Ask a Question forum: White spots on base of Fern stems

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Melbourne
FreddyM
Nov 25, 2017 8:05 PM CST
Hi,

Since about a month or so my fern has these white spots at the base of the stems...
He's also not looking that healthy since then.
What is this and how can I effectively treat this please?

Regards,

Freddy
Thumb of 2017-11-26/FreddyM/015216
Thumb of 2017-11-26/FreddyM/6457c2

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Nov 25, 2017 9:01 PM CST
BUGS! AHHHG! Sorry. Smiling

They look like scale insects. Scale insects are hard to get rid of because they live under a little waxy dome. Get out your rubbing alcohol and some cotton swaps and wipe them off. You will have to keep a close eye on your plant because there will be more until you manage to get them all BEFORE they reproduce.
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

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 25, 2017 10:43 PM CST
Those leaves do not look like a Fern but rather the leaves of a Palm. Can you post a photo of the entire plant?

I agree, with Daisyl, the plant appears to have an infestation of scale insects and wiping them with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol will take care of the problem.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Melbourne
FreddyM
Nov 25, 2017 11:01 PM CST
You are absolutely right, it is a Palm. I don't know where my head was when I made the original post.
I just spent 2 hours rubbing the leaves and stems with Isocol. I'll keep monitoring if any might have survived. Thanks heaps for your help!
[Last edited by FreddyM - Nov 25, 2017 11:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 26, 2017 7:25 AM CST
I have found that using cotton swabs and alcohol wipes to treat scale insects and mealybugs to be a tedious exercise in frustration. The problem is that the juveniles are translucent and virtually invisible to the naked eye. If you treat only what you can see, you will miss the juveniles that will reproduce and the infestation will return. Dabbing and wiping is a lot of work!

If you mix a spray solution of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol and a squirt of liquid soap (for better coverage and penetration) and thoroughly spray-drench ALL leaf and stem surfaces until they are dripping wet, you have a far better chance of making direct contact with all of the critters. It is a very messy task, but if done thoroughly, one treatment is all that is usually required.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Nov 26, 2017 5:32 PM CST
I agree with WillC ... for heavy infestations as is shown on your plant, a complete drench is a good idea.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Nov 26, 2017 6:31 PM CST
Those little waxy lids won't be bothered by spray alone. It takes some elbow grease. I have a Zamia integrifolia and Zamia furfuracea that I have been fighting mealybugs on for years. I have sprayed with insecticidal soap and alcohol, soaked (pot and all) in Beyers 3 in 1, used Bonide and I still have mealybugs. And they don't live under little waxy domes.

If you have a lot of scale insects, you can spray the whole plant and then wipe them away but you still have to wipe them away. Don't underestimate the bugs and don't put lots of hope into finding something that will be simple and kill them once and for all.
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

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 26, 2017 7:09 PM CST
The alcohol will penetrate the outer protective covering. It is true that spraying alone will not remove the dead carcasses, so wiping is good for removing the residue. But wiping alone will not eradicate all of the scale or mealybugs the way that a thorough drenching will.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Nov 27, 2017 9:22 AM CST
WillC............is that mixture effective for most pests, or just the mealybugs/scale?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 27, 2017 5:53 PM CST
Anna - It is what I recommend for scale and mealybugs, which are closely related. For spider mites, just soap and water is sufficient. To treat fungus gnats, you have to allow the soil to dry out just short of the wilt point.

What other plant pests did you have in mind?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Melbourne
FreddyM
Nov 27, 2017 8:54 PM CST
Thanks a lot for the very useful information WillC, I'll give the plant a good drenching.

Cheers
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Nov 27, 2017 9:46 PM CST
Well, Will..............the usual varieties of "livestock" that seem to find their way into the g'house. LOL Last year I used quite a bit of baby shampoo in the hose end sprayer during the course of the winter. It worked pretty good, and my plants were really clean. Rolling on the floor laughing I really don't want to use any chemicals this winter up there as I have greenhouse kitties this year. Socks, her 2 kittens Snowball and Slick, Mindy, Rafiki, and the newest member of the feline family.........Daytona. All rescues.

I used straight alcohol on anything that I thought had anything resembling a mealybug. I have not, as yet, been blessed with scale. Seems like last year the worst were the whiteflies. They were hideous. I even had a couple of plants that had the wretched things all summer.

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