Ask a Question forum→Caterpillar / other pest on pussy willow tree?

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Name: Cristina M
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
CristinaM
May 14, 2020 10:23 PM CST
Hi all, I bought a small pussy willow tree a few months ago that I've kept in a pot inside. Up till now it's been fine, but I recently noticed many of its leaves have dried up. When I looked closely, I saw some fine silky threads around some of the leaves; I don't see anything crawling around but wondering if it's a caterpillar of some sort?

Any ideas what this could be and how to get rid of it?
Thanks!
~Cristina

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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
May 15, 2020 12:24 AM CST
This might be spider mites, it's hard to tell. The webbing is typical for them. If it were caterpillars, the leaves would be eaten and you would eventually see the caterpillar itself. Dry conditions favor spider mites. The soil in your pic looks very dry. What is your watering schedule?
To check to see if it is mites, hold a sheet of white paper underneath a leaf and tap the leaf onto the paper. If you see dark specks moving around, it's probably mites. These are arachnids, not true insects. Hard to get rid of, but I'm thinking Neem oil should work. Before you apply anything I would wait for some of our experts to answer this post to confirm this diagnosis and treatment.
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Name: Cristina M
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
CristinaM
May 15, 2020 11:05 PM CST
Thanks for the reply! Will see what others say too but that's a helpful lead!
(And yes, I have not been watering this as much as I should... lesson learned!)

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