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Pachysandra plants are prone to scale infestation. Scales can come from nowhere and appear on the leaves and stems of your plant. If you don’t get rid of scales as quickly as possible, your plants will suffer.
To get rid of the scales on your pachysandra plant, cut off infested branches, and apply insecticide on the non-infested part of the plant to prevent scale infestations. Using Insecticides will also help to eliminate the scale insects.
Scale insects can damage your plants and reduce crop quality and yield. This article explains how to get rid of these pests, including preventive measures to keep them away from your plant.
How To Get Rid of Scales on Pachysandra
Many scale insects attack the pachysandra, but the most common is the Euonymus scale (source). The Euonymus scale has a strong, protective covering that’s difficult to destroy when completely formed (source).
So, the best time to target the Euonymus scales is during their growth phase before maturity—between May and June each year.
So let’s get down to business. With this knowledge in mind, the following steps describe how you can get rid of the scales on pachysandra.
1. Get Your Tools Ready
Before you begin, organize your tools and keep them close so you don’t have to look for them when you eventually need them.
For this task, you’ll need the following:
- Hand Gloves
- Safety glasses
- Spray bottle
- Nose mask
- Cotton swabs
2. Identify and Cut Off Infested Branches
Examine your plant for scale infestation. It’s best to take note of the affected areas of your plant and cut them off. Dispose of the parts you have cut off far away from your plants to prevent further infestation. It’s best even to burn them.
Some gardeners prefer pruning only the affected parts of the plant—instead of removing whole branches. Pruning is only effective at an early stage of the infestation. However, to be on the safe side, remove the entire branch.
Sometimes, the scales may have spread to most parts of the plant. In cases like this removing the entire plant is the only option.
3. Apply Insecticide on Healthy Branches
Your next objective is to protect the remaining healthy plant parts from infestation. Applying insecticides to healthy parts will help you achieve this. Insecticides will not only kill the scales but will also protect your plant from further infestation.
You can use the following products:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Horticultural oil
- Insecticidal soap
- Neem oil
I’ll explain how you can use each option effectively.
You can use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to remove the scales on the leaves. It would be best if you did this a leaf at a time.
You can also use a small spray bottle to spray over the affected parts of the leaf. This method will work better with indoor pachysandra plants than the ones outside.
Horticultural oil is a special emulsified oil for pest control. To use, mix 2–5 ounces with one gallon of water. It’s best to use a garden sprayer to apply.
Spray evenly, and target the roots. Ensure you spray every part of the plant. The best time to apply this oil is during late spring (source).
Insecticidal soap can only destroy scales at their infant stage. If the scales on your pachysandra are already mature with a protective covering, insecticidal soap will have little impact.
The standard application ratio is 1:1, 1 ounce (28.34 g) of soap to 1 gallon (3.78 L) of water. You can use a garden sprayer or a spray bottle. Apply it evenly, concentrating on the roots.
Here are some valuable tips for using insecticidal soap.
- You need to apply it repeatedly to get results because it doesn’t last long.
- Insecticidal soap is unhealthy for plants that are directly under the sun.
- It won’t also work if the soil of your pachysandra isn’t well hydrated. It may even damage the plant instead.
- Check the soap container for application instructions.
Neem oil contains azadirachtin, which is an effective ingredient for pest eradication. Neem oil can kill both scales at the larvae stage and their mature stage. It’s, therefore, the go-to product if the scales on pachysandra have matured.
Due to the oily nature of Neem oil, you’ll need a bit of detergent wash to enable it to mix with water. Then follow these simple steps:
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of neem oil, with 1-2 teaspoons of detergent, to a gallon (3.7l) of water.
- Place the liquid in a garden sprayer.
- Spray evenly and ensure you cover the whole plant, including the undersides of the leaves.
How Scales Can Harm Pachysandra
Scales can harm pachysandra in several ways. Let’s discuss them.
- Stunted growth: Scales can cause impaired growth in the pachysandra. During their developing stages, scales suck nutrients from the pachysandra leaves to develop fully.
- Yellow spots: Scales can cause yellow spots to appear on pachysandra leaves.
- Defoliation: Scales cause the leaves to wither and fall off.
- Dieback of Leaves: Scales discolor the plant and kill the plant from the tip of the plant shoot and gradually suck the life out of the plant.
- Plant death: Scales can feed on pachysandra until the plant finally dies. One good thing about pachysandra is that they die progressively. So when you notice it, you can act fast to save others.
How Do I Care for My Pachysandra?
Pachysandra easily adapts to different environments. However, pests and diseases may plague the plant without proper care.
Here are tips to help you grow healthy, rich pachysandra.
- Water regularly but not excessively. Water it more when it’s tender and less when it’s grown.
- Plant it under a full or partial shade.
- Ensure the soil is moist, rich in nutrients, has high acidity, and has good drainage before planting pachysandra.
- Apply fertilizer once a year.
- Do routine checks for any pest infestation or disease outbreak.
- Prune pachysandra from time to time.
Pachysandra is susceptible to euonymus scale infestation. You’ll need to cut off infested branches or apply a generous dose of insecticide to get rid of them.
If you don’t get rid of these scales, they will take nutrients out of pachysandra and kill the plant gradually. Proper care of pachysandra will make it grow healthy and reduce infestation and pest attacks.