pepperhead212
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:52 pm
Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 6B

Question about preventing a future scale attack...

...when potted plants are brought indoors in the fall.

I cleaned all of the scale off of my curry tree and kaffir lime trees - burned a lot of the leaves, using a combo of sulfur, oil, and pyrethrins, but it killed them all. I hosed them off, once they all seemed dried up, and in a few weeks have not reappeared. And when I trimmed them all severely, I did not see a single one, so it seems safe now (I never had a scale problem outside, KOW).

I repotted the small lime tree, and in the upper 3 in. or so of mix I added about a cup of DE, hoping that would help with most insects. And I have been thinking of making a mix of some herbs/spices, such as hot peppers, cloves, rosemary, coriander seed, lemongrass, garlic (this is about everything that I remember having seen in natural insecticides), and watering occasionally with a diluted mix of the strained solution (and maybe before bringing inside). Does this sound plausible, or do you have any other ideas?
Dave

tomc
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Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Question about preventing a future scale attack...

A Q-tip with denatured alcohol, or insecticidal soap sprayed (in solution) would be my first choices. I would not pick off any leaves.
Think like a tree
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pepperhead212
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Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:52 pm
Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 6B

Re: Question about preventing a future scale attack...

I'm thinking more of a prophylactic approach, rather than what to do once there. There were so many stems on that curry tree and those kaffir lime trees, a spray (or fumigation) was the only cure, once they were discovered. I'll have to be more diligent when looking at them - it's easy to forget these things in the spring, when busy with all those seeds!

Amazingly, though these plants lost a large number of leaves, they have recovered, and have a huge amount of new growth, even before I repotted them.
Dave

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Question about preventing a future scale attack...

Beef up the garden patrol by inviting in more beneficial insects that eat the other pests . The problem with prophylactic spraying is that it is useful to control fungal disease but not pests. Most of the organic pesitcides must make contact to work so have very little residual effects. The chemicals that are systemic or do have residual are also harmful to beneficial insects. In the long run you have to chose to spray or not to spray. If you choose not to spray then you have to tolerate some damage because lets face it beneficials need to eat too, they don't hang around if there is nothing for them to eat.

Keeping your plants healthy and well fed makes them less of a target. Make sure you open up and space plants as much as possible to increas air circulation and decrease hiding places.
Set a treatment threshhold for when you need to intervene and always use the least toxic thing first. You can get away with decreasing pest numbers just by using jets of water on the foliage to knock off dust and pests.

Hand picking
Spot treatments alcohol and cotton swab
Insecticidal soaps and oils
Identify the pest and use appropriate treatments. Always read and follow label precautions and directions. The label is the law.

Control ants. Ants carry the pests from plant to plant and protect them from predators.
Inspect incoming plants to make sure they are pest free and ideally have an isolation area for new plants.
Besides that realize that aphids, scale, mealy bugs usually appear when there is new growth. That is the time you have to be vigilant in scouting your plants and early treatment. Some plants are magnets and always get attacked first. These should be your sentinel plants.

Make sure that you also check other plants in the landscape that may be alternative hosts.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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