Ornamental Cherry: Scales

categories: Ornamental Cherry Ornamental Cherry Insects Ornamental trees Ornamentals

revision date: 2024-06-05 02:04

Yellow pencil pointing to Lecanium cales on twig shown on a black background.
Lecanium scales on twig
Photo by: R.S. Byther


Various species of scales can attack flowering cherry trees, among them the San Jose scale, a serious pest of fruit trees. Depending on species, scales may be found on the upper or lower surfaces of leaves, or on twigs and branches. Symptoms of scale infestations may include yellowing and/or wilting of leaves on affected plant parts as well as the presence of honeydew, a sweet, sticky material produced by some species of scales. Honeydew, if present, may become covered with a dark growth of sooty mold. Scale insects are generally yellowish to dark brown or gray in color and rounded or oval in shape. They are generally 1/8″ long or less.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Ladybird beetles and parasitic wasps help control scale populations, but may not prevent damage.
  • Minor infestations may be picked off by hand.
  • Prune and destroy heavily infested branches.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Insecticides should be applied to the crawler stage for maximum effectiveness.
  • Oils should be applied during the delayed dormant period to scale species that overwinter as immatures. Oils are not effective on oystershell scale.
  • Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall.
  • Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.

Additional Image