Tiny "holes" in oak leaves

Asked October 8, 2019, 4:45 PM EDT

We have two mature oak trees, one in the front and the other in the back of our house. They both have small spots that look almost like perforations in the leaves - they appear to be randomly placed, not centered on any veins. These are not true holes, there is a thin membrane left, but held up to the light those spots look like "skeleton leaves". I've tried hunting through google to figure out what is wrong, but haven't seen a similar image. Both trees do not have any noticeable defoliation. The "holes" appear all over the trees. I've attached photos of a leaf from one of the trees - front, back and held up to the light. If you can help me identify the problem I would be very grateful!

Collin County Texas

3 Responses

Without a culprit in hand it would be difficult to confirm what insect is responsible for this damage. It could be a caterpillar or beetle, but the fact that the leaf was not eaten all the way through suggests a very small insect. The important thing is that this damage is not significant at all to the health of this tree. This time of year a tree could lose most of its leaves with no significant loss of vigor or health. No control is needed.

Thank you very much. Is there anything we should do to keep the tree healthy or to prevent it from having further problems? Another oak in our yard seems to have the same problem (and a touch of Tubakia), and I want to be sure to keep them both healthy. We're new homeowners so I've not had to care for trees before.

Otherwise healthy red oak trees should require little care other than perhaps some supplemental water during periods of extreme drought. That's why they are such popular plants. If you have to prune, do it during the winter months or be sure to treat the site of the prune with a borer preventive insecticide. https://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/citybugstest/files/2016/06/B-5086.pdf