INVASION ALERT

CRAPEMYRTLE APHID

Crape Myrtle Aphid
There are not many landscapes in South Carolina without the vibrant color that only crepemyrtles can offer. There are not many crepemyrtles in South Carolina without the wonderful crapemyrtle aphid that leaves a sticky mess on anything below the tree.

Crapemyrtle aphids are not a new pest but seem to be abundantly increasing every year. The good news is that this pest is monophagous which means they will not feed on your azaleas or any other plant, just crapemyrtles.

The first thing to look for is the honeydew, a sticky secretion from the aphid. Honeydew may be found on plants, patios, or anything below the tree. When enough honeydew collects, black sooty mold develops. If the aphids are left untreated two problems can occur. First, the health of the crapemyrtle will decline as the aphids continue feeding on the host plant. Secondly, any plant beneath the crapemyrtle that develops black sooty mold has reduced ability to produce its own carbs due to its inability to photosynthesize.

Crapemyrtle aphids can be controlled by safe systemic applications, spray applications or organic practice.

If you think you might have a crapemyrtle aphid infestation, contact us today for a free evaluation!

FALL CANKER WORMS

Fall Cankerworm
lf you have not met these eating, pooping machines just wait. They are abundant in York County and are getting a strong start in Richland and Lexington Counties as well.

Fall canker worms emerge in the early spring and immediately begin eating budding foliage. Within several weeks these inch worm caterpillars can completely consume all of the leaves on a large mature oak leaving the tree in a weakened state. Most trees have no problem producing more foliage, but to do so requires the tree to expend more of its own stored energy. This weakened state can leave the tree vulnerable to other pest invasions.

Fall Canker Worms do not have discriminating tastes, as there are many hosts on which they will feed: white oak, red oak, willow oak, red maple, cherry elm, hickory, and dogwood, are some examples.

Fall Canker Worms can be controlled by many methods. Such controls include trunk banding in the fall, chemical foliar sprays, trunk injections and soil drenches. Timing is critical for control using any of these methods. If you are your neighbor have been invaded by this crawling pest, you need to contact Sox & Freeman as soon as possible to formulate a plan to protect your tree canopy.

LECANIUM SCALES

Lecanium Scales
This is a pest that has moved into our tree canopy under the radar. About ten years ago we noticed an increase in population on our water oaks and willow oaks. Most customers never complained about the pests since they really never knew it existed. The complaints we received were about the tree dripping on their car, patio or shrubbery and not the pest itself.

Lecanium scales are found throughout North America, and the primary hosts we see infested are oaks and dogwoods. Lecanium scales suck sap from leaves and twigs of trees then excrete honeydew. Honeydew is that sticky, glossy substance that appears as if the tree is dripping. Sooty mold then develops on the object where the honeydew accumulates. Trees with a heavy population will show signs of stress such as: stunted plant development, premature leaf drop and dead twigs. Female lecanium scales lay 1000 to 500O eggs each year. If the scales are not controlled, the stress level will increase each year allowing other unwanted pest to invade the plant often causing death.

Lecanium scales are controllable by means of spray applications or systemic soil drenches. Either method requires applications at the appropriate time. Often there are underlying stress factors that invite scales or other unwanted pests.

If you think your trees might be invaded by lecanium scales, please contact us for an evaluation and a plan to eliminate this pest, improve the tree vigor and add years to the tree canopy you enjoy.