The Q&A Archives: Sick Cactus

Question: Can you recognize the problem this cactus has?
Brown spots on a center branch.
I re-planted in the spring, used soil with sand; I'm watering when totally dry. I present it with lots of South-West light.

Hope you can help.

Answer: Your photo wasn't close enough for me to be positive, but I think it is corky scab. Many species of cactus develop irregular spots or patches with a corky brown appearance. In most cases, these spots are superficial and don't penetrate beyond the epidermis. However, shoots can sometimes be covered with many scabs and appear unsightly. When cracks develop in the corky tissues, the epidermis can break open and curl.

This problem is usually not serious but can be prevented by increasing light exposure and relative humidity levels.

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