Odd growths on all kinds of trees: galls!
We’ve heard from many viewers that are finding odd growths on their trees. Debra Shaw found tiny green balls on the leaves of her two-year-old Texas persimmon.
Eric Segerstrom discovered fuzzy ones on his young cedar elm.
And in Northwest San Antonio, Jessica Keltz spotted little round balls on her two-year-old pecan tree.
Although all of these structures look different, and in fact, they are different, horticulturists lump them into one category and name them according to the symptom they share in common, not the exact organism that causes them.
These are all examples of leaf galls, which are actually quite common, although they often go unnoticed. One thing that ties these three examples together is that they were all spotted on young trees.
When trees are young and small and the new leaves are closer to eye-level, we tend to notice more things about them. Once trees are tall, they are still susceptible to leaf-gall inducing insects, we just don’t notice them as much.
As you can tell, the structure of the gall is an outgrowth of plant tissue, induced by the insect when it lays its eggs, to protect the growing larvae inside. Once the larvae mature, they’ll emerge and fly away, leaving the tree to carry on and recover just fine.
I’m so excited that gardeners are paying such close attention to their trees! And in this case, happy to report that galls are rarely anything to worry about long-term, so there’s no need to take any action whatsoever.
CTG gardeners are certainly doing their part to attract butterflies! In Boerne, Mark Siegel spotted this Giant Swallowtail, and tells us that they especially like the native prairie verbena that grows along a natural limestone ridge.
For part shade to sun, evergreen vine star jasmine perfumes our gardens for months. In Spring, Texas, Lisa Jordan is loving the fragrance on this beautiful one in her mom’s garden.
Gardeners know that pollinators are absolutely essential to ecosystem success. And we can attract lots more of them by planting a diverse plant palette, not only for pollinators, but for all kinds of beneficial insects. And remember, before you attack what you think are pests, reach out to us, or to other experts to confirm. Quite often, the only actions needed are to watch, listen, learn, and share.