Poplar leaves turning brown

By Taylor Whitmire

Have you noticed the yellow poplar leaves turning brown this summer? The yellow poplar weevil has affected trees all over Stokes County this spring. The once bright green tulip shaped leaf is now turning to a dried up brown leaf. From a distance the tree may appear unhealthy, it may look like it has been sprayed by herbicide, or the tree may appear to be dying but this is not the case. Yellow poplar weevil is a small black to blue snout beetle that effects yellow poplar, sassafras, and magnolia trees.

The adult weevils hide out in leaf litter during the winter months and come spring time they are hungry and ready to eat. Larvae and adults feed on leaves causing rice grain sized holes all over the leaf. New adults emerge mid-summer then disappear and remain inactive until the next spring.

Even though the yellow poplar trees will appear unhealthy and damaged the actual tree health is not affected. Insecticides, horticultural oil, soaps, and systemic products can be used to control the beetles each year.

If you have any questions or tree health concerns, please contact the North Carolina Forest Service Stokes County Office at (336) 593-8154 or visit our website at www.ncforestservice.gov

By Taylor Whitmire