It’s Gloomy Scale time!!! I have an odd admiration for that little bug that is wreaking havoc on Maple trees. Oh, I know most folks are thinking since we do treatments for Gloomy Scale that I’m excited about it because I make money off of it. No, it’s not that. Although I sure do appreciate the fact that I can make money doing it.
You see, I’ve told a lot of folks that Gloomy Scale is the little bug that put me in business. Well, rolling back the clock to about 8 years ago, what really happened is that one day I was working with a Certified Arborist. We were talking about some ways we could work together. At the time I was the Business Manager for a really good tree company that was great at removals but didn’t really do that much regarding tree health except for proper pruning. We were looking for ways to start helping people protect one of the best assets on the property which is their trees. The Certified Arborist showed me what Gloomy Scale was and at first I thought he was trying to trick me. He found little white and black dots on a tree and said this is a parasite that sucks the sugar out of the sap of Maple trees and when they multiply each female can reproduce up to 500 more!!! He told me that if a tree has only 50 females of this tiny, little bug that when each of them reproduce 500 more then that tree now has 25,000 or more Gloomy Scale that are all drinking from the tree. They keep populating the tree until it is just covered one scale on top of the other and it makes the tree trunk and limbs turn black and eventually as the infestation turns severe the tree can’t force enough sap past them to get all the way out to the ends of the limbs. So, at that point the tree starts dying from the ends of the limbs back causing a slow, ugly death. Once he showed me a few other trees and how bad they looked it was like someone turned on a light switch in my head!! This little parasite was multiplying like crazy all over the area, very few people knew about it and it was attacking one of my favorite trees!!! Wow, it became game on!!! I got really interested in tree & plant health care. I just started devouring all the info I could on the subject and that is what lead me in to starting my own business. So, each year when it becomes the appropriate time to do treatments on trees infected with Gloomy Scale I reflect back on the little bitty dot on a tree that has now led to me being in business for myself and also teaching people about how to make their landscapes healthier.