The Q&A Archives: arbor vitae problem

Question: We have 3 very large, 30-year-old old arbor vitae bushes, which are generally very green and lush. In the last few weeks, one of them developed what looks like spider webs surrounding the tips of the branches and a few

Answer: From your description, I'm not sure if it's spider mites or some type of tent caterpillar. Spider mites form webbing, just like spiders, but they are very tiny and difficult to see without a magnifying glass. They like dusty conditions, and often appear during hot, dry windy weather, such as we've been experiencing of late. They can usually be controlled with regular strong blasts of water from the hose. Tent caterpillars, form "tents" of webbing-type substance, and they are very visible within the protective structures. They often have various predators that eat them (birds) and can be controlled by snipping off the ends of branches where they are located. However, I'd recommend you clip a few samples and take them in for positive identification before spraying anything. Good luck!

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