with curly leaves
have several pohutukawa plants in pots awaiting for some wetter
weather to plant out on the coast of the Wairarapa, but they appear
to have curly leaf. Why has this happened and how can I treat it?
the damage described, your pohutukawa is being attacked by psyllids
(the 'p' is silent), also known as chermids. Psyllids are small
insects about the size of aphids. The nymph stage can be mistaken
for scale insect; the adult looks like a winged aphid. On some plants,
psyllids do little damage. Mature pohutukawa are not attacked, only
the soft young growth.
The soft young shoots
of pohutukawa, pittosporums and eugenia are a delicacy to young
psyllids. They cause leaf distortion, tips die back and a sooty
mould can appear. The sooty mould is caused by a fungus living on
the honeydew excreted from the insects and will disappear as soon
as the insects are controlled.
The nymph has a scale-like
covering that acts as a shield that is hard for insecticides to
penetrate. Spray your plants with Orthene which is a systemic insecticide
and effective on hard-to-control insect pests such as psyllids.
Add Conqueror Oil to get better control.
Alternatively, use an
insecticide such as Target mixed with Conqueror Oil to help the
spray make contact with the insect. Established pohutukawa are usually
not affected by psyllids.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH