The Q&A Archives: Fungus and scale

Question: I purchased two Laurus nobilis approximately 4 years ago. One is covered in a black fungus or mold and has scale on the back of the leaves. The other plant is affected with the same, but is doing fairly well and has lots of new growth. Please let me know what to spray or how the best way to treat the problem. I don't want to lose the tree as they are on each side of my front steps and the focal point for the front of our home. Please help!!! Jan

Answer: This plant is occasionally subject to scale infestation and the fungus will also grow where the scale has damaged the plant and caused sap to ooze out. So treating the scale should also stop the fungal problem. Scale can be treated with either a commercially formulated insecticidal soap, or with a neem based spray, or with a horticultural oil spray. It is important to cover every surface of the plant, top and bottoms of the foliage as well as stems and branches. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the label directions. In addition, you can wipe them off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol although this is pretty time consuming and it is difficult to find them all as well. Good luck with your bay trees!

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