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Winter moth, Operophtera brumata L. (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), has been defoliating hardwood trees in eastern Massachusetts since the 1990s. Native to Europe, winter moth has also been detected in Rhode Island, Connecticut, eastern Long Island (NY), New Hampshire, and Maine. Individual tree impacts of winter moth defoliation in New England are currently unknown. Using dendroecological techniques, this study related annual radial growth of individual host (Quercus spp. and Acer spp.) trees to detailed defoliation estimates. Winter moth defoliation was associated with up to a 47% reduction in annual radial growth of Quercus trees. Latewood production of Quercus was reduced by up to 67% in the same year as defoliation, while earlywood production was reduced by up to 24% in the year following defoliation. Winter moth defoliation was not a strong predictor of radial growth in Acer species. This study is the first to document impacts of novel invasions of winter moth into New England.
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Simmons, Michael J.; Lee, Thomas D.; Ducey, Mark J.; Elkinton, Joseph S.; Boettner, George H.; and Dodds, Kevin J., "Effects of Invasive Winter Moth Defoliation on Tree Radial Growth in Eastern Massachusetts, USA" (2014). Insects. 409.