The infestation of the Fall Cankerworm is an annual challenge for many areas of Charlotte. A common, native pest of hardwood trees, the caterpillars can cause defoliation in our tree canopy, which was named by American Forests in 2013 as one of the Top 10 Urban Forests in the country.
When cankerworms hatch, many descend on silk threads, get caught by the wind and “balloon” to surrounding trees. They prefer Willow Oaks, but feed on more than 50 other plants, after which they drop to the ground, burrow and form a cocoon.
It appears some infestation sites have lower populations this year; others are about the same as past years. City arborists are not currently looking at aerial spraying.
If you are concerned about small trees and shrubs in the yard, talk to your garden center folks about sprays – follow directions carefully. An arborist can be consulted about larger trees. The best defense is banding with tar paper and Tanglefoot in early fall.
The City of Charlotte offers a matching program for tree banding, and neighborhoods can apply to Charlotte’s Neighborhood Matching Grants Fund for up to $3,000 toward banding trees. The City of Charlotte provides additional information about cankerworms and tree banding, including retailers with tree banding supplies.
Tree Care Tips
Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Knowing the right methods for care is essential to ensuring a tree has all it needs to prosper.
Watch this video to learn:
- how to inspect your tree for health issues
- the importance of cankerworm banding
- the steps on how to band your tree for cankerworms
Tree Banding Resources
The most common product used to trap cankerworms, Tanglefoot, is not being manufactured this year. The stores listed in the resources below have limited supplies of the product. It is still important to band your trees. The City is recommending the Bug Barrier Product as an alternative to Tanglefoot.
Resources for Citizens
Where to get banding supplies:
- Blackhawk Hardware
4225 Park Road Shopping Center
Products: limited supply of tanglefoot
- Faulk Brothers
5744 N. Tryon Street
Products: wrap and insulation, Bug Barrier Product
- Little Hardware Company
1400 S. Mint Street
Products: limited supply of tanglefoot; Bug Barrier product
- Monroe Hardware
6912 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Products: limited supply of tanglefoot and supplies
- Potts Hardware
5201 Nations Ford Road
Products: Bug Barrier Products
- Renfrow Hardware
188 N. Trade Street
Matthews, NC 28105
Products: limited tanglefoot supply
- Southern Organics & Supply
4813 East Fork Lane
Monroe, NC 28110
Products: Limited tanglefoot supply; bug barrier product
Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer is a non-native invasive insect that has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in North America and is slowly but steadily moving into areas of North Carolina. Susceptible trees in North Carolina are green ash, white ash, Carolina ash, pumpkin ash and white fringetree. This beetle can spread naturally (by flying) or through the accidental, human-facilitated movement of infested material such as firewood or ash timber.
The North Carolina Forest service developed a map that tracked detections of the Emerald Ash Borer in the state, including southeastern Lincoln County. For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer, visit the North Carolina Forest Service site.