White Powder and Brown Caps on Bay Tree Stems
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Elaine
Posted on: August 09, 2006

I have two container grown bay trees. They were re-potted approximately a year ago and are well established. I was watering them and noticed a white powder with tiny brown caps intermittently growing on the white powder. This is the first time it has appeared on the main stem of the bays. I would be grateful if you could advise as to what this is and how I should treat it.

Bay trees are very much loved by scale insects and I wonder if that is what you are seeing on the stems. The brown caps may be the adults and the white powder the hatching crawlers. Just in case my guess is right, hold the stems of the trees under very warm running water and with a soft brush, brush off the whole infestation. Afterwards spray the whole plants with neem oil at he rate of two teaspoons of neem and one teaspoon of either concentrated Safer’s soap or dishwash detergent in one litre( or quart) of water. Repeat weekly two more times. If it is a fungal infection, such as powdery mildew, the neem will help as well.

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