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Posted on: May 13, 2021

The Cicadas are Coming!

Preparing Your Young Trees

Small ornamental trees, shrubs, and fruit trees may be protected from cicadas by covering them with insect netting sold in garden centers, nurseries, and online. The plants should be protected from the time cicadas emerge until they are gone 6-8 weeks later. If left on too long, barriers may physically impede new foliage/stem growth, reduce air, and shade leaves which will later become sunburned when their full-sun exposure is resumed. Barriers may also prevent pollination, depending on plant flowering times.

Use the Correct Materials to Protect Your Trees

  • It was observed in 2004 that insect netting with openings ranging from 1/4-in. to 3/8-in. (0.6-cm. to 1.0 cm.) prevented injury from cicadas to small trees.
  • Bird netting openings are too large to exclude cicadas.
  • Tulle and other breathable fabrics are available that can be draped over small or newly planted trees and shrubs and secured to the ground with rocks, bricks, or landscape pins or secured to the base of the trunk to prevent cicadas and wildlife from becoming trapped.

Cicadas are NOT Harmful to trees in the following situations

  • Cicada Control is not necessary on established mature trees.
  • Cicadas rarely harm shrubs. Any visible injury can be easily trimmed away later.
  • Cicadas do not target annual and perennial plants like vegetables and herbs for feeding or egg-laying. They may climb onto them for support, but won't harm them.

Preparing Your Garden for Cicadas

  • Organic mulches spread around garden and landscape plants, up to a 3-in. depth, will not interfere with the cicada lifecycle.
  • Prop up or remove any items in your yard that cicadas might fall on.

Environmentally Harmful Actions

  • Insecticides are ineffective for significantly reducing cicada abundance and damage. Insecticides also pose a risk to people, pets, beneficial insects, and birds.


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