Slugs and Scales and Disgusting Tales

snail and scale

Magnolia covered in scale

The title didn’t scare you off?

You thought we were safely passed Halloween and all things creepy?

What’s creepy about this photo isn’t the snail but the scale…all over my struggling Magnolia.  Two seasons of effort to remove it and it’s back, bigger and badder then ever.  Gross.

scale infestation

Scale infestation

Last year, when the tree was dormant, I spent an hour literally scraping all the visible scale from the tree. I went back over the branches with warm water, wiping down any residue. I went back two days later, removing what I missed.

The tree bloomed, but the scale came right back. Over the spring and summer, it spread to the entire tree, dripping sticky honeydew all over the shrubs below.

I hate giving up on this tree, but if I don’t remedy the problem, the scale will kill the tree.

I placed a call today to a certified arborist for a professional consultation. Ian Geddes has been a great help over the years, thinning and pruning tall trees, removing tree stumps and consulting on the health of our trees. I appreciate their expert advice.

snail in Magnolia

Just passing through

Now to get your mind off these creepy pictures, I’ll leave you with this: Dylan looking adorable on our hike earlier this week.




After I hit the publish button, WordPress told me this was my 500th post on Gardening Nirvana.  Instead of celebrating with flowers and fruit, I give you scale.

So it goes when you blog about a slice of life.  Please don’t hold it against me.  Alys

10 thoughts on “Slugs and Scales and Disgusting Tales

  1. Wow 500 posts! Well done you – that is a lot of words and pictures and inspiring moments for your readers! I think I just did my hundredth – so I’ve a way to go……Do you find you just get more enthusiastic about blogging? I do, it’s amazing to me – I have a low boredom threshold and never would have guessed when I started that I would become so happily involved in this whole new world 🙂

    I’m sorry about your scale – I have heard my horty friends refer to it with hatred and the fact that the only way to get rid of it is to lose the plant…. I once had a honeysuckle that was plagued – it didn’t matter what I/we did, the stuff returned and in the end I lost my lovely vine.

    I hope your advisor can come up with an alternative plan for you, it is so heartbreaking when something we love is attacked like that.

    And finally, that is an adorable, if somewhat pooped looking, Dylan! [Pooped in the sense of tired… do you use this word in this sense? – I know we have language differences sometimes…]

    🙂 Enjoy your day/night …? time difference??


    • Thanks so much, Pauline! I appreciate your affection and support.♥ I’ve learned a lot along the way, about blogging, photography, and most of all, community. I love it here.

      Congratulations on 100. And yes, it just keeps getting better and better.

      I’m like you on the whole boredom thing, too. What’s amazing about blogging, is you can do what you want. You can change up the content, the theme, your intent. I love that.

      I came for the writing and stayed for the people!

      As for the scale, I fear the worst. Hiring a pro is my last ditch effort to see if anything can be done. The good news is that the scale remains isolated to one tree. If it does need to go, I may need to wait before replanting. I don’t know if it is present in the soil or if it will die once it loses the host. We have two lovely plants growing nearby and they leave them alone.

      We do say ‘pooped’…as in tuckered out. I adore Dylan. He has the softest ears, the sweetest disposition, and not a hateful bone in his body. Just a delight. It’s great seeing him once a week.


  2. Congrats on 500 posts! I just hit my 550th the other day! Dylan is adorable too! I have never seen scale on a tree like that before and it is quite interesting. Is the scale from the slugs? How does the scale get on the tree, when the slug glides over the branches? I can’t wait to hear what the experts say on how to save your magnolia! Good luck & congrats again!


    • Thank you! 500 is a fun number.

      Congrats to you on 550. That’s impressive, too.

      The snails are in the tree eating a substance known as ‘honeydew,’ a sticky residue secreted by the scale. Ants will actually protect the scale from predators so they can harvest the sticky honeydew themselves. The scale attaches to young branches of the tree, then lays eggs underneath. They form a hard shell. The infestation often ends up killing the tree.

      Thanks for your well wishes. I’ll know more on Monday.


  3. Oh geez, thanks for the ‘eye cleanse’ at the end of that post, LOL I wish Dylan could have joined us on our walk, he’s so adorable. His ear reminds me of your hair in the FB photo. 😀 Perfect natural waves.

    Well dang hey? You’ve worked so hard to save your Magnolia and they’re so beautiful in bloom. I hope the professional will be able to help you further. I am amazed that that poor tree is still alive, the scale looks so nasty and really has a good build up. Good luck with it Alys. I’m afraid If you can’t save it, nothing will.

    Holy, I’m really impressed too with your Blog stat! 500 posts is really impressive. You’ve probably told me before, but how long have you been blogging Alys? It’s a big deal to have 500 unique stories filled with advice and/or humour and your gorgeous photo’s. I salute you! xoK


    • I wish you had met Dylan too. Next visit for sure. He’s such a sweetheart.

      LOL Alys and Dylan, separated at birth. hee!

      That scale is nasty stuff. Tenacious, too. We’ll see what the arborist says. He’ll be here Monday afternoon.

      Thanks for your support. I started blogging in 2011 but did do very sporadically. I blogged about random things on Blogger, than organizing, then moved over to WordPress and started two blogs. Sadly, I neglect my organizing blog, probably because I do so much of it that I find it hard to think of new and fresh things. I should work on that.

      Thanks for being here and for your always gracious, kind words of support.


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