Holes in Willow Leaves: Reasons and Solutions

by | Jul 27, 2022 | Care | 0 comments

Willow trees are beautiful, fast-growing deciduous trees that are popular in home landscapes. But willows are also susceptible to a number of problems, including leaf holes. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why holes form in willow leaves and provide some solutions to help you get your tree back to its healthy state.

Why Are There Holes in Willow Tree Leaves?

Holes in willow tree leaves are usually caused by willow leaf beetles, which is a small, black, and orange beetle that feeds on the leaves of willow trees. These beetles lay their eggs on the undersides of willow leaves in early spring. When the larvae hatch, they immediately begin to feed on the leaves, causing holes to form.

Other pests can also cause holes in willow leaves, including caterpillars, earwigs, and aphids. These pests are all attracted to the leaves of willow trees because they are nutritious and easy to eat.

You may not even know that you have pests infesting your willow tree until you see the damage they’ve caused. If you notice holes in the leaves of your willow tree, it’s important to take action immediately to get rid of the pests and save your tree.

willow leaf beetle
The willow leaf beetle


The second most common reason for holes in willow leaves is disease. Willow trees are susceptible to a number of diseases, including powdery mildew and leaf spot. The fungus starts as small spots on the leaves and then spreads, causing the leaves to turn yellow or brown and eventually drop off the tree.

Powdery mildew is a white powdery fungus that grows on the surfaces of willow leaves. Leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes brown or black spots to form on the leaves. Both of these diseases can be controlled with fungicide treatments.

How to Treat Willow Tree Leaves with Holes?

Once you’ve identified which pests or diseases are causing the holes in your willow leaves, you can begin to treat the problem.

If pests are the issue, you’ll need to use an insecticide to kill the pests and prevent them from coming back. Be sure to follow the instructions on the insecticide label carefully.

I’ve had good success with Neem oil when it comes to getting rid of pests from my trees and plants. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that’s made from the seeds of the neem tree. It’s safe to use around children and pets, and it’s very effective at killing a wide variety of pests.

Simply mix the neem oil with water according to the directions on the bottle and spray it on your willow tree leaves. You’ll need to reapply the neem oil every few weeks to keep the pests away.

If disease is causing the holes in your willow leaves, you’ll need to treat the tree with a fungicide. The good news is that neem oil is both a fungicide and an insecticide, so you can use it to treat both problems at the same time. Just mix the neem oil with water and spray it on your willow tree leaves according to the directions on the bottle.

How to Keep Pests Away From Willow Tree Leaves?

In addition to treating your willow tree with neem oil, you can also take some preventative measures to keep pests away.

One of the best things you can do is to keep your willow tree healthy. A healthy tree is better able to withstand pests and diseases. Be sure to water your willow tree regularly and stay on top of fertilizing it.

Beneficial insects can also help to keep pests away from your willow tree. Ladybugs, for example, eat aphids, which are a common pest of willow trees. You can buy ladybugs online or at your local garden center and release them into your yard.

Finally, keep your willow tree clean. Pests are attracted to trees that are cluttered with leaves and debris. Be sure to rake up any fallen leaves and remove any dead branches from your willow tree.

What Else Causes Holes in Willow Tree Leaves?

There are a few other things that can cause holes in willow tree leaves, including wind damage and herbicide damage:


Big storms tend to destroy trees and shrubs, causing their leaves to fall off. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or high winds, your willow tree may be more likely to lose its leaves.

Wind damage is usually easy to spot because the holes will be evenly distributed across the leaves. If you live in an area with high winds, you can protect your willow tree by staking it or wrapping it in burlap.


Another common cause of holes in willow tree leaves is damage from animals. Birds, squirrels, and other animals often eat leaves, causing small holes to form.

If you think animals are eating your willow tree leaves, you can try to deter them by covering the tree with bird netting or putting up a fence around it. Deterrents can also be used, such as ultrasonic devices or scarecrows.


If you use herbicides near your willow tree, it’s possible that the chemicals could damage the leaves. If you think herbicide damage is causing holes in your willow tree leaves, stop using herbicides and see if the problem goes away.

Sometimes the herbicides blow in the wind and damage other plants, so it’s important to be careful when using them. If you must use herbicides, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully and only use them when necessary.

Should I Prune Willow Tree Leaves with Holes?

Pruning is usually not necessary unless the holes are caused by disease or damage. If you do need to prune your willow tree, be sure to sterilize your pruning tools before using them. This will help to prevent the spread of disease.

To sterilize your pruning tools, simply soak them in a solution of bleach and water for five minutes. Then, rinse them off with clean water and dry them before using them on your willow tree.

When pruning, be sure to cut above the leaf node. This is the point where the leaves attach to the stem. Cutting above the leaf node will allow new leaves to grow in and fill in the gaps from pruning.


In conclusion, holes in willow tree leaves can be caused by a variety of things, including pests, diseases, weather damage, and herbicide damage. However, most of the time, the holes are caused by willow leaf beetles.

If you have willow leaf beetles, the best thing you can do is to treat your tree with neem oil. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that will kill the beetles and their larvae.

You can also take some preventative measures to keep pests away from your willow tree, such as keeping it healthy, releasing beneficial insects, and keeping it clean.

I hope this article was helpful in identifying the cause of holes in your willow tree leaves. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Hi. I am Aaron, the new owner of PlantCarer! I hope you enjoy the content. Please do message me with any questions or comments you may have.

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