Azalea Bark Scale on crape myrtle

Here’s something we’re seeing a lot more of – azalea bark scale on crepe myrtles.  It looks like the tip of a cotton swab but it’s actually an insect.  Our solution is a deep root feeding with an insecticide and fungicide along with a slow release fertilizer.  The tree will take the insecticide and fungicide up through the roots and into the trees limbs and foliage and cut down on the damage.  If you’re treating this on your own another fairly effective method of getting rid of them is to simply blast them off with sprayer on your garden hose.  Why is it called Azalea Bark Scale?  Up until a few years ago they only attacked azaleas but for some reason recently they have become a major problem for crape myrtles.  If left untreated they will stunt the tree and make it appear very sick.  How do you know if they are active?  If you press one with your finger one that’s alive will squish into a very nasty looking purple, if the scale has been killed it will just be a white powder.

This photo is taken in Richardson.

The second photo shows the sooty mold that gets on crepe myrtles too.