Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

This is what’s happening to the oaks

A year ago I asked what’s happening to the oaks round these parts. Suddenly around June, the leaves all seem to turn brown and take on a skeletal look. Last year I thought it might be fungal because I couldn’t see evidence of insects, but now that we’re here full time and have the benefit of catching it in the act of happening, this year it’s clear that it’s not.

Oak Flea Beetle larvae feeding on oak leaves

Oak Flea Beetle larvae

Despite searching on Google for oak leaf miners and the like, so far I’ve been unable to identify this pest. Anyone?

Addendum: Thanks to Miguel (comment below) I’ve discovered that this pest is the Oak Flea Beetle (Altica quercetorum). I’ve also noticed that, like many plants subject to insect attack, water stress plays a part. The oaks in wetter parts of the quinta have far less damage, or even none, while the ones in the driest areas have the most damage.

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  1. Miguel July 10, 2010


    This is very similar to Altica quercetorum.

  2. Quinta do Vale July 12, 2010

    Thank you! Yes. Having Googled Altica quercetorum (Oak Flea Beetle) this appears to be exactly the problem with the oaks in this area.

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