Bay Laurel Sticky Substance
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Carol E Kudla
Posted on: December 10, 2003

Thank you for having such a wonderful site and business. My bay laurels [which I grew from your seeds seven years ago] have scale. I know I must clean them down. But I also have a shiny, sticky substance no matter how often I clean with insecticidal soap. Help!

Your shiny sticky substance sounds like plant sap. When you wipe off the scale insects, the holes they made to suck the plant sap will remain for a while until the plant has healed. The sap will continue to drip out of them for a while. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder on the affected leaves after washing off the sap to stop fungal infections from entering by the holes and be patient. This dripping of sap is often the first sign that scale insects or spider mites are present - the latter may be a species of false spider mite that does not spin webs, and is virtually invisible to the naked eye since these mites are 1/10th the size of true spider mites. Sap is also excreted if the plant is producing such an abundance of food that some of it ends up escaping by the pores for transpiration.

To combat spider mites swish the plant in insecticidal soap solution 3 times 8 hours apart.

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