Scale on Magnolia - Arborist Coming Tuesday-what will he say?


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I have a Susan Magnolia in my backyard and for the first time in it's 20 years here, it has massive amounts of scale. I tried gently scraping them off using a chapman's icecream wooden stick. I managed to get 75% of them off of one branch and that took over 2 hours.

I realize that I cannot do this job myself so I called up a local arborist to come and see what can be done by a professional. I don't know what to expect as this is the first time I have had to call in the pros.

Anyone had experience with an arborist that they are able to give me some pointers?

many thanks
Lori
... oh dear, I hope he doesn't look too closely at the rest of my gardening endeavours- better get out there and weed!
 
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I have a Susan Magnolia in my backyard and for the first time in it's 20 years here, it has massive amounts of scale. I tried gently scraping them off using a chapman's icecream wooden stick. I managed to get 75% of them off of one branch and that took over 2 hours.

I realize that I cannot do this job myself so I called up a local arborist to come and see what can be done by a professional. I don't know what to expect as this is the first time I have had to call in the pros.

Anyone had experience with an arborist that they are able to give me some pointers?

many thanks
Lori
... oh dear, I hope he doesn't look too closely at the rest of my gardening endeavours- better get out there and weed!
If it were me I would tell him not to come. Neem Oil effectively kills scale, I know because my peach trees were almost killed by it and Neem is what I used. I just had to spray heavily twice. The scale insects are like barnacles, they die but do not fall off immediately. Just get a hose end sprayer, set it to 2 oz per gallon and commense to covering every inch of tree bark.
 
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I have yet to find it here. I'll check the ingredients on some of the sprays I have here and see if one of them contains it. Our province brought in far too many laws prohibiting the use of pesticides for homeowners - oh, except it's okay on golf courses and farms.
 
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I have yet to find it here. I'll check the ingredients on some of the sprays I have here and see if one of them contains it. Our province brought in far too many laws prohibiting the use of pesticides for homeowners - oh, except it's okay on golf courses and farms.
The way adult scale is killed is to smother it. You can also use horticultural oil. I know that isn't banned. The main brand names of Neem here are Monterrey and Green Light. I doubt if Neem is on the banned list as it is a natural organic substance.
 
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I used horticultural oil that I have here and which was part of the dormant spray I bought and used before the buds came out. The container doesn't say what it actually is so I went to the manufacturer's site and discocered it is 99% mineral oil.

If I had realized t when I bought it I would have substituted drug store mineral oil af a far cheaper cost. I hope this spraying has better results than the spring application.

Thanks for the heads up!
 
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How many days would you estimate it takes for the oil to work?

many thanks
Lori
I would say it works in a day or two. As you know scale insects do not move and basically glue themselves to the tree, if they are in the adult stage, to the tree trunk and woody limb. The only way I could tell anything about them after spraying was that they change color to a grayish white and the colony didn't get any bigger. They remind me of barnacles, a rock hard substance that does not come off.
 
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Thank you. I will be monitoring them and spraying again too.
Remember that the oil doesn't kill them, the lack of oxygen does.

Scale insects go after trees and other plants that are weakened in some way. Perhaps water stressed, compacted soil, lack of nutrients etc. Make sure everything is hunkydory as to the basic health of the tree. On my peach trees is was a lack of water and over heated soil. Neem and a heavy mulch fixed it
 
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Ahso. Okay, I've been meaning to buy tree spikes. No more procrastinating!
Now this is just my opinion on tree spikes but I think they are just about useless. You can get more benefits by spreading compost and granulated organic fertilizer out to the drip line of your tree...Spikes are made with a bunch of chemicals, at least the one's in Texas are. They add zero to the organic matter of your soil and do nothing for the fungi and bacteria in the soil under your tree, much less stimulating their growth. By adding a good compost and fertilizer you feed both the tree and the soil. And on top of the fertilizer and compost add a nice thick layer of mulch which will deter or completely stop any soil born insects or pathogens which is where your scale came from in the first place plus it will help keep your soil at a continuous moisture level
 
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Lori, I used dish soap and olive oil, but I was only treating a small Hawthorn shrub. We get tea scale here on camellias and related plants. (I have also been having mealy bug issues). You'd have to do a lot of mixing depending on the size of the tree and your sprayer, but at least it's not toxic. Of course, in my case they were only on the leaves.
 
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Thanks everone. The mi eral oil seems to be working. Am planning to have a wake this evening...:D
Do it again in
Thanks everone. The mi eral oil seems to be working. Am planning to have a wake this evening...:D
Don't have a street dance yet. Do it again in 7 days. In the meantime get a magic marker and mark the outside edge of the scale. This will let you know if the colony of scale insects is growing or is halted. Remember that there are different stages to the maturity of scale. Keep a close watch. Scale is insidious and its life cycle difficult to control. Gotta get'em all
 
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Well, I didn't cancel the appointment since it was free and now I know that the wake is not going to be for the scale.

I did manage to kill a lot of it but the tree guy said that it is just too far gone. Ditto for the ornamental crabapple. It has something else that has been working at it for years and frankly, I'm not sad to see it go. It has gotten gnarly and uglier every year.

Thank goodness the one that gives me a crop of crabapples to make jelly hasn't suffered.

This might seem like a big hit for a little yard but I still have three trees left which are in good shape. And my back yard is only about 30d x 40w including the deck at the back!

Hope the guys that come to take them down are wearing cute outfits....:p
 

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