If you have crape myrtles they could have scales and you need to - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

If you have crape myrtles they could have scales and you need to read this

Scale covering the bark and trunk of my beautiful crape mytle Scale covering the bark and trunk of my beautiful crape mytle

Over the last couple of weeks, my wife and I noticed a sticky coating on my outdoor furniture, the plants around and under a large crape myrtle tree in my back yard.  

Then, yesterday, we noticed the trunk of the crape myrtle was covered with a black sticky substance along with white encrustations up and down the outer bark of the tree.  

After doing a little research, we discovered that our beautiful crape myrtle was infected with Scales, tiny insects that feed on the sap of the tree and then excrete a black sappy liquid that adheres to everything that comes in contact with it.  The scale is thought to have originated in Asia and somehow migrated to the Southwestern United States, moved into northern Texas and Louisiana, and now is in the Mid-South.  

I spoke with a horticulturalist at the Shelby County UT Extension Services Office at the Agricenter.  He told me that the first documented case in Shelby County was noted in Germantown two years ago.  Since that time, his office has researched methods of treatment and eradication of the pest.  

Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution, but there is a successful means of control .  He recommended using one of two pesticides, one called Safari and the other called Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed.  

The Bayer product is available in liquid or granular form, and both are available at most home improvement stores.  

Apply the recommended dose at the surface around the tree base.  The tree's root system absorbs this chemical and spreads it throughout the tree. As the scales continue to feed, the formula kills them.  This process must be repeated annually.  It is not harmful to the crape myrtle or surrounding plants and shrubs.  

I do my best to refrain from using chemicals in my lawn and garden but, in this case, it is the only proven option.  On the upside, the pest only feeds on crape myrtles and will not kill the tree, but it will inhibit leaf production and blooming, which is the most beautiful aspect of the tree.  

I got a bottle of one of the pesticides today and will apply it this weekend.  Hopefully, I can control this nuisance to my beautiful crape myrtle tree. Since there are so many crape myrtle trees in the Mid-South, I thought I'd share this information with you.  

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