Holes in Elm Leaves: Reasons and Solutions

Elm leaves are known for their beauty in the fall, but sometimes they can be hard to care for. For example, holes in elm leaves can be a cause for concern for many homeowners. There are several reasons why these holes may appear, and fortunately, there are also several solutions to address the issue. Read on to learn more about the causes and solutions for holes in elm leaves.

Why Are There Holes in My Elm Tree Leaves?

Elm leaf beetles are the most likely culprits behind holes in elm leaves. These pests are small, black, and yellow insects that feed on the leaves of elm trees. The beetles lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, and when the larvae hatch, they begin to eat their way through the leaf tissue.

This can cause large, unsightly holes in the leaves of your elm tree. In addition to being unsightly, this damage can also lead to a loss of foliage and reduced tree health.

There are other pests that can cause holes in elm leaves, including caterpillars and earwigs. These pests are less common than elm leaf beetles, but they can still do significant damage to your tree.

How to Treat Elm Leaves with Holes?

It’s important to treat holes in elm leaves as soon as you notice them. The longer you wait, the more damage the pests will do to your tree. There are several ways to treat elm leaves with holes.

First, you can try to remove the pests yourself. This can be difficult, as many of these insects are small and hard to see. If you do manage to remove the pests, dispose of them properly so they don’t return to your tree.

The best idea is to use a pesticide. There are many different pesticides on the market, but I’ve had good success with neem oil, which is a natural, plant-based pesticide. You can find neem oil at most garden stores or online.

To use neem oil, mix it with water according to the instructions on the bottle. Then, using a pump sprayer, apply the mixture to the affected leaves. Be sure to coat both sides of the leaves and all areas with holes.

You’ll need to reapply the neem oil every few days until the pests are gone. Once the pests are gone, you can stop using the neem oil.

holes in elm
Holes in elm

How to Keep Pests Away From Elm Tree Leaves?

Prevention is the best method for keeping pests away from your elm tree leaves. First, make sure you’re watering your tree regularly. A healthy tree is less likely to be attacked by pests.

Second, avoid using chemical pesticides on your elm tree. These pesticides can kill beneficial insects that help keep pests under control. Instead, use a natural pesticide like neem oil.

Finally, apply preventative treatments to your elm tree before pests become a problem. These treatments usually come in the form of granules or sprays that you apply to the ground around your tree.

If you follow these tips, you can prevent holes from forming in your elm leaves. If holes do appear, however, now you know how to treat them effectively.

What Else Causes Holes in Elm Tree Leaves?

There are a few other reasons why holes might appear in your elm leaves:

Fungal Disease

Elm trees are vulnerable to a number of fungal diseases, including powdery mildew and leaf spot. These diseases start as small spots on the leaves, which can eventually turn into holes as the fungi eat away at the leaf tissue.

If you notice holes in your elm leaves, take a close look at the leaves for signs of fungal disease. If you see any, treat the affected leaves with a fungicide. To prevent fungus in the future, make sure to keep your garden clean and free of debris.


Sometimes, animals will eat the leaves of elm trees. This is most common with deer, but other animals, such as rabbits and rodents, can also be culprits.

If you think animals are eating your elm leaves, you can try to scare them away with loud noises or bright lights. You can also build a fence around your tree to keep animals out.


Finally, bad weather can also cause holes in elm leaves. High winds can tear the leaves, and hail can create small holes. Extreme heat can also cause leaf damage, such as leaf scorch that results in brown, dry patches on the leaves.

There’s not much you can do to prevent weather-related damage. However, you can help your tree recover by giving it extra water and fertilizer during periods of extreme weather.

Should I Prune Elm Tree Leaves with Holes?

There is no need to prune elm leaves with holes. The holes will not affect the tree’s health, and the leaves will eventually grow back. In fact, pruning can do more harm than good, as it can leave your tree vulnerable to disease and pests.

However, pruning diseased leaves can be a good idea if the leaves are heavily infected. This will help prevent the spread of disease to other parts of the tree.


In conclusion, holes in elm leaves are usually caused by pests, but they can also be caused by disease, animals, or weather. The best way to prevent holes is to practice good tree care, such as watering regularly and using a natural pesticide.

Neem oil is my go-to solution for pests and diseases. Not only is it affordable and easy to find, but it’s also effective at treating a wide variety of problems.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article was helpful. Do you have any tips for preventing or treating holes in elm leaves? Share them in the comments below!

Leave a Comment