How do I control leaf roller caterpillars on my apple?

Q.

My apple tree leaves have been attacked by what the garden centre called leaf roller. We sprayed the tree three times now and still having problems with this pest. Any solutions as it is killing the leaves and young leaf tips on the tree?

Cheryl Rowe

A.

Hi Cheryl, digital control (squishing with fingers) is the most effective way to get rid of leaf roller, but this isn’t practical on a large apple tree, and the caterpillar is hard to get to with sprays as it rolls itself in the leaf. Usually the damage isn’t bad enough to cause the tree too much stress, but prune the affected tips and dispose of in the rubbish, pick up any fallen leaves from around the tree and dispose of as caterpillar larvae can overwinter in fallen leaf litter or in the soil.

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