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!