Beware treatment of cottony maple scales
by Ronella Stager, Columnist
Jun 06, 2012 | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
My sister in Franklin, Tenn., has told me of a problem which she has been trying to solve for a year. She began to see white cottony looking puffs on the limbs and leaves of some 9 year old trees.

It spread to holly shrubs at the foundation. She has had various suggestions from various sources. Researching, she discovered that this is called cottony maple scales and if treated by an insecticide, you kill the lady beetles and parasitic wasps and mites which usually keep this disease under control. Her trees and her next-door neighbor’s are the only trees in the neighborhood affected by this scale. After getting consultations by experts, the solution was to dig a trench around the tree and spray the roots with Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control Concentrate which contains a chemical called Imidacloprid. But even that has pros and cons. These trees were planted at a new house when she first moved in and they are well worth saving. She found Leows to be most informative and helpful. We are wondering if any reader has had this aggravating problem.

I have often wondered why my Ma had so few insect and disease problems and I have come to a conclusion. Ma never used any kind of insecticide and let nature take its course. The good insects obviously overcame any invasion of bad insects.

To get rid of mites on her chickens, she dipped them in a big kettle with something added and it seems that it was something called Black Leaf 40 but my memory may have failed me on that.

I always wondered why my grandfather had bee hives down at the beginning of the orchard. I finally discovered it was for pollinating the trees in the orchard and also my Ma’s flowers benefited from the bees because the orchard was just below her flower beds. All I knew for years was that when Pa “robbed” a hive, it was so much fun to watch Ma strain the honey and put it in jars. I never questioned or thought about some of the things Pa did. I remember that he had a pit dug into the hillside and lined with straw in which he stored parsnips, carrots and other root vegetables. He did many of the things that his father did and with the same tools.

In talking with a cousin from Texas recently about Ma and Pa and what we remembered, she reminded me about the smell of the tobacco barn and it brought back memories of walking down to the barn with my mother when they were “firing” tobacco.

She used to quote little bits of poetry and one was “The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow and what will poor robin do then, poor thing? He’ll sit in the barn and keep himself warm and put his head under his wing, poor thing.” When I went into the barn, I would ask her where the robin was and she had no idea what I meant.

That old tobacco barn served more than one purpose. Pa decided once to buy a car. This was probably about the Model A period. I know that he bought a roadster with a rumble seat. He had no idea how to drive it but someone showed him how to work the gears, the starter and the brake. He drove it to the tobacco barn to park it and he cleared the big double doors just fine. The problem was that he forgot how to stop it and went right through that barn and tore out the back planks. He got out and went to the house to tell his seventeen year old son that he was the owner of a car now. And he never tried to drive a car again. He could walk to Confederate, about four miles, for necessary groceries or ride a horse if he had more than he wanted to carry back or if he needed a big sack of flour or meal, he drove a wagon with a team of mules.

Pa had a great sense of humor which made him fun for his grandchildren. Ma, however, did not have much of a sense of humor. He could rile her up with a little teasing. Once, Pa came into the house and said, “Look what I found by the woodpile, Sally” and showed her a penny. She said, “I lost a penny there this morning”, to which he replied, “Sally, anybody that would lie for a penny can have it.” She was just livid and I can see her now with her lips pressed together into a thin line.

Their neighbor once came to the house and asked if he could borrow Ma’s enema bag and she readily agreed when Pa asked her. He gave it to the neighbor who left. He brought the bag back in a day or two and Ma asked him how Mary, his wife, was. The neighbor said, “Oh, Sally, it wasn’t for Mary. We had a calf with the scours.” Pa could barely contain himself till the neighbor left and he just hee-hawed. My grandmother promptly threw the enema bag in the fire and was mad as could be, both at the neighbor and also at Pa for laughing.

Those are the kind of memories I have of that wonderful old couple who loved each other and we knew that they loved us.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632.
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