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Gleditsia gall midge

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Question from Anna Powell


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I have two gleditsias, a 'Sunburst' and a 'Ruby Lace'. They are spoiled by gall midge every year, turning new growth into red blisters. Neither tree produces flowers in the spring. Spraying has had little effect, but perhaps I have not been ferocious enough with this - I can't reach the higher branches to spray them, and I am concerned whether the spraying may be harmful to birds. Glad of any suggestions.

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  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Sat. 18th October 2014 15:44

Re: Gleditsia gall midge

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Anna,
Ugh, so frustrating!
Unfortunately, 'Sunburst' is particularly susceptible to gall midge but there are a few things you can do to help combat them.
1) Adults overwinter in the soil at the base of the tree. Apply an ant killer powder around the base of the tree in late March/early April, earlier if spring is mild. This will kill many adults as they emerge from the soil. Research is being conducted about soil drenches that can also be applied to kill overwintering adults.
2) Monitor young leaves and any flower buds. (difficult if branches are high, I know) Inspect them with a hand lens/magnifying lens to spot the clusters of red midge eggs. As soon as you see them, apply an insecticidal oil/soap. Make sure to apply this to both the trunk and crown. Start looking for these eggs in late March/early April. Use the oil/soap throughout the growing season.
3) Insecticidal sprays can be applied a little later, probably by late April and then repeating every 10days to 2 weeks.
You can also get a parasitic wasp to control the population but those are best released later in the season.
Hope this has been helpful and best of luck tackling these pests!
Kathy C

  • Posted: Mon. 20th October 2014 16:56

Thank you indeed

Reply from Anna Powell

Kathy, thank you for such a thoroughly informative and helpful answer. I will do as you suggest. Midges beware! Anna

  • Posted: Mon. 20th October 2014 17:57