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I’m wondering if there is an infection on my neighbor’s tree (scale?). I’m concerned that it’s something that could spread to my adjoining tree.

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Yes, your id is spot on, that's waxy scale.

The best prevention (besides encouraging your neighbour to do some pest control) would be to make sure your plants are strong, happy and healthy, i.e. mulched, not too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer, pruned if necessary...

Should the scale decide to move over to your plot, search the site for questions tagged "scale".

  • Got an idea of the type? Could I spray something across the fence line to kill this bug? – Simon E Jan 1 '18 at 20:55
  • Stephie is right. The best way to control scale is by cleaning up debris on both sides of the fence. You have to talk with your neighbors and make NICE. You do not want to spray or cut or do anything to harm that tree. Ugh. The litigation this starts is insane. Keep the nitrogen down in the fertilizer for sure. This attracts sucking insects. Ummmm, which side was yours? The willow or the evergreen? Scale will be very happy sucking on the evergreen for quite awhile. The honeydew coming off the willow is like chocolate sauce. Clean up debris. Thin willow. – stormy Jan 2 '18 at 1:56
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I think you'll find that scale insects are often plant, or plant group specific, so unless there's a suitable host in your garden you shouldn't have a problem.

However, talk to your neighbour, and of course you have the right to prune any branches that cross to your side of the fence.

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