The Rockdale Gardener

Gardening Posts From Rockdale Cooperative Extension

Cottony Cushion Scale on Boxwoods

The Rockdale Gardener Blog has been on vacation for a week. Although I love vacation, it is nice to get back to helping people out with their plant problems. I came in this morning from vacation to find a sample of a boxwood infested with cottony cushion scale insects.

Cottony Cushion scale is a soft bodied scale that sucks the life out of boxwoods.

Cottony Cushion scale is a soft bodied scale that sucks the life out of boxwoods.

Scale insects suck…literally. They suck the juices out plants weakening plants and eventually killing them.

According to Dr. Will Hudson’s fact sheet on the University of Georgia Urban AG Website, “Scale insects are among the most serious pests of shrubs and trees in the landscape.  Scale insects fall into two groups – armored (or hard) scales and soft scales.  Both types of scale insects secrete a cover which protects them from weather, predators and insecticides. You can identify the scale by the type of cover it has and other characteristics.”

Armored scales have an oyster shell-like covering while soft shells have a waxy coating.

The IPM center at UC Davis describes cottony cushion scale as easy to identify. “The body of the female cottony cushion scale is orangish brown, but its most distinguishing feature is the elongated, fluted white cottony egg sac that is attached to its body. The egg sac contains 600 to 800 red eggs and may become two to three times as long as the body of the female; the resulting length of the female plus the egg sac can be almost 1/2 inch”.

How do you control them? Usually beneficial insects control soft scales. However, when scale gets out of control pesticides are necessary. Bayer Tree and Shrub Systemic Insecticide works well controlling scale. Follow label instructions for application directions.


***Note: The University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (working cooperatively with Fort Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the counties of Georgia) offers its educational programs, assistance, and materials to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or veteran status and is an equal opportunity, affirmative action organization.

When using pesticides, observe all directions, restrictions, and precautions on the pesticide label.  It is dangerous, wasteful, and illegal to do otherwise.  Store all pesticides in their original containers with labels intact and behind locked doors.  Keep pesticides out of the reach of children.

Trade and brand names are for information only.  The Cooperative Extension, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, does not warrant the standard of any products mentioned; neither does it imply approval of any product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.

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