you can protect it by using netting around the crown to protect against cicada damage. **Be careful not to leave the netting on for too long, as these can lead to foliar diseases. If  you do decide to install netting, make sure to remove it once the egg-laying period is over (listen for when the cicada buzzing stops).

If you’ve considered planting new trees this year, you may want to wait until fall to plant.

We do not recommend using pesticides on cicadas, as they are not effective on these insects. Additionally, applying pesticides can harm beneficial insects that naturally protect your trees and shrubs from harmful pests.

What to do when the coast is clear:

  1. Plant the trees you’ve been holding off on adding to your landscape
  2. Call us out to apply Bio-stimulants: Biostimulants are easily one of the best things you can do for your trees, and they’ll help your trees overcome any stress caused by cicadas (and many other factors!) much more quickly. Click here to learn more.
  3. Have us prune your trees: Removing any deadwood created by the cicadas will help your trees look better and stay healthy. We also recommend pruning within 6-7 weeks of the egg-laying phase (before they hatch) in order to reduce the population for the next emergence.
  4. Keep your trees hydrated: Summer is a stressful time for trees even in years when they’re not crawling with critters. To keep them in peak health (and therefore make them less susceptible to significant cicada damage), keep your trees adequately watered this summer. We have some watering tips for you, which will help prevent your trees from getting thirsty or overwatered.

Need some help caring for your trees this summer?

Call us at 703.573.3029

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