Oysters on your trees? This is not the water-dwelling creature but a pest known as oysterscale. Oysterscale, or mussel scale, resides in the family of what is known as scale insects that commonly affect trees and shrubs around the country.
This pest can be very harmful to trees if left untreated. Identifying and controlling oysterscale will go a long way in keeping your trees healthy.
Look For Oyster Shell-Like Scale Covering Branches
Oytstershell scale is caused by a scale insect, not a fungus. Oystershell adults excrete a waxy cover that gives it is oyster-like appearance. This cover protects the insect’s eggs throughout the winter. Eggs hatch from mid-to late April and crawlers are active into early May.
Symptoms Result In Reduced Tree Vigor & Health
Another sign that your trees may be suffering from oystershell scale is reduced tree vigor and health:
- Wilting leaves
- Premature leaf drop
These symptoms are often signs of a heavy infestation and can also be an indication of other pests or diseases. Keep an eye on your trees and contact an ISA-certified arborist if you notice worrying symptoms.
Controlling & Preventing Oysterscale In Your Trees
After oysterscale has established itself, horticultural oils cannot kill the pest. Rather, they can be carefully scraped off in the winter and placed in a bucket of hot soapy water to kill the parent scales. In the spring, horticultural oils can be sprayed by a professional to smother the insects. Pruning is also an effective method of controlling oysterscale, when needed.
Before self-treating your trees, contact an ISA-certified arborist from Hansen’s Tree Service for a hassle-free consultation. Hansen’s will inspect your trees and provide a diagnosis and treatment.