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Old 04-30-2019, 11:44 AM   #1
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Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


Is there anybody from NE Ohio, Western Pennsylvania that can confirm this is the year for the 17yr emergence of the brood of locusts in our area?

I have a couple young sapling cherry trees that I want to protect from them. Does anyone have suggestions for netting that I can wrap the trees with?

Thanks in advance!
M Ridzon
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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Originally Posted by m_ridzon View Post
Is there anybody from NE Ohio, Western Pennsylvania that can confirm this is the year for the 17yr emergence of the brood of locusts in our area?

I have a couple young sapling cherry trees that I want to protect from them. Does anyone have suggestions for netting that I can wrap the trees with?

Thanks in advance!
M Ridzon
So nice to meet you!

I'm in California now, but I lived in the Cleveland area till 1985 and have friends and family still there and go there as often as I can, so I remember the locusts.

Looks like this is the big year. I'm not an entomologist by trade, but somewhat at heart. http://magicicada.org/magicicada/

This map is a bit scary. http://magicicada.org/magicicada/mapping-updates/

That "locust" name is pure nonsense. Many people mix them up with the biblical locusts (grasshoppers) that descend and eat all in sight.

The 17 year locusts are actually cicadas that live as nymphs in the ground then emerge. They don't do as grasshoppers do, but they can be apocalyptic when you get them. Oh yeah.

I suspect you already know, but I'm doing this for the benefit of others who might not.

Your big concern is rightly: (a) so many literally breaking the branches on the trees by their weight; and (b) damage caused by feeding and laying eggs in the new branches.

So netting might be enough to keep them out if its mesh is small enough, which will stop all or most of the feeding and laying. But if a bunch decide to roost, a branch or two might get broken.

So, if you're really worried, I'd take the time to prop up the branches of your trees with wooden braces if you can. I think the big problem will be finding netting for a reasonable price that's small enough to really keep them out. Bird netting is too large, in my experience, but go to the store and check.

Hope this helps, and get earplugs. Those expletive expletives can get really really noisy.

Here's a picture. Hold a male in your hand and he'll squawk, like one of those prankster joy buzzers. Hee hee hee.
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:06 PM   #3
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


Here's a periodical cicada laying her eggs in someone's tree. This can cause damage, sometimes serious, if enough do it.

(A public service announcement.)
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:08 PM   #4
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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Originally Posted by m_ridzon View Post
Is there anybody from NE Ohio, Western Pennsylvania that can confirm this is the year for the 17yr emergence of the brood of locusts in our area?

I have a couple young sapling cherry trees that I want to protect from them. Does anyone have suggestions for netting that I can wrap the trees with?

Thanks in advance!
M Ridzon
If your trees are small and precious enough, you might want to consider building a frame or tent over them in toto, keeping in mind that a few might emerge from the ground.

Really curious to see your situation plays out, and I hope my long-winded advice is helpful.

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Old 04-30-2019, 12:11 PM   #5
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


@DoomsDave , thank you for the prompt reply. Yes, I think the term locust is incorrect. I'm new to this, so thank you for the correction. Cicada is more accurate.

Regardless, I haven't seen them emerge yet. But any day now, I assume. Therefore, I want to protect my saplings very soon. I found this very fine mesh at Amazon for a nice price. I think it will work perfect.
https://www.amazon.com/Mosquito-Barr...gateway&sr=8-1
I would basically wrap the entire sapling and tie it off at the bottom trunk with twine. Do you think this will work?

How long through the year do I have to worry about this? Do they phase out by the end of summer?
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:29 PM   #6
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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Originally Posted by m_ridzon View Post
@DoomsDave , thank you for the prompt reply. Yes, I think the term locust is incorrect. I'm new to this, so thank you for the correction. Cicada is more accurate.

Regardless, I haven't seen them emerge yet. But any day now, I assume. Therefore, I want to protect my saplings very soon. I found this very fine mesh at Amazon for a nice price. I think it will work perfect.
https://www.amazon.com/Mosquito-Barr...gateway&sr=8-1
I would basically wrap the entire sapling and tie it off at the bottom trunk with twine. Do you think this will work?

How long through the year do I have to worry about this? Do they phase out by the end of summer?
I recall that the big hatch takes place in late summer, right near when school hadn't started yet, in late August. (Back in ancient times. Rode my d-saur to skool.)

If your trees aren't teensy and fragile your plan might work. If there's a huge number you might still have a broken branch problem, though you'll have to have a really monster hatch for that. (I've seen pictures, and if I can find one, I'll post it.) The mamas doing their thing in much smaller but still significant numbers is much more worrisome so . . . on balance, your plan should work.

Just in case, I'd check around your 'hood to see if cicadas are really that big of a problem. We'd get a few, but I lived in the suburbs, and some burbs had more locusts than others. If you ask a long-timer and their eyes get that far-off look, well, try to find details. Some people get really really freaked out by the noise.

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Old 04-30-2019, 12:45 PM   #7
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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I recall that the big hatch takes place in late summer, right near when school hadn't started yet, in late August.
I'll leave the netting in place until Fall then.

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If your trees aren't teensy and fragile your plan might work. If there's a huge number you might still have a broken branch problem, though you'll have to have a really monster hatch for that. (I've seen pictures, and if I can find one, I'll post it.) The mamas doing their thing in much smaller but still significant numbers is much more worrisome so . . . on balance, your plan should work.
I only have two and they are not near each other. They currently stand about 8' tall and their trunk girth is only a couple inches. So I think they're still young and are cause for concern. Plus, I really like these trees and want them to turn out right. So if that means I have to protect them with netting this summer, it's fine by me.
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:49 PM   #8
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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I'll leave the netting in place until Fall then.

I only have two and they are not near each other. They currently stand about 8' tall and their trunk girth is only a couple inches. So I think they're still young and are cause for concern. Plus, I really like these trees and want them to turn out right. So if that means I have to protect them with netting this summer, it's fine by me.
Sounds like your trees have a great "parent"! Hope they yield like crazy. What kind of cherries are they? I know we had a few in NE Ohio, but it wasn't the good climate for them we have in some places out west. Or, maybe I'm wrong about that last part.
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:10 PM   #9
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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Sounds like your trees have a great "parent"! Hope they yield like crazy. What kind of cherries are they? I know we had a few in NE Ohio, but it wasn't the good climate for them we have in some places out west. Or, maybe I'm wrong about that last part.
These trees come from a donor cherry cutting that was grafted into a young, wild trunk. I tried repeatedly to grow my own from cuttings in a plant pot, with no success. The nursery where I later bought my current trees chuckled and told me that cherry trees will NOT grow from cuttings. They MUST be grafted into a wild trunk that has an established root system. I'm no expert, so I guess my failed attempts, and their successful nursery confirmed their claims. These are not "fruit" cherry trees that you eat, but rather "blossoming" cherry trees; i.e., they are only for shade and looks. They are the Okame species. My wife and I absolutely love the pretty blossom every spring! After they get a little older, but before they are too "hardened," I think I may find some wild roots and try grafting some cherry cuttings myself, to have more of these in my yard.
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:38 PM   #10
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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These trees come from a donor cherry cutting that was grafted into a young, wild trunk. I tried repeatedly to grow my own from cuttings in a plant pot, with no success. The nursery where I later bought my current trees chuckled and told me that cherry trees will NOT grow from cuttings. They MUST be grafted into a wild trunk that has an established root system. I'm no expert, so I guess my failed attempts, and their successful nursery confirmed their claims. These are not "fruit" cherry trees that you eat, but rather "blossoming" cherry trees; i.e., they are only for shade and looks. They are the Okame species. My wife and I absolutely love the pretty blossom every spring! After they get a little older, but before they are too "hardened," I think I may find some wild roots and try grafting some cherry cuttings myself, to have more of these in my yard.
A different animal entirely, a horse of a different color, etc, etc.

Have they bloomed this year?

Share a picture!

As for the grafting, that's usually a good idea. It's typically also done to propagate fruit trees, and it's certainly done on the citrus we love so much out here in the Land O' La La. Often cuttings will root, but grafting onto a hardy rootstock is often much better.

A caveat: Keep an eye on any sprouts that pop up below where the graft is, i.e., sometimes the rootstock tries to take over. If you don't know what I mean, take a picture of the base of the tree showing where it's grafted and I'll explain to help you and others . . .
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:20 PM   #11
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


Get ready for the noise, too. I measured 85 dB on our infestation a few years ago. Starts at sunrise and goes all.....day.....long. We have too many fruit trees, grape vines and blueberries to net them all, but over all the damage recovered the next season with good pruning of the limbs where the nymphs emerged.
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:27 PM   #12
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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but over all the damage recovered the next season with good pruning of the limbs where the nymphs emerged.
For saplings though, I heard it could be very detrimental, perhaps irreversible, permanent damage. Is that true?
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:39 PM   #13
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


Yes, saplings have no real regenerative processes in place like older trees. If the sapling has 5 branches and they infest all 5, it could die. An older tree with a hundred limbs could survive it pretty well.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:16 PM   #14
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


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Have they bloomed this year?

Share a picture!
@DoomsDave , yes they bloomed, but because they are so young, the bloom was not very vibrant or prominent. The flowers were sparse and popped out fairly tiny. The nursery said that would be the case the first year. Pictures of my two trees are attached (forgive me for the uncut lawn, but the rain hasn't stopped this year!). The bloom isn't showing, because as you probably know, cherry blooms only last a week or two in the spring, and these are now done for the year. I absolutely love these species of trees and can't wait for them to take off!

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A caveat: Keep an eye on any sprouts that pop up below where the graft is, i.e., sometimes the rootstock tries to take over. If you don't know what I mean, take a picture of the base of the tree showing where it's grafted and I'll explain to help you and others . . .
Yes, thank you for that word of advice. I'll certainly keep an eye on it. And yes, I know what you're referring to; a tiny bulge in the trunk near the ground. That bulge is the place where the grafting took place between the wild root and the cherry cutting. So if anything below the bulge begins emerging, I'll trim it immediately.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:26 PM   #15
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Re: Tree Netting to Protect Against Locusts


you have a wonderful lawn!

So many of our posters would scream for a lawn like that!
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