Friday, August 12, 2016

Check your Beautyberry Bushes

Last night at our Memphis Area Master Gardeners' meeting, Greg Touliatos, owner of Urban Earth garden shop, spoke about crape myrtle bark scale. The talk was very informative and, even though I had thoroughly researched the topic in 2014 when I first discovered the scale on my own crape myrtles, I learned several things. Among them was that these scale are also thought to jump to several native varieties of plants, including the American elm and beautyberry Callicarpa americana).

Since my introduction to crape myrtle bark scale in 2014, I have checked our crape myrtles regularly to be sure they have not returned. So far, so good. But I didn't realize that these pests would move to other species of plants. This morning, I walked to the back part of our garden where we have a beautyberry planted and this is what I found. My beauty berry was not beautiful. It had only a few berries, yellow, sick-looking foliage, and darkened stems. Upon closer inspection, I discovered the cause. The picture below provides a better look at the culprit. 

Greg Touliatos talked at length about how to control crape myrtle bark scale, and the chemical he suggested was the one I had used in 2014. So this afternoon, I mixed up a drench containing imidacloprid and poured it around the shrub. It won't look like much this year (especially considering a systemic insecticide takes some time to kill the insects) but we'll see what happens next year.  By the way, the brand of insecticide I had on hand (shown here) is only one of several brands you can find available in garden centers. 

For those of you who might be lucky enough not to be familiar with these pests yet, click here for additional information on the them. If you have crape myrtles in your garden (or beautyberries), you'll undoubtedly need this information sooner or later. 

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