Eastern Massachusetts: worms on trees

Egad! There are little worms, green and otherwise, making tatters of my tree leaves--esp. those of the maples. Will the trees survive this onslaught? Does anything, preferably nontoxic, stop them? If something like dormant oil spray would work, I could at least spray my little Japanese maples. On Monday, I will call my arborist. Thanks.
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Jean B.

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wrote:

Maybe Tuesday instead, because of the holiday?
Where are you in eastern MA? I've noticed some tattered leaves myself, but haven't spotted the worms (yet).
Priscilla in Roslindale
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Jean wrote:

They were probably tent caterpillars. This year there has been an explosion in their population in Massachusetts. They defoliated a lot of the trees on the main street of Greeenfield, for example.
This is a normal cyclical thing, which peaks every 10 years or so. It has been reported on forr more than a century. When the tent catepillar population surges, predators expand to bring them back under control.
The paper here quoted some experts who say that the caterpillars will be done by mid June and that most of the trees that have been defoliated will grow new leaves. The exceptions would be trees that were already in bad shape. They also suggest keeping defoliated trees well-watered.
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Jenny wrote:

Thanks, Jenny. I haven't noticed any tents around here, but the principle should still be the same. These trees were in good shape, so I'm glad to hear there is hope. Watering is a good idea! P.S. Nice to see you!
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Jean B. wrote:

Jean,
There is another pest in Eastern Mass which isn't as benign, though I'm not sure you can do anything about it.
This is the only group I'm reading and posting to regularly as I have had to cut way back on my online activities due to demands of daily life. My soon-to-be 2 year old garden looks about 10 times nicer than it did last year thanks to the help I got here.
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Jenny wrote:

Crud! I guess I will see what the arborist says. These things are numerous and voracious. Never saw such a horrible onslaught.
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No, they're not. They're winter moth larvae; anyone who lives in this area will remember the little white moths fluttering in the headlights back in November - they're their progeny.
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Priscilla Ballou wrote:

Lexington. They are on everything. The maples look REALLY bad, and now I noticed my river birches have also been seriously gnawed.
Yes, I realized it would have to be Tuesday.
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Winter moths larvae. See http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/winter_moth.pdf for more info.
Here's another article from The Patriot Ledger http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2004/12/10/news/news07.txt
It's too late to hit them with biological controls, they have to be applied when the larvae are very small, they're too big now, I guess.
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Ann wrote:

Crud! I think you're right. Looks like water is the way to go, and maybe oil in the fall. :-( I have to say I noticed moths at my back window even in the winter--and that is very near the hardest-hit trees. More :-( (But thanks for the info!)
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