Replacing a Magnolia with scale

Asked September 28, 2019, 11:02 AM EDT

We have fought scale on our mature Magnolia for years but are finally giving up. We want to replace the Magnolia we are taking out. My husband thinks the newer strains of Magnolia are scale resistant. Is that true? If not what scale resistant ornamental could do well adjacent to a scale infested area?

Hennepin County Minnesota magnolia magnolia scale

3 Responses

Thank you for writing. Magnolia scale is devastating disease that has seemed particularly bad this year. It overwinters and thus, even if the tree were removed, the insects would probably be locally present. https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/magnolia-scale/

Resistence is complex because there are several varieties of scale and resistance to one does not imply resistance to all. https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/119071

I love magnolias but you are in a difficult situation. The pesticides generally are bad for pollinators they need to be applied early and are not highly successful for severe infestations. You may need to give Magnolias a rest for a couple years or start over on a site far removed from the current site.

Thanks. Will Scale effect other ornamentals? Is there a different tree we could plant adjacent that would be ok with Scale?

THAT is an interesting question. There are many kinds of scale and they are to a greater or lesser degree, species specific. The last part of these sites partly addresses this issue. https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/help-pests/scale-insects https://www.epicgardening.com/scale-insects/

All gardening is susceptible to pests. The best you can do is to optimize the environment (Light, water, soil, nutrients) for each plant. Best of luck