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Flaxes under attack

I 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?


ALTHOUGH 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 adult scales.

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.

Weekend 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.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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