Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I am having lots of problems with the trees in my yard with white stuff on the leaves of my sago palms. They are not healthy anymore and I am losing them one by one. Could you please look at the attached photograph and tell me what is wrong?
Your sago is infested with sago scale, also known as cycad scale. Forget about insecticidal soaps, topical insecticides and such; they won't do any good. You need to use a systemic insecticide as a soil drench AND foliar spray. Systemic insecticides get into the plant and toxify it, killing or suppressing whatever tries to feed on it. I've used Cygon with good results on various difficult scale insects. I'm including a link to a page, White Malady Strikes!, by Doug Caldwell with the Collier County Commercial Landscape Horticulture Extension in Florida. It has great information on this very issue.
You must know, however, that Cygon is a restricted use pesticide. It's not available to homeowners. You'll need to have a certified commercial pesticide applicator treat your cycads for you. I'm a certified commercial pesticide applicator in GA.
When you're shopping around for a commercial pesticide applicator, ask to see their credentials. I've known a few who advertised that they were "licensed and insured", when I knew for a fact the only license they had was a driver's permit, and their only insurance was liability on their pickup truck.
There are systemic insecticides on the market approved for use by homeowners. Look for those formulated for trees and ornamental shrubs. I don't know how effective they'd be. Always follow label instructions.
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