A reader recently sent us some photos of leaves covered in tiny red things. He said that his tree has millions of these small red “worms” on it, and wonders if they are dangerous or not. They show up every year and do not move around. He asks if there is a certain spray he should be using for his tree.
We do not know what kind of tree these leaves are on, or from where this reader is writing us. These could both be useful clues in figuring out what our reader is dealing with. However, even without these clues we think our reader’s tree likely has galls, not worms.
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Galls are abnormal growths that develop on leaves, twigs, and branches. Sometimes they are simple structures, and other times they are quite complex growths. They are often produced by mites or insects, or are the result of an infection from bacteria, fungi, or virus. While galls can be unsightly, they are often not dangerous to the tree. Since we do not know what type of tree our reader has, we can’t say for certain what is causing these galls or how they are influencing the tree’s health. Since our reader said they appear every year, they might coincide with the appearance of the insect or mite that causes them.
Some people prefer to get rid of galls using natural or chemical means, but many just leave the growths because they aren’t harmful. Our reader can explore these options at a local gardening or homeowners store. Or, he can send us some more details about the tree and we would be happy to respond with some more specific information about galls and treatment options.
In summary, a reader asked us about millions of red “worms” that have infected his trees. We believe that these are not actually worms, but abnormal growths known as galls.
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