Bay Tree Has Spots
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: "Bunny"
Posted on: June 19, 2007

I have a bay tree that lives indoors. It has just sprouted a lot of new growth and has been doing well since I’ve been getting rid of scale by spraying with a solution of 1:1 isopropyl alcohol and water. One problem that I’m seeing is that some of the old leaves have black spots at the end of the leaves and some tiny brown spots (more visible on the underside of the leaf). These tiny brown spots are not scale, they look more like ingrained very tiny "burnt" spots.

I’m wondering if it is a fungus or bacteria and how I should treat the plant? Also I’m wondering if I might have vine weevil problems since I bought this tree as a potted plant from a nursery and some of the leaves look as if they’ve been munched on.

The spots most likely are damage from the alcohol spray, but they are far preferable to a scale insect infestation. The alcohol probably pooled near the ends of the leaves and burned them a bit in areas where the alcohol concentrated. If new leaves develop this spotting without you spraying again, then it may be an infection and I would advise keeping the leaves as dry as possible and maybe spraying with a suspension of "flower" of sulphur (sulphur powder).

When is a safe time to repot this tree? Should I wait until the fall?

Repot when the plant is in growth, because most plants make new roots at the same time as they make new top growth.

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