Mugho Pine Pest

Posted on March 5th, 2015 by John Foegley

If you have mugho pines in your landscape, be on the lookout for sawfly larva. Our crews started seeing them this week. They can strip a mugho pine in short order, so an inspection is in order The following excerpt is from the University of Illinois extension:

“The European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer) is found in large numbers and “waves” in mass as a means of scaring off predators. It feeds on mugo pines as well as many other pines. This sawfly larva feeds for about six weeks. They feed on older mature leaves, leaving the emerging needle alone.

Failure to control the European Pine Sawfly insect is not usually fatal to the plant. However, a more sparse plant will be the result. However, redheaded and white pine sawflies can kill branches or the entire tree if numerous. If an insecticide is applied, it is best done when larvae are hatching or very small to minimize damage. Time to treat often corresponds to saucer magnolia petal drop. Control as soon after egg hatch as possible.”

We find this pest easily controlled with insecticides available at most garden centers. Be sure to follow the directions for the product you select.