Get Rid of Scale the Ecofriendly Way

What is scale, and how can a person get rid of scale the ecofriendly way?

If you see small, hard or soft, round or oval bumps on stems, leaves, or fruit, you are probably looking at an adult female hiding under a hard shell and sucking the sap out of your plant.

It can be a soft scale or a hard (armored) scale, but regardless, unless you take steps to get rget rid of scaleid of  scale, your plant will wilt and die.
(Click on the pictures to better see the brown hard shell and the honeydew.)

The female scale lays its eggs under her, and when the eggs hatch, the crawling nymphs which have legs crawl away to establish themselves in another spot.

Pretty soon not only will the plant’s leaves become yellowed and distorted but also you will notice clear, sticky honeydew (a byproduct of their feeding) on the leaves and even dripping off onto the ground (or floor).

Five Ecofriendly Ways to Get Rid of Scale:

Get Rid of Scale on Outdoor Plants:

1.  Attract native parasites and predators such as lady beetles and parasitic wasps to get rid of scale for you.

2. Scrub scales gently from twigs with a soft brush and soapy water and rinse well

3.  In order to avoid overwintering nymphs from becoming adults, spray with dormant oil in late spring before the trees begin opening their buds.  All fruit trees should get this treatment in late spring to get rid of scale AND other overwintering insect eggs.

(If you want to know more about how to spray with dormant spray, check how to spray fruit trees step by step .  If you want to get ideas on what to use as your spring spray, check fruit tree spray: natural, organic, or natural.)

4.  Prune  and DESTROY branches and twigs that have become significantly infected.  (Do not put in compost).

5.  In the summer,  apply summer horticultural oil or the natural homemade spray identified in Number 2.

Get Rid of Scale on Indoor Plants:

1. If you have a small infectation, you can get rid of scale by scraping the scales off your plants with your fingernail.

2. Alternatively, you can get rid of a small infestation of scale by wiping  down the leaves with a damp cloth.

3.  Some people take a cotton swab or even a never-used small facial sponge, dip it in alcohol, and then dot each scale to get rid of the scale.  Be sure to include the underside of the pot where some immature insect may be hiding.

4.  Another way to get rid of scale is to mix 1 tsp of all purpose biodegradable chemical-free concentrated cleaner with 1 pint of water and spray the plant thoroughly.  Be sure to spray both sides of the leaf.

5.  Finally you can use this  homemade oil spray solution to spray your plant thoroughly:

a. First pour 125 ml of pure biodegradable liquid soap into a blender and add 250 ml of vegetable oil with it.
b. Then mix both ingredients together well and store in a jar in your cupboard.  If you put this mixture in a fridge, the oil might congeal.
c. When you wish to spray, dilute 1 tablespoon of this mixture into 1 liter of water.  (If you have chlorinated water, drain your water at least one hour before you make this mix, and let your water stand so that the chlorine can evaporate before you use it. )
d. With this new mixture you can spray your plant to get rid of scale.  Make sure you spray under the leaves too.

Now the fact that my plant was attacked by scale insects shows me that my plant is in dire need of nutrients and possibly sun since I was unable to put it out on the balcony all summer. Our balconies are being upgraded, and work has been going on since April 21.

However, it looks like the railings will probably be installed this week so by the end of this week the balconies should be fixed and available. Then before fall and winter sets in, I will put the plant out when it’s sunny so that it can gather energy from the sun and replenish itself.
Hopefully that will put an end to major scale attacks.

get rid of scales with oil and liquid soap combinationMeanwhile, to save the plant, I tried this spray and it worked extremely well at killing the insects. As you can see on this picture, the scales covering the insects seem to have melted somewhat and are not dark brown anymore.  The insects under the scale are dead.  It is now an easy matter to simply wipe off the dead insects from the leaves if you want your plant to fully reflect that you were able to get rid of scale.


Bio: A gardener since the 70′s, Marcie Snyder knows the value of growing your own vegetables and plants organically. To help the budding gardener, Marcie offers information on four blogs (each one dealing with different aspects of gardening) plus a FREE ebook “The Complete Guide to Organic Vegetable Gardening” (OVG GUIDE). She also offers a very comprehensive step-by-step ebook detailing 4 methods of composting.
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