Apple tree leaf tips turning brown (found larva)


Hi There,

I have a Gala tree that I recently planted in full sun (our soil is clay) in our meadow, but its leaf tips are turning brown and curling. For fear that it is some sort of infection, I’ve been clipping of leaves I notice it on. Today I fiddled with the leaf tip and I found some larva inside. Is this something I should be concerned with? What should I do to fix the problem?

Please see the photos attached.

I recently planted two apple trees, the Gala, and a Honeycrisp). They are about 10 meters apart but the Honeycrisp does not have the same issue.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

It is difficult for me to see the larva in question in your photo. From your description it could be that your tree is suffering from Leaf Curling Midge (Dasineura mali). This insect initially starts off red in colour, becoming clear white, until the final instar when they acquire a bright orange red colour. Mature size is 2-3 mm in length. Adults emerge in May, mate and females begin to lay eggs on developing leaves. Eggs can take 2-10 days to hatch, depending on temperature. Eggs hatch and larvae begin to feed on leaves.

Management of this insect is generally unnecessary, particularly on mature trees with many leaves. High insect populations in young trees may result in reduced photosynthesis, and stunt the growth of terminal shoots. This website lists possible controls for this pest. If you suspect the apple leaf curling midge is to blame, trim off all infected leaves and branches, and thoroughly dispose of them. Do not put them in your compost bin. Instead dispose of them in your city yard waste. This website gives more information on this pest.