Caterpillars Eating our Tree!

Asked August 27, 2019, 8:04 PM EDT

Hi everyone! Is there any chance you can help me identify what critters have done this to the huge tree in front of my house in west Denver, and how concerned I should be about the long-term health of the tree? Nearly every leaf is affected from the bottom to the top of the tree and it happened quickly. I can see lots of tiny caterpillars on the leaves. My husband thinks it’s a Siberian Elm (haven’t confirmed). Thanks in advance for any help!

Jefferson County Colorado

2 Responses

Hello there and thank you for your question,

If your tree is in fact an elm, it is possible that your pest is the elm leaf beetle.
See the fact sheet below for more information.

https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/elm-leaf-beetles-5-521-2/

Elm leaf beetles will not usually kill a tree, but they can weaken it and make it prone to disease.

Here are a couple of suggestions to verify your problem.

You could contact a certified arborist to look at your tree. They will often come
and give you a free estimate. Look at the Denver BBB to find a certified arborist.
or
Bring in a sample of your tree and the caterpillars into our office, the Jefferson County diagnostic clinic. We would want to see about a 12 inch branch of the infected tree along with a some of the caterpillars.

We are located at the Jefferson County fairgrounds.
15200 W. 6th Avenue, Unit C, Golden, CO 80401
303-271-6627

There will be a $7 charge for us to make a diagnosis and recommendation.

Good luck.

Thanks very much! This is helpful.