Protect Trees from Harm

Banding Together to Fight Cankerworms

Charlotte is faced with a growing population of fall cankerworms, despite successful aerial spray efforts in recent years. Now more than ever, it is vitally important for residents to band their trees each fall. By continuing to band our trees, we can prevent the cankerworm population from increasing to an unmanageable level.

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.