If you have been noticing small little bumps on your trees and shrubs branches and stems you might have a tree scale infestation. Our Arborists warn that Northern Va, Maryland, and DC are getting hit hard by scale this spring. Earlier today our Arborist saw a whole line of neighborhood trees in McLean suffering from bad tree scale infestations. In this article we will talk about what a scale infestation is, what it can do to your tree, and how you can get rid of your infestation.
What is Tree Scale?
Scale is a general term to describe a group of tiny insects that attach themselves to trees and shrubs to feed off of the sap the plants produce. These insects range from 1/16th inch to over ¼ inch and resemble narrow fans, oysters, turtles, and barnacles, depending on the type. The two main types of tree scale are armored scale and soft scale (examples in the pictures below)
What Does Tree Scale Do To My Trees & Shrubs?
Because tree scale feed off the sap produced by trees and shrubs they can cause serious damage over time and lead to the death of the tree/shrub. Common symptoms include:
Symptoms Of Tree Scale:
- Stunted Growth
- Yellow Leaves
- Dead Branches
- Premature Leaf Drop
- Cracked Bark
The primary symptom of soft scale is the presence of honeydew covering the fruit and leaves of the tree. Many homeowners mistake this as tree sap; however, it is really the excrement of soft scale and other plant sucking insects. This honeydew will also attract other damaging insects and a fungus called sooty mold which can damage your tree. Check out our Stop My Tree From Dripping Sap article for more information on honeydew and sooty mold.
How Can I Stop Tree Scale?
Scale, like most insects, is more likely to feed on stressed trees. Maintaining the health and vigor of your trees can help protect against scale infestation. You can maintain the health of your tree through routine pruning, bio-stimulant applications, and seasonal sprays.
Although Scale can be damaging, professional Arborists can help stop them in their tracks and prevent them from destroying your trees & shrubs through a specialized treatment program.
Specialized treatment programs will most likely include horticulture oils or insecticides and will be tailored to the type of scale infestation, your landscape, and other factors. One of the more interesting and eco-friendly treatments to combat scale is to use beneficial insects to combat the infestation or to stop it from reoccurring next year. If you think your trees might have Tree Scale call book an appointment through our online booking program or call 703.573.3029.