Friday, May 30, 2008

Landscape and Nursery - Scales to Watch For

The following is information on some scale pests you should watch for and apply control measures in the next few weeks.

Two species of Lecanium scales are problematic in our landscapes and the next few weeks offer good management opportunities. Fletcher scale (Parthenolecanium fletcheri) affects a wide variety of coniferous plants such as Taxus, arborvitae, junipers, and even Taxodium spp.. European fruit lecanium (Parthenolecanium corni) affects a broad range of broadleaved woody plants such as redbud, hawthorn, dogwood, and oak.

These soft scales appear like little brown lumps grouped along tree branches as adults. They feed in the phloem (on plant sap). Honeydew rain (clear sticky substance that is scale excrement) from the developing nymphs and adults of both species was noticeable in early May. A black fungus called sooty mold often grows on the honeydew.

Lecanium scales have one generation per year. Crawlers will start to appear in early June and will migrate to the undersides of leaves/needles and spend the summer months there then migrate back to the branches to spend the fall and winter. They will resume growth, mate, and lay eggs the following spring.

The settled crawler stage is the best time to control lecanium scales. Many insecticidal products are registered for this purpose but horticultural oils work quite well. Occasionally, a re-application is needed about 3 weeks after the initial application to ensure that all crawlers have emerged. Many naturally occurring parasites and predators often control lecanium scales,
but parasites have been less active recently on a regional level. Still, many predators such as lady beetles feed on them. Insecticides sprayed later provide only limited effectiveness against nymphs and soil systemic insecticide applications must be properly timed.

Information from Casey Sclar, IPM Coordinator, Longwood Gardens

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