The Q&A Archives: Oozing Sap On Bay Laurus Nobilis

Question: I have a Bay tree Laurus Nobilis approx. 2' tall it is in a southern exposure location inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It has started in the last few months to ooze a sap like substance on the leaves and it gets on all areas that are surrounding it( floor, other plants, etc.) It does wash of but it is very messy. Can you tell me why this is happening and is there anyting I can do to prevent this? Is it the nature of the Bay to be this way and will it always be like this?

Answer: Based on your description I suspect the plant is being attacked by scale insects. You might inspect the plant carefully for these little disk-like sucking pests which tend to be active in late winter. When in the soft almost waxy "crawling" stage they can be treated with insecticidal soap (follow the label instructions) or gently scraped off with a fingernail. They are well camouflaged and may be difficult to see, but you will find them on the stems and bark as well.

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