White sticky fungas on my plant

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by RhondaJo1969, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. RhondaJo1969

    RhondaJo1969 Member

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    I have a plant that looks sort of like a palm tree. It's an indoor plant you get at all local garden centers typically has 3 stalks that are from 3 to 4 feet tall. Then at the very top of the trunks is a palm like stalk and palm leaves. They usually easy to grow and mine was doing fine but has this sticky white fungas on the leaves. The fungus looks as though I sprayed artificial "canned" snow on it. It's not that heavy though just very small globs of it everywhere not a blanket of white. It also developed clear sticky smudges on the fronds that is almost as though I dripped watered down honey on various areas.

    I cut down the leave to the stock and it looks like the leaves are begining to grow again and I can tell there is also white stuff on it again.

    Used to live in NM but moved to TX and used to be pretty good with plants but wow since I've moved here I have had a terrible time getting anything to grow.

    Brutal honesty please!
     
  2. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    from your description, i'd take a guess at mealy bug (ooh ooh i hate those things) post a picture for a positive id.
     
  3. RhondaJo1969

    RhondaJo1969 Member

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    I did post 2 pictures but not sure where they are...I'm very new.
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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  5. RhondaJo1969

    RhondaJo1969 Member

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    Ok let's try again...
     

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  6. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    You can control this, try a cotton swab or a detergent bath/spray.

    I have used alcohol swabs with some success, and liquid dishsoap.
     
  7. Kihua

    Kihua Member

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    I am having this problem, too. At first it happened on my orchids. I thought that my mother overwatered them too many times. Then, it seemed to climb to my ponytail palm and my banana tree.

    What is it? Mites, mealy bugs or fungus? It is exactly as this lady described. Like canned snow...but stickier in spots.

    Do I need to cut the plant down the whole way? My palm is infested from the leaves to the base of the leaves. Or, do I wipe it with dish cleanser? Please help me save my green babies.
     
  8. RhondaJo1969

    RhondaJo1969 Member

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    Personally I think if I had just sprayed the plant it would have been fine but I was thinking I would just toss the tree and that's why I did it. The great thing is that I am getting sprouts on the trunk of the palms so it's coming back nicely. I'm now making sure the soil is bone dry before I water and it hasn't come back after two sprays of the soap water.
     
  9. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    While mealybug infestation can be a pain, it is seldom fatal. A commercial 'Insectidal soap' will usually cure the problem. One that I use is "Safer"(trade mark) Soap. You can also make your own that is very effective. In the commercial products, you will generally have a certain amount of Perithrin (a Marigold extract), which kills the critters but won't harm the plant. In all cases, you must read the label, as all insectides are not appropriate for all plants. Exceptions will be noted on the label. The 'syrup' on the leaves is, literally, called 'honeydew'. While in and of itself it is not harmful, it is the host food for a particular malady called 'sooty mold' which turns the leaf surfaces black. A mild (Ivory liquid detergent) detergent WITHOUT grease cutters is useful (one teaspoon per gallon of water) for cleaning sooty mold from the leaves. Just spray it on. The honeydew will wash off and the sooty mold will eventually go with it.
    It is seldom neccesary to remove the leaves. Just remove the critters. As long as the leaves are green, SOME function of the leaf is still being performed, however stressed the plant may be. Mealybugs can also inhabit the roots, so if, in spite of your spraying care, you keep having re-infestations, they might well be sheltering in the roots, requiring repeated treatment.
    Mealybugs have piercing, sucking mouth parts and suck the chlorophyl from the leaves which creates yellow spots on the leaves. Another residue of the mealybugs is that white, waxy cover. The critter is actually quite small and hidden under it.
    I hope this has been of some help.
     
  10. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, your cane plant should never be wet or over watered, it should almost be constantly dry , potted Dracaena thrive in dry mediums with occasional waterings.
    The mealy bug infestation shoul be sprayed with an alcohol and oil and water mix.
    The oil suffocates the pest and alcohol dries it out. Good luck.
     
  11. Kihua

    Kihua Member

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    Thank you for your response. It was a mealy bug infestation. Horrid! I could actually see some of the bigger ones moving. After cleaning up my plant, I had to shower...I felt itchy as though I had mealies crawling on my skin.I'd never encountered that in 13 years of raising plants. I suppose I was just lucky.

    I do understand that the plant shouldn't have been watered that much. It was just my mom overwatering while she watched my daughter during my work days. :>) She is a wonderful mother, but doesn't have a green thumb. :>) Again, thanks so very much for your reply. I scrubbed down my plant with dish detergent and also sprayed with the alcohol and oil.

    Whew! What a messy mealy problem!
     

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