Getting rid of scale and then planting them in the garden

sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)February 4, 2013

I have a couple of potted plants and they have scale. I have been spraying them and it doesnt seem to be getting any worse...all never leaves are free from scale also.. so I am hoping i have beat them at their game. (Though they were SEVERLY infested! Like the whole main stem was covered!! and on one plant nearly all the leaves had small to HUGE amount all over them.) Anyway I want to replant these plants in the garden and put different plants in the pots. I am worried for 3 reasons...

1. That the scale hasnt gone and that it will then infest all my other plants in my garden if i replant them there..

2. The pots have ants living in them (lots of them) (although they have started to dissapear since i have been spraying the plants to get rid of the scale) anyway im worried that the ants will transfer the scale somewhere else..

3. I want to reuse the pots but the potting mix will be no good anymore because of the scale? right? if i did reuse the pots would i have to scrub them down and chuck the current potting mix because of the scale maybe being in it?

Please give me some do i reuse my pots and plant these plants in the garden without being scared that scale will get everywhere? :S


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So let's start by asking a question - where did the scale come from in the beginning? From the environment...from the air, from outdoors, "out of the everywhere into the here." Meaning, the bugs are already around you. You did well to control them on your houseplants, now don't worry so much. If you want to put the plants outside, go right ahead. There are predators out there that control them most of the time. The reason you saw ants in your plants (oh gosh, I said a funny) is that the ants were feeding on the honeydew excreted by the scale, much like aphids, aphids and scale being in the same order of insects.

Yes, you should discard the potting medium the infested plants were in, because of the possible presence of eggs. Also the pots that you used should be thoroughly washed and disinfected with a dilute solution of bleach. You should do this with old pots before putting in new plants anyway.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:37AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

How about telling us what kind of plants you're talking about...and the type of scale, if possible.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:06AM
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sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)

They are citrus plants and were just under the patio so i guess the scale just came from somewhere outside. It wasnt on the plants when i got them 2 years ago. So if i plant them in the garden should i continue spraying them because of the scale or leave them alone? I will definitely discard the potting mix and wash those pots though.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:56PM
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I would keep an eye on them, keep checking for insects, as you should with all your plants, and spray them only if you see bugs actually coming back.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:44PM
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sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)

great...thanks theficuswrangler ill keep checking them and plant them in the garden :) .............with the ants...i think they live under the pavers on the patio...i am worried if i put different plants there they will come back and bring the scale with them? how do i stop that from happening? as i do want to put other plants there :S

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Ants. Oh lord I hate ants. I've been battling ants in my house all winter, got them out of the kitchen, and they came back 10 times worse in the bathroom. I generally don't worry much about ants in my potted plants, I suppose there are a few but it's no problem. If you want to keep them out of your patio plants, there are probably several things you can try - Maybe some other folks can offer suggestions. Maybe you could start another thread asking just for advice in thwarting ants.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:04PM
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sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)

YES!! i have been battling them since we moved into this house...thank god we are renting and didnt buy it! They come in just after the big rains and we just cant get rid of them. I will do some research and then perhaps make a thread asking people. Thanks for your help :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:48AM
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You won't get rid of ants outside, more will just move in from the neighbourhood. The main thing is to keep an eye on the plants and deal with scale as soon as it shows up. Because it's the wet season ants are on the move upwards, they will seek out higher sheltered spots, pots on a patio or verandah are idea homes. You can use Amdro, sold in Bunnings, Elders, or Landmark, etc., but it is expensive, although very effective. Some ants don't touch it, like Green Ants.

The thing you'll have to watch outdoors with citrus is leaf miners. They tunnel in under the skin of the leaf. If you see distorted/deformed leaves that's probably it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:46PM
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sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)

Hmmm i will keep an eye out for leaf miners then too...thanks :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:56PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Amdro is not labeled for use near food plants.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:53AM
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