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Caterpillars eating tree leaves

Hi all,

I have a small tree in our back garden - im not exactly sure what it is but having done some googling it looks a bit like a Cotoneaster.

I spotted this morning that all of the leaves on the branches on one side of the tree were 'spiky', and on closer inspection had been eaten. I then spotted a large number of caterpillars, at least 10 spotted in 30 seconds, seemingly munching their way through the leaves.

Does anyone have any tips on how to get rid of them? Is it a manual removal by hand job, or will they just come back. I've not seen this happen on this tree before (in 5 years of living here!).

Some pictures to assist;







Any help appreciated!

Thanks
Steve

Posts

  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,009
    Sadly Steve they are not caterpillars but sawfly larvae.  Squishing is good as is constant vigilance and more squishing, they often drop to the ground if disturbed so its a good idea to put something light coloured underneath.
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,538
    You can also leave them to it and let the birds pick them off. The plant will recover fine and looks like it would benefit from a prune anyway.
  • Fab, thanks. Yes it does need a prune (its had a growth spurt recently!)

    If i knock them off onto the grass below, i presume they'll just climb back up? Hence squashing the best bet?

    I'll put some bird seed out...!
  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,009
    By all means let the birds have a feast but squishing is still your best option in my opinion. They overwinter as eggs in the ground at the base of the plant so there will be plenty to go around  :) 
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 1,063
    The birds will eat them if you can pick them off and put them in the feeder. I had a problem last year on my hazel hedging but not a problem this year.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,538
    By all means let the birds have a feast but squishing is still your best option in my opinion. They overwinter as eggs in the ground at the base of the plant so there will be plenty to go around  :) 
    I'm being picky I know but the eggs are laid into the plant material directly, the larvae hatch from the plant, eat the leaves and then when they're big enough they over-winter as pupae in the soil.
    In early winter before it gets too cold you can rake the soil around the plant, leave the birds to pick through it and then give it a mulch after a week or so.

  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,009
    Not picky @wild edges no good giving people the wrong information so happy to be corrected  :)

    Sorry Steve, I should have said pupae in the soil but I am still 100% in favour of squishing.  They decimated my strawberries a few years back and I have a long memory!
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Haha, thanks.

    Well i took the shears to it and tidied it up and as far as i can tell they've all been removed (as many as i can see that is...!). 

    Just out of interest, any idea what the tree is?
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