Possible Bagworm Takeover

Asked August 5, 2019, 9:17 AM EDT

A friend of mine who happens to be a master gardener recommended that I reach out to your office for help. I am noticing web-like cocoons in my bushes, trees etc. In each place these webs can be seen that part of the bush or tree is dying. My neighbor has noticed the same with his tree. His mom thinks its bagworms from the picture he sent her. We really need help identifying the culprit and treatment for it. Is this something you can help us with? We live in the Ednor Gardens area of Baltimore city. I have attached three images of what's decribed. Thank you for your time. Hope to hear from you soon

Baltimore Maryland shrubs bagworms japanese holly abiotic issues holly with dead leaves holly with spiders webs on holly

1 Response

We can't see an cocoons in your photos.

Bagworms make "bags". These are cone-shaped and hang down from the branches. Your shrubs have none, so you do not have bagworms. Here is what they look like, for future reference: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/bagworms-trees-and-shrubs

The webs on your shrubs are spider webbing as far as we can see. Spiders eat other insects and just use shrubs as a support for webs. They do not harm shrubs. Eating other insects helps your garden. Rain can wash away webs, so when we don't have much rain during a dry spell like we're having now, you'll notice more webs on your plants.

We can't say from the photos exactly why your shrubs are turning brown. It seems to be in the areas that were pruned recently. Water your shrubs well. Prune out the dead branches.

Many evergreen shrubs lost some of their roots last year when the heavy rainfall and soggy soil drown their roots. This eventually causes some of the top growth to die back, however the dieback often doesn't appear until the following year when the weather gets hot and dry and stresses the plant even more. That may be what is causing the dead leaves and stems you're seeing here.

Ellen