Aphids on Manitoba Maple Trees

Overview

The Manitoba maple tree can be found growing from the southern end of Manitoba, east to Ontario and as far south as New Mexico and Florida in the United States. This deciduous tree prefers areas such as swamplands, and the banks of rivers and streams. It is a fast-growing tree, and some consider it a weed tree. Aphids can be a problem for the Manitoba maple, and severe cases of aphid infestation require treatment.

Tree Characteristics

A mature Manitoba maple tree can reach a height of 23 to 40 feet, with a spread of approximately 36 feet. It tolerates most soil conditions, and does well in full sun to partial shade. The seeds of the Manitoba maple appear in autumn, and stay on the tree throughout the winter season.

Potential Problems

The Manitoba maple is known to have weakness in the branch crotch area that makes it susceptible to wind damage. Aphids and box elder beetles can also be a potential problem. Other possible problems are seeds falling from the tree invading nearby grass/garden beds, dieback, and an irregular growth pattern. The Manitoba maple is considered a nuisance tree by many gardeners/homeowners due to the amount of leaves that it sheds in the fall.

Aphids

There are over 350 species of aphids. They are a common pest that attacks a variety of plants and trees, including the Manitoba maple. The symptoms of an aphid infestation are leaf distortion on new growth, honeydew deposits, and sooty mold. Aphids are sapsuckers, which mean they suck the sap from plants, and can cause the leaves to curl up, wilt or die. The aphid excretes honeydew, which is waste material. Very often the honeydew is more of a problem than the aphid itself. It is a sticky substance, which is left on leaves and branches, patios and sidewalks. The honeydew also attracts other insects such as ants, yellow jacket wasps, flies and bees.

Sooty Mold

Large amounts of honeydew cause another problem--sooty mold. Sooty mold forms and grows on the honeydew. The sooty mold makes the tree's appearance even more unattractive. To avoid sooty mold the aphid infestation should be treated as soon as signs of aphids appear. This will limit the amount of honeydew present, and therefore limit the area on which sooty mold can grow.

Controlling Aphids

Aphids have natural enemies such as lady beetles, flower fly larvae, lacewing larvae and parasitic wasps. Very often these natural enemies take care of the problem, and you may not even notice that aphids are present. However, in severe cases (exposed aphids) can be controlled by the use of insecticides or insecticidal soaps. They can also be removed from the tree by spraying them with a strong jet of water.

Keywords: Manitoba maple tree, pests aphids controlling, insecticides aphid leaves

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.