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Houston Matters

Gardening Advice: Invasive Insect Attacks Houston Crepe Myrtles

A new study says crepe myrtle bark scale (CMBS) is spreading through Houston. Horticulturist Linda Gay talks about the problem and answers gardening advice questions from Houston Matters listeners.


An example of crepe myrtle bark scale (CMBS), which is the result of an insect. The condition appears as a white or gray felt-like crust on the bark of crepe myrtle trees. A new study says it’s spreading in Houston.


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Wondering what that weird, gray, felt-like crust is on your crepe myrtle trees? It might be something called crepe myrtle bark scale (CMBS). A new study from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service says it's spreading through Houston.

CMBS is actually the result of an insect (the bark scale crawler), and the condition appears as a white or gray felt-like crust on the bark of crepe myrtles. The first sign of the pest is a black, sooty mold on bark.

While CMBS is not fatal to trees, it will stunt their growth and affect flowering.

Linda Gay, a horticulturist at The Arbor Gate Nursery in Tomball, joins us to explain the problem – and to answer all your gardening questions.

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