The Q&A Archives: Bay Tree Which Has A Silver Sticky Substance On All The Leaves

Question: And it looks like it's dying. How do we fix this problem?

Answer: Sticky residues are often signs of insects that suck sap from foliage, such as aphids, and they leave behind what is called "honeydew." Examine the plant carefully, including underneath leaves to see if you can spot an insect. Aphids and similar soft-bodied insects are often controlled by regular blasts of water from the hose. If that doesn't work, try a soapy water spray. Use 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent soap per gallon of water. Use regular, not concentrated soap. Don't use soaps with lemon, as the citric acid can burn plants. Start with the lower amount and work up as needed. Spray as often as needed. As with any spray you might wish to test it on a few leaves first before you treat all your plants. Next on my list would be an insecticidal soap spray. However, it is essential to identify the insect to use the appropriate treatment.

Finally, research shows that pests seek out stressed plants for attack. You may want to examine the overall health/maintenance of your plant to see if it is lacking appropriate sun exposure, water or nutrients. Growing healthy plants will usually deter severe pest problems. Hope this helps!

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