Spider Damage to Chinese Holly

— Written By Thomas Glasgow and last updated by
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Well, not exactly damage, but the leaf-rolling might catch your attention, and you might suspect herbicide damage. You might even suspect your neighbor sprayed something …
Rolled up leaves were noticed in January on a Chinese holly cultivar known as ‘O. Spring’ growing at the Craven County Agricultural Building. A closer look revealed that virtually all of the affected leaves had a small, flattened web structure inside, and frequently a single spider could be seen underneath the webbing. The images I sent along to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at NC State did not provide enough information for a positive ID of the spiders, but it was suggested that various spiders, including hunting spiders, will roll up leaves and tie them together with silk.
The Clinic also identified the eggs in the third image as belonging to bark lice in the genus Psocomorpha. These insects feed on lichen and algae growing on the bark, so no control is suggested. As for the spiders, you’ve got a bunch of tiny spiders protected by rolled up foliage. Leave well enough alone and don’t embark on difficult and unnecessary spray programs.

Normal and tightly rolled-up foliage of Ilex cornuta ‘O. Spring’.

Unrolling and flattening a leaf reveals webbing and a spider underneath.

Arrow points to the eggs of bark lice, genus Psocomorpha.