Monday, 1 February 2016

Drastic solution 2.

I walk out of the front door and about 10' in front of me is a pieris which is partially hidden by a large camellia in front of it, for a while now a thought has been running through my head that the leaves didn't look bright enough but the weather hasn't been good and it never really caught the sun so I didn't pursue the matter until it actually dawned on me that all was not well and here was more sooty mould!



On further investigation I found it on the adjacent camellia although this was not as badly affected................

............................and on the skimmia which although adjacent to both is again not as badly affected. 
 

I disillusioned myself for all of a few minutes that the sooty mould was growing on the honey dew of a minor aphid infestation but it was not to be, on the camellia is the culprit, the egg case of the dreaded cushion scale.
 

I have a very large holly tree, which coincidentally has just been topped by a third, whose progeny spring up everywhere and don't always get grubbed up immediately if growing in areas of denser vegetation. These seedlings provide a further area for the cushion scale to thrive as holly is yet another susceptible genus.   


When I published my original post describing a rather drastic solution I was aware of small further infestations and in July dutifully sprayed all those plants I deemed susceptible with a systemic, it would now appear that I was a bit too complacent and that this has allowed the cushion scale to get a hold. 


Drastic Solution
The old ponticum is throwing up new growth as expected but there is no way that I am going to start cutting down the other infected plants. 


  • First off, when I can find a dry day! I will start regular spraying of the affected growth with a soap solution.
  • Every holly seedling I can find will be uprooted and sent away to the tip.
  • Start spraying with systemic insecticide at the end of May to make sure I catch the hatching pests. The large holly will also have to be sprayed as effectively as possible as it will always be a source of re-infection if left. 
  • The treatment will be repeated as necessary until the infestation is controlled.
This may seem rather a drastic approach chemically but this problem has been caused by me not taking things seriously last year and also trying to use as few chemical treatments as possible so I am afraid this is now personal! War has been declared!


11 comments:

  1. It is interesting to see how different our gardens are. While yours is acidic mild and wet, we are basic, dry and cold (or hot). Not only are the plants different but so are the problems!

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    1. I think the main appeal in horticulture is that it is such a diverse subject with so many variables Alain.

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  2. I lost a Magnolia and a Redbud to scale, I hate it.

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    1. If there was a Scale Haters club Jason I would join!

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  3. I had the same problem in my old garden! I had an 8m tall inherited holly tree, beautiful with flowers in the spring and berries almost all year round – but it was riddled with scales and affected my huge camellia and many other plants. There was no way I could spray it effectively that high up, so I did the drastic solution too – I had the holly cut down. That solved the problem for the rest of my garden, and opened up new solutions in my seating area where the holly tree was. Good luck with sorting out your problem!

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    1. Thanks Helene, removing the holly could be problematic so I will just have to see how things pan out.

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  4. Drastic solutions are the only way sometimes Rick. These days we all like to be as environmentally friendly as possible, when I am faced with these problems I console myself with spraying the affected plants very late at night in the hope that I am not killing off too many good guys.

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    1. I am much more reluctant to employ chemical controls these days but to be honest what I propose is a drop in the ocean compared with the poisons I used to happily spray from a tractor without a cab or any form of protection back in the day! I know it is totally frowned upon now, but at least they worked.

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  5. You have some work cut out for your there Rick but as you say you need to do what you need to do. Good luck with it all - I await progress reports in the coming months.

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    1. Thanks Angie, I am determined to beat it but may have to resort to removing the plants in the end.

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  6. Good luck with your drastic plans. A few years ago I had to take down a small Magnolia which had been really damaged by scale, though I'm not sure what kind. I had let it go too long before trying to rectify things.

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