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Look out for crape myrtle bark scale!

Spring has finally arrived after a long, strange winter of warm weeks, cold weeks, one frigid episode at Christmas, and no snow. Now that our yards and gardens are waking up and displaying their spring green attire, so too are pesky insects emerging to wreak havoc on our trees, shrubs, and perennials.

At our May meeting, fellow Gloucester Master Gardener Wanda Eberle suggested crape myrtle bark scale as a timely topic for this column after reading the report, “How to Deal with the Crape Myrtle Bark Scale,” by Joe Heim, a reporter for The Washington Post. In August 2022, I wrote about several insect pests of crape myrtle, including bark scale, which at that time was considered an emerging pest in Virginia. Nine months later, crape myrtle bark scale is proving to be an ongoing problem for homeowners with crape myrtle trees.

Many people believe that the colorful, summer-blooming ornamental tree or shrub is a native, but crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), also spelled crepe myrtle...

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