What to do about soft scale infestation of Leonard Mesil Magnolia?
Hello, My tree service reported that our magnolias have a soft scale infestation. They sure do. The stuff looks pretty widespread throughout the two 12 foot tall trees/bushes. The tree people recommend immediate spraying with bifenthrin. We are concerned about harmful affects on birds, bees, and the neighbor's vegetable planting. The neighbors like our magnolias as much as we do and are willing to give up their 3-4 tomato plants this year to save the trees. Is there an organic remedy to this pest? Neem oil, for example? Is a local application of bifentrhin to two trees considered environmentally harmful? Will the cardinals and other birds disappear from our yard? Are there mitigating measures we could take to reduce the harm to insects and birds? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks, Dan Minneapolis
Hennepin County Minnesota
Magnolias get soft scales. The first treatment now would be the fall application of horticultural oil. Here is a link to scales. In the section on soft scale there is a complete description of what to do for Magnolia Scale. If that section has closed, click the more to open https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/scale-insects-minnesota-trees-and-shrubs