What’s in My Tree?

Spring has finally sprung in the Omaha Metro area and many of us are taking full advantage of the warmer weather.  Leaves are just starting to pop on trees but this allows us time to notice and sometimes panic when we see something that doesn’t look quiet right.

Take for instance the cover photo for this blog, the ash flower gall.  As the name implies it only affects the flower of the ash tree.  Tiny mites will emerge as the plant starts to bloom and will move into the flowers.  That’s it.  It doesn’t affect the overall health of the tree but it does a number on the cosmetic value.  Some even wonder if this could be a sign of the Emerald Ash Tree Borer – which it’s not.  The ash flower gall is cosmetic in damage only and makes your tree look like it is growing broccoli.  No need to spray.  20180410_123725

Another gall making insect that can cause some alarm for homeowners is called bullet gall.  This gall forming insect is a wasp.  When in large enough numbers it could do some damage to small branches or twigs but rarely any damage to larger branches.  Sometimes we might see an abundance of other bees and wasp that can be attracted to the galls during the summer. More of a nuisance than anything.  Like the ash flower gall there are no chemical control options to help manage this insect.20180314_122955.jpg

Neither an insect or a gall we sometimes get calls about juniper berries.  They can look odd on an evergreen tree because we are use to seeing more cones than a “berry”.  Not a true berry in the botanical sense but still involved in the plants reproduction cycle.  Nothing to worry about.  Junipers and some of our other evergreens also take on a discoloration during the winter.  The winter coloring should be turning green now that we have started to warm up and should be back it their normal coloring by the end of the month.


If you are worried that your trees are not looking as they should bring us in some samples to take a look at.  We appreciate a branch that is showing both good and bad symptoms about 8″-12″ long.



Scott Evans
Scott Evans is a horticulture assistant with Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. A certified arborist through International Society of Arboirculture and Nebraska Arborist Association. Scott is also Tree Risk Assessment Qualified through ISA. Scott co-leads the Master Gardener program in Douglas & Sarpy counties. Along with volunteer management he provides his expertise with disease and insect identification, lawn and landscape weed management, plant health, and I.P.M. practices. He also enjoys growing many houseplants ranging from African violets to cacti and succulents. Scott has two Bachelors of Science, one in Biology (emphasis in Botany, Ecology and Environmental Science) and second in Environmental Geology from Northwest Missouri State University. He earned his Master of Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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