The Q&A Archives: Rose Fungus?

Question: There is a white foamy substance on my newly planted bareroot roses. The roses seem to be growing well but the gooey stuff can't be good. When I take it off with my fingers it has a slimey feel. What is it? What should I do about it?

Answer: Rather than a fungus, I think you're dealing with spittle bugs. These are tiny insects that feed by sucking the juices from the stems and leaves of plants. They disguise themselves by producing a foamy, frothy covering so they won't be so evident to predators. You can control spittle bugs by washing them off your plants with a strong stream of water from the hose. They may return, but while they're in transit they won't be feeding on your plants. Just hose the spittle off whenever you see it on your plants and eventually you'll stop them.

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