Common Problems

Scale insects feed on plants by piercing plant tissue and sucking sap. They are small and invisible. Usually they look like small fish scales attached to the plant which is why they can reach damaging levels before they are noticed.

Spider mites are tiny parasitic pests that usually live on the underside of plant leaves. They thrive in hot, dry climates. They may spin protective silk webs and cause damage to plants by puncturing they plant cells to feed. Their accelerated reproductive process enables them to adapt quickly to pesticides, making chemical control methods tricky.

Fire blight is a destructive and highly infectious disease that attacks blossoms, leaves, shoots, branches, fruits and roots of plants. It affects mainly plants found in orchards, such as trees and shrubs, nurseries and landscaping plants. Management includes pruning, avoiding nitrogen fertilization and splashing water. Chemical controls is not always effective but fungicide spraying may help when flowering and leaf emergence coincides with wet, humid weather.

Cochineal scale or “crimson” scale usually affects prickly pear and chollas cacti. The insect produces a white tuft that looks like cotton candy. If not treated, it kills and weakens the plant as it sucks out the cacti’s juices. At the beginning stages, one can usually keep spraying them off with water. And infestation will require chemical control methods.

Beetles tend to feed at night. Most will eat leaves, leaving the plant exposed and weak. Chemical control methods are usually needed to rid gardens of infestations.

Normally found during warmer months on the undersides of leaves and growing tips. Populations grow very quickly on crops, ornamental and wild plants. They suck sap from the plants and cause distortion, stunted growth, reduced harvest and ruined crops. They are also carriers of various plant diseases and plant mold. Chemical control methods are needed to control methods are needed to control and eradicate populations.

Pine needle scale is considered the main pests that attack pine trees. They lay eggs over winter, which hatch in May. They suck plant fluids, which cause the needles to turn yellowish brown. Severe infestation results in compromised plant health, sparse foliage and death. Infected trees may take a white washed appearance. Chemical control methods must be used in cases of infestations.

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For more information visit:
New Mexico State Universities Agricultural Extension Site
The University of Arizona's Extension Site