The tulip popular is a tree that have very few pests and when I say very few pests I really mean this fact. If you do find that you have a pest problem, it will be one of these little creatures, which includes the yellow popular weevil, nectria canker, and the fusarium canker.
The yellow popular weevil is also known as the magnolia or sassafras weevil. This pest is a small, black insect with a short snout. While you may not see this little insect, you will see the evidence of them being there. What is this? It is the little holes in the leaves but these little holes are not just holes. These little cuts in the leaves look like little rice grains or slits. The larval stage of this insect appears as a white legless grub that feeds on the tree from the inside out.
One technique for control has to do with garden cleanliness. This pest will hide in fallen leaves. In doing so, making sure these leaves are removed or ground up is very important for the first stage of control.
The second stage of the control comes from the fact that this pest will not cause the death of the tree. Yes, it will make it look unsightly but it will not go beyond that.
The second pest that can attack the tulip popular is the nectria canker. While this pest is a fungus, it can be caused by animals. This fungus is an opportunist that is looking for damaged wood. This can occur when the tree is not properly pruned, grazed upon by animals, and/or freezing damage.
The symptoms of this “pest” can be seen as branches that do not leaf out, sunken areas in wounds, salmon or pink growths appearing in the spring, and in the fall red to orange colored growths appearing in cankers.
The treatment for this problem is timing of proper pruning. Do not prune in the fall if you can help it. The tree does not have time to begin healing before cold weather and moisture sets in. This type of environment will get into the cracks of the wounds and become a perfect environment for the nectria canker.
To prevent this canker from setting in, only prune during the summer months and only when it is dry.
The last pest is the fusarium canker. This canker will appear as a “break” in the bark. If the bark is opened up, a darkly stained wood will be seen. You may also see little pinhole in the wood caused by the ambrosia beetle.
If you find that your tulip popular as this problem, remove it from the landscaping as soon as possible. While this may sound drastic, it will prevent the disease from spreading. This is the only means of control.