The maple tree is a beautiful and sturdy tree find across North Carolina. If your maples are looking a little less than spectacular, it is likely caused by an insect called Gloomy Scale. Below we'll share how to spot Gloomy scale and how to treat your maples if they are showing signs of this scale.
Gloomy Scale is an armored “scale insect” that attaches itself to the bark and sucks out nutrients, water, and sugars from the tree. In heavy infestations the tree will suffer from a lack of nutrition. This is how Gloomy Scale shows up on trees: discolored leaves, cracking of the bark, weak and improper growth patterns and branch dieback. In many cases we've seen across Charlotte, Concord, Greensboro, and Raleigh, NC trees end up dying if left untreated.
How to Identify the insect causing Gloomy Scale: Take a look at the bark. Maple bark should be a medium gray to almost silver and smooth. Infestations of scale darken the color to almost black in some cases. The trunks and branch unions are usually the worst as multiple generations of the insect pile on top of each other. Up close the individual insect appears to be a small oval bump or “scale” on the bark about 1-2mm long.
Treat your maples! A once a year systemic insecticide applied to the soil or lower trunk can dramatically improve the health and longevity of the tree if caught in time. The treatment is applied on 2 consecutive years to ensure good control and then monitored on an annual basis to check for re-infestation. To repair the lost nutrients to the tree a deep root fertilization is recommended. Deep root fertilization provides nutrients directly into the trees root system.
If you suspect your maples are GLOOMY we're here to help. Click link below to contact us today.