The Q&A Archives: Spikes Growing On Maple Tree Leaves

Question: I have a sugar maple tree that in recent years has developed these growths on the leaves that look like little spikes. The tree is over 25 years old and is located near a public road that gets heavy salt treatment in the winter.

Is this dangerous to the tree and what can be done to prevent its return?

Answer: The spikes you've noticed on the leaves of your tree are the result of maple bladder gall mites. These little insects feed on the surface of leaves in the spring and leave reddish colored bumps which grow throughout the season and later turn brown or black. The insects feed in the spring, which is when they are susceptible to control. This kind of damage may look unsightly, but it won't hurt your tree, and control isn't generally necessary.

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