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3 Things You Need to Know About Tea Scale

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Camellias are a beautiful evergreen shrub that can bloom from autumn to spring. With the right varieties, you can enjoy those colorful blooms for months.

To keep your camellias healthy and strong, watch out for a pest that will soon start making its appearance in the Concord and Charlotte, NC areas — tea scales.

Don't know a thing about tea scales and wondering how they can harm your gorgeous camellias? Read on for the three things you need to know!

3 things you need to know about tea scale

1. Tea scales are tiny insects that love camellias.

Tea scales, originally from southeast Asia, are armored scale insects that feed on camellias, but they'll happily munch on hollies, as well.

Armored scales like tea scales have a hard, waxy shell. They also have specialized mouthparts that they use to burst open individual plant cells and eat what's inside.

The hard covering over female tea scales are oval shaped, flat, hard, and brown. They're only about 1/10 of an inch long. Male tea scales produce a white, waxy covering over themselves that will look cottony in heavy infestations.

2. Tea scales will leave chlorotic spots on your camellia's leaves.

To catch a tea scale infestation, you'll have to keep an eye on your camellia's leaves. An infested tree or shrub will have yellow, chlorotic spots on the topsides of its leaves, which are caused by the tea scales feeding underneath. Flip those leaves over, and you'll see the brown or cottony tea scales.

If your infestation is particularly bad, your tree or shrub's leaves will start to drop, the number of blooms will decrease, and overall plant growth will be reduced.

Tea scales feed on the undersides of camellia leaves

3. A tea scale infestation usually doesn't kill plants.

Good news, right? But, tea scales can still cause some damage, as you read in #2.

If you find evidence of tea scales on just a few leaves, you can pick those leaves off and destroy them yourself. For anything more serious, or if you want to prevent an infestation, we can help!

If you're looking for long-lasting protection, opt for a soil injection or basal bark spray treatment. These treatments can start controlling scales in 2-4 weeks and their effects last for 6-9 months. For more immediate results, go with a foliar spray treatment. Foliar sprays can start controlling scales in a day or two and last for 3-4 weeks.

Want to talk to an arborist representative in Concord or Charlotte, NC about protecting your camellias from tea scales? Request a consultation today!

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