Twig girdlers on Persimmons

One of my very favorite things about growing persimmons is that the trees have always been almost maintenance free. I’ve never really pruned them (maybe I should but its worked out well), I’ve never sprayed them, and never had any problems. That has all changed in just the last couple weeks. Several of my large Asian persimmon trees have been hit hard by twig girdler insects!!! I’ve lost one or two limbs to them in the past, and lost a few pecan tree limbs to them. But this year they have hit my persimmons so hard that it has done real damage. I’ve lost probably 15 small limbs on one tree. Not only will that mean those limbs won’t be there to bear fruit next year, but the new growth that comes out of limb girdler damaged limbs in the past comes out in funny directions, often with 2-3 new tips, and generally unbalances the look of the tree.

I say all this for 2 reasons: 1) To alert some new folks that might not otherwise realize they had this problem. So if you have limb tips (usually 2-3 feet from the end of limbs that are pencil sixed in diameter or less) turning brown and/or falling, take a look and see if something has girdled the limb. Most times the limb will end up breaking and falling, but sometimes it dies but hangs on because the cut doesn’t go all the way to the center. Its VERY easy to spot if a limb falls because when you look at the point where it separated, the cut will be so perfect that you will sware it was done with sharp pruning shears or a pipe cutter. Its smooth and a perfect circle.
2) The other reason I’m posting about this is to ask if others have this problem and what you do about it??? Obviously I assume spraying is the answer. But when? Do I have to spray all year or can I just wait until late fall when the girdling starts. As I understand it the eggs and then larvae lives INSIDE the cut limb they come out in the spring, so I do burn the cut pieces But its not clear to me if they stay outside where spray can kill them or if I need to do something special to get them. I also plan to use my Imidan to kill them. Gosh I hope that will work and I don’t have to buy and use YET ANOTHER new spray just to get these limb girdlers.

In short, I look forward to hearing if any of you have had any problems with these and if so what you do about it. Thanks!


Cicada did the exact same thing to every one of my trees. Are you sure they did not contribute as well?

No…I’m not the least bit sure! ha. And while we didn’t get major amounts of them here like some places did, we certainly had some Cicada this year.

I never saw what was doing the damage. I was just going by the fact that the branches all had smooth cuts that were a perfect circle all the way around the twig. So I just assumed twig girdlers. Had no idea Cicadas could do the same thing! Now I’m more curious than ever to hear from others and try to figure out what I have here. And if it is cicadas, how do I fight THEM?

That is not a cicada, they don’t cut around the limb. It sounds like a cutworm has taken a liking to your persimmons. I have had cutworms on grapes a lot, but never on anything else.

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Twig girdles are common around here.
Though don’t seem to be a big issue.
Sprays are not recommend, collecting and burning the infected twigs may help ?
But I don’t , as I am surrounded by thousands of acres of trees where they live . So anything I would do is insignificant.
Many wild persimmons here. Seems insignificant damage .
Maybe they are trying to tell you how to prune your persimmons ? :grinning:
Twig Girdlers and Twig Pruners on Trees | University of Maryland Extension