The Q&A Archives: Curling Leaves-new Growth/holes In Leaves

Question: I purchased a Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' and the new growth becomes deformed (curled) or die. The mature leaves have several holes in them? I was told at the nursery that the holes were caused by hail!? I purchased the tree in July '02'. Do you think the tree has a disease?


Answer: Curled, deformed leaves might indicate water stress or aphid damage. Aphids can feed on unopened leaf buds and then leave the area - the only evidence you'll find of their feeding are curled, distorted leaves. If you've been watering your redbud as necessary (moist, but not soggy wet soil), then I suspect the damage was caused by aphids. These little insects feed by sucking the juices out of plant tissues. If there is no evidence of live aphids on your redbud, there's no need to use an insecticide - the pests are already gone and only the damage remains. A healthy plant will recover. If the leaves are damaged to the extent that they're of no use to your redbud, they will be shed and new leaves will develop. If they're unsightly but functional, your shrub will retain the leaves throughout the growing season. Aphids especially like tender new growth so inspect your redbud for signs of new infestations. Insecticidal soap works well to control soft-bodied aphids.

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