It’s Spring in Memphis and that means many things including crepe myrtle scale. It is time to start mowing lawns, it is time to get weeds sprayed and under control, and it is time for some trees and shrubs to start coming out of winter dormancy and start to bud and bloom. It is also about time to start treating crepe myrtles for those scale insects. In the last handful of years we have seen more and more crepe myrtle scale appear. First you notice a small white, almost fuzzy spot or two on a few of the branches. Then, in a matter of weeks, you find these white fuzzy “spots” all over the tree. If left unchecked you will soon notice a dark grey to black sticky substance on the bark. This substance, known as honeydew, can fall and build up on any shrubs under the crepe myrtle tree. So lets talk about crepe myrtle scale.
What is crepe myrtle scale?
The white spots are actually the adult scale insect. What you wont necessarily see are the hundreds are even thousands of “crawlers”, the almost invisible baby crepe myrtle scale (inmature instars) that have newly hatched and are looking for a place to grow up and feed on the sap of the crepe myrtle. As these instars grow into adults they will take on a puffy white scale form. The adult females will loose their legs and stay in one spot, but not before laying hundreds of eggs in fine cracks in the crepe myrtle branches. Many of these eggs over winter in these cracks and are ready to hatch come Spring time, and the scale cycle starts all over again.
How do you control crepe myrtle scale?
The best time to treat your crepe myrtles for scale is around April as the trees are starting to show new leaves and suckers. The best results are achieved through the use of a systemic insecticide root drench. Take note that only a few products (two that I know of) have been found to provide any lasting control. The root drench is taken up by the tree with water. It moves into the entire “system” of the tree, from the bark and branches, to the leaves. When the scale feeds on the sap they die, or at least the vast majority does. One treatment is usually sufficient for the entire season if done early enough before an infestation occurs.
Let KEMCO treat those crepe myrtles so they go back to looking like the beautiful trees they are. Call us today or fill out our request form. We also offer programs for shrub and ornamental insect control and fertilization as well as lawn insect, weed control and turf shrub and fertilization. Or you may click here to find out more about our lawn and turf programs.