Location Central Alabama

Tea Scale: A Threat to Alabama's Camellias and Holly Species

Tea scale is a common pest problem for a wide range of plants in Alabama, particularly in the Birmingham and Huntsville regions.

This invasive armored scale insect, Fiorinia theae, originates from Southeast Asia and poses a significant threat to camellias and holly species.

Ace Tree Services is dedicated to helping you understand the risks posed by tea scale, its impact on trees, and the solutions we provide to combat this persistent pest.

What Is Tea Scale?

Tea scale derives its name from its impact on camellias, which belong to the same genus as the tea plant used for beverages. Female scales form a flat yellow test (shell) that turns brown and hard as they mature, while male scales develop a soft white test.

Why Is Tea Scale a Problem?

Tea scale has multiple generations per year, beginning when temperatures warm in late fall. As crawlers hatch, they move to new leaves and start feeding. Tea scale damage results in leaf yellowing, early leaf drop, reduced blooms, and decreased plant vitality. Mottled leaf yellowing is an early symptom of tea scale infestation, indicating the insect's feeding activity on the leaf's underside.

How Can Ace Tree Services Help?

Controlling tea scale can be challenging due to its armored nature. A comprehensive three-pronged approach is recommended to address all life stages of tea scale, increasing the likelihood of preventing it from becoming a chronic issue:

Adult Treatment: Target adults with a systemic application during most of the growing season, ideally in late spring or early summer. This method protects the tree from the inside out for a limited time, killing any pest feeding on it. However, this application may not fully protect against crawlers maturing in late summer.

Crawler Treatment: Use an insect growth regulator to target crawlers. This disrupts insect development, preventing younger life stages from developing into adults.

Overwintering Egg Treatment: Apply a dormant oil spray to address overwintering eggs. Dormant oil smothers the eggs, preventing reemergence. Apply the spray during winter, after leaf drop and before bud break.

Ace Tree Services is committed to helping Alabama residents in the Birmingham and Huntsville areas protect their camellias and holly species from tea scale infestations. Our expert guidance and efficient treatment solutions ensure your landscape remains healthy and beautiful. Call an ISA certified arborist from Ace Tree Service at (205) 332-7757!

Tea Scale in Birmingham Al
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