Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is a type of insect/pest that attaches itself to the trunk of a Crape Myrtle tree. You might first notice a problem on your Crape Myrtle when you see black areas forming on the trunk or branches. 

According to Clemson University, Crape Myrtle Bark Scale was first found in Texas in 2004. It has now (2021) spread across the South as far across as North Carolina. Most attribute the spread of CMBS to the movement of plant material across the region.

What IS Crape Myrtle Bark Scale?

Though Crape Myrtle Bark Scale SOUNDS like a plant or maybe a part of the tree, it is actually a pest. It covers parts (or eventually all) of the Crape Myrtle tree with a black, sticky soot-like substance. The actual pest, the Bark Scale is a flat, light gray or white pest that feels like felt. If you press on the Bark Scale and it oozes a pink substance, it is active.

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale typically gathers in the branch crotches or at pruning areas, also under loose bark. As CMBS takes over, it begins to literally suck the life (sap) from your tree. The thick, black moldy soot will cover the tree and begin raining down onto everything underneath the tree.

Sidewalks, driveways, shrubs and flowers, garbage cans, pools, toys are at risk. Whatever is under the infected tree will get a black, moldy, sooty stain. In addition to being unattractive, the mold prevents sunlight from reaching the tree.

Should I get rid of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale?

It is commonly accepted that CMBS won’t kill your trees. Bark Scale will most likely affect the number of flowers on your tree. The size of flower clusters and overall vigor in the plant health of your Crape Myrtle trees may also suffer. Crape Myrtle Bark Scale may even cause your trees to flower later than healthy trees. 

For some, the black sooty mold that covers your trees and everything underneath is more cause for concern than tree health. Deciding to treat Crape Myrtle Bark Scale may come down to you deciding to protect the investment you have made in your trees, your landscape and your property.

How is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale treated?

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is being treated by licensed lawn and pest technicians like Lawn and Pest Solutions in New Albany, MS. Treatment starts by systemically injecting treatment at the roots of the trees. This will slowly and methodically begin treating the entire tree and ridding it of the pest. 

In addition to the systemic treatment, we spray the entire tree with a growth regulator. This doesn’t improve the growth of the tree, it speeds up the process of getting rid of Bark Scale. 

In the fall, Lawn and Pest Solutions applies a dormant oil to the affected tree. This oil smothers and eliminates any remaining insects on the tree except those which are beneficial to the tree (like ladybugs). 

Each year afterwards, we do an annual systemic treatment as a preventative to keep the CMBS from returning. This treatment also has a fertilizer which will help your Crape Myrtle thrive in the future. Even if you don’t have Bark Scale now you might consider this preventative treatment. 

Crape Myrtles are some of the most beautiful flowering trees we have in the the South. These majestic trees enhance our properties, parks, cities and lawns. Contact us today to check on your investment! Lawn and Pest Solutions has a great system to treat your Crape Myrtles before this Crape Myrtle Bark Scale has a chance to infect your trees. Our licensed technicians are trained in recognizing and guiding you in the right direction for treatment and/or prevention. We treat Crape Myrtles from the Memphis, TN area and all over North Mississippi.

Should I invest in plant health care?

Living in North Mississippi and the Memphis area, it’s not unusual to wake up on April 21 and find that your landscape has suffered yet another freeze. For those who remembered the night before, maybe some shrubs and plants were covered in burlap or with garbage bags or tablecloths or just anything that could be grabbed before bedtime. For most, we all woke up with our fingers crossed that whatever happened last night wouldn’t kill our plants!

We have all filled our carts at the home improvement stores with spring plants and had sticker shock when the total is announced. Some of us have invested much, much more in professional landscaping services that rival the cost of a new car. Why do we spend so much money on shrubs, flowering trees, plants for our yard and then drop the ball? It’s like building a pool and then never putting in chemicals or cleaning it out! Or buying a car but never changing the oil or tires. 

Protecting your landscape is protecting your investment. 

When you invest in a plant health care program, you are allowing a professional to examine your plants, determine what is best for them, and then treating and nurturing them to get the most out of your investment.

What do I get with a plant health care program?

At Lawn and Pest Solutions, a plant health care program includes the following:

  • 6 visits per year from a licensed lawn technician with advanced knowledge of plant health care. 
  • At each visit your plants will be fertilized.
  • At each visit your plants will be monitored for insects, diseases and will be treated for what is found.
  • At each visit you will receive a written report from the technician which tells you what he observed, what he did and what you need to know to keep up the treatment process.

Why replace plants from year to year because they are unhealthy?

The money you spend on a plant health care program will eventually save you from replacing diseased or dying/dead plants. Nurturing your plants and making them the healthiest they can be will help them to become stable and mature in your lawn. An expert eye can detect a problem in your plants before it spreads to others. A healthy lawn and plant landscape will be strong enough to endure April 21 freezes and August 21 droughts. Let Lawn and Pest Solutions take care of your plants and lawn. Contact our office to learn more about our plant health care program. We serve the North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee areas.