Apple tree & japanese beetles

Asked July 17, 2015, 6:37 PM EDT

Can the apples still survive and grow after the leaves have been damaged by Japanese beetles?

Maricopa County Arizona

1 Response

Yes, trees can survive after they have been defoliated by insects. With that in mind, much depends on the time of year and the extent of the defoliation. The higher the percent of defoliation the more damage that is done. The later in the growing season the more damage that is done. These factors are judged worse when the tree's ability to transport stored sugars in the leaves to the roots is reduced. So, if the tree is heavily defoliated there will be less sugar to transport to the roots at the end of the season. If the leaves are eaten just before transport is to begin then the tree does not have enough time to re-foliate and produce sugars before going dormant. If the tree has re-foliated then it will be able to store some sugars in the roots for next years early season growth.