Ask a Question forum: White growth on Cycad

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May 26, 2017 3:54 AM CST

Im struggling with a growth of a white powdery deposit growing on my cycad. Does anyone have suggestions on sprays to use to get rid of this?

Thank you so very much

Rainer Schleicher
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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May 26, 2017 7:49 AM CST
It looks like scale. There are a few ways I'm seeing to get rid of or control it. Removal of those leaves that are the worst seems to be 1st on the list.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
May 26, 2017 1:56 PM CST
Scale insects have little waxy lids over them so they are hard to get rid of. The best method I know is with alcohol and cotton balls. Soak the cotton ball with alcohol and wipe the scale off. Watch for reinfestations.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
May 26, 2017 3:12 PM CST
You have a very serious, well-established scale insect infestation here. It is always much easier to treat pest problems when they are caught early. The immature scale insects are translucent and virtually invisible, so if you treat only the ones you see, you will miss the juveniles that will mature and come back to haunt you later.

Mix a solution of 5 parts water, 1 part isopropyl alcohol and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Thoroughly spray all leaf and stem surfaces until they are dripping wet. Pay particular attention to the lower stems where they emerge from the base. You must get complete coverage with the spray solution so you make direct contact with every scale insect. Rinse with plain water when you are done and remove the dead carcasses by wiping.

This is a messy task, but if done really thoroughly, you will only have to do it once.
Will Creed
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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May 26, 2017 5:04 PM CST
This is a particular scale that will eventually kill your Cycad. It's called Asian Cycad Scale and it killed off about half of the Cycads in south Florida before they introduced the predatory insect. But it doesn't look like you can wait for those guys to save your plant.

Will's method of spraying with soap and alcohol will be aided by a scrub brush. Wear sturdy gloves, the ones with the gauntlets to protect your arms would be good. Cycads are awfully prickly!

Spray the stuff on all the leaves and down the trunk, being sure to get the undersides of the leaves. Scrub as much as you can off. Rinse well with the hose. Repeat the treatment in a week or so to get the next generation of bugs. Then keep an eagle eye on it for them to return. They love to hide in all the nooks and crannies of your Cycad, so it's likely you'll have to re-treat before the summer is over.

A friend of mine used an old push-broom to scrub the trunk of her Cycad. The long handle kept her out of reach of most of the thorns! A dish brush with a handle will get you most of the way down into the leaf axils.

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