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Maple Shoot Borer: Biology and Management of a Prominent Nursery Pest

Sarah J. Vanek, University of Kentucky Extension Associate for Nursery Crop Production


Importance to the Nursery Industry

Maple shoot borer, Proteoterus aesculana (Riley) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), also known by the common names maple tip moth and maple twig borer, is a key insect pest of young maple trees in nurseries. Larvae cause tip dieback and flagging by tunneling into young growing shoots. Researchers at the University of Kentucky found that in some fields of newly transplanted Acer rubrum bare-root liners, as many as 100% of the trees were infested and 22–36% suffered flagging in the terminal leader (Seagraves et al, 2008). Destruction of the terminal leader causes undesirable forking and requires establishment of a new central leader. This increases labor costs and leaves an unattractive crook in the tree even when performed successfully.


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