The circumstances and potential for insects to damage perennial bioenergy crops is not well understood in the United States. In this study, we evaluated the spillover and herbivory of eastern tent caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum) from host trees onto short rotation coppice (SRC) willow bioenergy crops (Salix sp.). Host trees were all in the Rosaceae family and included Prunus americana, Prunus virginiana and Malus sp. Willow showed greater leaf herbivory with increasing proximity to a defoliated host tree, suggesting that tent caterpillars spilled-over to willow after denuding their host. More tent caterpillar herbivory was associated with greater mortality of willow. This study suggests that landscape context and spatial position of host trees is important to the early establishment of a willow bioenergy crop.
- Associational susceptibility
- insect herbivory