Extension, Utah State University
Aspen decline is an acute and chronic problem in Arizona, where high levels of overstory mortality and a lack of recruitment continue to be observed. Oystershell scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi; OSS), an invasive sapsucking insect, has recently become widespread in native aspen stands in the southwestern U.S., further contributing to aspen mortality. Damage is severe in lower elevation stands and within ungulate exclosures created to conserve aspen. Young recruiting aspen that are rare on the landscape incur high levels of OSS-caused mortality when infested (Fig. 1). OSS has only recently become a pest of concern in the Southwest and Intermountain West, and thus, mitigation strategies are lacking for OSS in natural forest settings. OSS is also polyphagous and affects several woody hosts with thin bark, adding to management complexity. Collaborative efforts have been initiated to address OSS biology, natural predators, and management strategies.
Grady, Amanda M.; Crouch, Connor D.; Wilhelmi, Nicholas P.; Hofstetter, Richard W.; and Waring, Kristen M., "Oystershell Scale: An Invasive Threat to Aspen Conservation" (2022). Aspen Bibliography. Paper 8034.