Japanese beetles on my elm tree

Asked July 22, 2016, 4:44 PM EDT

About half of the leaves of my birch tree have been destroyed by what appears to be Japanese beetles. The leaves are left with just their skeletons and many are falling to the ground. Can these pests kill the tree? I don't like using pesticides and would prefer to just leave the tree alone but I am wondering if this situation will cause more than damage just this summer. The tree is older but has otherwise been healthy.

Hennepin County Minnesota

2 Responses

A healthy deciduous tree can withstand two or three years of defoliation. If your birch still has half its greenery, it should be o.k. Keep it well hydrated - birch trees need lots of regular water.

Unfortunately, the sprays and systemics to control adult JB's are very hard on pollinators, so I don't recommend them. JB's are somewhat cyclic, so we can only hope that next year's populations are reduced. Read here about Japanese beetles:

Thank you so much for your quick and helpful response! I appreciate the information and am glad to know that the tree will likely be okay. I will definitely make sure it is getting adequate water.