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question about scale

Plainsman reikirk at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 4 23:52:37 EST 2002

> I was told by someone that the only way to completely get rid of scale is to
> add something called "merit" to the water. Does anyone know if this works,
> and if so where I might find it!
   I suppose I knew what this was at one time not so long ago - but if
you're adding it to the irrigation water it's no doubt a systemic
insecticide, which gets drawn up and makes the entire plant poisonous.
   It probably works pretty well, for a price; if it's a restricted-use
product (which you won't be able to buy) it may even work very well.
In either case it's probably (like most systemics) something nasty enough
to cause many people to question whether they want to use it on something
they live with - which isn't clear from your post: the stuff may not even
be labeled for (safe or legal) use on the plant(s) in question.
  For starters, why don't you find a pint or two (e.g., a heavy application
rate is 5 tablespoons per US gallon) of Sunspray or other brand of what's
generically called Superior Oil. You could probably cook with this if your
taste buds aren't too discriminating; it works by smothering the pests.
Don't let anyone sell you the much heavier and harsher "dormant oil."
Gardens Alive is one source (do a search) if you can't find it locally.
   Two thorough applications will at least knock scale down to undetectable
levels, a viable management strategy if you're not dealing with other clean
plants that might not yet be contaminated: scale doesn't multiply very
fast. Three or four thorough treatments should eliminate it.
   In case you encounter insecticidal soap: a good way to kill the plant -
you can do that with oil too, but not as easily. In any case it won't kill
scale (or much of anything else imho), so don't bother.

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