Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Chinese Parasol Tree, Sweetgum Leafminer, Potato Wireworm, & Lawn Burweed (Again)

Chinese parasol tree.

Chinese parasol tree with green stem. Photo: Jeff Vincent, Beauregard Parish.

Chinese Parasol Tree

A professional wildlife biologist whose name is “CC” followed up with an email regarding the ID of a tree in an earlier RSFF, “The leaf submitted by Jeff may have been Chinese Parasol tree[CPT]. His description of the slender tree trunk is what made me think of Chinese parasol [tree]. You could maybe ask if the stem was green.” AHA originally thought the tree was a Celeste fig, but now acknowledges his misidentification.The large, lobed leaves and the green stem are the keys to identifying the Chinese parasol tree, and it seems to be the first confirmed report of this nuisance tree in Beauregard Parish. The Texas Invasive Species Institute(TISI) describes the negative environmental impact of CPT, “Its prolific seed production along with quick growth and aggressive competition has allowed Chinese parasol tree to propagate outside of landscaped areas. It is being reported more often along roadsides and other disturbed areas. This plant is self-fertile which means it only takes one tree to produce fertile seeds.” TISI recommends several herbicides and treatment methods to manage this invasive, exotic tree:

Leafminer damage on green leaves.

A leafminer leaves a trail in a sweetgum leaf. Photo: Vicki Seamans, Master Gardener.

Sweetgum Leafminer

Vicki, a newly matriculated Master Gardener, sent an image and a question, “This is on one leaf from one of my sweetgum trees. [I have] never seen this before. [Do you have] any idea what causes it?” AHA responded, “It is a leaf miner, a tiny juvenile insect tunneling and feeding between the top and lower leaf surfaces. The dark curvy line is the frass or insect “poop.” I am unsure what the adult insect will be. The adult citrus leafminer is a small moth, but other leafminers become adult flies. Treatment is unnecessary because sweetgum can tolerate this damage readily.

A potato with wireworm damage.

A potato with wireworm infestation. Photo: Vince Deshotel, LSU AgCenter.

Potato Wireworm

Mr. Vince Deshotel, an Extension Agent with the LSU AgCenter in Evangeline Parish, sent an image of an Irish potato with insect damage and asked about the cause. The cause of the damage in this potato is a wireworm which becomes an adult click beetle. The AgCenter has a downloadable, vegetable publication titled “Irish Potatoes,” and in the “Pest Problems” narrative of this publication, there is a treatment, “Wireworms and grub worms can be effectively controlled with a broad-spectrum insecticide such as carbaryl [like Sevin®] before planting. Treatment of new ground is especially important before planting potatoes. Read all labels carefully before applying pesticides.”

Lawn burweed.

Lawn burweed/spurweed/stickerweed. Photo: Charlotte Randall, Kolin, LA.

Lawn Burweed (Again)

Charlotte is struggling with springtime pest, “I am hoping you can help me with this lawn problem. I live in Kolin, LA and have a smaller fenced area for my dogs so they do not get on roads or highways. I have stickers that have become so bad, the dogs will not go in the yard because they stick their feet. I would like your recommendations for something that I can treat the yard with to get rid of them but that is pet or bird or any animal safe. I am attaching a photo that I took with my ‘Picture this’ phone app. I have a shrinking amount of St. Augustine grass as well. Feel free to ask any questions to proceed.” AHA responded, “You have lawn burweed/spurweed/stickerweed. I have had it in my yard and understand your concern. I treat this weed in January and February. You can kill it now, but the stickers will still be there for a while. I have used Image® with atrazine. This product is safe for grass and only kills broadleaf weeds. The Image® bottles all look similar so look for the one with “atrazine.” I have used Ortho Weed B Gone®, and it also kill broad leaf weeds and is safe for grass. With regards to encouraging St. Augustine turf, let me recommend a three-inch mowing height and three fertilizer applications each growing season. The AgCenter behind LSU/A has soil sample kits to help you test your soil and to correctly fertilize your St. Augustine grass.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits, and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or .

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

5/22/2024 7:21:41 PM
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