Gloomy Scales – Why are my trees so bare?


Peter T. from Crozet asked, “My trees are looking a little bare, what could be causing this?”

One cause for trees looking a little bare could be gloomy scales. Gloomy scales can be found on maples, especially the soft maples (boxelder, red maple and silver maple), and cause significant damage over time if not detected and treated.

Heavily infested maples start to lose twigs and branches at first and eventually entire sections of the tree as the scale slowly sucks the fluids out of the tree. The bark becomes a blackish grey with molds and course from the armor of the scales.


Gloomy scales overwinter as adults and development resumes in April and the first crawlers are produced in May. Crawlers are produced until the middle of August at which time practically every stage of development can be found. A single female can lay up to 500 eggs in one season and populations can explode into a 100,000 damaging insects in a short period of time.


If you are seeing this, know that Virginia Green can help! We can inspect your landscape for Gloomy Scale and other landscape problems for free. Call our office at 804.285.6200 in Richmond, 757.258.1788 in Williamsburg or 434.975.0100 in Charlottesville or click here for a free tree and shrub analysis.