Chestnut growers should be scouting for potato leafhopper

Potato leafhopper has arrived in Michigan, carried north on warm air and storms from the southern states.

Immature potato leafhoppers along a mid-vein on the underside of a chestnut leaf. Photo: Mario Mandujano, MSU.
Immature potato leafhoppers along a mid-vein on the underside of a chestnut leaf. Photo: Mario Mandujano, MSU.

Potato leafhopper has been confirmed in southern Michigan in 2016, and given the storm systems that have been moving through the state, they are likely to begin appearing in more northern regions at any time. Like many plants, chestnuts are sensitive to the saliva of potato leafhoppers that is injected while feeding. Damage to leaf tissue can cause reduced photosynthesis, which can impact production, affect nut quality and damage the tree.

At this point in the season, scouting should be performed weekly and following storm systems originating in the south. Early detection is important to prevent injury. For every acre of orchard, Michigan State University Extension advises growers select five trees to examine and inspect the leaves on three shoots per tree (a total of 15 shoots per acre). The easiest way to observe potato leafhoppers is by flipping the shoots or leaves over and looking for adults and nymphs on the underside of leaves. Pay special attention to succulent new leaves on the terminals of branches. Growers may also hang yellow sticky traps in the orchard to catch potato leafhoppers. Be sure to hang traps on both the edge and interior of the block.

For more information on how to identify potato leafhoppers and symptoms of damage, as well as management recommendations, please refer to the Hop Insect Pests page of the MSU Extension Chestnuts website. For a list of currently registered insecticides, see the “Michigan Chestnut Management Guide 2016.”

Please continue to visit the MSU Extension Chestnuts website and the MSU Chestnut News Facebook page for up-to-date information, as well as sign up for the MSU Extension Fruit & Nuts Production Newsletter for current articles and events.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2015-09785. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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