I hope you don’t have scales

chinese lantern
I’m going to start with a pretty picture, because what I’m about to show you is ugly. Remember how I wrote up a nice little cheerful post about the good bugs in the garden? Well, what’s below is one that I hope you never see in your garden. And that is scale.
I don’t normally get squeemish about a bug here or there, but when they are in mass, it completely gives me the heebee jeebeeies. I first noticed these little black round guys on my two Chinese lanterns last year, but never did much about them at the time. I read that you should scrap them off, but being that I had just given birth and also had a two year old to contend with, I wanted no part of scraping anything extra off of anything else. So those poor plants when untended to. This year, the scale killed the smallest chinese lantern and seriously did some major damage to the above varigated one. I loved that tall, seven foot beauty, but it and it’s nasty scale had to go. It was completely covered, so I ripped it out.
Unfortunately I waited too long and the dreaded scale moved over to my oak leaf hydrangeas too. Those I did scrape off, the whole while wearing a look of complete disgust on my face, so hopefully it can be saved.
The UC Davis site says: “Populations of some scales can increase dramatically within a few months, such as when honeydew-seeking ants or dusty conditions interfere with scale natural enemies.” As you can see from the photo above, those ants were all over it.

Has anyone else had to deal with scale? Did you remove it successfully?


Filed under Bad Bugs, Good Bugs, the birds & the bees

2 responses to “I hope you don’t have scales

  1. Theresa


    I just found your blog while looking for photos of good bugs : )

    I have a wonderful success story about a plum tree with scale. My friend has a beautiful and much loved plum tree that shades her deck, she likes to drink her morning tea under it. One day she noticed all this sticky stuff on her chair and then noticed ants running up and down the plum tree. The plum tree was loaded with scale. I had just started brewing Actively Aerated Compost Tea and so she asked me if I could think of an organic approach to the scale problem. I took an Integrated Pest Management approach. She had recently piled a lot of soil around the root zone of the tree which probably caused the tree to get stressed. She removed the soil, then applied 1/2″ layer of compost around the drip line of the tree and then covered that with woods chips and then water in 3 gallons of Actively Aerated Compost Tea. She also did a little pruning of the really scale covered limbs. Within 6 weeks there were no more ants climbing the tree and no more scale on the tree. This was three years ago and the plum tree is very happy and health to this day.

    Love your blog.

    • asonomagarden

      Thanks for that story Theresa. The scale is back on my oak leaf hydrangea, so I think I might try your suggestions. I’d hate to lose that beautiful plant.

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