PULLED the dead leaves from around my flax plant and found patches
of white fluffy stuff on some of the newer ones. Is it mealybug
and what should I do about it?
they do look a bit like mealybugs, the pest on your flax is actually
a type of scale. If you scrape away some of the cotton-like covering
and look carefully you should be able to see small white pear-shaped
The young scales (crawlers)
are even smaller and you may even see them moving around - the adults
don't move - they just stay put and suck the leaf sap.
Severe scale attack can
debilitate the plant and cause yellowing of leaves.
While you could spray
with insecticidal oils like Conqueror and Clear White Oil, or systemic
products like Confidor and Rogor 100, in my experience if you clear
away as many of the old leaves as possible and expose the affected
areas to the sun, rain and insect-eating birds, scale numbers will
naturally be reduced to the point where they'll have little adverse
effect on the plant.
Gardener, Issue 137, 2003, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.