Now that crapemyrtles are dormant you have very little to do in caring for them. If you have noticed white dots on the branches of your crapemyrtle and have noticed the bark turning black then you have Crapemyrtle Bark Scales. This problem did not exist when we became the Crapemyrtle Capital of Oklahoma. It came to us from the eastern states which had it brought over to them from Asia. It slowly crept our way and now we see more of them than ever before. In time I think they will come up with more products that will help with this problem. In the meantime, the Grumpy Gardner in Southern Living magazine has addressed this problem and gave us his solution. Here is what he had to say:
“The white dots are likely insects called crapemyrtle bark scales. They suck sap from the tree and then drip sticky honeydew on leaves and branches on which sooty mold grows. Crapemyrtle bark scales build shells over themselves so normal insecticides won’t kill them. Controlling them requires a two-step approach each year. First, after all the leaves drop in autumn, spray your trees with dormant oil according to the label directions. This smothers the scales that are there. Next spring, between March and May; apply a systemic insecticide call BioAdvanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Insect Control, which is absorbed through the roots. The scales and mold will take time to disappear.”
I have also recommended a Tree & Shrub Systemic Insect Drench. The particular brand that he is recommending is excellent but there are other brands as well. The one that I currently have is Ferti-lome. Businesses that spray your yards for weeds also have a method of treating Crapemyrtle Bark Scale. Because we have so many, I had each plant treated last fall/winter. It worked perfectly and we didn’t experience any problems with the scale. If your budget doesn’t allow for that, then please try the Grumpy Gardner’s suggestion above.
With Christmas just around the corner I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Let’s make 2021 a year to enhance our yards and community. Most of all stay healthy, happy and COVID free.