Mapping cankerworms in Charlotte

News article by Mary Newsom
April 2015

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute   (Charlotte)
City of Charlotte   (Charlotte)

April in Charlotte is a time of beauty, but the beauty is infested with thousands of little beasts – cankerworms.Cankerworms, officially known as fall cankerworms have been devouring the early spring leaves of Charlotte’s willow oaks, dogwoods and maples for more than 25 years. Their appetite is so rapacious that a serious infestation can all but defoliate not just a struggling young dogwood but a mature oak.

In recent years, the city has monitored which parts of town have the worst cankerworm infestations, based on observations of cankerworm traps installed in the late fall on street trees. This year’s maps show south Charlotte not as badly hit as in years past, but severe infestations continuing in west, east and northeast Charlotte.