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After the singing comes the destruction

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

As the great cicade crescendo drops during the shortening days of autumn, the telltale signs of their breeding success cause headaches in the orchard.

There are around 40 species of Cicada in New Zealand with the Chorus Cicada Amphipsalta zelandica being common across New Zealand. It is only the male that sings but it is the female that does the damage.

The female uses her ovipositor to cut a series of slits into soft new wood and lay her eggs, leaving a distincrive herring bone pattern, In the orchard this invariable means that your favourite lead branch on your fruit tree is damaged. The egg laying damage can structurally weaken the branch to fail later under fruiting and wind load or allowe infection into the branch.

This means that some of your pruning choices have bee made for you as damaged branches and leaders are cut back to allow strong growth next year.

Main photo: Cicada

Photo 2: Fresh Cicada damage on upper and left branch. Old damage healing on lower branch.

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