NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — I start this story with a startling fact; the hackberry tree – which is available in 2 varieties – is extremely common in North Texas. The tree is infamously found along stretches of powerlines, where birds eat the seeds off the tree and “distribute” them later where they rest up until the time is ideal for growing.
With such an effective circulation program making use of the birds’ complimentary labor, hackberries are found practically in every picture of trees in North Texas. They comprise a remarkable 20% of the overall canopy; about one in 5 trees is a hackberry.When things go bad for
hackberries, it is not something that can easily hide from us. There is a specific insect that attacks the trees throughout the warm season, late spring and on, called the hackberry leafroller.The hackberry leafroller is a small green worm that looks like a tiny inchworm. It nests in the tree’s branches and eats the leaves. When they get fat enough, they spin silk drop lines and drop
to the ground. There, they obtain in and wait till the next warm season to become a rather plain looking brown/gray moth. This year, North Texas suffered a major intrusion of leafrollers. The
hot and dry weather all summertime kept the population at bay, but the unexpected eight or nine inches of rain that soaked us within 24 hours back in the third week of August has actually inspired trees to grow out some brand-new foliage and resulted in a population boom of leafrollers. Even worse, much of their natural predators were reduced by the exact same weather leading up to the
huge rain, so the whole summer population of leaf rollers showed up at one time with very couple of opponents around to keep them in check.There were some locations of the DFW Metroplex definitely overrun with them. Back in 2015 we suffered a comparable invasion, but that one was mostly restricted to the Grapevine location. This outbreak seemed to span the entire metro. Trees appeared like they were passing away, their black sand of excrement also covered whatever. Yuck.But here is some good news. Hackberries had all season to build up their winter season sugars needed for inactivity and spring leaf out. Infected trees will lose their leaves at the end of the growing season, however they’ll all return in spring and be just fine. And although there was a huge population explosion
this year, that’s no indication that portends another large population next year. It is constantly dependent on the weather and what patterns hold across the summertime months.The exact same weather condition pattern led to an explosion of the aphid population across our location. Their “honeydew” waste from feeding on new leaf growth layered whole trees, vehicles, pathways and outdoor furnishings in some locations.
As frightening as this all was to take a look at, once again, it should not be much a concern on the trees themselves. Given that the population surge took place at the end of the growing season, some rain and cooler temperatures will make all of it
go away.All in all, primarily bark and very little bite. Mainly bark that won’t harm the bark of the tree so to speak. Jeff Ray Jeff signed up with CBS 11 and TXA 21 in December 2010. He concerned North Texas from Nashville, where he invested the past 11 years, most recently as the morning meteorologist at WKRN-TV. His profession has also taken him to Kansas