Scale insects and your trees
Scale insects can be a serious threat to many types of trees. The small inconspicuous insects often go unnoticed until they become a serious problem. Scales have sucking mouthparts and fix themselves to branches and needles where they feed on sap. They are most noticeable in late spring and summer when they appear as whitish lumps. They get their name from the waxy, shell-like coating which protects them. In severe infestations, entire branches may be coated with scales, and the branches often die.
There are two types of scale insects: soft and armored. Soft scales excrete excess sap as a sweet, sticky material called honeydew. The honeydew drips onto all nearby surfaces. A dark fungus, called black sooty mold grows on the honeydew which results in the leaves and surrounding area to become sticky and blackened. The honeydew also attracts ants, bees, wasps and flies which feed on it. Armored scales are smaller than soft scales and often affix themselves to pine and spruce. Armored scales do not secrete honeydew.
Here’s what we can do
Shadywood Tree Experts can help maintain your trees with proper pest identification and the use of insecticide applications and annual fertilization. When you sign up for plant health care from Shadywood, we administer the recommended protocols for disease prevention control to keep your trees healthy. With each visit, our arborists assess trees for overall health.
Additional things you can do to maintain the health of your tree
Water trees regularly using a hose or lawn sprinkler for at least an hour every one to two weeks if there has not been adequate rainfall. Mulch root systems when possible, using natural wood chips to protect the trunk, condition and improve the soil, and to conserve soil moisture. If you see anything that doesn’t look right, have your trees inspected by one of Shadywood Tree Experts International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists.