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by Joe Killewald
(Greene County, Tennessee)


We moved in to a home in the country in East Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains. On our property is a very short tree with narrow leaves, about 3/4″ wide and approximately 3-4″ long. The color of the leaves is a pale green. The trunk is only about 2″ in diameter, and the overall tree is no taller than 5 feet.

We don’t mind the tree, but there has been beetles (many of them, perhaps 200 or more) eating holes in the leaves. The beetles are about 3/8 ~ 3/4″ long, brown with narrow yellow stripes, and resemble what we called “June Bugs” when we lived up in Michigan.

We would like to know: a) What is the tree, b) Which type of bug is this, c) How should we deal with the beetles and d) How do we care for the tree if we wish to preserve it.

Thank you.

Comments for Short tree with beetles

Jun 26, 2018

Could be a willow
by: Jacki

Your tree could be some type of willow or Salix, but there are so many ornamental varieties it’s impossible to tell.

Maybe take a few leaves on a branch to your local Agriculture Extension office, quite often they have a member on staff who is familiar with what you have growing locally.

For the beetles, they could be something that is only going to be a pest temporarily. They will eat a few leaves then produce their young which will most likely overwinter in the soil below – then you’ll see lots of bird activity.

In fact, this is my recommendation; encourage the birds to be attracted to your garden.

If you can, bell your cat and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Get a few tall twigs and put them in the ground near your tree to give birds somewhere to perch.

Offer the birds a water source, install some nesting boxes.

If the beetle damage really offends you, get a bucket of water and pick the adults off and drown them.

Accept some damage to trees (they can withstand a surprising amount of defoliation before they kick the bucket) and allow mother nature time to show up and take care of the problem.