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Environment & Energy

Cicadas Leave Their Marks, but Do Little Real Damage to Ohio Trees

cicada on leaf
Jeremy Umansky
Larder Master & Wild Food Forager

Insect experts are reassuring local homeowners that their trees will not be permanently harmed by this year’s cicada invasion. 

The concern comes from a process called ‘"flagging," where female cicadas lay eggs in the tips of tree branches.

Rex Bastian, technical adviser for the Davey Tree Expert Company, says while that leaves brown patches and dead leaves, the trees will heal.

“A lot of times what happens during that time-frame when that tip dies back, the trees form new buds at the base of that damaged tissue. Similar if you would just come in with the pruners and clip off that shoot, because on the base of each node there can be the potential to develop a new shoot.”

Bastian says only young trees are at risk of harm from flagging because they are smaller and weaker. He says that nets can be used to prevent cicadas from laying eggs in these plants.