If your Magnolia tree is dropping a honeydew sap and turning your sidewalk and curb black your tree is probably infested with the Tuliptree Scale. The honeydew comes from the female of the species piercing the tree to withdraw sap. The sap sticks to the branches and drops to the ground, then a black sooty mold fungus develops on the tree and the ground.
Many Alamitos Heights residents Magnolia trees are under attack from this disease. It seems to be a city-wide epidemic or infestation.
Treatment and cause are illusive. Distressed Magnolia trees are very susceptible to Tuliptree Scale due to California’s long drought. The treatment to date is only about 20% effective. It requires consistent watering after the application of an insecticide.
After insecticidal treatment the treated trees need their blooms removed. This is to safeguard pollinating bees and minimize contaminating them with the insecticide absorbed by the treated tree.
This a tough problem that first appeared on the Westside of Long Beach and has spread to the Eastside. On October 8th the city council approved an agenda item authorizing the Public Works Department to undertake an audit of the Magnolia trees in Long Beach. The details for the audit are outlined in a letter from Councilmember Uranga’s office that was signed on to by Councilmembers Andrews, Pearce, and our Council Representative Suzie Price. The full text of the letter detailing what the audit will look at is in the link to the letter below.
The best data today is there are about 7,000 Magnolia trees in Long beach and perhaps as many as 12,000 and there could be 1,000-2,500 infected trees. If the drought continues and we have a warm winter infection rates may continue to rise. If successful treatment rates don’t increase, we may see a long-term removal and re-planting of trees Citywide and that won’t be cheap. The best tip so far is to deep water your Magnolia trees. Let's see what an audit brings.
Arborist Report: The Tuliptree Scale A Parrticularly Vile and Nast Pest (pdf)Download
City Council & Councilman Uranga's Tuliptree Scale PW's Audit Request Letter (pdf)Download
Magnolia Trees October 4 2019 Press Telegram Article (pdf)Download
Magnolia Trees October 8 2019 Press Telegram Article (pdf)Download
Magnolia Trees October 9 2019 Long Beach Post News (pdf)Download
Alamitos Heights Improvement Association
6216 E. PCH #372 Long Beach CA 90803
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