University of Maryland Extension

Leafhoppers - Trees

leafhopper damage on maple leaf
Leafhopper damage on maple

Adults of most leafhoppers are one-eighth to one-fourth inch long, slender and hold the wings roof-like over the back. Many have angular, pointed heads. Immature leafhoppers, or nymphs are similar to the adults but smaller with short wings. Most pest leafhoppers are green with some color banding. There are one or more generations a year depending on the species.

Most leafhoppers feed on the upper surface of terminal leaves. They feed by sucking chlorophyll from leaves. This feeding activity results in coarse, white stippling. The feeding activities of some species produce curling and stunting of terminal leaves. Cottonwood, willow, honeylocust, dogwood, hawthorn, birch, cherry, and apple may be damaged. Other species may transmit xylem-fastidious bacteria capable of causing scorch-like symptoms on elm, oak, red maple, and red mulberry.

Management  

Small shrubs and trees may be protected with sprays of a registered insecticide if honeydew or stippling is a problem. Concentrate sprays where leafhoppers feed, usually on new growth. To manage bacterial leaf scorch, prune out infected branches below symptoms and improve tree vigor with standard cultural practices. Over-fertilization may increase leafhopper populations.

adult leafhopper on twig
Adult leafhopper

closeup leafhopper
Closeup of adult leafhoppers

 

leafhopper nymph
Immature leafhopper

 

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