Protect Trees from Harm

Banding Together to Fight Cankerworms

Charlotte is faced with a growing population of fall cankerworms, despite 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.

A common, native pest of hardwood trees, the caterpillars can cause defoliation in our tree canopy. 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.

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, and an online pre-application workshop.

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 is Tanglefoot.  The stores listed below should have Tanglefoot and some have the additional supplies needed to band trees. The Bug Barrier Product is an alternative to Tanglefoot.  ​

Resources for Citizens

Where to get banding supplies:

  • Blackhawk Hardware
    Park Road Shopping Center, 4225 Park Road
    Products: Tanglefoot and Bug Barrier products
  • Faulk Brothers
    5744 N. Tryon Street
    Products: Tanglefoot in multiple sizes and quantities

  • Home Depot
    Multiple locations
    Products: Tanglefoot and supplies
  • Little Hardware Company
    1400 S. Mint Street
    Products: Tanglefoot and supplies, Bug Barrier products

  • Monroe Hardware
    6912 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Products: Tree Kote in various sizes and supplies​
  • Potts Hardware
    5201 Nations Ford Road
    Products: Tanglefoot and supplies, Bug Barrier products​

  • Renfrow Hardware
    188 N. Trade Street
    Matthews, NC 28105
    Products: Tanglefoot and supplies
  • Southern Organics & Supply
    4813 East Fork Lane
    Monroe, NC 28110
    Products: Bug Barrier products​


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 Lincoln and Iredell counties. For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer, visit the North Carolina Forest Service site.