Those of you living in the southern Catskills and Hudson Valley are aware of the severe impact gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) are having on trees this year. Oak is their preferred species for leaf defoliation. In my yard, they have completely stripped white oak. The tree next to it is red maple which is barely touched. Other trees they have targeted are red oak, chestnut oak, hickory, apple, and white pine. Trees completely unaffected are mulberry, peach, pawpaw, pear (except 1 of them), sassafras, sugar maple, and sycamore. However, sugar maple may be next since we’re due for a comeback of the forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) that highly prefers them. Forest tent caterpillars were terrible back in 2004 to 2006 or so in many parts of Ulster County, and 2006 to 2008 in Delaware County. Also, eastern tent caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) and fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea) prefer prized fruit trees like apple and cherry. So, once again, mulberry (red or white) is a winner. It remains a tree that can tolerate heavier, poorer soils, requires little maintenance, and is pest-resistant (for now).

Defoliated white oak
Untouched red mulberry

May the Forest Be with You,



Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association