Armored Scales: A Threat to Alabama's Trees and Shrubs
Armored scales are a group of damaging pests that affect a wide range of trees and shrubs in the Birmingham and Huntsville regions of Alabama.
These small insects can cause significant harm to your landscape plants, making it crucial to address the infestation before it becomes a chronic issue.
Ace Tree Services is here to help you identify, manage, and eradicate armored scale infestations effectively.
At-Risk Trees and Shrubs in Alabama:
Numerous landscape trees and shrubs are susceptible to armored scale infestations in our region. Some of these plants include:
- Camellia, Hawthorn
- Red Bud
Common Armored Scales in Alabama:
- Tea Scale on Camellia (underside of the leaf)
- Gloomy Scale on Maple
- Japanese Maple Scale on Maple
- White Prunicola Scale on Laurel
Signs and Symptoms:
The signs and symptoms of armored scale infestations can vary significantly depending on the host plant and the type of scale. Some common indicators include foliage discoloration on Camellia and Holly from tea scale, stunted growth and limb dieback on Maple due to Japanese Maple or Gloomy Scale, and overall plant decline often seen in Euonymus and Laurels attacked by Euonymus and White Prunicola Scales.
Treatment Strategy by Ace Tree Services:
Managing established armored scale populations can be challenging and may require two to three seasons or more to gain control. Early detection is crucial for the successful treatment of infested trees. Regular monitoring of three to four-year-old twigs for the white and gray protective covers of armored scale insects is essential. Heavily infested branches should be pruned and destroyed.
Ace Tree Services recommends a comprehensive three-part treatment schedule to address all life stages of armored scales:
- Adult scales can be targeted throughout most of the growing season with a systemic application in late spring or early summer. This treatment protects the tree from the inside, killing any pests feeding on it. However, it may not fully protect against crawlers maturing in late summer.
- Crawlers can be targeted with an insect growth regulator, which disrupts insect development and prevents younger life stages from becoming adults.
- Overwintering eggs should be addressed with a dormant oil spray, which smothers the eggs. Apply dormant oil spray in winter after leaf drop and before bud break to prevent reemergence.
Additionally, Ace Tree Services can release beneficial insects to reduce reliance on pesticides and provide natural pest control. Please note that scale insect bodies can remain on the host for several more seasons even after control is achieved. Trust Ace Tree Services to help you protect your trees and shrubs in Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama from the threat of armored scales.