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Scale & Mites

Mite-y or Not Up to Scale? 

Scale and Mites are as common as you and me.

They are found in various plants and trees, increasing their problems into one’s garden and making a scene.


Scale & Mites: Protagonist or Antagonist?

This is not a Greek tragedy – the commoner can wield the power to their demise.

Scale and Mites, though populous and free to call your garden their domain, can fall to disaster from a combination of following their desires (sucking on plant juices) and from treatment applications.

tortoise scale insects


What is Scale?

Scale is a type of sucking insect that hides under disk-like, wavey, and waxy leaf coverings. Scale makes the plant unthrifty by sucking away at the plant juices.

It’s slow-moving and, therefore, can be hard to spot. But there will be signs:

  • Leaves may turn yellow and drop.

  • Branches and twigs may die.

  • Bark may crack.


What are Mites?

Mites are arachnids, not insects.

Mites have a mighty appetite! They can damage the foliage of a tree by sucking on leaf tissue, feeding on new growth after overwintering, and engorging themselves through the summer and into early fall.

While some mites are beneficial, they are few and far between. The majority of mites found are pests.

Mites may be present if the leaves of a plant begin forming light dots.

If leaves start yellowing or rusting, or worse, webbing is seen, the tree is heavily infested. It’s time to call an ISA Certified Arborist at Sims Tree Health Specialists.

Webbing from Spider Mites


What Can Be Done?

Chemical controls are ideal for controlling mite and scale populations.

For Mites, a foliar spray of miticide is recommended. Foliar spray treatments can easily access the Mite’s mouth parts because Mites don’t have as much of a waxy coating protecting them. Systemic treatments are also available! Since Mites aren’t insects, many traditional insecticides don’t affect them.

Mouths agape, Mites inhale the treatment and face their final hours.

On the other hand, scale has a waxy coating over the mouth parts, making direct contact with treatments difficult. Systemic treatments, when applied, are taken up through a tree’s vascular system and mixed with the plant juices.

Spider Mite infection

Depending on the species of Scale, a topical or a systemic treatment may or may not be effective. Your trusted ISA Certified Arborist at Sims Tree Health Specialists is best able to determine the necessary treatment.

“One plant juice, please!” said the Scale, unbeknownst it would be its last.


Essential Vitamins and Nutrients

If a human is low on essential vitamins and nutrients, they risk becoming sick.

Likewise, a tree low on essential nutrients and sugars due to a Scale and Mite infestation may not die, but it can become susceptible to other insect infestations and diseases.

Call the ISA Certified Arborists at Sims Tree Health Specialists, Inc. to assess your trees for Mites and Scale and provide the appropriate treatment.


About Sims Tree Health Specialists, Inc.  

Sims Tree Health Specialists, Inc. is dedicated to the preservation, education, improved health, and safety of trees. Sims THS has provided California’s Urban Forests with premium healthcare since 1972. To learn more, visit our website:

Sims THS offers services with our ISA Certified Arborists in the following: 

Diagnosis and Disease Management, Pest Suppression, Organic Solutions, Fruit Suppression, Drought Protection, and Arborist Assessment Reports and Preservation Plans.


In addition to providing quality tree health services, the Sims family is known for their educational pursuits. In 1996, they started the Sims Tree Learning Center (TLC), a 6-acre botanical garden and research facility sponsored by Sims Tree Health Specialists, Inc. The facility houses multiple types of gardens, including a cactus and succulent garden and one of the largest collections of Palms in the Inland Empire. Learn with us!



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