The Q&A Archives: Maple Leaf Problem

Question: Our five maple trees seem to have been infested with something. The leaves have "pods" that seem to have been created by the back side of the leaf stretched to form a scoop, something inserted in the stretched leaf, and the backside is covered/protected by a whitish, fuzzy-looking substance. The leafs are covered with them. One of the maples has a dead limb, and I'm worried that whatever this is has caused it.

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. The dead limb should be removed - it probably suffered physical damage, perhaps during a wind storm. Maple bladder gall mites remain on leaves and will not infect or destroy branches or limbs.

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