Crape Myrtle Turning Black? We Know Why!

Crape Myrtle Scale continues to spread through Crape Myrtles in East Texas mainly from lack of knowledge about how easy it is to prevent.

If your crape myrtle bark begins to turn black, or if you see large patches of white on upper branches then Scale is present on the tree. Since it has few natural enemies, it can quickly infest plants resulting in branches that are completely encrusted with scale.

Crape Myrtle with Scale Bugs present

This many bugs produces a large amount of honeydew (a euphemism for bug poop) that sticks to the branches. This results in a build-up of black colored sooty mold on the leaves and trunks of the infested plants along with anything growing under the tree.

Crape Myrtle covered in Scale Bugs and Black Sooty Mold

Crape Myrtle covered in Black Sooty Mold

There is a treatment that is easily applied each spring to prevent Scale from turning beautiful Crape Myrtles into ugly, black eyesores. It is a systemic drench that is poured around the base of the tree. The drench is absorbed through the roots and distributed throughout the tree that protects it from Scale for a year. No messy spraying is necessary.

Follow the directions on the label to find the amount needed for the size of your tree, mix it with water and pour around the base of the tree.

Here’s a hint on how to determine the correct amount to use for multi-trunk trees. Measure the circumference (distance around the trunk) of the main trunks at 5 feet from the ground – about chest high. Add the circumferences together, this is the number you will use in determining how much of the systemic to use.

Don’t let Scale prevent you from enjoying summer long blooms from such beautiful trees.

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