It’s common this time of year to find unsightly scale infestations on your Crape Myrtles, Hollies, Magnolias, Euonymus, etc. Burton, our disease expert, shares his knowledge and remedy for this cumbersome yet treatable problem:
This pest sucks sap from the plant, making it less vigorous and reducing bloom. Sticky residue from the insect can coat branches, stems, and leaves, and then airborne molds may grow in the sugary material and blacken the trunks of the plant.
Your tree or shrub isn’t in danger of dying, but it can become very unattractive. Plants that are under stress (grown in partial shade, new, damaged in some way, badly pruned) are the most susceptible, but even healthy plants can get a touch of this pest. The insect gets into every nook, cranny, and crevice in the branch structure, and thus it’s hard to spray for.
The good news is that it is simple to treat with a drench insecticide. We recommend our Bonide or Ferti-lome Systemic Insect Drench. Mix in water according to label instructions and pour the drench slowly around the base of the trunk. The pesticide will have to travel up the trunk and branches, giving the product some time to work – typically two to three weeks. Then the scale will continue dying, and the plant will be protected from re-infestation for the rest of the season. Keep an eye on the plant in the late fall and next spring to see if any further treatment is necessary.