It’s cicada invasion time in Nashville. They are everywhere. Millions of them. You can see them, hear them, smell them and maybe even swear at them if one lands on you. Unless you are an entomologist or own a local car wash, you’re probably not too crazy about this “inconvenient” natural occurrence that seems to drag on way too long. Our mowing crew can attest that cicadas, which are normally harmless, can get aggressive once the guys start using noisy string trimmers and mowers.
There could be some minor cicada damage to young landscapes. Female cicadas lay eggs in the limbs and twigs of smaller trees and woody plants, as many as 600 eggs at a time. After about six weeks the eggs hatch and the "nymphs" drop to the ground and burrow into the soil where they remain for 13 to 17 years. It is the laying of eggs that poses a danger to small trees and shrubs. A female can make up to 20 slits in one branch to deposit her eggs. This usually causes the branch to eventually wilt and die. If you are concerned about the potential damage on some of your newer plantings, it is possible to cover young trees and shrubs with a thin cloth to keep the cicadas away from the branches. You could just smile and see this entire ordeal as some free aeration and extra nutrients for the soil. Like it or not, it’s all part of nature, which we all are a part. Maybe the cicadas are a reminder to look around us each day at all the amazing life on our planet and to not take any of it for granted.