The mere mention of the word scale conjures up images of layers of crust, disfiguring a tree with a thick blanket of life-sapping insects. Tree scale not only robs a tree of its beauty, it also destroys its health due to scale insects feeding on tree sap – the very life of a tree. As spring arrives and warmer days entice insects out of hibernation and onto the leaves, branches, and trunks of trees the environment becomes ripe for unprotected foliage to become the target of scale insects attacks and infestations. If keeping your trees healthy is a priority this year, protecting them from scale insects is a must.
What Are Scale Insects?
Hardy and insidious, scale insects can quickly claim the health of a tree by forming a thick covering on branches and trunks as they suck nutritious sap – causing the tree to be starved of nutrients and to become susceptible to disease and destruction. Divided into two groups of hard and soft scaled, these insects are able to secrete either a hard or waxy substance over themselves – creating a form of armour that enables them to move, albeit slowly, over plants, trees, and hedges without being noticed. Because this insect becomes barely recognizable under their protective covering; extensive tree damage frequently occurs before it’s noted that an infestation is at large. With females laying eggs under the protective coating, it doesn’t take long for new nymphs to make their way to fresh parts of a tree, where they will pierce the plant and start feeding on nutrients. Left unchecked certain trees and shrubs are susceptible to disease and death.
Elm and Oystershell Scale – Treat it Quickly
Though you may not notice the insect themselves, you can look out for another tell-tale sign of their presence – the glistening of leaves and branches that are covered in honeydew. Elm scale insects cannot digest the sugars in tree sap so it gets secreted, dropping onto lower branches and leaves and giving a clear sign of infestation. Acting quickly to control scale insects gives an opportunity to save the health of a tree and enable it to gain back its energy before the glistening honeydew turns into a grey, sooty mold that not only is unhealthy but wrecks the aesthetics of a tree. Elm scale, which is a soft scale insect, and Oystershell, which is a hard shelled variety can be treated quickly and effectively with natural treatments that promote regeneration of the tree, without harming surrounding shrubs and lawns.
Natural Tree Treatments
Low impact environmental treatments such as trunk injections that inject a small amount of pesticide directly into the tree, allows it to enter the circulatory system and treats the tree from roots to tip of leaves and may be more effective than certain sprays that fail to treat the tree systemically. Calgary Pest Control team at One Man and a Ladybug strive to provide an environmentally conscious solution that not only definitively addresses plant health, but also respects the fine balance of over-treatment.