Scale and your plants…how to spot it and how to treat it.

With Spring upon us now is a super important time to get out and check on your plants. This time of the year is when a lot of insects that feed on your landscape shrubs start to hatch and become active. Here is an example of Tea Scale growing on Hollies. When the bug is young and moving around they tend to be a grey, tan, brown color. As they mature, they start to form a white colored amour over themselves and that is typically where they will stay. As a general rule, the younger they are the easier they are to kill. The more developed the armored is, the harder they become to kill. There are 2 basic approaches you can take to handle this. To treat immediately you use a horticultural oil and spray the plant from top to bottom. The oil coats the scale and suffocates them. This is a more effective route to take because as they develop their amour it can become hard for other insecticides to penetrate and kill them. The other approach would be to do a root injection in the soil with a systemic insecticide. The plant will over time uptake the insecticide and as the scale feeds on the plant they will ingest it and die this way. It’s a much slower way to handle the issue and is more of an ongoing preventive application. When you are treating the plants, it is important to make sure you are treating from top to bottom but also get on the inside of the plant to make sure everything is getting fully covered. It’s also suggested to use a sprayer with pressure to take care of this. The high pressure causes the leaves to move around and allows for more product to cover all over. Here are a few links to some of the products we have had the best luck with. Hope this helps! Remember to take care of your investment and don’t overlook the care of your plants!