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With summer now underway, we have lived with the cicada brood dubbed “Brood X” for several weeks. Yet many people still fear that (or are unsure whether) these infrequent visitors will damage their trees. Nevertheless, as your tree removal service provider, we assure you that cicadas pose only a minor threat that can be thwarted.

Whether you are looking for arboreal services or answers to tree-related questions, reach out to Timber Works Tree Care. We are tree specialists that serve Front Royal, VA, and the surrounding region with a variety of services. Along with tree removal, we offer tree trimming, firewood, land clearing, stump grinding, and more. Led by an experienced foreman and covered by Workers’ Comp and Liability Insurance, our professionals aim for outstanding service. Fill out our online form and get a free project estimate today!

Below, we outline some important points about Brood X and your trees’ health:

1. How Cicadas Hurt Trees

While the term “cicada brood” sounds ominous, it refers to a natural phenomenon. The Brood X cicada species lives on a 17-year cycle—every 17 years, they come up from underground to reproduce. Furthermore, both under and above ground, cicadas eat the sap that trees naturally produce. 

Thus, unlike locusts, cicadas do not eat plants themselves. Cicadas threaten trees through their egg-laying method. Specifically, female cicadas use their ovipositor to saw openings in twigs or branches then lay their eggs in those openings.

They prefer to use small and thin branches or twigs to lay their eggs, so one cicada cannot kill a tree. However, if a cicada brood uses one tree, it could kill many branches, thus undermining the tree’s overall health.

2. Only Certain Trees are Vulnerable

Cicadas prefer certain trees. They avoid coniferous varieties (such as pines) with evergreen leaves throughout the year. Instead, they go for deciduous species, those that lose their leaves annually. These are ornamental and hardwood trees.

While cicada eggs have been found in over 200 varieties, some tree species are more susceptible to damage. These include oaks (Quercus), maples (Acer), cherry (Prunus), fruit trees, hawthorn (Crataegus), and redbud (Cercis).

The leaves on branches damaged by cicadas will die and turn brown, and large dead patches on a tree indicate that significant damage has occurred. Such instances call for tree trimming or tree removal services.

3. How to Protect Your Trees

Despite the threat that cicadas pose, you can take steps to protect your trees. Focus your efforts on young ones with small limbs, as those face greater harm from cicada activities. Indeed, during active cicada years, you may want to delay planting any saplings. 

Experts recommend that you use insect netting to protect your young trees. The netting’s holes should be a half-inch or smaller and can be purchased from most gardening centers. While bird netting is not an appropriate substitute, tulle and other breathable fabrics can be draped over trees.

Moreover, these experts recommend that you pin the netting wrapped around the trees so that no gaps exist. And even after wrapping them, inspect your trees regularly to ensure they remain healthy and protected.

4. Avoid Using Insecticides

One final point that you should note: insecticide is useless against cicadas. Brood X is so large that insecticide alone cannot stop them from attacking your trees. Furthermore, adding a large amount of insecticide into the environment may harm other plants and animals. 

Remember that cicadas do not harm people or pets – their ovipositor is only for tree branches. Thus, cicadas are at worst a pest. You may not find them pretty, but they are part of the natural environment and help keep your landscape beautiful.

Professional Tree Removal Services for Front Royal, VA

In a matter of weeks from now, Brood X will retire for another 17 years. Despite their alarming appearance, they pose no threat to people and a minor one to trees. However, if you want further details about them or other tree services, reach out to Timber Works Tree Care. We provide professional tree removal services throughout Front Royal, VA. Our team is dedicated to keeping your trees and landscape looking splendid throughout the year. So, call us today at (540) 692-9606 or fill out our online form for a free estimate!

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