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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Sunday - July 10, 2005

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Controlling scale insects on hollies
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a number of holly shrubs at the side of my house. Recently I noticed that they have tiny white spots on them. I looked at several native Texas gardening books, but can't find what I need to treat to clear these. I can temporarily remove by rubbing each leaf.

ANSWER:

It sounds as if you have scale insects. It could be Holly pit scale, Japanese wax scale, tea scale or some other scale. You can read about these scale insects and more on the Virginia Cooperative Extension page. You can remove the scale insects by wiping the leaves with a cloth soaked in insecticidal soap (available at most nurseries). Rinse the leaves thoroughly after you have wiped the leaves. You can also read more about How to Control Scale Insects on Outdoor Plants.

 

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