Should I dig out 5 small weigillia shrubs with leaves that are grayish with scale?

Asked October 8, 2018, 10:37 AM EDT

I do not HAVE to have them in my garden and can put something else in their place. I transplanted them from a friend's garden where deer were eating them. Variety "spilled wine" and planted at friends home in early July. Transplanted to my gated garden in early September. Or should I cut them way back next spring and keep spraying them with Neem oil or insecticidal soap?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Weigela often are infested with mealy bugs, which give a gray and dusty appearance. They can also get three scales: cottony cushion, lantana, and barnacle. It would be helpful to see close-up photos of the insects. Then we could give more specific help.

In the spring, prune back any dieback. Shape the shrubs. Cutting them back hard would remove a lot of possible reinfestating material and could be good, as long as the root system can handle it.

Here is info on mealybugs:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/mealybugs-houseplants
and scale:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/cottony-camellia-scale-shrubs

Your weigelas may be stressed from the transplantings, and thus more susceptible to infestation, in which case they should improve. However, if this is a chronic situation year after year (your friend may know more about that), then it may be more attributable to the variety. Some varieties of a species are prone to problems. Often they are not worth the trouble to fight the pests.

ECN