Though the visually striking evergreen Italian cypress tree creates a strong presence, they are not so strong when it comes to pests. Commonly affected by pest infestations of mites and aphids, the clean, narrow, vertical lines Italian cypresses add to your home landscape may be in danger due to the potential destruction pests can cause. Provide appropriate care and consistent observation to keep insects at bay.
Well cared for, vigorous Italian cypress trees (Cupressus sempervirens) have a greater likelihood of avoiding, fighting off and recuperating from insect problems. Insect control is best established when plants are maintained. Grow Italian cypress trees in areas that provide full sunlight and well-drained soil, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension..
Italian cypresses are highly susceptible to infestations of spider mites. These trees are also sometimes invaded by arborvitae aphids. Spider mites are inconspicuous due to their small size of up to 1/50 inch, according to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Spider mites display round bodies in a variety of colors include green, red, yellow or brown. Arborvitae aphids are easier to spot with a length measuring up to 1/8 inch, according to the Oklahoma State University Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology. Arborvitae aphids display brown bodies partially covered with a white-hued wax that they secrete. Identify the insect infesting your tree before employing control methods.
Control of mite and aphid insects on Italian cypress trees is essential to the health of your tree. Both spider mites and arborvitae aphids are "sucking bugs" that suck tissue fluid from plant parts. Leaves become spotted and malformed, resulting in cosmetic damage. Aphids create a sugary substance called honeydew as they feed. This sticky substance creates an ideal environment for the development of a fungal infection called sooty mold and can drip from the tree. Your cypress may experience branch dieback and overall diminished health.
Before turning to chemical options, utilize natural control methods to rid your tree of mites or aphids. Particularly for mites, spray your tree with a powerful stream of water to knock insects from the tree, physically removing them. Remove and destroy any affected plant parts to help maintain tree vigor and reduce the insect population.
For severe cases of insect infestation and instances in which natural control is not enough, turn to chemicals. For spider mite control, apply insecticidal soap or an appropriate miticide. For arborvitae aphids, apply an insecticide with an active ingredient like carbaryl. Choose a chemical formulated for use on Italian cypresses for the express purpose of removing the particular insect infesting your tree. When in doubt, contact your local extension agent for advice or employ the services of a licensed professional for correct selection and application.