As the 17-year cicadas slowly emerge from the ground, here are a couple important Pro Tips to keep your plants healthy during the emergence of the cicadas.
FUN FACT! — Cicadas are not the same as locusts, and cicadas do not eat your plants! While some people get concerned, and Brood-X can be loud and seen by the millions flying in the sky above, they are not known to damage your plants. However, if cicadas do climb up to the branches and lay eggs, the actual egg-laying process can damage small trees, plants, or shrubs, a process known as ‘flagging’.
USING A NET TO PROTECT YOUR PLANTS
If you reside in an area where cicadas are projected to be prominent, we highly suggest you cover your plants with a good netting fabric. You do want to ensure that the insects cannot penetrate the openings, but that the netting allows ample sunlight and air to circulate.
Cicadas should emerge from May through June, but don’t keep netting on your plants any longer than necessary. The reason for this is that your plants will continue to grow and thrive, and netting can hinder this over a long period of time.
If you will be planting any new flowers, shrubs, or plants, cover the plant with a tube of netting that goes over the plastic container. It can remain until the cicadas are no longer in your area or deemed safe to remove.
PROPERLY COVERING TREES WITH NETTING
Similar to what was noted above, it is important to cover any small trees or shrubs with the proper netting.
If using tube netting, simply start wrapping the tree or shrub from the bottom, slowly moving upward in a circular motion. Once the cicadas are out of the ground, have molted, and are flying around, it is often a safe time to remove the netting.
If you have any Japanese Maple’s, or any other weeping-style trees, be very carefully when covering them so as not to break any of the limbs. Covering from the base and up is the most ideal method.