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Scale Problems

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Problems - scale

Scale is a nasty problem, but not an insurmountable one. The key to battling scale in prevention. Any effort put into prevention is much more valuable than effort put into curing the problem.

It is possible to avoid scale without the use of insecticides. You will need to periodically check your plants (especially in the nooks and crannies) for scale. Any infestation must be removed while there are few bugs - if they are allowed to reproduce on the plant, you will have to bring out the heavy guns (insecticides).

Scale insects can be removed manually with a brush (or your fingers), or with a stiff spray of water.

Beware of secondary fungi infections from the sites where the bugs have punctured the skin of the plant. Failure to prevent a fungi infection will lead to ugly black or brown scars, or rotting.

This is a minor scale infestation. A few here and a few there. Beware, though. If you do not stop them bugs at this juncture, there will a population explosion when they manage to go through a reproduction cycle. The best chance of stopping scale is when there is only a few of them.
Scale on a Melocactus. Scars are also visible. The dark patch is a fungi infection. If the plant is sufficiently weak, it may succumb to the fungi infection. If the scale infestation is too severe, consider destroying the plant. It may be the best way of stopping the infestation.
Scale on the same Melocactus. Cacti that are deeply ribbed or succulents with a lot of nooks and crannies are particularly prone to a scale infestation. Scale insects seem to favour attacking Melocactus in particular.
Scale on a Huernia. The growing point is almost covered with those pesky bugs. Such an infestation is a sure sign of neglect in a collection. Even if you clear the tip of the bugs, the tip is almost certainly damaged. You might prefer to throw away the plant or to slice off the infested head.
The head of a Myrtillocactus geometrizans, with an awful, chronic case of scale insect infestation. This is the kind of mess busy urban gardeners end up in. With an outbreak like this, it might be better to just throw the plant away (as I did). In deciding what to do, consider the effort expended in order to get rid of the bugs versus the cost of not having the plant (especially if it's not unique), or getting the plant replaced.


In summary, here are some short notes:

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  Last modified: 2002-08-26  Copyright © 1997-2002.  Kein-Hong Man.  all rights reserved