You’re probably here because you have Japanese maples in your yard, and you want to keep them healthy and happy! These trees are a favorite for both rural and urban gardeners, thanks to their delicate, vibrant leaves and compact stature.
With all their colorful attributes and hardiness, Japanese maples aren’t without some downsides. One common issue you’ll have to contend with is scale infestation. But don’t worry; these sap-sucking insects won’t kill your mature, healthy plants. However, besides being an eyesore, they can be unforgiving to young trees.
In this post, we take a deeper look into how to get rid of scale on Japanese maple and the importance of residential tree care and inspection in tackling this menace.
Think You Have Japanese Maple Scales? Learn How to Spot Them
Before you even think of how to get rid of scale on Japanese maple, you need to be sure you have an infestation. Lopholeucaspis japonica Cockerell (scale) is an insect notorious for attacking ornamental trees like the Japanese maple.
It siphons out plant sap with its sharp mouthparts. These insects don’t directly eat the phloem tissues of the host trees, so they don’t ingest too much sugar to excrete it as honeydew.
Instead, they produce a detached waxy shell covering the body. You’ll hardly spot adult male scales, but they have wings and shed off their waxy cover.
On the contrary, females aren’t winged, are about 2 mm long, and retain their waxy shells. You’re most likely to spot them clustered on tree barks, at the branch bases, and in the crevices and cracks on the bark.
You may sometimes find them on your tree leaves. You need to look very closely to identify these pesky insects. They usually blend in with the tree bark’s patterns and colors, making them extremely difficult to spot. It’s worth noting that severely infested trees often exhibit branch dieback.
Tired of Scale on Your Japanese Maple Trees? Here’s How to Tackle It:
Can you see tiny, brown, or white insects attached to leaf petioles and lining the stems and twigs? If so, you’re dealing with scale!
You can’t easily dislodge them, so how do you get rid of them? Follow these simple steps:
- With your gardening gloves on, remove the scales by hand if the infestation isn’t severe. Drown them in a bucket of water. If they’re only on a few branches, chop them off.
- Bring in natural predators like parasitic wasps and Ladybugs. The University of California IPM Online says these are an effective, natural way of combating scale.
- Spray your trees with insecticidal soap or oil. You may need to repeat the process in case of severe damage.
Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance
Even if you know how to get rid of scale on Japanese maple, it’s best to work with a certified professional for the best results. Rick’s Plant Health Care is your trusted source for all matters of tree care in West Chester, PA.
Need a free quote or to learn about bagworms? Give us a call at 610-840-2655 today.
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