A pest from Florida could be threatening popular San Antonio trees soon

An aggressive pest has not made it to San Antonio yet but it is marching across Texas, threatening popular local trees.

San Antonians love them almost as much as tacos.

Crepe Myrtle trees are everywhere here, but there is a pest working its way across Texas that is attacking these popular plants.

Mark Fanick, of Fanick’s Garden Center, has been advising people about how to care for their plants his whole life and he agrees that Crepe Myrtles are well-loved.

"Everybody has one. We all love them. They are one of the few plants that bloom all summer long. From June through fall, we have a flower show," said Fanick, who added that even though the tree is a slow-growing species, they make up for it with beauty. “They come in all kinds of beautiful fiesta colors.  They're like crepe paper flowers. They are just perfect for San Antonio.”

And while people love them, plant experts say that tiny insects called “scale” love them too.

Fanick describes the pest as not looking like a traditional bug.

“You don't see antennas. You don't see feet. It's like a little suction cup on the plant,” Fanick said.

In fact, the scale form a gray, crusty-looking film. They attack and suck the life out of the tree, but they are not in San Antonio yet.

"Right now, it's in the Houston area. It came in from Florida as an import,” said Fanick, who explained that the fall is a terrific time to treat trees because they are about to go dormant, and prevention is easier than curing a problem. "We can do things to keep the bug from sucking on there to begin with.”

Here is a link to a publication by the Texas Agricultural Extension service with full details on how to win the war against Crape Myrtle Bark Scale.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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