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June 25, 2024

Problem of the Week: Magnolia Scale

Check your magnolias. Are there fuzzy white spots on the branches or leaves? Are your trees dripping a sticky liquid? Are bees buzzing around it? Is there black, sooty mold on the tree or anything below it like your sidewalk? Chances are, it’s Magnolia Scale...It’s a pest we haven’t seen in quite a while, and it is back with a vengeance.

The white things are primitive insects that attach themselves to the tree and suck the sap. The dripping is, well, their excrement. Gross.  The droppings are sweet from the sap, so the bees like it. Also, gross. The black stuff is mold that grows on the droppings. Nothing to like about this.

What to do about it:

You can call us for treatment. There is a spray we can do now. We also recommend that it should be followed up with a soil systemic and deep root fertilization next spring.

The bugs will die, but still be attached to the tree. They won’t be dripping or squishy anymore and won’t do any more harm. Eventually the dead ones disappear. Good riddance.

Or you can scrap them off with burlap. The scales are soft and die easily if you squish them.  It’s super-disgusting, but effective, as long as you can reach all the branches where they’re living. And because it’s been so hot, and the bugs are sucking moisture from the tree, it would help if the tree got watered thoroughly.