RHS confirms first new garden pest of 2019

Thursday 17 January 2019

The RHS has identified its first new garden pest of 2019 – the unsightly cotton stringy scale (Takahashia Japonica).

Found on a magnolia in Berkshire thought to have been imported into the UK, the egg masses on the scale insect resemble a white wrapping around the branches. Beyond its unsightliness, the pest is not currently thought to cause any problems for the host plant.

A native to Asia it has spread around the world with plant trade and is prevalent in parts of Italy. In addition the immature scales that hatch from the egg masses can spread via wind.

The RHS is keen to hear from gardeners who find the pest in their garden so that it can build a picture of host plants in the UK and tailor advice to gardeners. Magnolias, mulberries, elders, sycamores and dogwoods are thought to be a favourite. If it is considered unbearable by gardeners, where practical, eggs masses can be removed with a stiff brush and water.

Gerard Clover, Head of Plant Health at the RHS comments: “The cotton stringy scale is the first new pest detected by the RHS in 2019. On average four are found every year but the global plant trade is exacerbating the spread of pests and diseases and gardeners need to be alert to changes and maintain good plant health.

“Unlike some other pests we expect to find, the scale insect causes little to no damage to the plant but will undoubtedly cause some concern for gardeners. In spite of its odd appearance it could well be overlooked and more established than we think.”

For more information about plant health and UK pests and diseases please visit ww.rhs.org.uk. To share information related to the cotton stringy scale contact gardeningadvice@rhs.org.uk.

The RHS is building the UK’s first National Centre for Horticultural Science & Learning at RHS Garden Wisley. Help us to protect the future of plants, people and the planet: www.rhs.org.uk

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Notes to editors

For more information please contact Laura Scruby in the RHS press office: laurascruby@rhs.org.uk / 0207 821 3060

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.

The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2020. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.

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The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

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