Common Tree and Shrub Pest in Middle Tennessee - LawnPro


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Common Tree and Shrub Pest in Middle Tennessee

July 12, 2022

The trees and shrubs on your property are a valuable part of your landscape and therefore important for you to protect. If you have trees and shrubs that are suffering, one potential culprit is pests like mites and insects. In order to help you understand what you may be dealing with, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the worst landscape pests in Tennessee.


Aphids are soft-bodied insects that use their piercing, sucking mouthparts to feed on the plant sap in leaves, stems, and roots. They tend to feed in groups and prefer new growth. Aphid damage causes yellowing leaves and you may also notice foliage or stems covered in a sticky substance, a sign that pests have been feeding on sap.

Leaf Miners:

Leaf miners are tiny black flies. It is the larvae of these flies that cause tree and shrub damage, which shows up as yellow squiggly lines in the leaves. These lines are where larvae have bored their way through the interior of the leaf. The damage can also appear as spots or blotches.

Spider Mites: 

This mite has 8 legs and resembles a spider, however, it is incredibly tiny. Although there are other types of mites, spider mites are the most notorious and are highly destructive. There are many plants on which we find spider mites including Boxwood, Arborvitae, Burning Bush, and Spruce, to name just some. Spider mites use their piercing mouthparts to feed on the chlorophyll in plants, which can lead to white spots or stippled appearance. As these pests continue to feed, the damaged foliage will eventually turn brown and fall off.


These tiny pests (sometimes no bigger than half a millimeter long) are white in color and often gather on the part of the plant where the leaves attach to the stem. All plant species are at risk for a mealybug infestation as they are not very discerning. Mealybugs feed by sucking sap from plant roots, crowns, stems, twigs, flowers, fruit, and leaves. They leave behind a sticky substance that attracts other pests like ants.


This pest gets its name from the bag that it constructs with silk and pieces of the plant’s foliage. The adult bagworm larvae pupate and turn into a moth in the fall, female moths then lay up to 1,000 eggs in each bag, which hatch in the spring. The young larvae, though tiny, are highly destructive as they voraciously feed until they grow to be a full inch.

Scale Insects:

Scale insects are sap-feeding insects named for the scale that covers and conceals their bodies. Depending on the species of scale, you may find them on tree branches, stems, foliage, or fruiting bodies. Scale feed using their sucking mouthparts to drain your plants of sap. We often find scales on hollies.

Japanese Beetles:

Japanese beetles are shiny with a metallic hard shell and are known to cause damage to some 300 species of plants including roses, birch trees, linden trees, and more. There’s a good chance that you’ve seen them before as they’re hard to miss with their shiny shell and noticeable size. The biggest problem with this pest is that they feed in groups. While a single beetle wouldn’t do much damage on its own, Japanese beetles are found in large groups that do quite a bit of damage feeding on leaves.

Lace Bugs:

Though tiny, these pests feast on the underside of your leaves, sucking out the plant fluids. In Memphis, TN and Olive Branch, MS, we see this problem most often with Azaleas. If you have these shrubs dying, lace bugs are a possible culprit. Lace bug damage will look like silvery, white, or yellow spots that were caused by the lace bugs sucking on the leaf. 


These small winged insects have a powdery wax that protects them while also making them easy to identify. Whiteflies use their piercing mouthparts to suck the sap out of your plants. This will lead to leaf damage. In addition, they also excrete honeydew which attracts other nuisance pests to your plant.

If you need help controlling any of these pests, 

give us a call at 615-653-3871!