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An insect infestation threatens Ark La Tex Crape Myrtle trees - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

An insect infestation threatens Ark La Tex Crape Myrtle trees

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SHREVEPORT, La -

You can see beautiful Crape Myrtle trees growing all over the area. But do you know the Crape Myrtle is under attack from a condition known as "Bark Scale",which is really a small insect. It probably infected our trees when transplanted trees were brought to our area. Ricky Kilpatrick of the LSU Ag Center tell KTBS "The Crape Myrtle Bark Scale showed up several years ago in the Dallas area. A couple of years later it showed up here. Which has been about 4 years ago when it showed up here in the Shreveport Bossier area and it has exploded since then."

You will know it if you see it. The tree looks as though it is covered will black soot. Limbs die off and it will be covered with white splotches. Master Gardner Johnette Magner has seen the damage up close on her lawn which is located in Southern Trace. She talks about the discoloration on the trees "But part of what homeowners are concerned about is how bad their trees look. Some these trees look like they have been through a forest fire."

If you can reach the infested areas of the tree you can use soap and water to clean it. She advises "Get dish soap. Any house hold dish soap and a brush. And for example for this tree I am just going to scrub it. It scrubs off both the sooty mold and it also gets off some the scale and eggs as well."

But to get to the root of the problem you need to treat the roots of the tree. Ricky Kilpatrick explains "The most effective thing we've found are systemic insecticides that you apply as a soil drench around this tree and it's more effective earlier in the year in the spring to apply this soil drench. Because that tree has got to pick it up through the roots, transport it up to the leaves and back down through the inner bark before it starts to work."

There are more than 430 Crape Myrtle trees on the campus of LSU-S in Shreveport. As of early August school officials estimate that 60 percent of these iconic trees are affected by the Bark Scale. Grounds keepers have been busy in the efforts to conserve these trees. For now the treatments are successful. But trees owners should also consider proactive measures.

This advice is from Ricky Kilpatrick "Even if you have not seen these bark scales on your trees it's not a bad idea to do some of these treatments as a preventative because they are in this area and starting to show up more and more."

The LSU Ag Center also advises Crape Myrtle owners to:

1. To trim any dead limbs from the tree

2. Fertilize your trees to promote healthy growth

3. Spray insecticides to areas you can safely reach.

For more information go to the website www.lsuagcenter.com

 

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